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Monday, May 17, 2010

Kindergarten Sibling Waitlists Explained

Thanks to StepJ who let us know the district had posted a document about the kindergarten sibling waitlists. There are 148 siblings on the waiting lists for schools that are not their attendance area school. There is a fairly even city-wide distribution of siblings who didn't get their sibling assignment with the largest for Kimball at 19 and John Hay at 18.

Here's the document summary:

"The following chart shows results for non-attendance area K siblings who applied for their
sibling’s attendance area school during Open Enrollment. In summary:

• 556 non-attendance area K students applied for their older sibling’s school.2
• 73% of these applicants (408 students) were assigned to their sibling’s school.
• 27% of these applicants (148 students) are on waiting lists for their sibling’s school.

These results are in addition to:

• Students assigned to their attendance area school their older sibling attends.
• 132 K siblings assigned to the Option School their older sibling attends.3

Of 54 attendance area schools:4

• 65% of the schools (35) have no waitlisted siblings
• 15% of the schools (8) have 1-5 waitlisted siblings
• 11% of the schools (6) have 6-10 waitlisted siblings
• 6% of the schools (3) have 11-15 waitlisted siblings
• 4% of the schools (2) have 16-20 waitlisted siblings

Waiting lists will be managed aggressively by the Enrollment department beginning after Open
Enrollment and through September 30. (This will continue throughout the summer.) It is
anticipated that, as schools work with their enrollment data, additional K siblings on waiting
lists may be offered seats at the requested schools.

2
Graham Hill has two entry grades: PreK (3‐year‐olds) for the Montessori program and K for the general education
program. Information includes combined data to reflect both entry grades.

3
Since the entry grade at South Shore is PreK, information is for PreK siblings.

4
Total does not equal 100% due to rounding. "

Other interesting items from the document:
  • "One potential strategy, eliminating full-day K classes and offering only half-day K classes at some schools, was not employed as a strategy to accommodate non-attendance area K
    siblings. "
  • "A link on the Enrollment website where families can indicate if a child will not be
    attending Seattle Public Schools has been upgraded to make it easier to compile data
    submitted online. This will help us collect data to see if attrition is going to be higher
    than projected and, therefore, where additional space is available to admit waitlisted
    students. "
  • "Portable classrooms will be added at a small number of schools."
  • "In other cases, a classroom at an upper grade level could be freed up by increasing
    class size in upper grades, and/or by creating split grade classes. "
  • "In some cases, K class size was increased slightly. This was a common approach if the
    number of siblings who would have been waitlisted was small."

89 comments:

Judy Nelson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

i'd like to know what if any input individual principals had in these decisions vs. was district mandated.. and at this point do principals have any say in accommodating younger sibs. i feel so strongly about younger sibs getting in... i want to know if my principal did all she could to accommodate, or is in fact blocking the additional sibs at our school? or something in between?

Lori said...

At our school, it doesn't sound like the principal had a lot of input, and in fact, will be spending the summer trying to work with the moving target numbers and figuring out how to fit everyone into the building.

First, they significantly over-enrolled the school but hope that at least 10% won't show based on historical data, that may or may not apply in the current economy and with the new SAP.

Next, even though they enrolled enough children for 5 K classes, they are still only funding 4 K teachers, again, because they hope for 10% attrition. If more children plan to attend than expected, there is talk of having split-grade classes instead of a 5th K, because the district has decided to fund teacher positions based on total school size, not size of each grade-level cohort. I know our local administration would prefer another K teacher to having to do split grade classes throughout the building (and, yes, it could ripple up through all the grades because many are already at class size capacity).

So, assuming we are not unique, I truly believe that once again, the district is making decisions without local input and putting a lot of stress on everyone, because much of this won't be resolved for months. I also suspect that wait lists won't move until they know that the 10% over-enrolled are not planning to attend. So even if you know your neighbor is not going to your desired school, that spot may not be available to you until more than 10% of those enrolled have opted out.

Fremont Mama said...

I couldn't get through at first with enrollment servies to find out where my daughter was on the waitlist. I called the school instead (Whittier) and the woman I talked to said this year the waitlists are being handled at the central office and individual schools will really have no say in the decisions. I called enrollment services back and after about 15 minutes on hold, I was able to talk to someone and got our waitlist information.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Di, I doubt the principals, particularly at affected schools, had any choice. If they are creating extra K classes or bringing in portables, I'm not sure any principal could fend it off. The district wants this plan to work and work for the most people.

zb said...

Am I right that they mentioned a "online" place where one could update their planned enrollment (i.e that you could give up a spot, if you were assigned one?). Is this link actually available? That would be really useful, if people started rejecting their assignments when they know what they're going to do.

I do think a careful reading of the document suggests what Lori reports -- that the schools are over-enrolled, and with the requirement that attendance area students will be accepted when they show up in September, that waitlists will not move until then. They leave open the possibility of "higher than expected attrition", but that doesn't seem highly likely to me.

it'll be interesting to hear more about what people are hearing.

Lori said...

zb, you raise a good point that I had forgotten about: new families who move in before September are also guaranteed a spot.

Our school has reportedly received a handful of calls from families who live elsewhere in the US and even abroad that are moving to Seattle before September and want to know what to do to enroll at the school. And the 120 already enrolled does NOT count those families, obviously. So even if there is 10% attrition as hoped, there could be any number of children (3? 5? 10?) that will be claiming spots this summer.

Maureen said...

Lori you say the district has decided to fund teacher positions based on total school size, not size of each grade-level cohort

Can you elaborate on this? Our school is not being funded for the full number of gen ed teachers we need because special ed and bilingual kids do not count as 100% of a student under the weighted Staffing Standards Model. If schools are being staffed based on the number of bodies assigned, maybe we will get credit for all of the teachers we need. Are you saying that the WSS model is being revised right now? Is this in writing or posted somewhere?

Or are you just pointing out what has always been true under the WSS: that all the kids 1st - 5th are added up and divided by 26 or 27 and that tells you how many 1st through 5th grade teachers they will pay for?

K teachers have been a separate line item from 1st-5th on the budget allocations. Is that changing?

Sabine Mecking said...

Well, the waitlist line (206-252-0212) has been down for the past three hours or so. The message says that they are having "technical problems with the student assignment system". Not that it really matters anymore since the waitlists probably won't move, as others have said, until school has started, if at all. Too bad that they can accommodate any number of attendance area kids still coming in, but none of the 10 sibs in our case. Another case where they can come up with resources when they want to, but not when parents ask for it.

zb said...

PS: I wanted to comment that I don't know anything. My comment is purely speculative. And, I wouldn't want anyone to fatalistically make any decisions based on purely speculative guess that waitlists won't move until late in the summer. If folks are keeping track of their own waitlists, though, it would be useful to hear about waitlists moving. That might give people usable information.

Central Mom said...

anyone want to talk about what will happen at the empty upper grades of the "new" schools.

look at McDonald. 13 kids total in 1/2. 3 kids total in 3/4/5 combined!

look at QA elementary. 14 kids total in 1/2. 7 kids total in 3/4/5. Wow.

The data is irrefutable. Parents did NOT want to move their eldest into a younger sib's school. They wanted the youngest to follow the oldest.

AND, on one hand, placement of 75 percent of the incoming K sibs seems good...until that number is flipped around. 25 percent! *One fourth* of all families in this situation did not get a match. That does not feel like "every possible mechanism" being used to me. But no doubt the district will call this a crowning success. What do others think?

Bird said...

I'm disheartened by the numbers for JSIS and its neighboring schools.

The district anticipated MacDonald was to have 92 students, but only enrolled 52. BF Day will likely have only 30 students.

JSIS on the other hand has 103 currently assigned (and was funded for 81) and they anticipate 98 expected to show.

Good luck with that! My suspcion is even more will show up before September. By and large, people in the neighborhood and the people wanting into the school have both the motivation and means to move into the school's service area. No siblings got in to JSIS and there are 52 kids on the waitlist. Does the district really not see how this will play out?

The district has botched the handling of JSIS. They could have made MacDonald an international school like many in the community wanted. The parents would have put in the resouces and time to bring the school up, and they would have filled the school -- not just in the Kindergarten, but across the grades. Instead, we have the ridiculous situation of paying, what, 14M to open a school for 50 students?

They also could have made JSIS an option program, as it should have been all along. More seats would have been filled in the neighboring schools and JSIS would get the stability it needs. It'll be interesting to see what happens as the district tries to fill positions for immersion teachers at the last minute when too many kids show up in September.

I'm farily certain the JSIS boudary will have to be drawn in fairly soon. It's clear that it is already too big, and folks will move into the new area to gain access. The new SAP won't be giving families in this part of town the promised stability with the new SAP.

Seriously, I can't figure out if the district is just too dumb to be able to anticipate what's going to happen, or they're just too pig-headed to do the necessary things to fix the problems they've created.

Sabine Mecking said...

Thanks, Bird. This is totally what I have been thinking. Looks like they are forcing sibs into McDonald by not letting any of them into JSIS. While they helped families with sibs at some schools, they certainly did not thing for them around here.

cascade said...

It is pigheaded Bird. PIGHEADED.
Watch all the maneuvering sure to arrive this fall to keep from making the language immersion schools into OPTION schools.

"Ohhhhh waa waa waa. We couldn't do that. It would mess up our neighborhood boundaries."

Yup. Right. That is why they should have sucked it up and handled it last year. Or the year before. Or the year before. But that would have taken program management, vision and positive leadership, none of which the staff involved has.

Oh, Dr. Libros is good with the numbers and all, but in the end, she is putting boundaries and numbers around PROGRAMS that the flippin district has yet to define.

Rant not over. Rant just begun.

Oh, and why would the District not listen to parents on offering specialized programs at McD and Sandpoint? See above.

And frankly, where were Harium and Sherry on pushing the issue. Because Kay Smith Blum is the only one I heard speaking up for parents and she does not even represent that area. Come to think of it, View Ridge, Harium's area, is also hosed. Was there too much policy making and not enough advocacy going on from him? I think Sundquist in West Seattle falls into that same leaky boat.

zb said...

"anyone want to talk about what will happen at the empty upper grades of the "new" schools. "

Really, though, how are they going to handle it? They can't really be planning classes of 4 4/5 graders or 13 1-5 graders can they? Might be an interesting experience, but seems unlikely.

NE Parent said...

A member of the Sand Point design team said the district will be hiring for the following:
**1 Kindergarten class (21 students)
**1 Transitional Kindergarten (for cognitive/developmental delays; 12 students)
**1 Kindergarten/1st Grade class (15 K & 6 1st)
**1 2nd/3rd/4th/5th Classroom (18 students)
Total of 72 students (as of last week)

I can't imagine my child in a class of 18 2nd-5th graders, so I wouldn't be surprised to see people try to move out of that situation.

Bird said...

**1 2nd/3rd/4th/5th Classroom (18 students)
Total of 72 students (as of last week)

I can't imagine my child in a class of 18 2nd-5th graders, so I wouldn't be surprised to see people try to move out of that situation


Once again, one wonders at the district's lack of interest in talking to families. I would think that if there are only 18 students in a highly unusual and novel situation, it might pay to, oh I dunno, ask the families what they would like to be done and ask them given scenario A, B or C are you likely to stay or leave the school?

TechyMom said...

**1 2nd/3rd/4th/5th Classroom (18 students)
Total of 72 students (as of last week)

I can't imagine my child in a class of 18 2nd-5th graders, so I wouldn't be surprised to see people try to move out of that situation


With the right teacher, that could be a wonderful thing for some families/kids. But, isn't this sort of wide range of ages one of the things the district was slamming AS#1 and/or Summit for last year?

zb said...

"**1 2nd/3rd/4th/5th Classroom (18 students)"

Wow. I can imagine a situation in which I would like that. But, it would have to be with a truly fabulous teacher. And, I'd imagine that even a truly fabulous teacher would have to work like a crazy person to do the job well.

It'll be interesting to hear what happens in practice, rather than theory. We're talking about a specific group of kids, so either those kids are planning on other options, or their families have consciously decided they could function well in that environment.

I might be more likely to consider this option if the class size was 9, rather than 18.

What will they do if the class size does drop to 9? or 4?

Are they expecting an influx when kids move over the summer?

I thought I was joking when I suggested the 2-5 classroom.

zb said...

Oops, sorry. I forgot about the children who might have no other choices at this point.

Ugh.

Melissa Westbrook said...

What I understand about Sand Point is this:

- 1 Kindergarten class (21 students)
- 1 Transitional Kindergarten (for cognitive/developmental delays; 12 students)
- 1 Kindergarten/1st Grade class (15 K & 6 1st)
- 1 2nd/3rd/4th/5th Classroom (18 students)
- Total of 72 students (as of last week)

I'm not sure I get a 2-5 classroom. At the very least a 1-2, 3-5.

Central Mom said...

I know one family slated for those QA mid-range grades who took one look at the numbers today and said Absolutely Not. Unknown program quality and not even the program focus that was advertised. Empty building. No parent resources to help with funding. Multi-age classroom. They are outta there.

So, it is now 6 kids in QA 2-5. Interested in hearing other real life stories. Let's face it...it is unlikely that the District will poll the families, so we might as well do it ourselves. Perhaps a little bird at HQ will take the info and do something constructive.

krod said...

My younger sib is on the waitlist for JSIS, and I am sure she will be pretty much forced to go to McDonald School. I went to Board community meeting on Saturday, and I asked the question if it is possible to draw the boundary map again next year or two. She said that it might have to be done since there are so many kids already living JSIS assignment area. I have a feeling it is possible they will cut again on 45th and Wallingford Ave. like nothing, and more sibs are not going to be able to go to school with older sibs.

StepJ said...

Talk on the playground today was if Sand Point had been made a language immersion school parents would have been willing to move kids already enrolled. And voila -- Bryant and View Ridge would not have siblings on the wait list at any grade, with some breathing room as a bonus.

Same for QA and McDonald to help JSIS and John Hay. Especially as these two schools will be co-housed at Lincoln to start and could have shared some staff/principal.

WallingfordMom said...

The JSIS boundaries really frustrate me because I would not be sending my son to K there next year if I knew that his brother couldn't follow 2 years later if/when they move the boundary lines.

I think the sibling issue is really tricky with the immersion schools particularly, because it is much harder to up and move a older sibling to a new neighborhood school when they have been learning a foreign language.

Either make JSIS an option school or set the boundaries the school can sustain.

StepJ said...

What I heard discussed in regards to Sand Point opening as a K-5 International school is that K for sure and possibly 1 would be language immersion - and the immersion would roll up to include more grades each year.

The higher grades to start would still study cultures of the world and be able to take a second language as a part of the regular curriculum.

I'm not sure if that approach would work as I have never had children (nor had the opportunity) at an International school. But, it sounds like a reasonable method to get up and going.

I completely agree that International Schools should be Option Schools. I think the current enrollment numbers for the three new schools illustrate how the new schools could have been defined as Option schools. With enrollments of about 45 each they are not providing much pressure relief to the surrounding established schools. I suspect an Option school with a program favored by parents would draw more than 45 enrollees.

Lori said...

Hey Maureen, sorry for the delay in responding. Unfortunately, I really can't elaborate. I don't understand any of the WSS stuff. All I know is that our school was assigned 120 children for Kindergarten. Parents were assuming there would have to be 5 Ks for that number because 4 would be 30 per class, but we were told that no funds have been provided for a 5th teacher. If 120 K children show up in September, they might have 108 in 4 classes, with the remaining 12 put into a K/1 split, for example. If only 100 show up, then it's 4 classes of 25. If 125 show up, they might have to do 5 K classes and do the grade level split elsewhere to "find" another teacher to cover it if no money is provided for another K teacher. My impression is that this all very fluid up until the start of the school year!

But like ZB said, I don't want anyone making decisions that will affect their child's education based on what I've posted here either! Concerned families need to call the principals, go to PTA meetings, go to the principal coffee chats, and so on to stay in the loop and have their voices heard.

Melissa Westbrook said...

What I think I understand about Sand Point is that it will have the ELL that is being moved from Bryant(?) and that there are some who don't want language immersion because they will already be serving kids whose first language isn't English or Spanish. There is worry that there would not be possible to be teaching part of the school a new language while teaching another part English.

Joan NE said...

Please forgive me for posting on an unrelated matter...

I just got word that SEA representatives' vote tonight on the RttT Partnership went in favor of signing. It was roughly a 2/3 to 1/3 split, with about 130 some members present.

There were about 1/2 dozen teachers and one parent handing out flyers to teachers as they entered the meeting.

The SEA webite, as of this afternoon, had a heading "Everything you need to know about Race to the Top." There were two links. Both were basically pro-RttT propoganda.

With this, the SEA leadership is showing its true colors, isn't it?

I was told the leadership would be telling the reps at the closed door meeting that parents want SEA to sign on to this. Olga knows personally many parents that are strongly opposed to RttT, me being one of them.

How can SEA leadership presume to know that parents across the city want this? Do they have survey data?

Maybe Ramona Hattendorf (president, Seattle Council PTSA) put out an appeal to her PTSA distribution list, and got parents to write to SEA in support of the RttT Partnership Agreement. I saw her do this with the pro-RttT SB6696; I do not know if she tried to influence today's vote through this means. In general SC-PTSA leadership is playing a most unhelpful role.

To the extent she is doing this and succeeding, she is, in my opinion, abusing the trust that parents place in her leadership. I have said as much to her a number of times, so I have no reservations about saying this here.


For the life of me I can't see why any teacher would support this, unless they were persuaded by SEA leadership that the union would be excoriated by the local press and the astroturf orgs (LEV, A4E, CPPS, too maybe).

This is a poor reason indeed for SEA leadership to give to members. I hope the leadership did not do this earlier today in the closed door session.


seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/
race-to-the-top/

http:\\RaceToTheTop.pbwiki.com

Bird said...

There is worry that there would not be possible to be teaching part of the school a new language while teaching another part English.

I believe this is exactly how JSIS has worked for the past ten years. Part of the school was in the ELL program and part in immersion.

wsnorth said...

Are the sibling #'s for Middle and High school posted anyplace? How many incoming K students are there? 148 wait list out of 3500 or so (?) doesn't sound too bad. Garfield has almost that many by itself.

leslie said...

Does anyone understand the sibling placement data chart in the SPS explanation document? For instance how did 15 non attendance area siblings get into Bryant and 8 other non attendance area siblings get put on the waitlist?

spedvocate said...

Maureen, TOPs has never been known as an inclusive school. EG. How many of those level 3, self-contained students ever step foot in a general ed classroom? From what I know... never. I would love to hear differently. They count as 50% of a general ed student, but get 0 access. How many times do we hear that TOPs "cohouses" some disabilities programs... meaning, those students aren't really part of TOPs... they just sit in a desk inconveniently located at TOPs. Even the DHH program has done everything it could, to keep students with multiple disabilities out of their program, despite the fact that a great many DHH students are multiply disabled. So, given the un-inclusive nature of the school, they aren't counting lots of students.. because that IS, in fact, the reality. If the self-contained students really count as 50% of a general ed student, but they get 0 access... it's actually somewhat of a funding gift for general education students without IEPs.

The inequity you speak of, is for the students stuck in the self-contained classroom.... not for the general ed population.

If the self-contained students really did have access to general ed... then you would have a beef.

I don't know much about the ELL situation, but I would suspect a similar trend.

reader said...

The data is irrefutable. Parents did NOT want to move their eldest into a younger sib's school. They wanted the youngest to follow the oldest.


Big Duh... Central Mom. Of course nobody wants to move their oldest child. But that was completely misses the point. If they were going to close schools and fill the remaining, and move people to their attendance area schools... younger siblings moving to reference schools IS going to be the reality. You can't just keep sending everyone to their choice school, AND giving everyone everyone the right to their neighborhood school. The 2 are competing priorities. There isn't enough room. Clearly the right move is to give neighborhood students the first preference. (which they did) People wishing to have siblings at the same school... above all else, should be able to send them to the attendance area school. What is the data on that?

Let's stop this cry-baby stuff.

artemis said...

Maureen said:
" Our school is not being funded for the full number of gen ed teachers we need because special ed and bilingual kids do not count as 100% of a student under the weighted Staffing Standards Model. If schools are being staffed based on the number of bodies assigned, maybe we will get credit for all of the teachers we need. Are you saying that the WSS model is being revised right now? Is this in writing or posted somewhere?"

Actually yes, the WSS is being revised right now. I doubt it is in writing or posted. That would be nice but doesn't seem to be the protocol. GJ mentioned it at the 5-5 board meeting. At the time she said it would be done in the next 30 days or so.

Kay Smith-Blum recently mentioned the revision of the WSS in an email. She strongly supports restoring elementary counselors to the WSS.

Maureen said...

spedvocate:

TOPS doesn't have any level 3 students.

Level 2 kids are in the gen ed classroom virtually all of the time.

Level 4 DHH (K-5) kids have been in my kid's class almost every year, but not necessarily in every subject.

There are Level 4 kids in MS art, PE and language arts that I know of for sure. Level 4 kids do not count toward gen ed FTE even if they spend half the day in the classroom and do not count in classroom headcount so drive teachers past contractual max. Even so, they are included when possible, but sometimes need an aide and there is only one for all ten kids. From what I understand, the gen ed teachers aren't acknowledged as being the kids teachers by the District--can't access their Source records etc.

Special Education is definitely underfunded--the kids I know could spend more (maybe all of their) time in gen ed classrooms if enough aides and translators were funded. Class size of 32 with at least 10% level 2 and 10% bilingual makes it much more difficult for the gen ed teacher to accomodate two or three level four kids as well. I'm not sure it would be doing the kids any favors to just drop them in there with so little support-but you know better than I do. When Level 4 kids have been in my kid's class with an aide it has been great for all of them to have a second adult in the classroom.

seattle citizen said...

OT, but there are FOUR, count 'em, FOUR articles about education in the Seattle Times, NW section page B4 this morning:
Eastside Catholic students irked by layoffs [even private schools lay off "favorite teachers", the reasons given are "teacher's ability to teach a variety of classes - including AP - and [ability] to attract students during registration"];

Low-performing school may close;
[with an inmportant point made by that "re-entry" type school: low scores because when students improve, they transfer back to sending school, where their improved "score" helps THAT school. What a shame that safety nets are closing, even in Bellevue];

230 school districts in Race to the Top [SEA agrees to sign onto RITT, with MOU for negotiations]

Seattle Schools trying to make room for siblings [Seattle schools trying to make room for siblings]

seattle said...

"private schools lay off "favorite teachers", the reasons given are "teacher's ability to teach a variety of classes - including AP - and [ability] to attract students during registration"];"

I hate to hear about teacher lay offs, but if they are going to happen I much prefer them be based on a set of criteria (as this private school did) than by seniority alone.

seattle said...

"Eastside Catholic students irked by layoffs [even private schools lay off "favorite teachers", the reasons given are "teacher's ability to teach a variety of classes - including AP - and [ability] to attract students during registration"]"

I find it interesting that private schools in Bellevue did not attract their target number of students during registration, while almost every single private school in Seattle is full full full, with long waitlists.

Very telling.

StepJ said...

Leslie, it is all via the tie-breakers when more applicants than space available.

The siblings that got in had lower lottery numbers than the ones that didn't.

In the example you gave 23 out of area siblings apply for Bryant. For the sake of the example let's say they were given lottery numbers 1 - 23.

With only 15 open seats available they all share the first tie-breaker of sibling, it would then move on to lottery number so those with the first tie-breaker of sibling, with lottery numbers 1 - 15 would get in.

Siblings with lottery numbers 16-23 would be on the wait list, ordered from lowest lottery number to highest.

Sahila said...

Toni - you are mistaken...

On the thread that developed into a "last one, first off" debate, teachers already said that RIFs are not based on seniority alone....

Just as in business all around the world (and here in the US) other operational (school) factors/needs are considered first, and then seniority comes into play...

I wish people would stop buying into this lie that RIFing favours (burnt out) older, experienced teachers at the expense of young, enthusiastic ones... It just is not so...

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

Sahila, could you list the criteria for RIFFs in SPS? And could you provide a reference to where you find that criteria so I can check it out. I am under the impression that RIFFs in SPS are largely seniority based.

jvway said...

We seem to have the opposite situation than most---we moved here in November and our 1st grader was assigned to Lowell (all the other schools near us were full). Our rising kindergartner was assigned to our attendance area school (McGilvra). I applied to send the older child to McGilvra during "open enrollment," but he was reassigned to Lowell. So--we want to send both of our kids to our neighborhood school and I am not really clear on why this is a problem.

Lori said...

Toni, my understanding of the RIF policy is the same as yours. Earlier this spring at a PTSA meeting, the RIF process was discussed and the teachers with lowest seniority who were at risk were identified at our school. They even explained how things like having been an instructional aide in the district counts towards seniority, so the newest hired teacher isn't necessarily the lowest seniority person. There were no other criteria considered. The district has a database that counts every employee's cumulative time in the district and ranks them on that and that alone.

Chris S. said...

What Sahila is talking about is subject matter needs, a school's needs for LA teachers vs Social Studies teachers, etc. You'll note in the RIFs this year there was a bunch of one of those, I can't remember.

Probably within a subject area seniority applies, I'm not sure.

Of course this part is not visible at the elementary level.

WV: ablity, I have many ablities but spelling is not one of them.

Sahila said...

Toni - I am asking teachers I know for the specifics and for the contract wording... if/when I get that information, I shall post it here...

sd said...

My family tried to get my daughter into Kimball (they drew the line in the middle of our street) so it wasn't our neighborhood school but would have been had we lived across the street. They said at the tours they thought they wouldn't have that many kids coming in (that is what the administration had told them). Wow, I should have never believed that since there are 38 kids on the waiting list and 19 are siblings. They allowed only 1 sibling in. The part of the siblings document that is confusing is this part about how they may "find space". I actually moved my daughter off the waitlist at Kimball because I thought there was no way she would get called (she was number 19 and that doesn't make sense either since she is not a sibling). I put her on the waitlist at another school with a small number of kids on the waitlist. Now I'm wondering whether that was a good idea and worried that they may add another class. Again its bad information. These sort of decisions (on adding classes for students) should have been made before we got enrollment letters. Also on Kimball's enrollment data sheet they have 19 seats funded for bilingual education with one child getting accepted (and one wait listed??). That part is very confusing to me.

spedvocate said...

Thanks for the update Maureen.

I'm quite sure there is a level 3 self-contained program at TOPs grades 6-8. This has been a source of problems for several students this year. Did something happen to this classroom? It isn't known for being very good or effective. And it is ultra-self-contained, meaning students don't get out much, or possibly at all. I know TOPs rejected requests for inclusion programs this year at the school.

Students in special ed have the right, (absolute right), to attend general education to the maximum extent possible. So, if students could be in general ed all day, as you suggest.. they should be in general ed all day. Sure the funding is difficult, but why should these students, in particular, have to eat it? Funding is always difficult for everyone.

Level 4 kids DO count towards 20% of an FTE under the WSS. Art/Music/PE is a poor excuse for any sort of inclusion. The school's FTE money, and their basic ed allocation, should follow them for the entire day. That is required by law.

Level 2 kids count 100% (I think), but maybe it's 80%. These students should be in general ed nearly all day.

Level 3... count as 50%. So, if you're not seeing these kids... the remainder of their money (the 50%) is being used by someone else.

Maureen said...

According to our budget allocation (which is the only means I have to identify students by category)there are no level 3 kids at TOPS. All of our identified kids are either level 2 or level 4A.

The disagreement you and I are having about % covered toward classroom teacher FTE is because you are only looking at K-5. I am looking at K-5 and 6-8 funding as is relevant to the different classrooms.

TOPs didn't reject requests for inclusion programs this year. I know that because I am part of TOPS and no one ever asked me. What I expect you mean (to the extent that it's true) is that a specific ed director or other administrator rejected the program on behalf of the community without asking for any input. Do you know whose name is on the decision and what the process was?

(I'm not going to reply anymore because I don't want to continue hijacking the thread-but I'd be happy to sit down with you and talk about it in person sometime.)

Sue said...

I am not trying to hijack the thread here, but from reading it cannot believe what I am seeing. The new schools that the district is spending millions on reopening only have less 40 kids each????? Are you kidding me?? they are not seriously going to go ahead and open these schools up are they?

What gives?

spedvocate said...

Maureen, (excuse the hijack)...

Charlie posted a list of the rejected programs a while back, which included a rejected inclusion program at TOPs. He also mentioned, and, everybody knows... there's never any stated person or reason why all the programs requested are rejected. So goes it.

Hmmm. Those numbers are interesting. Perhaps I was incorrect. Maybe that self-contained thing at TOPs is level 4A or "low-incidence". That would make sense. In that case, they are budgeted at 40% given the WSS. Here it is. Note:

"General Education enrollment counts are decreased by the following contact
times:"

You can see that those 4A students are counted... but then 60% of them are subtracted.
So, each count as 40% of a student for general education staffing purposes. Meaning, they are expected to be in general ed, on average, 40% of the time. The problem with doing this, is that chairs don't fit 40% of a student. The special education audit noted that no other district in the country uses this method of allocating students to seats, and it renders a very un-inclusive environment.

zb said...

Justine:

I thought they had guaranteed that older siblings would be assigned to their younger siblings assignment area school, but there was some tricky wording on what you had to request. I think your situation -- K in attendance area school, older sib elsewhere wasn't supposed to happen unless you wanted it. I think you should try to talk to someone about how to get your older kid into your attendance area school.

(I'm assuming your younger sib is a K, i.e. an entry grade, and thus guaranteed attendance in your attendance area school).

StepJ said...

The guarantee for all siblings to attend their new Attendance Area school is if the attempt to have the entering grade sibling attend the school of the oldest fails.

For Justine, if she had applied to have her youngest attend Lowell during Open Enrollment, and the younger sibling did not get in...then she could have requested that both be assigned to McGilvra.

As it turns out, if she had applied for Lowell for her youngest she would have gotten in. All out of area K siblings got into Lowell.

Hopefully, the wait list will work out for Justine - but it may be a long summer.

Sahila said...

For Toni and all others who think that seniority is the first and/or only factor considered in RIFing...

Layoff is done by category
and then by seniority...

The certificated teacher contract is on the SEA website.
http://www.seattlewea.org/static_content/certfinal.pdf

Its a very interesting document, and reading it will dispel some of the current myths around RIFing and teacher evaluation and salary - such as Liv Finne's assertion that teachers get paid for 12 months while only doing 10 months work...

Go to page 106 to 110 of the certificated contract.

seattle said...

Definately interesting reading:

"The SPS will provide the SEA with a master copy of the Bargaining Unit seniority list and two (2)
copies of the building seniority list given each principal/program manager prior to the beginning of
the staff adjustment process."

"The performance ratings (evaluation) of employees shall not be a factor in determining the order of layoff under this Section"

But I think what Sahila was referring to was this:

"Displacement of staff from buildings, layoff, and recall shall be by seniority, within categories,
subject matter areas, or departments."

For elementary school, this would have no bearing at all, since teachers are not assigned to categories or subjects. For middle and high school, once again, we see that within a category the riff is based on SENIORITY. If there are not enough kids to fill 7 English classes then the English teacher with the LEAST SENIORITY is let go.

It's still very much seniority based.

Unknown said...

My family is the family that did not get into View Ridge where my older son is, in spite of the school district's "best efforts." My daughter is the five year old who is crying because she doesn't want to pick her brother up from school anymore because they "don't want her there." My daughter who is used to walking her brother to View Ridge is now being asked to ride a bus to school. My family is being asked to split our time and our money between two schools. My family is being asked to explain to a 5 year old why her brother gets art, music and technology classes but they won't have money for that at her school.

You had the chance to make Sandpoint a highly desirable school by starting a language immersion or Spectrum program there. But the money was denied and Sandpoint was relegated to being a tiny, poor, underfunded, undesirable school. We are the family that bears the cost of not including siblings in the assignment plan. I have seen the data on your website that congratulates itself on how clever they have been getting students into their siblings schools. But it does not say how families who didn't get that lucky are to manage.

I have written again and again asking for help to keep our family together. Moving my son out of the Spectrum program to Sandpoint where there is one 2nd, 3rd, 4th,5th grade class- something out of the 19th century, would only serve to harm our family more.

In addition in the redrawing of these boundaries we walk with my son the 0.7miles to View Ridge and will be bussed 1.3 miles to Sandpoint. Some tribute to neighborhood schools!

gavroche said...

Blogger Keepin'On said...

I am not trying to hijack the thread here, but from reading it cannot believe what I am seeing. The new schools that the district is spending millions on reopening only have less 40 kids each????? Are you kidding me?? they are not seriously going to go ahead and open these schools up are they?

What gives?


I've been wondering about this too. How does it make sense to open these schools? And are they really going to put McDonald and QA Elementary at Lincoln with only (63+46) 109 kids, yet two principals?

I've heard from one of the principals that the District will likely merge grades 3-5 in those two schools.

I've also heard that 109 was the number the District gave to Coe/QA Elem principal David Elliott as the target number of students just for QA Elem. Is this a coincidence or will McDonald merge into QAE?

It still doesn't add up, and certainly isn't worth the $48 million the District is allegedly spending to open these schools.

Sabine Mecking said...

Tina, I feel your pain. The people in the attendance area of the new schools who couldn't get there incoming kindergartener assigned to their older sib school are the ones who are really getting screwed. First of all, they are more likely to *not* get their sib in because there is nothing to trade for (think sibling exchanges between Wedgewood, Bryant, and View Ridge that are of advantage to the district to help accommodate sibs). Second, these schools are not up and running, no teachers to talk to, and, as you say, in the upper grades there are hardly any kids. So, who would take their older child out of a school where he/she is thriving and has friends and move him/her to a completely unknown school that may or may not become a real school some day? Some people do, but I don't think it is a fair deal from the district to offer the new schools as the only ones where people in the attendance area are allowed to keep their kids together.

krod said...

I am afraid they will change the boundaries for JSIS again soon, and the more siblings are going to be split. That's how McDonald school will be filled (by upsetting family who was screwed by Seattle Public School).

Central Mom said...

Krod, if they made it an Option school, you'd actually be LESS likely to be hurt. That's because some unknown geozone around Option schools will be a 1st tiebreaker. More to the point, the 2nd tiebreaker is sibling. If you had a kid in at JSIS and it changed to Option, you'd be OK.

Not the case if, as you say, they keep it a neighborhood school and change boundaries/force to McDonald.

Jessica said...

To add info about how the district and/or local schools are managing waitlists, I received an email today from the school where our son is signed up for Kindergarten in September, to ask if he will attend. There is a fairly long waitlist at the school, and in previous years, when we were arranging our daughter's public-school placement, there was no effort by the school or school district to ask about attendance until the first week of school in September. At least some schools are trying to be proactive about the waitlist situation.

seattle said...

The really sad thing Tina, is that while your sib is on a waitlist at JSIS, some family, just moving to Seattle or a family currently living in Seattle who decides to move to a home within the JSIS boundary gets in automatically, anytime. Plus any family who lives in the JSIS boundary and currently sends their kid to private school or home schools can change their mind and decide to send their kid to JSIS, anytime, and are guaranteed a spot. But you a current family, with a kid already in the school, can't get in. It doesn't make sense. I understand that we can't allow everyone into JSIS as the space is finite. But during the transition period (2 to 3 years), I would have liked to see sibs accommodated, before new families to the district.

I wonder how the anticipation of those "new" students will affect waitlist movement over the summer and into the fall?

wsnorth said...

Anyone have any info on how the sibling/lottery went for High School and Middle school? Did any non-sib, non-APP, non-area student get into Garfield, for example? Is it working better at those levels?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Toni, that's an interesting thought about the transition plan accommodating families with sibs. For a transition time (as everyone adjusts to the new plan where a new family will always have a place at the neighborhood school), you might have thought the district would help families with an incoming sib (but maybe not sibs to follow).

I recall that there had been a Board Director a long time ago who had wanted to put in an amendment to help existing SPS families over incoming families. (His amendment was something to the effect that if you had been in SPS 3 straight years, you would get a bump ahead of a family who just moved here. He thought it was something for loyalty to SPS.) Of course, it was voted down.

Interestly, Harium, if asked about getting back some private school students should be a concern for the district, always says his concern is for the existing students and families in SPS. So how does the transition plan reflect that?

Bird said...

...while your sib is on a waitlist at JSIS, some family, just moving to Seattle or a family currently living in Seattle who decides to move to a home within the JSIS boundary gets in automatically, anytime.

Of course, this rule also applies to you and other sib families.

JSIS already had a history of
families cheating (lying about their address) to get in. Under the old plan, lying or renting a nearby apartment meant you were pushing out a neighborhood kid, which I'm sure would give some people pause. Under the new system you don't have to worry about cheating a neighborhood kid out of his seat. That coupled with the fact that families with split sibs will be highly motivated to reunite them, should make this all interesting to watch.

Any bets on how many extra kids show up by September?

Melissa Westbrook said...

And Bird that is exactly the flaw of this transition SAP. The district can certainly guesstimate how many people will show up in September but it really will be a guess. It could be a real problem for some schools and what a headache for a principal and staff who now have to scramble to accommodate everyone. Plus we probably have a fair number of people who will have an anxious summer waiting to see where their child might end up. (On the other hand, it's out of your control, so try to take a breath and enjoy the summer.)

Maureen said...

Maybe Beth could sell ad space on this blog for apartment rentals near popular schools? She could donate the proceeds to the schools that lost Title 1 funding.

krod said...

Bird, you say under the new system you don't have to worry about cheating a neighborhood kid out of his seat.

But, people still can cheat and the new system would gurantee the seat for the cheaters, and that would push out siblings instead of neighborhood kids.

Bird said...

But, people still can cheat and the new system would gurantee the seat for the cheaters, and that would push out siblings instead of neighborhood kids.

It's really hard to tell if that's true or not. If a school's not letting in any sibs now, maybe it might let some in later, maybe the school has decided not to let any sibs in. Maybe moving into the service area has no impact, maybe it helps sibs-- if 19 more kids arrive and they decide they have to put in an additional class and can then pull in a few more sibs.

Under the current system there is no transparency about how sibs are being handled.

(BTW, I'm not advocating cheating.)

Unknown said...

A big change to discourage providing a fake address or just renting temporarily is that if you move, your kid(s) will be reassigned to the attendance area school where you moved to.

jp70 said...

I've always been curious how Seattle was going to handle the people moving into the neighborhood after registration. In a traditional school district, schools will figure out how many classes they have based on those who register, so every year can be different depending on numbers. With the way it is now in Seattle, they have a wait list and are filling classes almost to capacity (I've heard they've made the predictions of no shows lower than prior years to make more room for new students entering the system). If the school is full, how do you accommodate a bunch of new kids who suddenly have addresses in the area. In future years, when siblings are not as much of an issue (I am a fan of accommodating siblings in a transition plan), should Seattle Public Schools allow kids who live in Bryant to go to Laurelhurst (for example)before knowing what happens during the summer with new students moving in, or should they wait.....

seattle said...

"And Bird that is exactly the flaw of this transition SAP. The district can certainly guesstimate how many people will show up in September but it really will be a guess."

Honestly, though, this is how all districts with neighborhood/assignment schools do registration. You can move to a district anytime of the year and you are assigned to your neighborhood school. Maybe we should do some research to see how other districts handle the unknowns?

Maureen said...

I think someone mentioned this above, but it bears repeating. The District just can't pull teachers certified to teach in Japanese or Spanish out of thin air on September 1st. I wonder if there is a provision to just teach an English language K class in a portable at JSIS if too many show up? It seems that they should have set it up so if they can't hire enough immersion teachers, they can assign the new kids to BFDay (the linked K-5).

The immersion schools should be Option schools. It will be easier to do it now when McDonald and Day have room (and Beacon and Concord aren't full K-5). They can just start with geographic zones equal to the current assignment areas and shrink them year by year.

Sabine Mecking said...

If SPS finally came to their senses and made JSIS an option school, that would be one more reason to let all siblings in now (rather than none). Families at all other option schools in the city have the benefit of guaranteed sibling assignment which is something the rest of us can just dream of.

SkritchD said...

We just found out that the only 3/4 day kindergarten, located at Olympic View, is going to a full day schedule in September. It doesn't sound like anyone knew about this, parents, teacher, etc., until recently. I don't know how that impacts those who thought they were enrolling into a less than full day program. The teacher is phenomenal and the shortened day works well for a number of people. Our child is on to APP next year, but feel bad for the teacher and lessed parent options.

Maureen said...

SkritchD and don't forget that those families will also have the privilege of paying $207 per month for full day K.

Shannon said...

I see everyone here feels that JSIS should be an option school. I presume this is because it makes sense to have such a distinct program accessible more widely but also that those who are currently at the school would like siblings to have access.

But who would be left out in this model?

How would the zone work for an option school which all the neighbors want to attend?

How could geographic "walk zone" access also provide enough access to make the option designation meaningful?

sd said...

I just discovered yesterday that options school weren't a part of the preference scenario. I tried to find info to this affect on the SPS web site and wasn't able to. Apparently what happens is that if you put an option school down you get a lottery number. If you don't get any of the schools on your option form and it gets to the option school and the number is drawn you get in. So - tell me how this makes sense. You could put Kimball, Muir, and Orca down and get Orca (because of your lottery number) and in the end Orca can end up with 20+ kids on the waitlist. So if you were a parent with this information why wouldn't you always put the option schools last? I guess if you really wanted to be on the waiting list, right? But what that means is that you may be foregoing a first choice option for a lottery number that someone else who put that choice third gets. How does this make any sense? And wouldn't you be pissed if you put an option school first only to be waitlisted and have someone else who had it third get in before you? Perhaps the best scenario is to put all your option schools last on your form and then if you want to be on the waitlist and you don't get it you transfer to that waitlist later??

Bird said...

I would assume that the geographic zone would work the same as at other option schools.

It's true the schools popularlity might ultimately force the zone to be very small.

Ideally, SPS would make existing immersion schools optional and at the same time open more immersion option schools.

zb said...

"I see everyone here feels that JSIS should be an option school. "

"But who would be left out in this model?"

I guess people who moved near JSIS in order to have access to the school. Of course, it's hard to examine exactly who this group of people is, because the boundaries have changed (and there's now fear that they will change further).

Mind you, I feel pretty strongly that the main reason that the school should be changed to an option school is not access, but because I believe the immersion model depends on the presence of native speakers/bilingual students in the classroom. I'm willing to be proven wrong, but, unless native speakers (who don't necessarily live near by), don't get specialized access to JSIS, I suspect that the number of Japanese and Spanish speakers will drop to the point where the classroom will be ineffective.

Someone else pointed out that native speakers were never a majority in those classrooms, but I don't think you need a majority for the effect, merely a number greater than 0.

And, we're talking about JSIS, but it would certainly apply to the other immersion programs. The issue for other specialized programs is somewhat different (no "native speaker effect" for montessori), but one could worry about the watering down effects of having any parents in a highly specialized school that the parents did not choose. If they hated it they could go elsewhere, but if they just kind of didn't support it, they may choose to come, and end up undermining the program (the worry others suggest about option schools in general).

SolvayGirl said...

Toni
Your only somewhat correct about the RIFing in elementary schools. There are a few schools with specific categories. I know for a fact (happened at our school) that an elementary with a Montessori program cannot RIF a Montessori teacher and replace them with a teacher not certified to teach Montessori but with more seniority.

I assume the same would hold true for Immersion schools. I doubt you could replace a Spanish or Japanese teacher with one who didn't speak the language just because of seniority. The same probably also holds for PE, ESL and music teachers.

nacmom said...

To all of those decrying the money being spent to open new schools:

I get it given how the numbers look, but remember, we NEED those schools to open. Otherwise, the 200 kids in them, and the 400 next year, and the 600 the following year, and 800, 1000 after that will somehow (?) be crammed into existing overcrowded schools? NO way did SPS take on opening these schools unless they were certain (and about 4 years late...) that enrollments will keep rising.

OBVIOUSLY, the disrict screwed up by no offering attractive programs at these schools. That was a decision, not an oversight. It was going to be too expensive! More expensive than operating 4 schools at quarter capacity? I doubt that.

Also, if even 2 opened with language instruction/internatioal focus with plan to become immersion, I expect wait lists would be minimized throughout the system. It's not too late SPS! You can still change the programs...

In the long run, these schools will be great schools. It could have been in the short term, but instead, long term.

and Yes, all immersion/international programs shoud be option schools. Obviously, they are alternative.

nacmom said...

To all of those decrying the money being spent to open new schools:

I get it given how the numbers look, but remember, we NEED those schools to open. Otherwise, the 200 kids in them, and the 400 next year, and the 600 the following year, and 800, 1000 after that will somehow (?) be crammed into existing overcrowded schools? NO way did SPS take on opening these schools unless they were certain (and about 4 years late...) that enrollments will keep rising.

OBVIOUSLY, the disrict screwed up by no offering attractive programs at these schools. That was a decision, not an oversight. It was going to be too expensive! More expensive than operating 4 schools at quarter capacity? I doubt that.

Also, if even 2 opened with language instruction/internatioal focus with plan to become immersion, I expect wait lists would be minimized throughout the system. It's not too late SPS! You can still change the programs...

In the long run, these schools will be great schools. It could have been in the short term, but instead, long term.

and Yes, all immersion/international programs shoud be option schools. Obviously, they are alternative.

Unknown said...

just came from a meeting with John Hay's principal. He said that this year, the principals will have no role in managing the waitlists; it will all be centrally done by the school district. It also appears that the school district is not doing anything creative to deal with the sibling issue at John Hay. Only if some of the students currently assigned to John Hay decide not to come, will they move siblings off the waitlist. And they won't start this process until July or August. I am so frustrated with the school district.

SolvayGirl said...

It's a shame people can't be civil on the blog. It takes away from the immediate conversation when Beth has to turn moderation on.

leslie said...

Thanks StepJ - I called ES on Wed to ask this question and was told it was all or nothing with Sibs, but the data did not support that reply. Your explanation makes much more sense.

SkritchD said...

Yes, and the privilege of paying $207 per month for full day K.

An online petition has started regarding the district's move to change the 3/4 kindergarten to full day without any input from the teacher, parents or community. Please sign:

http://www.petitiononline.com/heindlk1/petition.html

Helen said...

I think JSIS should stay a neighborhood school. I suspect those wanting it to be an option school have younger siblings they want enrolled there. It has a nice neighborhood feel and should stay that way. Why should it be an option school and not McDonald? Anyhow, they added a 3rd kindergarten for next year so it looks like most siblings will get in which is good news for the neighborhood and families outside the redrawn boundary.