Friday, May 14, 2010

Open Thread Friday

Open thread for any thing but here's a start.

It's bright, it's sunny and assignment letters seem to be in mailboxes. Have you received yours?

(Also, on this topic of Open Thread. I would gently ask that please, unless it is breaking news or urgent, don't hijack a thread with a non-related, off-topic subject. I find that this happens and then the original point gets lost somehow. All the writers here put in labels on threads so that folks visiting the blog and looking for specific topics can find those threads. I can imagine it is annoying to read some and find out that the thread isn't on the topic it is labeled. I will try to have at least one Open Thread a week so that any topic or news item you have read can be posted. Thanks!)


Unknown said...

I requested Thornton Creek for both kids, got View Ridge for my second grader and Thornton Creek for my kindergartener. We won't end up accepting either, we already committed to another school. I'll let the district know ASAP, because I know there will be a lot of people waiting on the TC spot.

Unknown said...

Oh, the reason I was posting is that they seem to have changed the transportation rules some, our address was eligible for transportation to TC last year and doesn't seem to be this year (within a mile, but crossed a major arterial). Not a factor for us, but interesting.

Anonymous said...

We received our assignment letter today. Our kindergartener was assigned to Loyal Heights instead of our first or second choice, Salmon Bay.

I'm devastated. I hope we got the wrong impression, but we hated the curriculum at Loyal Heights and thought Salmon Bay had things exactly right. Why are there so few spots for people who what an alternative school in this area? The wait list for Salmon Bay seems to suggest there is a lot of demand for it.

I don't know what we're going to do if Loyal Heights' curriculum and approach to learning is as bad as we think it is. Private schools appear to be unaffordable and home schooling is problematic. I'm ready to move somewhere else just to escape this school assignment.

I just hope we got Loyal Heights wrong from what we saw on the tour. But I don't think we did.

Bird said...

Just out of curiousity, what don't you like about the curriculum at Loyal Heights?

Unknown said...

Most families that go to Loyal Heights are pretty happy with it. They are traditional in their approach and have some good teachers and some okay teachers. They have a very strong PTA. The curriculum is pretty much in line with the rest of the district. Everyday Math, Writer's Workshop, Reader's Workshop...

As we know, everything is becoming standardized.

Lori said...

just curious, jamie, were you expecting one assignment for both kids? That is, was there a way to indicate during open enrollment that you didn't want them split up?

And whew, they got our application to Lowell, so now I just get to wait until August to find out if the bus is a reasonable option or not. And, I got my $20 for my recent jury duty. The mail was good today! :-)

TechyMom said...

Did anyone see the announcement about Michelle Obama's intitive to bring chefs to schools to improve school lunch nutrition? It sounds like a great idea. I wonder how it would work with centrally-prepared lunches.

Unknown said...

I was pretty much expecting what happened (or both kids to VR, since that's our attendance school). It's our third try for Thornton Creek for our eldest, although we moved to Seattle after open enrollment his K year. I don't remember if there was a way to connect them, I wouldn't have chosen it regardless.

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

1st grader in at Layfette spectrum, 3rd grader on Layfatte spectrum waitlist.

She was assigned back to WS instead of our 2nd choice Arbor Heights spectrum. Not sure why as I don't see an Arbor Heights waitlist.

Our end goal is too have them together, hopefully at Layfette or Arbor. We want the best spectrum program we can get.

Unknown said...

What are you supposed to do if you are not willing to go to the school your kid was assigned to, but want to remain in the wait list for another school?

Do you just wait and hope for the best?


Audra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charlie Mas said...

Myles wrote: "3rd grader on Layfatte spectrum waitlist.

She was assigned back to WS instead of our 2nd choice Arbor Heights spectrum. Not sure why as I don't see an Arbor Heights waitlist.

This is clearly a mistake. Call Enrollment Services; they will fix it for you.

Enrollment Services does thousands of these assignments. Many more than they would like to acknowledge are done manually. So there are bound to be some mistakes. Most of the time the mistakes are quickly and easily corrected. Just call them and they will fix it.

Charlie Mas said...

Audra wrote: "I wish the district would respect the community demand for these types of programs and open more of them."

The Capacity Management Policy requires the Superintendent to annually "evaluate and report to the School Board on current and projected enrollments at the school, middle school service area, and District-wide levels and on related issues. The purpose of such an annual evaluation and report is to monitor changes in enrollment, demographics and program demand including capital program development and/or program placement over time and to facilitate the periodic consideration of possible actions
enrollment and with demographic changes.

That report will come in October or November and it cannot fail to show that the demand for Option School programs significantly exceeds the capacity for such programs in every part of the city except the northeast and Queen Anne/Magnolia.

Then what?

Then we will see if she has the integrity to take the appropriate action and expand the capacity for such programs.

Anonymous said...

Bird asked what we didn't like about the curriculum at Loyal Heights. Granted, I base this entirely on a two-hour tour that may not have presented the school in the best light, but here are the problems we saw:

(1) Developmentally-inappropriate approach to instruction: In two of the three kindergarten classes we observed the teachers were lecturing from slides and using microphones to do so while the children sat at desks looking terminally bored. There appeared to be no engagement of the kids in the lesson and the material covered appeared to be way too advanced for them. Our suspicion was that this was due to pressure to prepare kids for standardized tests that were years away. In the meantime, they seemed to be sucking all the joy out of learning. I hope this wasn't typical of the curriculum, but it was our impression that it was extremely typical.

(2) Lack of physical activity: Our child is extremely active and physical and studies are now showing that children perform better in class when they are given a chance to exercise regularly. Recess at LH appeared to be almost comically short and P.E. was only offered every other day. The P.E. class was also not nearly long enough. The principal admitted that he would like to see more P.E., but this was all the state would fund.

(3) Lack of playtime: Although we only had the printed schedule to go by, the curriculum appeared to have as little time for free, imaginative play as they could get away with. Everything appeared to be very structured. Again, studies show that at this age kids need to learn executive function -- not reading or math -- to be successful when they get older. I won't go into the whole theory, but in short it says that the most effective thing a child at this age can do to prepare to be a successful student later is to engage in play with peers that teaches impulse control, e.g. maintaining a role as "it" in tag, or only moving when Simon says. The curriculum at LH seems to build in no time for building executive function in kids.

In short, the LH curriculum seemed to be focused on teaching 5-year olds in a style much better suited to middle schoolers than to kindergarteners. Our concern is that the main lesson our very bright and active son will get from LH is that school and learning in general is boring and a drag and involves sitting around behind some desk while a teacher drones on about stuff you couldn't care less about.

We want our child to be challenged and engaged in a manner appropriate to his age and abilities, and it just didn't look like that was happening at LH. The kids appeared to spend most of their time being lectured at, not engaged, which is certainly not how kindergarten looked when I was a kid, and is not what we want for our child.

Maybe we got it all wrong and that's not what the typical school day looks like in reality. It seems that the only hope we have left is that we completely misread the school and what I describe above is not what it's like at all.

If you have kids in LH and think we got entirely the wrong idea, I'd be very reassured to hear that.

But the LH school tour seemed proudly designed to give parents the impression that this was exactly what the school day looked like, while Salmon Bay presented a typical school day that seemed much more fun, engaging and developmentally appropriate.

Unknown said...

We got ours! Chief Sealth International High School, just blocks away. Had to apply for it because the district's second round of lines threw us into WSHS - three miles away.

Anonymous said...


Out of curiousity, what private school are you intending to send you're child to? It would be a stretch for us too, but we're considering it now.


Kelly10 said...

We didn't get into Thornton Creek Kindergarten either- half our neighbor kids go there to get away from our neighborhood school- Olympic Hills. The other half go to Shoreline or private. It's off to private (Catholic) school we go. The lack of the geographic tie-breaker for option schools did us in, I think. Sigh.

Bird said...

And why is Olympic Hills so unpopular with your neighbors? Forgive me if I seem obtuse, I don't know much about your part of town.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Laura, the waitlists dissolve at the end of September (it used to be longer but they have tightened it up). However, do stay on it as long as possible because people do change their minds. What tends to happen is your child is at one school for a couple of weeks, you get the call and suddenly, for many people, they don't want to change. Also, call the school weekly and ask how the waitlist is moving. Good luck!

Kelly10 said...

Olympic Hills is a very low performing school. I don't want to badmouth them- their website says they have 35 different languages spoken by their students. I'm sure the the staff is working hard and doing the best they can.

Unknown said...

Thanks, Melissa! It is strange to keep my kid's spot for the current assignment because I have no intention of sending my child to the one that was imposed on us. Shouldn't there be a way to "free" the spot but not "forfeit" the wait list spot? BTW, wait list numbers won't be available until after Monday.

Bird said...


So do you think there is anything that the school could do that would attract your neighbors?

whittier07 said...

UGH ... why can't this school district get it right? Whittier has a waitlist of 24 which includes 13 non-attendance siblings. Apparently we are the only school in the NW that wasn't able to accommodate siblings. Whittier was supposed to be one of the schools that the district couldn't see any problem enrolling ALL of the siblings ... that should have been our first clue that it wouldn't happen.

We were originally supposed to have 2 K-classes which would then expand to three 1st grade classes as Spectrum students were added to the school. The school district then told us that we would have 2 K-classes and a K/1 split which later turned into 3 K-classes. We were foolishly thinking that these were changed to get the siblings in. Instead, they got their estimate wrong on how many attendance area kids would be in our newly drawn boundaries.


Heath Foster said...

My son did not get into the school his two older sisters attend, McGilvra Elementary. There are only three siblings we know of for this grade, so were pretty optimistic that they would try to accommodate us.... It's a real blow.

Sabine Mecking said...

None of the John Standford out-of-attendance area sibs I know of (3) got in either. There were only supposed to be 9 total. Not sure whether anyone got good news. They drew that school boundary miserably wrong as well. I feel for everyone who had their hopes up and was disappointed by today's SPS mail.

Anonymous said...

Well add us to the growing waitlist game. It will be a long summer of waiting I am guessing. Hang in there everyone.

Sabine Mecking said...

Whittier07, we were also foolishly thinking that by having 4 K classes at JSIS rather than 2 as in the past (3 last year) would help get the sibs in. But this was also just about SPS accommodating attendance area kids in the overdrawn school boundary. So, we will all have to pay the price for SPS' bad demographic predictions and lack of true will to accommodate families with sibs.

Audra said...


I'm happy to talk via e-mail. You can contact me at audrakay@hotmail.com.

Jamie said...

(A different Jamie here):

Help! My son got into Sandpoint (which we expected), but only 5 kids are on the list to be in the 1st grade! (And just a couple in other higher grades--Kindergarten is the only grade with enough students for a whole class).

Does anyone have any idea how the district will likely handle this situation. Hiring is happening soon--would they really hire a teacher for just 5 kids? I know they had already planned to do a combo 4/5th teacher, before enrollment #s came out. How many grades are they allowed to collapse? Do parents like me have any options if they suggest K-3 or something that might not be the best fit for my child?

Will the district say that it would cost too much for teachers beyond the 2 K classes at all and stick the older kids at other schools with overfull classes?

I know that the district would likely say, more families will continue to enroll over the summer, but honestly how many? And in higher grades?

Also, will they have to base funding plans on these enrollment period numbers meaning even if we get more kids our PE/library will be ridiculously pt with no hope of any arts programs?

Sahila said...


Did anyone go to this presentation on Community Schools and can they report back what the discussion was around the Powerpoint/PDF?

mamashines said...

We received our letter today also. We are wait listed at Thorton Creek, which I expected. I put four schools on our enrollment sheet: Thorton Creek, Bryant, View Ridge, and Wedgwood. Our neighborhood school is Wedgwood. Imagine my surprise when we got our letter stating Sandpoint is our assignment! Turns out I wrote View Ridge and used the number for Sandpoint. The woman at enrollment services told me that the data entry people only look at the numbers. Ugh. I cannot believe I made this mistake! I called enrollment services and they will "see what they can do" about getting us back in to Wedgwood. She said they will be in contact in about two weeks.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I think for Sand Point they are likely to go with a K/1, 2/3, 4/5 split class. I would be very surprised at a K-3 class.

We were told that the SAP with the transition plan would make everything clear. It does not and has not. This is an excellent question to go ask a Board member tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Our son was waitlisted for Spectrum at View Ridge (1st grade). He's been given a regular spot at View Ridge. I'm a little worried about how this is going to work out. Could be fine, could be a problem.

Unknown said...

Catherine, it shouldn't matter, at VR the spectrum kids aren't in separate classes.

Unknown said...

I mean, until 3rd grade.

Anonymous said...

It definitely won't matter for reading, but the 1st grade Spectrum kids regroup to do second grade math while the non-spectrum kids are grouped together to do first grade math. I'm afraid he's going to be bored and start causing problems.

jp70 said...

Catherine - At View Ridge they do Walk to Math, so if your child is not in spectrum but is assessed at a higher level in math, they will put him with the spectrum kids for math. My son is in first grade spectrum at VR, and several of his friends are in the 2nd grade level math who aren't in spectrum. I'm pretty sure you will be happy.

Meg said...

There's an option other than waitlist+hope or private. It's the AYP letter, if you're currently assigned to a school that is in its second year of "failing" under No Child Left Behind.

No Child Left Behind requires that districts give families with children enrolled in failing schools the choice to "opt out" of the failing school and have their child enrolled in a school that isn't failing. Usually, the letters (often called AYP letters) informing families of this choice go out in mid-late August, and include a list of schools, usually in the same cluster, that you could opt in to. So, for instance, a family assigned to Madrona or Leschi would be able to opt into McGilvra or Stevens.

What this means is: you have a chance, if you're assigned to a school that is failing under NCLB rules (here's a link to the schools that had offer opt-outs in for this school year), you a) get to jump to the top of the waitlist and sometimes even simply skip the waitlist and get a direct assignment, and b) are entitled by law to attend the school you opt into to the highest grade it offers.

Because an array of schools to opt into is usually given, you might not get your top choice, but family preference is supposed to be considered. You may or may not get transportation. But there is, for families unhappy with their assignments to schools that aren't making AYP, a late-summer chance for a different assignment.

I don't agree with the district not making this clearer to families. I understand that the district needs families to attend their neighborhood schools for the NSAP to succeed, but not disclosing the full range of choice doesn't sit very well with me.

I hope I explained that well enough.

reader said...

Correction. You only get an option to opt out of your failing school... if it also receives title 1 funding. Not so many schools are both failing and title 1.

Fremont Mama said...

We are waitlisted for 1st grade Spectrum at Whittier. Our neighborhood school is B.F. Day so we were assigned to Spectrum there. There are only 5 kids on the waitlist at Whittier, so maybe there is a chance we will get in? I'm calling first thing Monday morning to see what number we are.

Josh Hayes said...

Meg, that's fascinating stuff - and what's especially bizarre is that the "Opt-In" list includes at least a couple schools with waitlists a mile long (TOPS and Salmon Bay, at least). I could see kids from the Northgate Elementary catchment area, for instance, being able to "opt in" to Salmon Bay - that would, after all, be their district-defined "option school".

Or am I misreading the process (wouldn't surprise me; I often have difficulty making heads or tails out of what SPS is saying!)?

dan dempsey said...

Meg said:
"I understand that the district needs families to attend their neighborhood schools for the NSAP to succeed, but not disclosing the full range of choice doesn't sit very well with me."

Imagine that the district coming up short on full disclosure.

seattle said...

"Meg, that's fascinating stuff - and what's especially bizarre is that the "Opt-In" list includes at least a couple schools with waitlists a mile long (TOPS and Salmon Bay, at least"

Yup, Josh. Any opt in students jump the waitlist. They get assigned first, and then, if more spots open, the waitlist moves.

We were on an Eckstein waitlist that never moved. In mid August (after WASL scores were released) a large group of opt out kids were assigned there despite the school having a 150+ kid waitlist.

I don't think that is the districts doing though. It's government mandated.

Stu said...

Imagine that the district coming up short on full disclosure

I'm going to change topics here for just a second -- open thread, after all -- and ask a question . . .

We recently received the "Superintendent's E-new for Families" email and I was surpised to see: "the school day for Hawthorne and West Seattle Elementary will change - with school starting at 8:15 a.m. and ending at 2:40 p.m."

Did I miss something here? I'm not in that area but was there any community engagement on this start time change? Am I crazy or wasn't there some concern about little kids starting so early, when it's dark in the winter, and then the working families having to pay for extra after school care with their kids being released so early?

Again, I'm not sure I'm up for a debate about the timing thing again but I do like to keep track of "superintendent" decisions that, I think, really need the support of the community. Was there engagement on this issue or is this just an edict from above?


Bird said...

So a possible way to game the system is to land yourself in a school not making AYP and then transfer into a high demand program by jumping ahead of everyone else? Is that a reasonable scenario?

I'm not sure many people would take that path on purpose, but if you are planning on going private if you don't get into the school of your choice, why not just submit two choices, the one you want (TOPS, Salmon Bay etc.) and one on the not making AYP list? Seems like that would then maximize your chances of getting the school you want.

Unknown said...

mfleming, I think you probably got a skewed impression of Loyal Heights. When kindergarten tours were going on, one of the K teachers was out on long-term leave and a substitute was taking her place. Another K teacher is new, but all accounts I've heard are that she's a good teacher.

I would also like to get more recess and physical activity, but I believe LH's level of activity is pretty standard in the district, if not on the high end.

LH has a strong community and a lot of parent involvement in the classroom (and in the finances). Our kids get a lot of support from parent volunteers, plus a lot of enrichment funding provided by the PTA.

YMMV, but I think that LH, while not perfect, is a great school.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Fremont Mama, not to discourage you (because there are just 5 kids on that waitlist) but Whittier Spectrum always runs full. The chances of the waitlist moving aren't great. That said, my experience is that occasionally someone leaves during the school year and doesn't get replaced. I don't know what Enrollment's stance is now under the new SAP but if you keep your ear to the ground and hear of someone leaving, ask to be assigned to that space. Yes, it could be mid-year but if Spectrum is what is going to work for your child, then it's worth a shot.

Stu, I'll have to see about that time change for WS and Hawthorne. I think it may be the Superintendent because I'm sure she didn't ask families. Wonder if it's about bus schedules.

artemis said...

At the 5-5 school board meeting, after the RIF presentation, board members asked a number of questions about the Weighted Staffing Standard (which showed how little they have known about it as they have made budgeting decisions). Among GJ's responses were misinformation about the waiver process under the WSS (corrected by Duggan Harmon)and news that GJ and pals will be revamping the WSS within the next 30 days or so. That leaves little more than a week from now before it could be passed to the board.

A request for community input would have been nice. I hope folks will give it anyway. Now is the time to let the board know your wishes for the WSS and to pray that they listen.

There is a rumor (?) that GJ would not only like to keep elementary counselors out of it but also to pull middle school and high school counselors.

I guess the Teddy Stoddards in Seattle (or whatever his name is) don't need the support of a counselor, just a teacher that smells like their mother.

Unknown said...

To those of you that wanted Thornton Creek so badly - have you considered Jane Adams? When touring in Feb 09 I was not particularly impressed, however I returned in Feb 10 and found they've really pulled together as a school. The principal is widely acclaimed as a fantastic leader, the teachers really want to be there and are "on board" with the curriculum, and it has an "alternative' feeling to it. The diversity is wonderful and even though there is a large population of students receiving free/reduced lunches (which typically equates to a poorly performing school), it seems that because it is an Option school - the kids attending JA that are living close to the poverty line are at least living with parents that are aware and take the time to seek out the best option for their child's education. Thus a fairly robust PTA for such a new school and a school with a fairly high reduced/free lunch percentage.
This is all my opinion from attending the tour and asking a lot of questions of the parents there.

seattleparent said...

I just wanted to relay this because it is crazy:
I got a letter Friday saying my child would go to Salmon Bay in the fall for Kindergarten in the "Regular" program. I called the school to ask if this was full or half day and the school wasn't sure-- they said it was usually listed as full or half, not "regular." They didn't yet have names of kids and offered to call me back when they did. I then called the enrollment office to ask my question. Here is how the call went--
Me: "Blah blah so does "regular" mean full or half day?"
Them: "Let me check" (goes to check)
Them: "I just checked, and they say they know what it means, but they won't tell until monday."
ME: "Um, but I have the letter in my hand with the word "regular" on it. I just want the definition of it."
Them: "I know. They won't define that word until Monday."
Me: "So the definition of "regular" for kindergarten is a secret over the weekend?"
Them: "I know, it seems odd."

Isn't that weird?? BTW, I cracked their top secret code, because someone else got a letter with the words full day on it, so "regular" seems to mean half day. But what the heck? Are they just trying to be weird?

Hippy Goodwife said...

Seattle Parent, our assignment letter to Salmon Bay also said full day so I concur on your analysis of the secret code, "regular" actually means half day. I think it is a secret because they seriously do not have any idea. Sorry that you got caught up in the crazy.

bryant jean said...

My child got a mandatory neighborhood assignment to Bryant, which we are happy with. I know there were indications that it was over-capacity and there were a lot of non-attendance area siblings wanting to get in this year. From others' posts, it sounds like siblings weren't accommodated at other schools. Is there any data on this? Where can I find data on number of classes and class sizes at Bryant (and other schools.) Again, from others' posts, some already know how long waitlists are. Where do you all get this information?

Maureen said...

stu says: Hawthorne and West Seattle Elementary will change - with school starting at 8:15 a.m. and ending at 2:40 p.m.

Could they be trying to put together an after school program to, in effect, create an extended day? From what I remember, they claimed an extended day in their plan, but that only amounted to a few minutes a day on average.

Melissa says to Fremont Mama re Whittier: if you keep your ear to the ground and hear of someone leaving, ask to be assigned to that space.

Isn't that only possible if you are coming from a private school or moving within the District? (Or is Spectrum different than gen ed?)

artemis said: ...news that GJ and pals will be revamping the WSS within the next 30 days or so. That leaves little more than a week from now before it could be passed to the board.

A request for community input would have been nice. I hope folks will give it anyway. Now is the time to let the board know your wishes for the WSS and to pray that they listen.

THANK YOU for the heads up on this! I actually talked with Harium M-M about this and he said they were looking into it, but I didn't absorb the fact that it was actually SCHEDULED to be discussed.

Catherine said...

Jenni, here's a link to the open enrollment data:


seattle said...

"So a possible way to game the system is to land yourself in a school not making AYP and then transfer into a high demand program by jumping ahead of everyone else? Is that a reasonable scenario? "

Not a reasonable gamble really because you don't get to pick the school you will transfer to. You are sent a letter saying your school did not meet AYP. That letter lists three traditional (not option) schools that you can choose to transfer to. You are asked to rank those schools in order of your preference. You may get assigned to them or you may get assigned to one that wasn't even on the list - your only guarantee is that the school you will be transferred to will be a school that is meeting AYP with transportation. It can be anywhere in the city though they do attempt to keep you closer to home if possible.

Last year AKI middle school students from SE Seattle who chose to opt-out were assigned to Jane Addams, which was an assignment school last year, in the far NE. Those students, at ages 11 and 12, were given metro bus passes and expected to transfer twice (via downtown). They had to leave their houses in the dark at 645A to arrive at school at 8:20A.

Not a great gamble unless you feel that any school would be better than your assignment school.

seattleparent said...

Thanks Hippy Goodwife (Re crazy secret district code). I just thought it was nutty of SPS to be that way. I called Salman Bay back and told them about my crazy conversation with the secretive SPS enrollment office and we had a good laugh.

Central Mom said...

My guess on the use of "regular" for half day K is that they may end up using half day K for management capacity reasons at other schools after all...but that they don't want to point this out until after the letters hit this weekend and they have pr damage control working on all the assignment fallout this coming week.

This is a GUESS not a fact. If any other parents at crowded schools are getting registration to Regular K, then it makes it more like a "good guess".

Central Mom said...

Catherine, that link you supplied for District stats on open enrollment is live, but those are draft numbers from a few weeks ago before assignments went out. I thought I head that updates would be posted in conjunction w/ mailing the letters???

Catherine said...

Hmmm, I didn't realize that. I'd like to see the more recent number too!

StepJ said...

They did say that they would update the numbers, and also include how many siblings are on each wait list. I have been looking over the weekend and have not found an update yet. Perhaps, this is a wait until Monday item.

To switch topics a bit. I have read some comments about transportation in the Eckstein service area. If transportation is the major consideration you might want to think about Sand Point Elementary. (I think - but am not certain.) That if you have to cross Sand Point Way that you will receive transportation.

It is a small school just getting started so you can get in on the design and culture of the school as well as enjoy what will likely be the smallest class sizes in the NE.

The Spruiters said...

I would like to echo the positive comment about Jane Addams. We were very impressed on our tours and are excited for our assignment there. It was our first choice. (Oly Hills is our reference school - we looked at public schools all over N. Seattle, Shoreline and private).

They still have a few spots open at each grade level and I encourage anyone who is not happy with their assignment to take a look. I won't make the claim that it will be the right fit for every family, but we feel like it is a very good fit for ours and are excited to join the community there.

Meg said...

Toni - you raise a good point about assignment possibilities if you gamble and see what using opt-out will get you. And I should have been clearer. For elementary school, odds are much higher that you will land in your cluster (service area). But for middle school? It's a much riskier proposition, and waitlist, private or see how it goes at the assigned schools may be more predicatable.

Also - because the district takes Title I money, it is not entirely clear to me that you can only opt out of Title I schools. I did read the Dept of Ed document on NCLB and school choice, but it is really, really boring, so I may have fallen asleep the point regarding whether a school has to be Title I in order for students to opt out. But I THINK that if the district is taking title I money, the opt out choice must be provided for all schools in their 2nd year of failing to meet AYP.

Lisa said...

I'm dismayed to read FremontMama's comment that she would leave her assignment of BF Day Spectrum to take a spot at Whittier spectrum... my Whittier kindergartner is also on the WL for Whittier Spectrum first grade, and if he doesn't get into that class, there is no other option for him. Whittier doesn't even have an ALO program, so I don't know that he will receive *any* accommodation.

I am saddened that he could be displaced by someone else who already has another Spectrum choice at their home school. This whole process sucks.

Fremont Mama said...

Lisa - my child wouldn't get in before your son since Whittier is not in my service area. Spectrum eligible kids in the Whittier service area have priority over kids out of the service area. I am very surprised to hear that not everyone in your service area got into Spectrum at Whittier. Guess that means we are at the bottom of the waitlist...

Lisa said...


Thanks for letting me know that. I meant no offense at all, I am just really exasperated by this whole process. This program should be available to everyone who qualifies, bar none.

And I can't believe that SPS had those letters on our doorsteps on Friday and did not make the waitlist phone number available until Monday. That is just an exercise in cruelty, particularly with all these parents of younger siblings waiting to see their odds.

Good luck to you and yours, FremontMama.


StepJ said...

The chart showing waitlisted K siblings is now posted.

Shannon said...

The K-sibiling numbers are interesting. I am surprised how many k-siblings got into Wedgwood and Bryant during the Open Enrollment period. I had been told that these schools were likely to be full with just 'new' local area kids.

By contrast, no siblings were enrolled at other schools (eg John Stanford) which are presumably already oversubscribed with their new reference area families.

Lori said...

Shannon, I don't know details about Wedgwood, but I know Bryant enrolled 120 children for K and currently is slated for only 4 K teachers. We were told recently that the district's plan is to have split-grade classes if attrition doesn't match their projections. And, yes, the school is very full. There are only 83 5th graders who will "graduate" this year, and once again, the incoming K class is well over 100 students. I think the room used for ELL will be converted to a classroom for next year now that ELL moves to Sandpoint. The following year, the art room may have to convert to accomodate the large cohorts that are rising up thru successive grades.

Unknown said...

My child goes to Whittier (currently in K). We didn't apply for Spectrum at the beginning of K, I really wanted to see how she did academically during the year. She is doing great, and is working well above grade level. If we did apply for Spectrum at the beginning of 1st Grade (for 2nd grade placement), would she even get a spot (if she qualified of course)? I'm sure her chances would be slim since Whittier already has a full class of kids. Just curious about how it works for 2nd Grade entry.

Fremont Mama said...

Thanks Lisa. I just called and we are #5 on the waitlist (which I believe is only 5 kids long). I hope you guys are at the top. We will hope for the best with the new Spectrum program at B.F. Day.

Myles said...

Wife called and got waitlist information. Our 1st
daughter is #5 Layfette spectrum 3rd grade.

They took name/phone number as any information on
our options, why she didn't get assigned to Arbor Heights spectrum - it was our 2nd choice - has to come from an enrollment specialist. She was assigned back to current school, WS, our 3rd choice.

2nd daughter us in at Layfette 1st grade spectrum.

I guess are reference area schools are Schmitz, Alki, Layfette, and Gatewood. I think only Layfette has spectrum or ALO.

I wonder how long it will take to get a call back from an enrollment specialist.


Melissa Westbrook said...

NW Mom, I hate to say it but your chances of getting into Spectrum at 2nd grade (especially at a popular school like Whittier) are very slim. However, since the waitlists get dissolved every year, your chances of getting in off of that might be worth trying if you decide to go in that direction. We had a very good experience with Spectrum at Whittier.

Kristin Mehus-Roe said...

Good thing I am reading this. My son is assigned to Hawthorne and I haven't heard anything about a new schedule. Yay - the worst school in the district AND the worst time to start school.

Myles said...

FYI: Wife called enrollment this morning. It will be up to two weeks for a call back from an enrollment specialist.

Anyone hear info on WS start time in 2011?

Transportation is issue if we have sibs at different elementaries, wife doesn't drive and I am at work.
If WS start time is different from Layfette we should be ok with walking one then bussing the other.