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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Seattle Times story on District dithering over Jane Addams

Middle%20school%20space%20to%20be%20needed%20in%20Seattle

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18 comments:

Charlie Mas said...

The District hasn't decided, but they really resent people talking about it and discussing it before they decide because they want to own and control the discussion as well as the decision.

This is so completely backwards.

People will have their say. If they have their say BEFORE the decision it is input, it is positive, and it supports the decision. If they have their say AFTER the decision it is complaints, it is negative, and it detracts from the decision. The District gets to decide which they get input or complaints.

So why do they choose to get complaints? Do they resent input that much? Do they hate sharing the discussion and the decision that much?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Again, you say something enough times, then the hope is that people will believe it.

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.

ParentofThree said...

Why Eckstein one must wonder?

north seattle mom said...

Anyone that is concerned about north end capacity should go to this meeting. I may be the only chance to make an impression.

Charlie Mas said...

Honestly, they could just come out and say K-8 and it would be okay. Or they could just come out and say 6-8 and it would be okay. Or they could come out and say "Let's talk about it", which would be wonderful. But for them to refuse to discuss it while they dither indefinitely is unacceptable. And for them to sniff dismissively at those who are discussing it publicly is just vile.

John said...

North Seattle Mom said: "Anyone that is concerned about north end capacity should go to this meeting. It may be the only chance to make an impression."

I had the impression this meeting was for JA staff and parents. We really need to find out what the hell is going on with our kid's assigned school, and I'd hate to see the meeting derailed. It may be our only chance to get information before open reassignment starts. (Not that I'm confident of that either.)
Thanks.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, that's what I understood - that this was an invitation for incoming JA families. I didn't receive this invitation and although I can believe it is a public meeting, I'm not attending. I do know people who were invited and will let me know how it goes. I wouldn't want to see it derailed either.

kellie said...

@John,

Really? That is not how I read the letter at all. The letter references an open house to meet the staff on the 17th which seemed to be for JA families.

Last I checked MGJ does not go to meet and greets for local schools. I can hardly imagine anything that impacts the entire area more than this meeting. If you live in the north part of the cluster, this means whether you have a middle school option or you continue to join the 400 + families now commuting to shoreline schools. If you live in the south part of the cluster this mean whether you get to go to Eckstein for much longer or get sent to (soon to be also over crowded) Hamilton.

Also there are a ton of families that are just waiting for some good news about the school to enroll. There were almost 1,000 families that visited the two open house. I think this meeting is relevant to everyone that have an interest in the success of public schools.

Maybe I have too much faith in my fellow parents. Every public meeting I have attended has always been full of thoughtful people coming with both support and concerns. Maybe I am just too naive and have never been to a "hijacked meeting" but I have been at a ton of district meetings over the last decade.

I guess maybe I am just too frustrated for so many of my neighbors. If you live in Lake City, you just can't seem to win at the middle school level. You can't get into Eckstein so you either need to bus past Eckstein to Hamilton and add two hours to your kids' day or you need to turn your life into a pretzel to get the kid to shoreline.

John said...

We received a phone message and then a letter. The letter begins, "Dear Jane Addams K-8 families and staff" and goes on to mention the discussion about the future of Jane Addams. Then the usual paragraph about the complex process of the student assignment plan, demographic trends, etc, etc. along with the usual mention that the district "has not made any decisions" about the K-8 designation of Jane Addams. It's signed "Deborah Nelsen, Principal, Jane Addams K-8"
Hey, if people want to show up and help us get an answer about the future of Jane Addams K-8, I'd appreciate the help. This meeting just doesn't seem to be the venue for a discussion of the North End assignment issues in general.

Sahila said...

as I commented elsewhere....

...and then we have the Board meeting and a rally on June 3rd....

dont you just love the timing of all this hullaballoo and confusion - on the downswing to the summer holidays, when people are so busy with end of school year events, booking camps and care for their kids etc... just like the capacity management/closure stuff and the looming Christmas/New Year break getting in the way of full community engagement, and then the bell time and tranportation changes coming out of nowhere it seemed...

Think MGJ is in damage-control mode....

Why the invitation only to new Jane Addams families and staff when this uncertainty affects the entire north end of the city???

loved the final touch of having the meeting at Eckstein instead of Jane Addams - what are they scared of - a bunch of distraught Summit families turning up, the new families having to see an established school community in the throes of being kicked out????

anonymous said...

Honestly, I agree with John. Only JA families received the invitation to the meeting. The purpose of the meeting is to specifically address the JA situation, and answer JA families questions. It is a public meeting so anyone interested in JA can and should come, whether or not you have a student enrolled there. But, please, let us focus on JA in this meeting, and not the NE capacity mess.

We NEED to have a NE capacity meeting with the Super, and Dr. Libros too. And we should demand that meeting. Maybe we can coordinate a mass letter writing effort requesting this.

But this meeting isn't it. This meeting has been called to specifically address the mess that the district has created with JA, the future plans for the school, and enrolled families options.

anonymous said...

Now my thoughts about what the meeting will be like....

I doubt we will hear anything but double speak. It will be a big cover up. They really do think we are dumb.

We'll hear stuff like...

"We are committed to JA being a k-8 NEXT year"

"We have not decided to split the school"

They will leave out the fact that the new SAP draft, released on Friday, specifically mentions that the board may rethink their decision to make the school a K-8, and change it to a 6-8.

They will not address whether or not if the school is split the k-5 or the 6-8 will remain an environmental science and math school (what we signed up for, remember).

They will make lots of noncommittal comments, and give vague, deceptive, answers.

The best we can hope for at this point, and we truly should demand it, is that the Super offers families an option out of the school. Families that don't want to be part of a temporary school, unstable school, should be given an option out. We should demand it.

Nobody wants to waste their time at a meeting listening to vague, unclear, double speak.

I truly hope the Super fesses (sp) up, is clear, forthcoming, and truthful.

We aren't dumb. They owe us some honest answers at this point.

kellie said...

The problem we have had in the NE is a direct result of the district handling schools one at time. Classrooms have been added to schools for 5 years now and all of this happened very quietly because it happened to "somebody else's school." Class size also increased during this time and it was quiet because the increase happened again at 'somebody else's school."

While I do not have a student at Jane Addams, I am firmly of the belief that what happens at Jane Addams will impact the entire cluster and I plan to attend the meeting.

I believe that the worst thing that could happen here both for the cluster and the JA families is if only Jane Addams families go to this meeting. It is very easy for the district to dismiss the needs of a few families. It is very hard for them to do so if all of their neighbors show up and support them and demand that this problem get solved.

I do not think this is an either or situation. It is not either the JA families get their needs addressed or this is a capacity meeting. This is a capacity meeting that put the JA families directly in the cross hairs of the very simple fact that there are not enough seats.

It is absolutely terrible that these 300 families have gotten caught in the districts game of musical chairs. However, there is a very simple fact here. If Jane Addams is a K8, there is will not enough middle school seats. If Jane Addams is a middle school, then there will not be enough elementary seats.

anonymous said...

I hope that the district will use some type of interactive format for the meeting, and that there will be plenty of time set aside for questions and answers in a large group setting.

I hope it's not a break out into small table group format. No offense, but I don't want to discuss the situation with other neighborhood families who know as little as I know. I want to hear what MGJ has to say, and I want to hear how she addresses the questions that arise.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Ad hoc (and others), if this meeting is interactive (and I doubt it but good luck) and they attempt to divide you into small groups - REFUSE. Stand your ground and say "No, we want a whole group discussion with questions the whole group can hear and answers from staff." If not, walk out.

Phinney Ridge Mom said...

Sahila said:

loved the final touch of having the meeting at Eckstein instead of Jane Addams - what are they scared of - a bunch of distraught Summit families turning up, the new families having to see an established school community in the throes of being kicked out????


I wish the meeting was being held at JA, HOWEVER... the Summit students (who are still currently there) are having their full technical rehersals for their last musical and it would be greatly disruptive so having the meeting elsewhere was actually considerate (for once).

The musical is Oliver - June 5th & 6th @ 7:30 and Matinee June 7th @ 2:30 - please come!

seattle citizen said...

Whatever happens, I hope that the school or schools continue the environmental science theme (imagine interdisciplinary, themed quarters spent partly out in the watershed of Thornton Creek, interacting with the various aspects of thsat area: social, economic, transportation, ecology...With the help of the long-established Homewaters organization and all its history and resources.
One can dream...

WV is dreaming of a small, German-Italian malted beverage....
a biereti!