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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Really? You Promise?

Hot off the presses of the district's News and Calendar page:

"Over the past several days there has been speculation in our community that a decision has been made to move away from a K-8 at the Jane Addams building and to create one middle school (6-8) and a separate K-5 school. This is not accurate.

Over the past year, our work with the community to address capacity management challenges has included discussion about needs at the elementary and middle school levels for north and northeast Seattle. The possibility of a comprehensive middle school at Jane Addams was discussed as part of our capacity management planning efforts, and a decision was made by the School Board in November of 2008 to create a K-8 school at Jane Addams.

The work to develop our new student assignment plan and begin to create boundaries for schools is closely connected to our capacity management work. Our ongoing capacity management work requires that we plan for projected future middle school needs and continue to evaluate changes in enrollment and demographics that may indicate a need for more elementary capacity. Based on our current understanding of future middle school capacity needs, we will need additional capacity North of the ship canal in the next few years. Any evaluation of how we accommodate future growth would begin with an analysis of our current facilities in the areas experiencing growth. This work would occur following direction from the School Board and would involve an analysis of potential future options for students in North and Northeast Seattle.

We deeply regret that incorrect information is circulating about an issue that is of such importance to our families and staff. We want to assure you that no decisions have been made about changes to Jane Addams as a K-8. We also want our families and staff to know that informative presentations are scheduled for our June School Board meetings, which are televised. We will also continue to post updated information to our Web site."

What a crafted piece of information.  Let's go through it.  Paragraph One.

I personally never said that Jane Addams was going to become a separate 6-8 and separate K-5.  Nor did that information ever show up in any e-mails I read about it.  So if they say it's not accurate, I'm sure it's not.

Paragraph Two - yes, the responsibility (blame?) about who created JA as a K-8 has been assigned to the Board.  All I recall was that staff wanted Thorton Creek to move to JA to become a K-8.  Does anyone recall that staff advocated anything else?  (And who and when?)

Paragraph Three:

"Based on our current understanding of future middle school capacity needs, we will need additional capacity North of the ship canal in the next few years. Any evaluation of how we accommodate future growth would begin with an analysis of our current facilities in the areas experiencing growth. This work would occur following direction from the School Board and would involve an analysis of potential future options for students in North and Northeast Seattle."

Current?  Nothing has changed in the last several months.  The district has known for years they would need more capacity.  Analysis of current facilities?  Potential future options?  Sorry, how much more analysis do they need?  The Meng facilities report?  Done.  Projections for growth?  Known.  Options?  Readers here know we've debated this all over the place and I'm sure staff has as well.  In addition, Facilities staff have discussed putting John Rogers or Laurelhurst or Bagley on the BEX list for a long time.  

Paragraph Four:

"We want to assure you that no decisions have been made about changes to Jane Addams as a K-8. We also want our families and staff to know that informative presentations are scheduled for our June School Board meetings, which are televised."

So they are going to present something as soon as next week but no decisions have been made.  I have no doubt that they ARE going down the road of keeping JA a K-8...for now.  But really, how long will that last?  A year, two years.  Sorry, we know that Dr. Goodloe-Johnson told parents something was changing.  She did.  Now she's saying it isn't happening.  Are rumors of what might be bad?  Sure but jerking parents around is worse.  I suspect she has her back up about this and that's why we're on hold about it.

Would you put your kid into JA with this kind of cloud?

47 comments:

Meg said...

Can you say "disingenuous?" Yowza.

http://www.seattleschools.org/area/capacity/090413_closed_building_workshop.pdf

The above link (which many of you have probably already seen, and I'm just late to the party. Again) is to a presentation at the April 15th board work session. Quick precis: Sand Point will likely be re-opened within 3-6 years, and their current tenant is departing.

On p24/42, it's listed, along with Old Hay and McDonald as a property that should be kept for possible near-term use. On p33, they note that they need to transition management from SCCC (the tenant) to SPS. And last, on page 35, they note that the building will be needed in 3-6 years and that SCCC is leaving (I'm going to guess that SCCC didn't up and say "hey, this isn't working for us any more.").

So... that doesn't, obviously, prove anything in regards to JA. But I suppose you could say it supports the rumors that have been flying around.

anonymous said...

OMG. This is a bald faced lie. The district is covering up and backpedaling, probably because they know this was a huge blunder. And probably because of all of the feedback, or should I say outrage they have heard from the community. At this point I wouldn't trust anything they say.

I personally spoke with Debbie Nelson who told me that she was advised that Addams would be split into two schools, with the k-5 moving to Sandpoint, and Addams becoming a comprehensive MS. I personally confirmed this with Harium Martin-Morris.

Now the district is trying to make it look like some bad rumor or "speculation". They have lost all credibility.

But hey, great PR work SPS.

John said...

Wow. Would I be incorrect in translating this as, "We haven't made a decision to move away from a K-8 at Jane Addams, but we probably will later. It just didn't occur to us how awkward our timing was this time around."

Melissa, I can answer your last question: No. Our next step is going to be to try to get reassigned to our second choice. It seems pretty clear that the JA K-8 program is in the gunsights, and it's just a matter of time.

John said...

Here's part of an email I received from a School Board member today. (The only response I received, and published here without permission. Sorry, I'm not feeling very polite about all this at this point.)

"... We have been contemplating changes. First, the K-8 program will open as planned in the fall. The Board will take up a motion for reconsideration at the June 17th meeting which could repurpose Addams to a middle school at some future date. This action will require that we open a new K-5 in the northeast, which will also come to the board at the same time. Our enrollment numbers for the fall have prompted staff to rethink their asumptions and recommendations for overcrowding in the northeast cluster. We will have a public process and Board vote on any change in the Jane Addams building."

So the rumors are all BS, and the board will be making a decision on them in 3 weeks. Got it.

dan dempsey said...

I disagree with Fact Checker who said:
Now the district is trying to make it look like some bad rumor or "speculation". They have lost all credibility. To lose credibility you must first have some credibility to lose. They lost nothing.

Dan

Melissa Westbrook said...

Also, Summit staff were told that they could change their positions choices (but not within JA meaning, whatever they chose there is what they have) because of "program changes" that are going to occur at JA. Why would they be told that if nothing is changing from the original plan?

Here's the thing; it's like the Wizard of Oz. The district thinks that the public are all idiots, that teachers and/or other staff won't talk (because they think it's BS, too) and that somehow we will only see the Wizard and not the man behind the curtain.

You can't hide the truth.

ParentofThree said...

"Would you put your kid into JA with this kind of cloud?"

Well, let's see they were planning on 500, assigned two principals to the task, got 300...So since nobody was really interested in the school this year, next year, no way no how.....

I just don't understand how they could screw this up, so bad.

How could they go from bad to worse?

Seriously, I just do not undestand.

Charlie Mas said...

I think it is possible that the staff was all ready to move forward with the changes when someone, perhaps a Board member, reminded them that it is a Board decision, not a staff decision. Therefore the staff cannot move forward on it without going through the Board process.

I can't tell you how many times the staff has tried - sometimes with success - to usurp the Board's authority. For all of the concern about the Board possibly reaching into the Superintendent's business, most of the trespassing is on the other side.

While I'm sure that the staff was stung a bit by the public backlash, I think only Board authority would rein in this runaway horse.

Let's not kid ourselves, however. It is clear from this message that the path is inevitable. They have made it very clear that they intend to make Jane Addams a comprehensive 6-8 middle school. I can only hope that they pour some sugar on it by selecting an elementary in the area, perhaps John Rogers, as the next language immersion school, rebuild it bigger, and make Jane Addams an international middle school.

By the way, it was more than "speculation in our community". It was stated on the record by a principal.

Also, during the capacity management work, the staff presented data to show that the District had sufficient middle school capacity for at least the next five years. What new data do they have now that they didn't have in January?

Their credibility isn't damaged by this sort of stuff because, as Dan wrote, you have to have credibility to lose it. I guess only Debbie Nelson lost credibility this time.

We, on the other hand, perhaps should have known better than to believe them.

Unknown said...

Am I the only one that remembers that the district's initial recommendation was a middle school at Addams? The board then expressed concern about elementary capacity and they changed it to a k-8. This was back before the closure discussions when the NECC was active.

Unknown said...

"Paragraph Two - yes, the responsibility (blame?) about who created JA as a K-8 has been assigned to the Board. All I recall was that staff wanted Thorton Creek to move to JA to become a K-8. Does anyone recall that staff advocated anything else"

Take a look at the appedix to the Nov. 2008 SAP action report that made Addams a K-8. The orginal recomends at middle school, and the final has a strike out to K-8.

north seattle mom said...

Charlie is right, the district would need to have credibility to lose it. However, I don't think Debbie Nelson has lost any. IMO, she has gained some. She was very honest at the Jane Addams open house. She has responsively answered every email I ever sent her. AND she went on the record, confirming this plan.

She could have said, it was speculation or she could have been unavailable for comment. However, she answered questions with honest and timely answers. I think if this situation has any hope of a good outcome (and for the sake of the children involved, I am hoping for a good outcome)
I suspect she was notified of the change after enrollment like everyone else. Maybe I am a ridiculous optomist, but I think Debbie Nelson is the only honest person in this whole mess.

Benson Miller said...

Our son was assigned to first grade at JA this fall. We've been optimistic about JA, despite the laundry list of reasonable reasons to be cautious.

Today I heard the rumor about the fate of JA and I'm feeling ill about it. My instinct tells me that the rumors are true. JA elementary will evaporate in a couple years.

I have zero interest in signing my son up for a game of musical schools.

Stu said...

I just posted this on Harium's blog too but, as much as I would love to believe that this little piece of "spin" is an indication that they've heard the outroar and are backtracking, I believe that they're just going to try and calm everyone down so that they can make their radical changes in the summer, when no one's watching.

stu

North End Mom said...

For the blow by blow of Capacity Management, Phase I, see:

http://www.seattleschools.org/
area/capacity/phasei.html

There were a series of options presented at the October 15th Board Meeting ("attachment B"):

http://www.seattleschools.org/
area/board/08-09agendas/101508agenda/attachmentb.pdf.

Several options focused on relocating Summit, some on closing Summit, some on closing AS-1, there was an option recommending a comprehensive middle school at Jane Addams. There was also an option recommending an international K-8. There were six options, and a long range goal:

"Long Range: for 2010 and Beyond:
Create a comprehensive Middle School at Jane Addams to alleviate crowing at Eckstein and Whitman. This would require Hamilton, Eckstein and Whitman to all handle enrollments of no more than 1000 students and would support the feeder patterns needed for the New Student Assignment Plan"

This was written in Oct. 2008. Is 2010 and beyond really a long range goal?

By the Oct 29th meeting, there is a revised attachment B, where the words comprehensive middle school are crossed out and replaced by "new K-8." This is from a paragraph describing Option 1 (an option calling for the relocation of Summit). This revision followed a Board work session on capacity (held Oct 29th before the Board meeting):

http://www.seattleschools.org/
area/board/08-09agendas/102908agenda/attachmentb.pdf

The Thornton Creek relocation to Jane Addams wasn't proposed until Nov 25th:

http://www.seattleschools.org/
area/capacity/preliminary_
summary.pdf

To be fair, there was an extreme amount of pressure not to open buildings, given the budget shortfall. A K-8 at Jane Addams probably seemed like the perfect solution for both the elementary and middle school capacity issues at the time.

North End Mom said...

Charlie - Are the rumors that Hamilton, Eckstein, and Whitman are full for next fall just rumors, or are they fact? That would be pretty strong evidence that something was off about those middle school projections the District staff presented.

I've also heard that high numbers of Seattle students applied for transfers to Shoreline for 6th grade. That might grab their attention, too?

I agree with north seattle mom. I think Debbie Nelsen has been caught in the middle of a very difficult situation. I don't think she has lost any credibility.

anonymous said...

I agree with North Seattle mom 100%. Debbie Nelson has done nothing wrong, in fact she's the only one that has done the right thing. She has been honest and forthcoming with the JA families, with the public, and with the press. She is the only one who went on record confirming this plan. The only one.

She has answered my many many questions regarding JA over the last few months, and has always done so professionally and in a timely manner. She always answered my emails within the same day, and usually within the hour. Sometimes as late as 8 or 9PM.

The district came up with this half baked plan, not Debbie Nelson. She was just as surprised and confused as the rest of us. And, now, with the retraction or whatever the SPS letter is supposed to be, Debbie is prepared to march on and make JA a great K-8. I would RUN to Shoreline if Debbie Nelson was not at the helm of this school, but she is, and as long as she is there, I'm willing to give it a try, even amidst the uncertainly of it's future.

No, Debbie Nelson has not lost any credibility here. Quite the opposite.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thank you Marie and North End Mom for reaching back into the documents and answering my question. It's important to know what was said when. Circumstances certainly do change but not much has changed in the last several months. Also thanks to Meg for finding the information about Sand Point.

zb said...

Ugh. That letter is disgusting.

John translated as

"We haven't made a decision to move away from a K-8 at Jane Addams, but we probably will later. It just didn't occur to us how awkward our timing was this time around."

I'd add, that it also says "We thought no one would pay attention and we could spring a closure of the elementary program on you in a couple of years, or even next year, when the new assignment plan is supposed to start."

I really do believe that the district is in various kinds of binds, and has a tough time balancing these decisions, but am particularly offended by secretism/hiding information. Particularly so, 'cause of Benson Miller's comment. I detest, detest, balancing these decisions on the people who aren't connected/savvy/political/time-unburdened to make these decisions.

I'd like folks to turn to solutions that we could advocate for. I can yell and scream at the district, but I don't see how that will get a solution for anyone right now (and it's hard to tell how much it might influence things in the future -- I know Charlie and Melissa, are dismayed at the potential there). But, what specific thing can we advocate for about Jane Addams?

anonymous said...

North Seattle mom here are the MS WL numbers for 6th grade

Eckstein 136
Hamilton 55
Whitman 5

We will gain some 250 seats of capacity at Hamilton next year if the SE busing is discontinued as is rumored. In addition Hamilton will move to their new building which can hold 150 more students than the original building.

JA could go to the mushroom model for MS and accomodate 300 or so middle school students.

That's 750 extra middle school seats that could come online as early as next year.

Is that enough???

TechyMom said...

Is the SE bussing to Hamiliton on a space-available basis, or set aside? I ask because we're techncially eligable for busing to JSIS from Central, but it will fill with closer kids first, and we'd never get in. Is the same true of Hamilton? If so, the seats are there now, and those 55 kids on the wait list must all be from the south end.

ParentofThree said...

Anybody else notice that no agenda for the Wed board meeting has yet to be posted?

another mom said...

I thought that program placement was the responsibility of the Superintendent not the Board. I am probably mistaken but did this change? Because it may be proposed in the new SAP, bringing Jane Addams on-line as a middle school probably requires a Board decision, but does moving the new Addams K-8 or K-5 (whatever it is now) require Board approval?

zb said...

I think one thing we're forgetting in considering waitlists is that not all the people on the waitlist are NE residents (presumably), so the waitlist numbers don't tell us the needed middle school capacity numbers. I'm guessing as the district plays with capacity numbers, aiming to generate boundaries for the new assignment plan, they're realizing that there's no way that they have enough capacity for elementary & middle school in NE. The choice system hid this fact, by producing no-mans lands (i.e. Ravenna) that did not have access to a neighborhood school.

I was aware of the elementary capacity issues, but hadn't understood the middle school issues (at least partly because those issues affected the north end of the cluster, while the elementary was affecting the south end).

SolvayGirl said...

YAY MELISSA!!!

So glad you can set Joni Balter straight on KUOW. She's the MAIN reason I would not pick up the Ties after my PI subscription bit the dust!

anonymous said...

"But, what specific thing can we advocate for about Jane Addams?"

We can advocate that the district stick to the decisions that they make, and not allow them to keep us in a constant state of uncertainty, upheaval and turmoil. We can advocate for stability for our children.

The district committed to opening a K-8 at Addams. They hired staff and a principal. They gave the school a name and a theme (environmental science and math). Then marketed the school, had open houses, and with fanfare they enrolled our students.

We must advocate the district keep the promises and commitments that they made to the community, to their staff, and to our children.

They could have made Addams a middle school initially. The staff proposed it. The community advocated for it. But it didn't happen. They decided to make it a K-8. Now they need to stick with their decision and solve capacity issues another way. We all, and I mean all, repeatedly said that the district was making decisions prematurely. We all said they should wait for closures/consolidation and do it as part of the new assignment plan and as part of the big picture. They chose not to. Had they listened and waited they wouldn't be in this boat.

But they didn't listen. They closed Summit prematurely, and not as part of a larger plan. They opened a K-8 prematurely and not as part of the larger assignment plan (boundaries), and now they are changing their minds.

Too bad. It's too late.

Our kids deserve to have some stability. Advocate for that. And advocate that the district make and stick with their decisions, and not keep us in a constant state of flux.

We should not allow them to dismantle JA like a kids day old Lego creation.

Melissa Westbrook said...

My feeling is either rip off the bandaid or don't do anything. Meaning, either make it a 6-8 now (and move all those K-5s somewhere because I have to wonder how many of those people will be trying to jump ship as soon as possible anyway) or leave it K-8 period. Figure out something to make the middle school part so popular that people will flock to it taking the pressure off of Eckstein.

But leaving it in nether world is cruel to all concerned.

anonymous said...

Unfortunately Melissa, I don't think they have to do anything to make fill a comprehensive MS at JA. Under the new student assignment plan families will be assigned to the school based on their address. There will be no other room at any other N/NE middle schools, so the program will be full, whether popular or not.

And I agree with Melissa, don't keep JA in limbo. Either make it a MS this year, or leave it alone.

My mother often said, let her rest in peace, you need to sh*t or get off the pot.

Josh Hayes said...

A couple of points of information: at least two kids at AS1 are wait-listed for Hamilton next year, and both live near the Pinehurst building (which lies on the border between N and NE clusters currently). So at least some of the wait-listed kids are from the north end.

It also wouldn't surprise me if the district had in mind deciding to close AS1 either next year or the year after and repurposing the Pinehurst building as a traditional K-5, which would take some of the pressure off for K-5 space in the north end (capacity of Pinehurst is about 300 kids).

RB1986 said...

I agree with ripping of the band-aid now or at least by Fall 2010 because otherwise we will have to re-draw the attendance area boundaries and feeder school patterns twice. What a headache that would be.

north seattle mom said...

I also agree with Melissa. If you are going to make it a middle school in two years, make it a middle school now. So for the first year it will be a tremendous waste of space but there are over 400 families that go to Shoreline right now. If it were a real comprehensive middle school, I imagine may of them would give up their carpools and come back.

seattle citizen said...

Josh, eliminating AS1 would seem counterproductive. Could it even be a consideration? The district is reconfiguring various delivery systems for a diverse range of educational experiences, such as (but not limited to)"at level" (either grade or skill), APP, Safety Net, AP, ELL, CTE, IB, SpEd, ALO, alignment...Wouldn't the District recognize the value of Alternative Schools in supplying innovative educational experiences to students who choose them and serving as nurseries for new ideas that are born in them regularly? Isn't it obvious that many of the ideas in current practice are nurtured in alternative schools and emerge into common practice as damn good pedagogy?

WV shouts its (hers? his?) huzzah:
"Fousa"!

seattle citizen said...

(WV must be a guy because of the quality of its creativity, the beauty of its phonemes, the melodiousness of its articulations, the poetry expressed in mere syllables...

Must be a guy.)

TechyMom said...

Would turning pinehurst into a traditional K-5 even open that many seats? Aren't most of the kids at AS1 from the north end anyway, so they'd just end up either staying in the building or being reassigned to more crowded one?

For the record, I don't think AS1 should be replaced with a traditional K5, even if it did open a lot of seats. But I also question whether it would do that.

north seattle mom said...

Now the AS1 is a N and NE school, changing it to a traditional school won't help because you will just be re-housing the same kids. NW is getting to be almost as crowded as NE and N won't be very far behind. Even the very few remaining schools that filled last like Northgate are very full this year.

Sahila said...

AS#1 has not attracted the required number of new students for this coming year - supposedly the benchmark to be attained was 238 (if I remember our principal's comment correctly)... we have 210 children enrolled for this next year, up from this year's 191... not bad considering we must have lost at least 60 families with the loss of our all city draw and transportation and fear about the future of the school...

As a community, we worked hard on enrolment/marketing activities - a new website, creating and printing flyers and brochures, posting those flyers on notice boards all over the north end, sending out the brochures to all central and north end preschools, daycares and elementaries, tours every Thursday morning from February until the close of enrolment, attendance at Summit's school fair, a letter of welcome and encouragement to Summit families to consider AS#1 for their children and an Open House evening....

I dont know what more we could have done, given the circumstances and the lack of district support...

However, on the spectrum of school philosophies, AS#1 and Nova are at the extreme alternative end, Summit was a little more towards the middle, while Thornton Creek and Salmon Bay lie more towards the other 'mainstream' end...

If you've been watching, you'll have noticed that NOVA is being moved to less than ideal co-housing quarters and is being offered no support at all to make the move a successful one - in fact, numerous obstacles have been put in the community's way... Nova parents can speak to this in more detail...

Its interesting to me that the District was wanting to make Thornton Creek a K-8 (replacing Summit and AS#1 initially) alternative in the Jane Addams building... which in one fell swoop would have removed two of the more 'wayward' (and expensive, smaller) alternative schools from the picture...

It seems to me that the District does not really have any interest in alternative education - it's interested in a large 'alternative' model that pretty much matches mainstream goals and aspirations and measurable (test score) success....

So it wont surprise me if at the end of next year AS#1 is 're-purposed' as a traditional, neighbourhood K-5, feeding into the Jane Addams middle school being 'rumoured' to be opened as part of the long-term plan...

It probably would be cheaper to upgrade a still open school (which has been allowed to fall into disrepair because ???????) than do the work required to open and bring up to standard either Sandpoint Way and/or Viewlands...

WV - nowma... as in can I have it now, ma, please, please, please... well, SPS - I'd be happy to oblige, if I knew what you wanted, but you seem not to know yourself!

ParentofThree said...

Well, nothing about Capacity Management on the agenda unless it pops up under the super's update.

SolvayGirl said...

Sahila—I agree that your summation is correct. It was similar speculation that kept me from enrolling my daughter in The Center School for high school. Because of the late enrollment/assignment this year I had to commit to an independent school before I even had to formalize my choice for public.

If we had lived in the Northend, I am pretty sure AS#1 would have been our choice of school from elementary—or, perhaps Summit. We did have a decent–problematic experience at our neighborhood public (reminder...9 principals in 6 years!).

Point being, I couldn't take the chance on TCS, and I am sure there are many parents who don't feel they can take the chance on AS#1—or any of the other schools in the District's sights.

It's a crime that makes the on-again/off-again closure lists become self-fulfilling prophecies. I am certain that that factor accounted for Summit's demise.

Back to topic...no matter what the District ends up doing now, Jane Adams as a k-8 is dead in the water. Parents in-the-know will shun the school, and others will learn a sour lesson about the District early in their child's educational career.

Sorry for sounding so bitter, but I am furious that this educated, book-loving city treats its children—and future— so callously.

Rose M said...

In the assignment plan draft it says



"Based on continued enrollment growth in the Northeast area, the School Board may reconsider its November 2008 determination that the Jane Addams building should house a K-8 rather than comprehensive 6-8 middle school, and if additional elementary capacity must be created to accommodate the present and anticipated K-5 population. This issue would be addressed by separate School Board Action, considering capacity management and capital levy planning activities." page 12 footnote

anonymous said...

Sahila, AS1 should be commended for recruiting 79 families this year (60 students to fill the seats vacated seats this year, plus 19 extra students) that's no small task! Your community should be proud. It must not have been easy to recruit families in the face of uncertainly and possible closure.

Congratulations! Well done.

Josh, there is no way the dsitrict would or could close AS1 at this point. As north end mom pointed out AS's draw now N/NE so all of the students would have to be re-assign in the N/NE, so it wouldn't solve any capacity problems.

The only way I could see them closing AS1 is if your enrollment dropped significantly, but it didn't. It grew! So, I think you are probably safe.

Stu said...

Adhoc said: "Josh, there is no way the dsitrict would or could close AS1 at this point. As north end mom pointed out AS's draw now N/NE so all of the students would have to be re-assign in the N/NE, so it wouldn't solve any capacity problems.

The only way I could see them closing AS1 is if your enrollment dropped significantly, but it didn't. It grew! So, I think you are probably safe."

I don't know about that. Logic left this district a long time ago and I truly believe that MGJ does not believe in alternative education and will do anything she can to make every school similar. They could very easily say that, because there's a demand for N/NE seats, that AS1 will be discontinued as an alternative school and the building repurposed as a regular program. They'll throw the community a bone and offer the program in a less-desirable spot, perhaps at a warehouse by Boeing Field, and then celebrate when no one wants to commute.

stu

h2o girl said...

I fear Stu is correct here. It wouldn't surprise me a bit if the Pinehurst bldg is repurposed for traditional elementary capacity in a year or two.

John said...

So far I've heard from 3 board members, and the official line is there will be no changes at Jane Addams, but I think they just mean "this year". The possibility is still raised in the draft assignment plan, (see the footnote on page 12 here:
http://www.seattleschools.org/area/board/08-09agendas/060309agenda/sappartone.pdf ) which is on Wednesday's agenda. And one member was honest enough to say it was still under consideration. As far as I can tell, JA K8 was just a temporary place to stick some kids while they figure out what to do after dropping the ball so badly on the whole North End capacity problem. Which still doesn't make all that much sense, but it's the best I can come up with.

And there's a meeting Tuesday for JA parents with the superintendent. What can they possibly say at this point? A straight answer?

This really frustrating, and I imagine it will continue to be so.

anonymous said...

New Flash:

The district is having a meeting regarding the Jane Addams situation this Tuesday June 2, 6PM, at Eckstein.

Dr. Goodloe Johnson and the Jane Addams principal, Debbie Nelson, will be there.

Josh Hayes said...

adhoc, and others, I don't disagree that it makes no sense to close AS1 and put the building to a more traditional use. But since when did making sense become a criterion for the current district managers?

Given the completely-in-flux nature of the school for the coming year (new principal, several new teachers, and so on), I'm pretty astounded that we managed to grow by about 20 kids or so. It'll be interesting to see how the school changes - and how it doesn't - over the next year or so.

I should point out, however, that with 210 kids we still have "room" for about 90 more, and despite losing out-of-cluster transportation, we still have a fair number of kids from other clusters enrolled -- partly because there's terrific Metro service from a variety of locations: both the 41 from downtown and the 73 express via the U District pass within a couple of blocks. The District might view a school with about 100 slots for N/NE kids as low-hanging fruit, but I've long since given up trying to figure out what the frack the district is thinking, since logic and reason so seldom seem to play a role in decision-making.

anonymous said...

Josh, AS1 and JA will likely be the ONLY schools in the North or Northeast cluster that have middle school space available on June 15, when open reassignment begins.

Families unhappy with their MS assignments may choose to move to AS1 or JA.

And though the district can't assign kids to AS1 or JA for MS, when new families move into the area they will likely be offered space at Aki Kurosi, Denny, Mercer, AS1 or JA. If they live up north surely, they will choose AS1 or JA.

These may not be the alternative type families that you are hoping to attract to AS1 (and that is a whole issue unto itself), but my guess is you will gain some enrollment over the summer and bring your numbers up even higher.

steve in west seattle said...

I have a couple comments to throw out.

Two of the reasons Steve Sundquist gave for moving Pathfinder to the Cooper Elementary building were:

1. The district's commitment to an alternative school in every cluster.

2. The School Board felt that K-8 schools were attractive to parents.

Take it for what it's worth.

It looks to me like the administration wants JA as a middle school, and the board wants a K-8, irregardless of the enrollment needs.

I think AS-1 is doomed. They tried to close it this year, and they will try again. Remember, The board told Cooper they wouldn't be considered for closure if they increased enrollment and made academic progress. They achieved those goals and the board closed the school anyway because they perceived the building was a good fit for Pathfinder K-8. Same thing with Summit K-12, they wanted to use the building for a more mainstream K-8.

anonymous said...

Why do schools have to live with the constant threat of closure? There has been a proposal to close AS1 3 different times in the past 5 years.

Does the district realize how destructive these threats are? Once a school is threatened with closure families begin to leave (AS1 lost 60 kids last year), and it is very difficult to recruit new families. Who wants to join a school, especially a k-8, that might close next year??

The district needs to either close AS1, or leave it alone, and let it begin to rebuild itself. It's not fair to keep schools in perpetual limbo.

Personally, I would be appalled if the district decides to close AS1 now. In the face of all of this turmoil AS1 INCREASED their enrollment! No small task.

Josh or Sahila have you found an alternate method of assessment to show the district that your kids are meeting standards? Or are the taking the WASL this year? Don't give the district any excuses to close you.