Open Thread

Discuss anything.

Starting topic: anybody attend the Board meeting and/or any Board member community meetings today?


seattle said…
Open enrollment is over. Do we have any idea how the numbers shook out yet?

I know assignment letters haven't gone out yet but has enrollment posted any numbers that show how overcrowded or under enrolled any schools are? How the 10% choice seats at high school - how did that turn out? Waitlists?
SE Mom said…
I was told by enrollment when I turned in our forms for choice seats that we would not know the outcome until the end of May. That is about 5 to 6 weeks away. I would be shocked if they were able to get that data together only two weeks after the forms were due.
Josh Hayes said…
It's all rather confusing - schools were told weeks ago what their enrollment was going to be next year. How is this possible? Does anyone know what the algorithms are that are used to arrive at the expected enrollment long before it closes (this is perhaps more sensible in "neighborhood" schools, given the new assignment plan, but how the heck can they know what enrollment will be at "option" schools weeks before enrollment closes?)?
Stu said…
I have an enrollment question . . . I know I can find it on the school district web site, somewhere, but trust information here a whole lot more.

I know someone who's thinking of moving to Seattle next month and has a boy going into Kindergarten; do they still get their automatic assignment school or do they have to take what's open? For example, if they move to the Bryant assignment neighborhood, or View Ridge -- we're in the NE so that's why I'm using those schools -- does their son automatically get in or will he be sent to another school that might have space?

Meg said…
Trifecta! I went to the budget workshop, + community meetings for Carr & DeBell.

Budget workshop highlight: DeBELL, (I paraphrase, ma certo): "Okay, beeeeeyotches, how about we sack up & restore ALL WSS funds to schools? If the legislature restores funding, great, and if they don't, we’ll see what we gotta cut from somewhere else [e.g., meticulously obfuscated strategic projects]. Let's protect general ed, which is the bulk of our students."

SMITH-BLUM: "Hot damn! With ya! Yay for genuine accountability!"

PATU, [shrugging]: “Yeah, that seems like it’d be the right thing to do. Okay.”

CARR... wavered. "if the legislature restores $5-6 million, I'm would be okay with it. But less than that I'm nervous." [It is, I admit, a lot of change to shake out of the couch cushions, but still. You’re an awfully smart lady. It’s time to draw a line, though, and it’s not unlady-like to do so.]

SUNDQUIST pushed his glasses farther down his nose, a sure sign that he was going to say something ONLY the Superintendent would be happy with. “I don’t want to seem like I hate children, puppies, mom and apple pie, but, well, in actuality… no way. I don’t have the stones for that.”

MAIER got very anxious, and brayed “What if the sky falls?” and said nuh-uh, no way.

MARTIN-MORRIS wasn’t there. So we can only imagine. (And HOPE.)

Why is this relevant? Staff won't do anything but lead the board around by the nose on budget issues unless they feel that they could lose, 4-3, or even 5-2. If either (or both!) Carr or Martin-Morris says “You know what? No. We’re keeping money in the schools, and you decently paid folks downtown will have to suck on a lousy budget for a couple of years until there’s a little more money, because we’re NOT telling the district kids to suck it,” well, there could be a real incentive for staff to trim down strategic projects like Performance Management (now called “school improvement”) and take care of schools, and THEN see what’s left for pet… er, strategic projects.

So. I went to Carr & DeBell’s meetings this morning to advocate for Thurgood Marshall elementary. For those of you NOT up on the myriad ways that the general ed kids at Thurgood Marshall elementary are getting hosed, I’ll summarize.

– During the closure debacle last winter, APP was split in two.
– Half of elementary APP was moved to Thurgood Marshall, to join general ed & the PEACE Academy (a self-contained autism program). Effectively, it means there are three separate schools in one building, although the PTA and faculty works hard to make a unified community.
– The FRL % at Thurgood Marshall in 2008-09 was above 80% (one of the highest figures in the district).
– General ed (now officially an ALO program) FRL % remains above 80%. (No one got any more prosperous as a result of HQ's benevolent wisdom in dictating the move.)
– But... overall BUILDING FRL % has dropped to about 40% due to the influx of APP students.
- This means: general ed kids will lose Title I funding, about $200k a year. That money pays for literacy & math support (NOT services that APP benefits from or needs).
- Thurgood Marshall is the ONLY school that had Title I finding in 2009-10 but won't have it in 2010-11.
- However, 3 new schools will get Title I funding, including: South Shore K-8, which has 52% FRL, and also already receives over $1.2 million annually from the New School Foundation. Do I begrudge those kids additional aid? No. But I don't grasp why they get it and why kids who would be the 3rd or 4th poorest school in the district DON'T get aid. Especially when the "threshold" for receiving Title I aid is 55% FRL, i.e. only selected schools below the threshold are having Title I funds directed to them.

Anyone believe in unicorns, rainbows, and happy endings? The Thurgood Marshall PTA is taking donations. We are HAPPY to accept any level.
Stu said…

In your TM summary, you COMPLETELY forgot to mention that, somehow or other, APP's going to be blamed for the shortfall!

I mean, isn't this what happens when a bunch of elitist, white, affluent, families think they're too big for one crappy building and start making demands?

gavroche said…
What Meg forgot to mention that stands out to me is that Supt. Goodloe-Johnson's daughter goes to South Shore.

You know -- the one public school in the district that already gets $1.2 million a year in private foundation money AND Title 1 funding too, as of this fall.

Meanwhile the Thurgood Gen Ed kids are SOL.

'Let them eat bake sales,' I guess, hey Maria?
dan dempsey said…
I went to DeBell's meeting for about 20 min and headed off to Central Area for the Meeting that Smith-Blum was to speak at.

Michael said the Strategic Plan is a strong recommendation about what might be done but it IS NOT a mandate.

I reported to Michael that OSPI is playing big time deceptive games at the moment in regard to "Discovering" Math.
{I need to write him a letter going into greater detail on this}.

Key Press (KCP) sued OSPI in June 2009 for dropping "Discovering" from recommended list... Feb 5, 2010 Judge McPhee in Olympia said Dorn was perfectly within his statutory right to Drop "Discovering"

During that time OSPI did not clarify anything about KCP's Discovering Series (the claim was the AG said don't Talk about "Discovering" as this is undergoing a legal situation). In fact Nov. 2009 Alan Burke assistant Superintendent sent out a memo that was confusing rather than clarifying that left Issaquah so confused 4 directors voted for approving the "Discovering Adoption" (4-1) recently. At least one Director said OSPI let us down with a lack of clear statement on Discovering.
I headed off to OSPI and got the “we are worried about appeal story” from Chief of staff Ken Kanikiberg in a face to face conversation outside the OSPI building.
To which in my shy way damn near shouted "You won the case on Feb 5 the last day to appeal was March 7 Did KCP appeal? Of course he did not know ..... but he will get back to me on that I said in the interests of clear communication he could get back to me through Dr. Cliff Mass. (This prevents to some extent the speaking out of different sides of mouth to different audiences.)

I then began calling and emailing a few folks at OSPI which included Alan Burke and Greta Bornemann (Director of Math Learning and Public Obscuritization).

Two questions Did "Key Curriculum Press appeal the McPhee decision on Feb 5"?? and "why is OSPI not clarifying the truth about "Discovering"??? ".

No responses by phone or email from anyone. {Discovering Series Ducking}.

Friday I bump into Randy Dorn as I am exiting OSPI building.

In the usual Politician way he inquires “How are you doing?”

Not well thank you, because your administration is doing a whole lotta "Discovering" Ducking .... through refusal to communicate.

I then went on my way.

Randy will get a register letter from me next week as:

State AG Office reported to me later {Assistant AG Colleen Warren of AG education division }
#1 KCP did not appeal
#2 OSPI is not advised to keep quiet by AG's office about KCP or Discovering.

Cliff Mass then reported to me that his communications with OSPI are:
We have done as much about KCP "Discovering" clarification as we are going to do as we are worried about an appeal.
So surprise Surprise .. again we have public officials not doing their job.
Job is to inform public of the full facts…. But unelected Bureaucrats make decision NOT to do so.
{Immediately my mind leaps to “Writ of Mandamus” at Supreme Court for Officials that are incapable of doing job as required .. ummm….. too fast on trigger as NUKE weapon not required to remove small obstructions, D-8 Caterpiller tractor would be more than sufficient}

dan dempsey said…
Connect the Dots ....
There is only one appeal at this time
The SPS appeal of the Spector decision. Appeal paper work has been filed with just the we appeal Spector Decision ... no paper work as to why yet.

Highline, Seattle, Bellevue, Issaquah, etc. are part of the Microsoft Math/Science partnership which provided National figure Steve Leinwand to come in and inform Districts that if they were using reform math k-8 that Discovering was the series to adopt.

Likely no News to you .... dots connect to Broad, Gates, Microsoft, Boeing who run the show... {Oligarchy well installed … Republic currently on life support}

SPS has two directors Carr and Martin-Morris who are Boeing employees. The four directors elected in 2007 often vote as a four person block in support of total nonsense from MGJ. These four spent almost $500,000 to get elected in 2007

Recent NTN vote to spend $800,000 on a contract for services that have a proven record of producing substandard schools. 4-3

These same four Support MGJ's Spector appeal. Spector's "Order of Remand" only required the SPS board to remake decision using all the evidence.

MGJ and some board members have an ongoing pattern of excluding evidence. Reassuring to me to know this is not an accident that public information is excluded from decision-making but rather the exclusion is planned.

Check out THIS legal interrogatory.

Thursday 4-15-10 in Olympia, the Commissioner of WA Supreme Court will have a hearing (without oral argument) involving the SPS failure to keep an administrative record of decision making as required by RCW 28A.645.020

{Note legal interrogatory above confirms that district had no intention of following RCW 28A.645.020}

Thus the appealed Student Assignment plan cases (two of them) and the appealed school closure cases (two of them)......
Should be ruled on and found in favor of the appellants.

Making the Board's approval of Student Assignment Plan (which includes Cleveland as an option school) Null and Void

Making the Board's approval of school closures (which includes Cooper School) Null and Void.
The Issaquah “Discovering” confusion involves OSPI’s failure to speak on the apparent conflicting report from Mathematicians.

SBE via Plattner report used independent Mathematicians from Outside WA State:
W. Stephen Wilson former John Hopkin’s Univsity Math department chair and a real mathematician
and Guershon Harel of UCSD also a real mathematician.

OSPI under the Bergeson Administration and Greta Bornemann (Director of Math Learning and Public Obscuritization) came up with the OSPI soundness version.

Dr George Bright not a mathematician but a Math Ed guy and an OSPI employee at the time employed as Terry B’s special Math guy …. Contributed a Math Soundness report as an "independent??" Mathematician.

Dr. James King of UW Seattle a PHD math Guy with PhD in Math (1975) from Cal Berkeley.
Last publish math work in early 1980s. A frequent participant in Reform Math grants from NSF since 1992 and author of a geometry text published through Key Press.
Project Director of the three years of pathetic math results that put Cleveland on the List of 47 failing Schools.
dan dempsey said…
Issaquah adoption committee stated the importance of the books to be adopted were:
#1 Geometry
#2 Advanced Algebra
#3 Algebra

OSPI failed to point out that Discovering Geometry scored so low in Standards Alignment that Bright and King did not review it for Mathematical soundness.

In the interests of Performance Management at Rate My Professor
Dr. James King has among those 66, in the UW Math department with 5 or more ratings, a ranking of #65 out of 66 with an overall rating of 1.7 ...
read the comments.

In addition Dr. King's unmonitored three year novel math teaching experiment on Students at Cleveland produced a steady diet of failure. But proceeded for three years ... producing the worst WASL Math passing rates for Black students in Seattle.
Charlie Mas said…
Even though he was not there, I can tell you that Director Martin-Morris has said that the District should continue to advance the Strategic Plan through the budget trouble even if it means making cuts at schools. He said so on his blog in response to the suggestion that some Strategic Plan initiatives be deferred to commit more money to schools.
dan dempsey said…
Don’t miss reading UW Geometry Expert and long time Volunteer in SPS programs assisting kids in math Dr. John Lee’s report on materials Seattle was reviewing for high school adoption in April 2009.

There is no controversy “Discovering” does not work well in Situations like Seattle’s and seriously under-servers Low Income kids etc. See Bethel Data on Discovering use = Three years of sliding Disaster for every group.
dan dempsey said…
So Mr. Mas ....

It appears that Harium sees the Strategic Plan as a lot more mandate than Mr. DeBell.

That is pretty much a no brainer ...
given Harium's previous decisions and as one of the rubber-stamping cheer-leading four.

The NTN situation was really twi-light zone material ... rob from the poor to buy utter proven crap.

STEM is one thing but buying the NTN nonsense .....==> insanity reigns.
Charlie Mas said…
Where are we going to find four school board candidates in 2011 who have the sack and stones to do the job (can that be their campaign slogan?) and the credibility to raise money?
Mr. Edelman said…
Mr. Mas,

If I lose my teaching job in a RIF and can't find another, I'll have the time to attend Democratic Party meetings and get in touch with old friends. The first step: form a search committee to find someone to run against Maier.

Others might consider doing likewise in their districts.
dan dempsey said…
Research on Recall

If a recall is attempted, I want to do it right.

Need a bit more research ...

No way does waiting until November of 2011 to fix this mess make any sense at all.
Sahila said…
From a discussion I am having elsewhere:

After hearing a report on NPR last week re:
Schools try tough management tactics - Chicago Public Schools CEO Ron Huberman questions Melissa Megliola-Zaikos (who, incidentally is on the Board of Broad, but that wasnt highlighted in the programme).

(I'll either post the address of the transcript of break it down into chunks and post it here later)...

Imagine having your performance review in front of your co-workers, with the company’s CEO grilling you while you present data to defend your work. Tough management tactics like that have been part of the corporate world forever and are now spreading to big urban school systems....

Someone in our group wrote: Revelation to me -- the accountability everyone talks about is not (or not just) about whether kids are being helped; it's the accountability that private foundations are demanding of school districts to show that their dollars are being well spent.

In other words, this is not about accountability to our kids; its about accountability to the private investors. These are not at all necessarily the same thing.

And I wrote:
'accountability' being the return on the investment (ROI) for the philanthropic foundations.... which Eli Broad et al have taken to publicly calling 'venture philanthrophy' and have blatantly stated they want a return on their investment - 'we're not just handing over dollars - we expect a return'...

I guess I've been walking around assuming peoples' brains work the same as mine, but obviously not enough people have had practice in analysis, critical thinking and deconstructing language - or maybe I'm just a cynic who's had my flashes of intuition and glimpses of the connections in the system confirmed too often...

I never understood how people could fail to get the link in meaning between venture capital and venture philanthropy... they share the same operative term and the same modus operandi and expectations, just a different field of operation...

People were naive enough to think the words 'venture philanthropy' just meant a return in the sense of better educational outcomes...

They didnt - they meant swapping money for control - as do venture capitalists, and better outcomes meant more profit - as in Milken's publicly stated opinion about the purpose of education - to create the next generation of consumers and workers - which is about ultimate control and manipulation - you've got people going in (control the economy, create a service-based economy, control the numbers going in, the wages/salary they earn) and you've got them going out - espouse consumerism, tie people up with debt - student loans (every body has to go to college now but its getting more and more expensive to do that) and low-paying jobs that barely pay the rent, control education, health and the mortgage market and you've got them tied to the wheel for the rest of their natural lives... and its a self-replicating cycle from one generation to the next...

have quoted it before - you load 16 tonnes (do what the system - the masters, the venture capitalists and venture philanthropists - demands of each of us to 'earn our daily bread') and what do you get, another day older and deeper in debt, St Peter dont you call me cos I cant go, I owe my soul to the company store....
Unknown said…
I went to the Board meeting, which was relatively uneventful. I was lucky to get a speaking slot about the RIF, talking about all of the reasons not to fire the elementary counselors.

The only particularly weird moment was the last speaker, whose child went to Cooper before it was closed. She called out several Board members by name and railed against the closure policies that were designed to keep black and brown people down. I'm paraphrasing a little, but not by much.

I left right after the break, so I didn't catch the discussion about the RIF.

Lori said…
Stu asked "I know someone who's thinking of moving to Seattle next month and has a boy going into Kindergarten; do they still get their automatic assignment school or do they have to take what's open?"

If they have an address in a neighborhood school's boundary, they get to go there for K, even if they enroll on September 1. Crowded NE schools are anxious about this possibility; several families came to the Open House at our elementary and on the various tours and stated that they were looking to buy a house in the boundary by September. I've been at our school and ran into people in the office asking if they could walk around the building, again, because they are trying to buy into the neighborhood in time for school. The exact number of families hoping to do this is unknown; they are not currently "counted" anywhere.

Right now our school plans to have 4 K's, and everyone is waiting to see what the district does about split siblings. They may have the school add a 5th K once the letters go out in May. Or, perhaps they won't accommodate the split siblings because of needing to save room for this unknown quantity of people who may or may not move into the boundaries this summer. Because this has never been done before (the neighborhood guarantee), no one knows what to expect. We could end up with 5Ks with 28 students per class or 4Ks with 22. I'm guessing that the numbers won't all shake out until October (with wait lists).
owlhouse said…
news from Kay SB's attendance at Squire Pk CC meeting:

TT Minor has a lease application from Hamlin Robinson School (who w/drew their app for MLK Jr school bldg)

Their are lease application for parts of the Mann building.

There is never going to be enough space at Steven's for all the CD kids now assigned there. Plus, they have to cross Union and Madison, making it a "non-walkable" school. Boundries are not going to change this year, but it's on the top of her list.

Leadership changes at Madrona are for good of the district at large. Supt alone has discretion in principal placement. There are currently 3 principals "on leave" who will return next yr, likely one will be placed at Madrona.

WSS- There is hope that if budget numbers come through, schools will see a return of 5-6 mil (dist wide) returned for WSS.

We're going to need a new school downtown or in S Lake Union w/ in 4-5 years.

Kay says she is working to visit each of dist 5's school 2x/year, hopefully more.

She doesn't plan to host her own coffee hour type chats, but to visit community council and other neighborhood orgs w/ a hope of connecting with a more diverse group of people.

And finally: South Shore is great, T Marshal isn't working, Bailey Gatzert should be an Intn'l school w/ a green roof, there is a huge funding discrepancy between Garfield and Cleveland, the district will have a much easier time w/ predictions once we have new census info.

It's interesting to note that Kay was 3rd on our agenda.
1- King County juvenile and family court facility expansion/redesign.
2- Seattle U's Youth Initiative, focusing on connecting with service providers to ensure wrap-around services for youth in poverty in the Bailey G attendance area.
3- Kay on the state of schools in our area.
Unfortunately, there wasn't enough time to really flush out some of the connections between these topics.

And, for those curious, she did apologize for standing us up last meeting. Overall, it felt like a good starting place for community engagement, but is much more formal and doesn't allow the same time and banter that a coffee chat or office hours would.
uxolo said…
"South Shore K-8, which has 52% FRL, and also already receives over $1.2 million annually from the New School Foundation"

I think this is really a shame that the New School Foundation accepted Title I funds. They could have told the superintendent that her daughter's school would have to manage with the meager $1.2 million and free rent that this privatized school is already receiving. I hope the New School Foundation employees will make a donation to Thurgood Marshall.
Megan Mc said…
Any word on when the new principals will be announced?
georgia said…
Owlhouse, can you elaborate on KSB's comments about Thurgood Marshall not working? I'm aware of the issues at TM, just want to understand how she is communicating that message. Thanks.
jason said…
I think it's great that Meg is pointing out the problem of kids losing Title 1 funding at TM. Kay Smith Blum came to both Lowell and TM last week and I know she also heard concern about this issue from Lowell families. I hope people don't lose sight of the fact that the TT Minor kids who moved to Lowell also lost their Title 1 funding.

The PTAs at either school will not be able to make up this money.
jason said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
owlhouse said…
It was a bit of an off the cuff comment. There was general discussion of the struggles schools face, destabilized by admin movement, building closures, program placement, new assignment plan, and loss of funding on top of that. I don't even think there was a specific question, just an acknowledgment that
our schools are struggling with all the change... someone said some thing about the co-housing of programs at TMarshall and Kay said, "yeah, that's not working." There was no elaboration. Maybe she meant specifically the loss of Title 1, but it seemed a more general statement. I mentioned it as I thought it was an out of place comment. I wonder what concerns she heard at her visit last week? Her observations?

Again, it was a quick comment, but struck me.
dan dempsey said…
Here is what I wish to discuss.

#1 SPS disregard for the law.

#2 OSPI's failure to inform the Public about the "Discovering" math series.

We can all begin from HERE
wseadawg said…
Wait a second: I thought the FRL % was increased from 40% to 55% for Title 1 allotments. If that's the case, South Shore wouldn't qualify. So are the rules being bent by the Superintendent for the Superintendant's daughter's school while everyone else is left to eat cake?

I hope I'm wrong, because if not, the SI is thumbing her nose at us and saying "Tough! What are you gonna do about it?"
seattle citizen said…
yes, wseadawg, I noticed that, too. If South Shore is only 52%, why are they getting Title One?

Here's info: From WASL 2008, SS had 42% F/Rl.

This from a school directory (of schools),
"Title I:
The New School @ South Shore IS NOT Title I eligible."

Boy, on that website is this figure:
Student/staff ratio(FTE) is 7 to 1
District-wide it's 26 to 1

Don't know the date of the above info, doesn't say.
seattle citizen said…
Does anyone know where the 52% F/RL figure came from for South Shore? The research I just did only goes to 2008, but shows 42-44% F/RL. Where did 52% come from?

Why IS South Shore getting Title One and TM is not? South Shore is already getting 1.2 million, and apparently has/had a 7:1 student-teacher ratio! Compared to 26:1 district-wide!

Wowzers. seven to one! That's like private tutoring.
seattle citizen said…
Here's the figure for South Shore from OSPI school report, 2009:
Free or Reduced-Price Meals (May 2009) 211 49.1%

so they're at 49%, which is half the students, so enrollment is 422....I wonder how many staff they have THIS year (is it up from the 7:1 ration of the past?
seattle citizen said…
29 classroom teachers (same OSPI report)

Let's say 25 (four might be SpEd)

That's 17 students for each teacher.

Maureen said…
From their 2010-11 Purplebook page, South Shore is projected to have 341 FRL students out of a total enrollment of 580, for a projected 2010-11 FRL rate of 59%.

The 2009 Individul School Summary data says 09-10 enrollment is 521 with a FRL rate of 52%.

Not sure how they know that the FRL rate will increase (it seems like the base assumption would be that a rate stays the same.) I believe they are projecting an increase in enrollment because they are still adding to their middle school to become a K-8? (Can someone confirm this?)

This projected increase implies that they believe that of the 59 new students enrolled, 70 of them will be FRL eligible. Hmmmm, that sounds a little odd, doesn't it? Ok, lets say they believe that ALL of the new students will be FRL eligible AND 11 of the current students will BECOME FRL.

Does South Shore RECRUIT FRL students?
SPS mom said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meg said…
Okay. I have conflicting feelings on this.
1) I am glad to see that some human judgment is being exercised about the FRL threshold for Title I. Sanislo and Broadview Thomson will also be allocated Title I funds in 2010-11, and both are over 50% FRL but short of 55%.

2) I don't begrudge the kids at South Shore Title funding. But if there is really a shortage of Title money (and my research indicates that this is NOT the case, but rather that the district wants to use more Title funds for centrally-directed projects), why on earth would a school with over $1.2m of private funding plowed into it annually need that extra $120k? Since there's been no public explanation, I can only guess. I would guess to keep the major donor happy, which, at best, is deeply unseemly.

Even if any or all of the schools newly allocated Title funding for 2010-11 pop above 55% FRL next year, Title allocations for the future year are made based on the FRL of the current year. Thurgood Marshall has title funding in 2009-10 because in 2008-09, over 80% of the kids in the school were eligible for Free/Reduced Lunch. Clearly, a certain amount of discretion was exercised... which makes it look as if discretion could be also exercised to aid the general ed populations at Thurgood Marshall and Lowell. I think I've mentioned before, but I'll say it again: the general ed kids at Thurgood Marshall (about 85% are eligible for FRL) would compose about the 3rd poorest school in the entire district.

Last, just as a point of clarification: I pulled my figures for FRL % from October 2009 enrollment numbers, which can be looked at on a school-by-school basis in annual reports (and there's a full list somewhere else on the SPS site, but... I kind of forget where).

SPS Mom- keep in mind that in addition to any general ed or APP kids with an IEP, Thurgood Marshall has a self-contained autism program, which might account for a sharp difference in children receiving special education services.
Anonymous said…
I can't speak to the Title 1 funding numbers, but I can tell you with complete assurance that South Shore absolutely does not have seven kids in a class! Perhaps the person looking up the figures got it mixed up with the re-entry school on the same black called South LAKE?

When my daughter was a student at SS there were 20 or more kids in her classes, and all the others that I saw. Now, I didn't look at K or Pre-K, so maybe there were fewer, as there were in her K class at Dunlap, where I think there were 19. I have to believe the 7:1 ratio is incorrect.

As for the question about recruiting low income students, the answer would be no, but there is a large low income population in that area and many families send their kids to area schools, so you'd expect that number to be faily high. In addition, with the assignment plan coming into play, AND the school continuing to add a grade per year, you'd expect the number of FRL students to increase, especially if the parents do not want their kids at their assigned school.

FWIW, more than 3 years ago Chris Drape was telling us that class sizes would be increasing yearly because of the way funding is done. You know that there's not an increase in the private funds as the student body increases, right?

So keep in mind that this is just a former SS parent's perspective, but I just wanted it out there that there is no class at SS with 7 kids, or a ratio of 7:1-there are no teacher's aides in any classes I know of.
Maureen said…
In addition, with the assignment plan coming into play, AND the school continuing to add a grade per year, you'd expect the number of FRL students to increase, especially if the parents do not want their kids at their assigned school.

Agibean, can you expand on this? My thought was that the assignment plan and adding to the middle school would lead to a DECREASE in the FRL RATE (though probably an increase in the number).

Since SS is now the Option school for the whole SE and given that Aki is a MS that middle class families try to avoid and SE kids will no longer be bused to Orca and TOPS, it seems that the population that chooses SS will be significantly less poor than the general neighborhood population (who would be more likely to just take their default school assignment), unless SS has negotiated some sort of control over their assignment process and can put FRL students ahead of others (that's the ONLY way I can imagine they could assume that 100% of their new students would be FRL eligible.).
SP said…
You can find the school comparison data you were looking for on the same link you provided for the annual reports- just go down more to: District Summaries (choose the year), and then on the next page "Data Profile District Summary". All of the FRL %, demographics, etc. for all of the elementary/MS/HS schools is listed together, as well as a whole lot more.
seattle citizen said…
agibean, I here repost my comment:

This from a school directory (of schools),
"Title I:
The New School @ South Shore IS NOT Title I eligible."
[Also on that site]:
Student/staff ratio(FTE) is 7 to 1
District-wide it's 26 to 1

And OSPI Report for 2009 reports 422 students and 29 teachers. Subract maybe four teachers for SpEd or otherwise, and divide 422 by 25 to get about 17 students per teacher. Still pretty plush. Not to go after South Shore, but that is an incredibly small class size.
Anonymous said…
Maureen, I don't have hard numbers. I just know that SS is a draw for parents of many income levels in the SE, for those willing to bother with public school. I don't know too many lower income parents who just go where they're expected to go-it's not like they don't care about their kids' educations. And SS had huge waiting lists in lower grades when we were there, WAY before the new assignment plan.

Many of the middle and upper income parents, if the stories are true, never even look at public school and "flee" elsewhere. But I know many lower income parents who like the idea of SS, because it begins in pre-school (all day-for free, at least it used to be) and will go all the way through 8th grade. They want their kids going to the same school right up until high school. And I know several who were just waiting until it was offering all grades before sending their kids to it.

So I'm thinking that based on the actual people I know as opposed to charts and numbers and the history of the area, that you'll see a lot of lower income people sending their kids there.

I could be wrong. Maybe they all don't give a care and will leave the place to the brave upper income people willing to "go public" as they call it.

When we were there, sure, I ran into women discussing their $200 shoes, but the majority of the parents I spoke to were lower income people within a short distance of the school and happy to have the option of being there.
Anonymous said…
I never saw a class with 17 kids at SS. Ever. Not in the years we were on the waiting list and not when we were there. Every class I saw had more than 17, and the older kids had over 20.

Yes, classes were smaller than in SOME schools, but if you'd seen the classrooms in the old building, that would make sense to you, extra money or not. They were basically glorified cubicles and kids were stacked on top of one another.

I know, I know, everyone hates SS here and thinks is should have been closed and/or the money never accepted by the district. But it was a lifeline to some kids from really tough circumstances and if it helped just a few of them not be a statistic, I think Mr.Sloan did a good thing.

I would like to see ALL kids get this extra leg up of course, but SS is here, it's not going away, so why harp on it all the time?
No, we don't hate SS. We hate that the district seems to continue to give it some sort of preferential treatment despite Mr. Sloan's largess. Of course, it's great these kids are being helped but it's a little more than a leg up.

The MOU between SS and the district specifically states they wanted the enrollment plan to keep them drawing from the Rainier Valley.

If this info about the Title One funding eligibility and SS is correct, someone should let the Board know.
Maureen said…

Ok, here's another way of addressing my question (why is SS's FRL level projected to increase from 52% to 59% when they add 59 kids?). The FRL in the immediate area (Dunlap) is something like 84% (can't tell really since only 28.3% of Dunlap students live in their reference area). The FRL rate in the entire Aki Kurose reference area is 73.1%.

So, we would not be the least bit surprised if SS's FRL rate was 73%--that would just reflect its draw area. The question now becomes why has it been so LOW? If, as Agibean implies, FRL eligible families are actually MORE likely to know about and choose SS than middle class families then the FRL rate should be much much HIGHER than 73%. So, my question becomes- Has South Shore found a way of keeping FRL out of the school in the past and now they are losing that ability?

I don't believe that--I'm just reacting to agibean's post.

Personally, I don't 'hate' SS. I do wish they would consider redistributing some of the ($120,000) Title 1 icing on their cake to some other Seattle school that doesn't have their advantages. The TM and TTMinor kids still face every single disadvantage they did two years ago, but now they do it with fewer resources.
ParentofThree said…
"everyone hates SS here"

I don't, in fact considered moving closer to the school so I could send my kids there. But as you know you cannot sell a house very easily these days.

But I do wonder about the Title I funding they are receiving and TM is losing. Seems odd to me. But I am also very confident in Director Smith-Blum's abilities to sort this Title I funding out with the good doc.
Josh Hayes said…
Maybe the FRL discrepancy requires a little parsing -- are the FRL numbers for a school given as the fraction of kids who WOULD qualify, or the fraction of kids whose parents actually went through the work of qualifying? One would expect that at any given school the "official" FRL number would be lower than the number who might qualify: there is, of course, some stigma attached to FRL status.

If SS's FRL rate is in the mid-50's, and the eligible rate for the draw area is a bit over 70%, then I think this might account for the difference.

Of course, I might just be (WV) flabin.
uxolo said…
Seattle Public School educators send their kids to South Shore. They do not live in the area.

DIrector Smith-Blum - she knows and said, "I believe this formula needs some tweaking." Despite the fact that I wrote specifically about South Shore, she did not mention it in her reply. Will keep writing to her. No reply from the other Board members.
uxolo said…
SEATTLE SCHOOL DISTRICT (VACATIONS) IN SOUTH KOREA? Wow. The trip is scheduled for April 15 and introduced to the Board for approval April 7? Where's this in a budget shortfall?

from the SPS School Beat:
"In April, 2010, another delegation of King County, Port of Seattle, City of Seattle, and Seattle School District elected officials, along with business leaders and the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce will be traveling to Daejeon. One of the areas of emphasis of this trip is education, with the goal of learning from each other and taking advantage of opportunities to cooperate and exchange information. Daejeon education officials have stated they are particularly interested in cultural exchanges and providing English language internships in South Korea. Seattle Schools’ International Education Program is interested in the possibilities this exchange could offer as well."

"This memorandum of understanding is in keeping with the history and intent of the International Education Program for Seattle Public Schools and should be approved."
mary s said…
Harium is reporting on his blog that WSS funding cuts will be restored to the schools.
Anonymous said…
For the record, I was being sarcastic about "everyone hating SS". I know it sticks in your craws, but that you don't "hate" it.

Here's the best I can do to explain the population there-I'll start with a little history about it.Initially, it was designed to draw only from the immediate area-in fact, the plan was to limit students to those within only a few blocks of the school, i.e., the lower income and immigrant families. Parents, neighbors and local businesses were invited to a series of workshops to offer input on what they wanted to see in THEIR neighborhood school. These meetings were attended by both low income minority residents and the more affluent Seward Park area whites. There was a lot of interest in making the school welcoming for all.

As you all know, it was to add a grade each year, and for several years there was a waiting list for every grade. It was immidiately popular-before it even opened. We began trying in our daughter's pre-school year and did not make it in until 2nd grade. Now, although we lived within a short drive, we were NOT in the initially proposed close boundries-they never did limit attendence the way some initial planners wanted.

In the years we were there, we met many parents who switched in mid-elementary years from all over the south end. They ranged from very well-off to those with very difficult financial struggles. Though I didn't meet anyone that I learned was coming down from North Seattle, it's entirely possible.

Now, this is what the school does in the area-it's a haven for the wealthier families who refuse to send their kids to south Seattle "neighborhood schools". It always has been. BUT, it ALSO attracts lower income families who want a different model for their kids. Because it's so popular with these populations, there's quite a mix. Anyone who knows this area of South Seattle knows that right next to VERY low income housing there can be half-million dollar homes. It's a little bizarre, actually.

The other area schools do NOT have similar mixes-right now. Next year I suspect it will be somewhat different.

In the end, unless white, affluent parents are willing to embrace the local schools other than SS, you will continue to see SS have these wierd numbers which don't seem to reflect the neighborhood. But actually, the numbers ARE more reflective of the area than any other school down here.
SolvayGirl said…
Graham Hill has a similar mix thanks to the Montessori Program that was created to attract out-of-neighborhood families because the Orthodox Jewish families in the immediate area were choosing religious schooling and, as a result, GH was under enrolled.

Fifteen years later, the school is strong in both programs and benefitting from the influx of middle-income families with a vibrant PTA that raises enough funds to provide enrichment for the entire school.

Graham Hill suffered some when SS was first opened because it could not compete with the free preschool. It lost a number of families because of that and the promise of middle school. It seems to have recovered (thanks to the appointment of a strong principal—finally). shows that if southend schools offer something for middle and upper-income families beyond the basics, they will come (Orcas is another example of this). Their influx of time and funding will benefit all the children, and the result is a school that does represent the neighborhood.
seattle citizen said…
Which begs the question: whence comes the funding? SS has 1.2 million (plus 120 thou) which helps them do some evidently great stuff for their students. I understand that part of the purpose of SS is to show what can be done with this extra funding and attention.

But meanwhile...FTE is cut all over the district, RIFs are on the way, counselors are gone, truancy FTE is gone, library assts are gone.

So one wonders when the citizenry will FULLY fund ALL schools. No one hates SS, we are all just jealous and wish some of that Foundation money was put into all the other schools instead of the millions going into "performance management," "teacher quality," the Supt's NWEA MAP tests, and other places designed to distract attention away from the individual ramifactions of poverty, etc, as they impact individual students....I guess it's easier (and cheaper, in the long run) for people to pour money into pointing at teachers instead of addressing the root causes of much of the lack of learning in students.

At any rate, yea for SS, I wish them the best, I just wish some of that money was spread around.
Unknown said…
There is finally a state budget passed, which should help clarify school budgets.
grousefinder said…
Looks like we got our 0.5 counselor back and a 0.5 teacher with this new budget. The schools must be all a-twitter. Now how about my 728 money back so I don't have a classroom with 32 students next year.
Megan Mc said…
Our principal said our school wouldx be getting any of the money. I wonder how they are allocating the money.
Maureen said…
Megan, could it be because you are already receiving 'performance management' money? Or have they reevaluated projected enrollment already? (But I know your school was already shorted on that--so doesn't seem possible...) Or is all of the $5 million going to Cleveland?!
Megan Mc said…
He just said he would explain it at our next blt meeting. My first thought was that its probably bcause we are getting performance management money. But we'll see what the official word is.
Maureen said…
Hey, since this is an open thread...

Does anyone know anything about the job postings at SPS for IT people?

They are looking for:
IT Manager - Senior $93,912.00 - $129,688.00
SAP ABAP Developer (HCM) -$68,474.00 - $94,578.00
Senior Applications Developer - $74,859.00 - $103,397.00

Did they lose someone, or are they new positions? Is this part of the migration from the VAX? I'm not a techy so the job descriptions mean little to me.

It seems like a good time for SPS to pick up some talent. It would be great if it were someone with a passion for education. Do any of you know someone like that?
StepJ said…
Some of these IT positions are for replacement - in that they have tried to fill them before, but the talented individuals hired in were not willing to stay with the "anti-change" environment.

Totally, different topic...very upsetting story about recent happenings at Madrona,
Stu said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stu said…
Seattle student's alleged attacks investigated as hate crimes

Wow . . . pretty disturbing. Also interesting to read it on MSNBC and not anywhere in the Seattle press . . . unless I missed it.

ttln said…
I hope the student in question is receiving mental health services as a result. The behavior is more than a hate crime- it worries me about where this behavior goes from here.
TechyMom said…
Stu, it was on the Seattle Times web site yesterday. I haven't seen the print edition, so don't know if it was covered there.
seattle citizen said…
yes, it was in today's print edition.
I hope this child gets some very serious attention. Extremely dangerous behaviour.
Snoop said…
That stuff goes on all the time at Madrona. There are lots of criminal events, serious, involving weapons, and students, etc that never get any press. If you want to know about it, go to juvenile court some time. You'll see 25 incidents of this caliber daily, and from kids this age.
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