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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

SAP - Immersion/Montessori

Open Thread.

23 comments:

Isabel D'Ambrosia said...

My big question is about immersion in high school. Roosevelt has been very unwilling to provide appropriate high school world language classes for JSIS/Hamilton immersion students. Ingraham on the other hand has been very willing to provide classes that are a good fit for the program. And they have the IB, which is another good fit.

My kids are at JSIS and Hamilton in Spanish immersion and the address-locater says they will go to Roosevelt (as most JSIS/Hamilton kids probably are). But will immersion students have an opportunity to go to Ingraham, or is the entire program doomed to Roosevelt?

GreyWatch said...

Another reason that immersion schools should be option schools that feed into other option schools/programs.

southend girl said...

Great that Old Hay will become a Montessori "Option" school, but shouldn't Montessori be treated the same across the district? Daniel Bagley and Graham Hill have sought after Montessori programs with waitlists yet remain attendance area schools. Why not expand the programs when there is an obvious demand. It s

Also, I'm cautiously optimistic about Mercer Middle becoming an "International" school, but what does that mean exactly? Will it be in international school, or an international program at a school? Obviously, only the kids coming from Beacon Hill International will have years of immersion experience, how will the kids from the remaining feeder elementary schools be included?

cas said...

My cousins go to Bagley-Montessori but moved to Loyal Heights neighborhood last year. Does that mean they can't stay at Bagley next year?

Anonymous said...

Cas, my understanding is that the new plan will apply to kids at the "entry grades" of K, 6th and 9th. In that way, families will be disrupted or split up for several years as the plan builds steam, but kids will not be required to move from their current school.

Some families will move older children to the new assigned school of the younger sib, others will live with having kids at several schools. A few will get younger sibs in with the older through "option seats" via lottery. If your cousins have all their children at Bagley now, the way I read things they can stay there. But they won't be able to move on to the middle school that Bagley feeds; they will need to go to the middle school fed by their assignment elementary. (Of course, in your cousins' case it looks like Bagley and Loyal Heights both feed to Whitman, so the point is moot.)

Hope someone can correct this if I got it wrong, but I think this is the plan as it stands now.

southend girl said...

Why is the district creating International middle schools but not Montessori middle schools? So inconsistent.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Gee Isabel, "doomed" to Roosevelt? I'm not sure Ingraham would be full so you can certainly apply and also apply for the Open Choice seats. Roosevelt, according to our principal at a PTSA meeting last spring, said they had tried somewhat but they couldn't create a whole new language program for Hamilton students. That's on the district to do and maybe they should since these maps indicate that Hamilton will go to Roosevelt (mostly).

Hamilton needs to advocate for a designated immersion high school and if Ingraham wants it, then tell the district. Don't blame Roosevelt.

They said at the meeting last night that kids from other schools (than Beacon Hill) could participate in the foreign language immersion at Mercer but no details.

Cas, they can stay where they are. Tracy said and the presentation reflects that as long as you stay IN the district, you can stay where you originally enrolled. Sibs, there's another story. However, if you leave a school and go to another school, then try to get back in the original school, you can't get back in (unless there's room).

Lisa, I think they would feed into whatever middle school their address is attached to, not where they went to elementary. Good question to ask Tracy just in case.

sixwrens said...

MS tie breakers are:
1) sibling
2) attendance at an elementary feeder school
3) lottery

Isabel D'Ambrosia said...

Melissa,

Sorry about the "doomed to Roosevelt" comment. I really am overjoyed -- Roosevelt is, after all, the gold standard of high schools in Seattle, and we're very lucky to live where we do.

About international middle schools ---

Hamilton is the first "international middle school". All that means is that Spanish and Japanese language classes are offered in all grades. And now we have a full band/orchestra program at Hamilton, which competes with language (if you want to do both music and world language you have to get a P.E. waiver).

What each international middle schools needs is an international program director (at least 1/2 time) on staff to develop ways to infuse an international focus into all curriculum areas. But the district can't pay for that.

Beyond providing world language classes, there is no "international" program at the "international" middle schools. That is -- unless parents/PTA can somehow provide it. And I don't see that happening at Denny or Mercer. Maybe someday at Hamilton, but that's a nice bit of inequity.

My point is that the district should decide what constitutes an international middle school and then make sure those things are funded at all international middle schools. Don't wait for parents to make it up at each individual school.

Same thing with high school -- so far it's been left to parents to take the lead and "advocate" for an international high school, without any guidance from the district. It's just a little weird.

emily said...

I am at a loss to understand why language immersion and Montessori are not treated as "options" when TOPS, Orca and the like are. These programs are clearly distinct from traditional curricular offerings, and "opting in" to them is a clear statement about educational preferences parents hold for their children (or about their learning styles). Such programs should, of course (especially language immersion) be available to all SPS students and not just the lucky few.

I am in the fortunate position of having a kindergartner who has just started in a SPS Montessori program (we missed out on immersion) - however, based on the new SAP, it seems that her 2 year old sister will not be afforded the same opportunity. Is there any thought for providing some form of sibling preference for Montessori programs and the like?

Rebecca said...

Kelly Aramaki said last night at the JSIS PTSA meeting that the district is committed to idea of language immersion, but is so overwhelmed with other issues that they don't have the staff/energy/funds, etc to devote to developing an international high school.

We are new to SPS with a K student, so I don't know what the early discussions were about language immersion tracking in the district, but I wish that from the beginning an international high school had been part of the deal.

From my count, Portland has nine elementary schools, three middle schools, and six high schools with language immersion! Incredible! They also have a range of other option/magnet schools:

http://www.pps.k12.or.us/schools-c/docs/e_rsc_focus_options_0910.pdf

robin said...

Emily, I have the same question. I was given very unsatisfying answers last year. I looked on the website and they even define an option school as having a variety of programmatic opportunities. Maybe because there is not enough "programmatic opportunities" in the one Montessori program. We are now in a different reference area assigned to Stevens not Leschi, so they might end up at different schools depending on what the district decides. I wonder what we can do to get this fixed. The other programs are test in programs, Spectrum and APP, there is no test in for Montesorri which I think means we should be classified as an option not a program.

SolvayGirl said...

My child went through the Montessori program at Graham Hill (also our 1+ block away neighborhood school). It was a perfect fit for her, and we were happy with the outcome. With that said, it is not the perfect program for all students and should not be dependent on a small neighborhood draw to survive.

A little history...
The Montessori Program at Graham was developed as a response to low enrollment at the school, which sits smack dab in the middle of an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood that, understandably, sends its children to religious school. A group of parents from the surrounding neighborhoods lobbied for Montessori and made it happen approx 15 years ago.

Consequently, the Montessori program draws from a much wider circle than the one now indicated by the District. I suspect the school may have problems filling the program if it can't draw from further away (though I guess then there'd be space and people could get in easily?).

Upshot: I agree, Montessori schools should be Option Schools (or as in the case of GH, an optional program with a broader reach than the traditional program in the school).

One thing to consider: There are very few schools that train and certify Montessori Teachers at the upper grade levels. Staffing Montessori elementary schools can be a challenge; I assume it's even more difficult at the MS level. And, for those in the know, Maria Montessori was not a huge proponent of academics at the MS level. She believed the kids were so busy dealing with physical development and hormonal changes that they should spend those years working on a farm.

southend girl said...

Agreed that language immersion and Montessori are "alternative" and should be treated as "option" schools. If Old Hay Montessori is an "option" school, all Montessori should be treated the same. We need to further these conversations at the District.

Isabel, you're right that the District needs to clarify what an International School is and provide resources and equity. Great that there will be foreign language classes, but will there be different levels of instruction based on a student's experience? Five years of language immersion would seem to give students from international elementary schools a distinct advantage. Remember, there is only one of five or so feeder elementaries offering immersion.

Isabel D'Ambrosia said...

Southend Girl,

Hamilton offers world language classes to all their students. Students who already have high proficiency (JSIS students and heritage speakers) are in advanced classes, but most classes are beginning/intermediate to serve the majority of Hamilton's students who did not take a language in elementary school.

I agree that JSIS and all language immersion elementaries should be option schools with a clear path through high school.

Unknown said...

Hm. So, maybe what should be happening (at least for language immersion) is that Cleveland should become a dedicated International high school, where all incoming students would arrive with the years of language instruction that language immersion implies. STEM could be turned into a "program," not an entire school, and moved to RBHS. This cuts into the RBHS program somewhat, as not all those seats would then be regular, comprehensive HS seats -- but if you also added to RBHS a decent music/arts program AND "shored up" some of the other inequities that have been mentioned by southend parents (no girls swim team, etc.), maybe we really COULD get the final "push" that is needed to flip RBHS into being strong choice for south end parents. And just imagine what Cleveland could become, with a full cohort of language proficient kids from the lower level international schools, and a good international program/curriculum to support them!

Charlie Mas said...

I have used the feedback/questions function on the district web site to ask that language immersion and Montessori programs be treated as option programs.

I suggest others do the same.

Jessica said...

I know it is probably not on a lot of people's mind right now... but I am curious what they will name the Old Hay school. They wouldn't still call it Old Hay would they?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Jessica, it is in the presentation to rename Old Hay as the Sharples Building which was what South Shore (i.e. New School) used be called.

Jessica said...

Melissa -- Ah, thanks. But isn't it Aki Kurose that used to be Sharples? At least that was the name when I attended during the Franklin remodel. Ironically, I also attended Old Hay when it was simply Hay.

southend girl said...

It is absolutely ridiculous that Montessori (and I think language immersion) is not being treated equally across the city as an "option". It is more alternative in terms of pedagogy than most alternative schools. There is always a long wait list at GH and Bagley for Montessori(don't know about Leschi?). Clearly there is greater demand than is currently being met. Why not expand the programs and make them options?

I think the comment that the superintendent made at the Eckstein mtg. that Beacon Hill became an international school to serve the community rather than to provide more access to immersion programs hilarious. Is that why JSIS was started out north?

Why don't we have Tagalog, Amharic, Oromo, Somali & Vietnamese language immersion programs in the south end then?

I'd be very curious to see statistics about "heritage" speaker participation at Beacon Hill. All of the folks I know who have kids there or are clamoring to get in are native English speakers.

Charlie Mas said...

The New Student Assignment Plan includes a number of Program Placement notes, particularly regarding Advanced Learning programs. A number of the placements are questionable. It is unclear if these are proposals or decisions.

If they are decisions, how were these decisions made? Did they follow the usual Program Placement process? Where is the data and the rationale to support these decisions? How was public input gathered for these decisions? How were stakeholders engaged?

If these are not yet decisions but only proposals so far, the same questions apply. Will they follow the usual Program Placement process before being finalized? Where is the data and rationale to support these proposals? How will public input be gathered for these decisions? How will stakeholders be engaged? In addition, how will any changes in these proposals alter the boundaries? Will there really be any possibility that these proposals will not become final decisions? At Seattle Public Schools, proposals have a way of becoming decisions largely through inertia and without any authentic opportunity to divert them from that path.

So I want to know, how was the program placement decision made to put a Montessori program at Old Hay (soon to be Sharples)? Is this a decision or a proposal? What process was done and what process is coming?

What other program placement decisions could be made at the same time? Is the process open to others? Could I get a proposal fast-tracked the same way? For example, could I get a proposal for a language immersion program at Columbia fast-tracked the same way that the District has fast-tracked the Montessori program at Sharples? If not, why not? Wouldn't it take up the same capacity as Rainier View? Couldn't the District re-open Columbia instead of re-opening Rainier View? Wouldn't that make more sense since we already have a tenant for Rainier View and we aren't getting any revenue from Columbia?

southend girl said...

Great questions Charlie. I think Rainier View is in pretty bad shape and is too far south for most. I think re-opening Columbia would have a lot of community support. Neighborhood folks are generally not excited about being assigned to Hawthorne. I would love to see language immersion there but it is pretty close to Beacon Hill.

Then again, evidently the Superintendent claims Beacon Hill became an immersion school to serve neighborhood needs rather than to provide equitable access to immersion programs.