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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Advice on the NSAP Meetings and Drop-In Sessions

I attended the first drop-in session for the NSAP and the Transition Plan. It was headed by Tracy Libros. About 7 people attended but I wouldn't have expected more given the lack of outreach by staff to let people know about it.

I didn't come away with much info as Tracy and her team are still working on data analysis from this fall's enrollment patterns. (The Annual Enrollment Report will do analysis on Oct. 1 enrollment versus last year's, school choice trends, enrollment by attendance, option and service schools, siblings, by grade level, new schools, Spectrum/APP, International schools, K-8, demographics, where students live versus their school, kindergarten and projections.)

So we just went over the some of the Powerpoint given at the Work Session and discussed our issues.

Tracy handed out the Powerpoint and a US Census timetable for information which goes from Feb. 2010 - June 2013. It looks like the most basic info will come out in May-June 2011. (I couldn't find this form at the U.S. Census but maybe Tracy will post it. I did find some interesting stuff for kids/teens to do around the Census if you are interested.)

What I learned:
  • they are interested to see what the 2010 Census says in terms of children in the area as not all children who attend Seattle private schools are Seattle kids. They want a better count.
  • at Wednesday's Board Work Session, the transition plan will be discussed
  • I asked about the issue of so many items to be discussed around the Board policy on capacity management. Was that just to outlinepossible items or will they all be considered? Answer: they will all be considered. (It's things like adding/removing/relocating programs, boundaries, geographic zones, portables, buildings, etc.)
  • a couple of parents asked why parents weren't asked about other siblings beyond having a new kindergartener coming in? Tracy said they were aware of that but decided to ask only about a next child. One parent said that it just didn't make sense to her to not have asked about ALL other siblings.
  • Tracy seems to think (and definitively) that no reopened schools will fail. She says there are enough kids out there to fill them. My answer is just that not giving those schools a focus is going to make it take that much longer (and cost the district more to run them at such a small size). She was adamant that they would all fill.
  • She was asked about a drop-dead date for reopening any schools in West Seattle and said there would be one but she didn't know for sure what it is.
  • She revealed nothing about the Geographic zones when asked.
  • There was an interesting interchange between Tracy and a West Seattle parent concerned over the unevenness of feeder schools from elementary to middle. Tracy explained that there wasn't a problem because there were enough seats. The parent pressed her that it wasn't about seating per se but how West Seattle HS is going to come out of this underenrolled and Sealth will be full.
  • We asked her about Garfield (as an example) of an overenrolled school. Tracy made the point (and it's true) that many schools always have a full roster but that kids just don't all show up on the first day. (In Garfield's case, they did.) So they never make the assumption that a school is "full" just because the enrollment reaches that state before school opens. I get what she is saying but the district was using a brand-new enrollment plan and should have been better prepared to spring into action sooner.
  • I asked her about Enrollment working with the BEX people in Facilities over the forming of the list of schools to be renovated under BEX IV and she said they would be working together.
  • Interesting. They held back seats at South Shore K-8 in order to have a school to transfer NCLB requests.
What I would tell you about these meetings is this:

- I think the Board Work Sessions are key and are your best shot to get real information. The next one is this Wednesday from 4-5:30 (before the Board meeting). This is where I would put my time.

- Until the district finishes with their enrollment analysis, there isn't much that can be said. If you have lots of questions, go to a later drop-in session because there will be much more information at Tracy's fingertips then. I think the December 14th one will have a lot more information available than the earlier ones.

- The Regional meetings will likely be dry (going over the Powerpoint/history of NSAP) and then annoying (as you get to ask questions but I'd be willing to bet 50% of the time you'll get "we'll have to get back to you/don't have that information") and then irritating (as you get to sit with a bunch of other parents and talk about what questions you have). As with the drop-in sessions, I would recommend going to a LATER one (even out of your area) because it will likely be the same presentation but the district should/could have more data to flesh out possible scenarios.

4 comments:

seattle said...
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seattle said...
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seattle said...

"Interesting. They held back seats at South Shore K-8 in order to have a school to transfer NCLB requests. "

They did this at Eckstein too, for the 2008/09 school year. Eckstein enrolled 50 less students that year. The district claimed they were capping enrollment because Eckstein had been over enrolled for years, and they had to reduce their capacity in an effort to bring the school back to operating at it's functional capacity. The school didn't moved it's 200+ kid 6th grade waitlist at all. That's rational and understandable right? But then at the last minute, a week before school started, the school received 29 NCLB opt out transfer students. Those students got in before neighborhood kids, and they jumped the 200+ kid waitlist.

wseadawg said...

More concern about the costs associated with half or on-third full buildings, eh? Apparently nobody in SPS has heard of a light switch, a steam valve, a heat register, or a door lock.

More district nonsense and BS to cover their true motives. They went from desperately needing to close Lowell to calling it "essential."

Funny how the sign in front of Lowell touting all the building improvements and expenditures mysteriously went missing after MGJ proposed closing that building 2 years ago.

Rovian tactics? Nah, of course not.