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Sunday, October 03, 2010

It's Not Just Garfield

Once again, checking for one thing led to another. I went to Roosevelt's web page and there's info on their enrollment issues. From the principal:

Starting next week, we will need to make some adjustments to some students schedules in order to accommodate an influx of new students to RHS as the result of the new assignment plan. We have several classes that are extremely full and closed to some students who need those classes. As a result, we have been provided with some additional staff to create new sections of classes and thus reduce the overcrowding in those classes.

Starting on Monday, October 4, we will be making some adjustments to a few students who are currently enrolled in 9th Grade Science, Biology and/or Algebra 2 Honors. We are taking volunteers who may want to change their schedule. Please see your counselor if you would like to volunteer to change your schedule. In addition to the volunteers, we will need to randomly select other students whose schedules will change. Those students will be notified early next week. This may cause some short-term disruptions, but in the long term we will be better able to serve our students through reduced class sizes.

So RHS got more students "as a result of the NSAP." Does that mean they were underenrolled and cleared their waitlist? More kids moved into the neighborhood?

I checked their Garfield's website and boy that Garfield PTSA doesn't let any grass grow under their feet; their October newsletter is already out. I was surprised to read that Garfield was built for 1500 (I just don't think that figure is correct), they were at 1650 last year and have almost 1800 now. Their article on the overcrowding is pretty direct:

GHS has no authority to set capacity limits, and the overcrowding means we have insufficient teachers, counselors, security, maintenance, and administrative staff; students have reduced choices for course of study; and there are negative effects on school culture and unity.

The PTSA does say they can make thru this year but something has to be done for next year. Interestingly, it states this from the community meeting with Kay Smith-Blum and Nancy Coogan (the Regional executive director):

"She realizes that principal Ted Howard knew this was coming and that he did alert the downtown administration." "Coogan acknowledged that staffing needs were recognized too late - they should have been recognized before the master schedule was built, not after. The master schedule is built in the spring along with the budget."

This info is absolutely key to creating budgets for next year. Both Meg Diaz and Dorothy Neville, parents who have been following the budget process, say that school budgets should come first and THEN the district's. For those of you whose children haven't reached high school yet, the creation of the school's master schedule for the year is a HUGE job and affects every area of the school's budget. When it is not right, when it has to be changed, it creates huge headaches and difficulties. It takes counselor time AWAY from students. I will check but I'd be willing to bet that there are still just 4 academic counselors at GHS. Each counselor has over 400 students to try to watch over. Who could do this job well? And, with no Career Counselors.

Kay has promised that community that they will work to get what they need over the next three months. She also said, "This will not happen again." Is that a Board director issuing a warning? Boy, I hope so.

Other interesting tidbits from this newsy newsletter:
  • Speaking of money, the librarian is trying to cope with the huge numbers of students who will be coming in. Each 9th grader gets 100 free pages on their account (10-12th get 50). That's a lot of paper if half the freshman class uses it up. Then there was this: "Also, we have to pay for an annual repair warranty, as the district doesn't cover this."
  • lot of good info here on the HSPE (formerly WASL) changes. It's a lot and I need to do a whole thread on this issue.
  • This is big as well. UW is changing its admission process this year. They are moving to a "pooling" process whereby admissions decision are made after ALL applicaitons have been received and assessed. No more "rolling admissions." Applications for 2011 may be submitted between Oct. 1-Dec.15, 2010. That's a pretty early deadline.
Also, the district released information on the Semifinalists for the National Merit Scholarship program. There are 31 SPS students who are Semi-finalists. They will continue on for the opportunity to have one of the 8200 National Merit Scholarships to be offered next spring. About half the Finalists win, earning the Merit Scholar title.

The Semi-finalists come from Garfield( 18), Roosevelt (7), Ingraham (3), Ballard (2) and Hale (1).

32 comments:

dan dempsey said...

Judge Laura Inveen has yet to rule on the appeal brought by parents on the New Student Assignment Plan boundaries.

Originally a decision was promised in two weeks, which was in the middle of summer vacation. She took a leave and has now been back for a couple of weeks.

Whatever, it seems clear that those boundary lines need to be adjusted or should the whole NSAP thing be scrapped?

How is this making every school a quality school?

Josh Hayes said...

Gee, Rakesh, thanks for the spam. How'd this get past the WV?

I think the idea for the district, to get back on topic, is to squeeze the balloon so that kids are squirted into RBHS. Nathan Hale is at capacity (and a lovely building it is, too!), I can't say about Ingraham but I hear from my little birds that it's also at capacity, and of course Ballard and Roosevelt are stuffed to the gills.

The district has hung out the "No Vacancy" sign for north-end schools, along with Garfield. I guess that means that WS, Sealth, Franklin, and RB have to take up the slack, since Cleveland is now an option school. G-J to Seattle: "Suck It Up!"

dan dempsey said...

Josh,

It seems to me that the NSAP boundary drawing needed a lot more reality. How is this making every school a quality school?

Seems the plan was to make as many parents happy as possible for a very short time Hooray My Kid is Assigned to School X. Then comes the bad news --- over capacity and all the head aches.

Ballard H.S. Montessori gutted ... quality school?

So who is going to have the courage to draw the boundary lines correctly?

RBHS - Franklin - Garfield those two boundary lines need to move North.

dan dempsey said...

Is the Official count day for the State on enrollments Friday October 1?

Charlie Mas said...

Political expediencies take precedence over academic priorities.

Operational preferences take precedence over academic priorities.

Pet projects for central administration take precedence over support for students.

The problems of Seattle Public Schools all have their source at the John Stanford Center.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"The problems of Seattle Public Schools all have their source at the John Stanford Center."

That's it in a nutshell. As long as I have been in this district, gone to many schools, it strikes me how many parents love their child's school (or at least express loyalty) and yet, almost universally, there is mistrust or confusion over the district management.

Charlie Mas said...

Let's not forget that the Board already congratulated the Superintendent and gave her high marks for the implementation of the new Student Assignment Plan. They did that back in the spring, before any of the results were available.

The Board has already passed judgement on it and found it a rousing success.

Anonymous said...

I went to the community open house for Hamilton this weekend. They also said they are full and they are using the gym at lincoln because they can't fit everything in the current schedule.

So that means in the north end that both Eckstein and Hamilton are full and very full.

Hamilton parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Hamilton Parent, using the gym for gym classes? Did they indicate if this was on-going or just for a short period?

zb said...

So what are potential solutions to the over-crowding at Roosevelt/Ballard/Garfield?

Do people think they're going to re-draw reference areas? I'm guessing not, since re-drawing them every year is pretty much what the old plan was (though I guess you get a little bit more notice).

Move the Wash/Hamilton APP -> Garfield out? How much would that reduce enrollment? Some of those kids are presumably in Garfields assignment area, anyway.

Go to shifting schedules?

Reduce choice slots?

Allow temporary overcrowding with the assertion that the pressure will be relived in a few years (and that it's the result of baby boomlets)?

Stick their fingers in their ears and hum really loud in the hopes that the crowding will magically resolve itself?

Melissa Westbrook said...

ZB, I wouldn't expect them to redraw the boundaries. Kay and the Central area regional director said it would balance out in 3-5 years but sorry, no kid should have to be in a crowded place with fewer resources for his entire high school experience. Either off-set that with more teachers/resources or figure something out. It's not the kid's fault that we have a boomlet. We'll defeat the entire idea of the new SAP if we just say "wait, it'll get better."

Anonymous said...

From what I understood they need the gym at Lincoln on an ongoing basis and every room in the building is fully utilized. I spoke to a few of the PTA moms that are more in the know than I am and they said that the building was built for 925 but that special ed brings that number down as there are 8 students in those classrooms rather than 32 (seems appropriate) so they said at 850, every space was in use and then some.

And BTW, my non-APP, non language immersion 6th grader loves the school so I expect that they will have even more kids next year.

Hamilton Parent

James Madison said...

If Ingraham, Hale and Ballard are all full to bursting, then the lines will need to come north.

That will mean some "Garfield" kids going to Franklin and some Queen Anne "Ballard" kids going ... where?

The Queen Anne political clout is going to really try to wag the boundary dog...

Melissa Westbrook said...

Hamilton, that's great to hear your student is happy.

Bird said...

Kay and the Central area regional director said it would balance out in 3-5 years

I'd find it a lot easier to believe this if the district had told us ahead of time that these schools would be over-stuffed.

If they can't accurately predict in spring how many kids are going to show up in the fall, why would we believe that they are able to accurately predict what will happen in 3-5 years?

I'll say it once again. "3-5 years" is the linguistic equivalent of "someday". They aren't saying anything more than that.

Unknown said...

Ingraham is not full. I don't know where that idea originated but it's just not true. So one answer to the question of where north end kids will go is north.

The reference to the power of Queen Anne parents doesn't make sense to me. I think all of queen anne is now assigned to Ballard , not garfield.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Before, Ballard was rebuilt, a lot of QA/Magnolia got sent to Franklin and it was a thriving school. But Ballard got rebuilt and now...

Ah, and here we are back at the question of Queen Anne/Magnolia. We went to the Supreme Court, got the issue of the use of a racial tiebreaker somewhat cleared up (you can have one but not like ours) and then...what?

The district, under the NSAP, attempted to send more north Ballard kids to Ingraham and got pushed back. So Ballard is full. So what next?

I know Ingraham isn't full so there's space there. I think Hale is full for the space they have now but I don't know if they have 1300+ kids yet to fill their space when it is done.

Hard to say what will need to be done.

Unknown said...

It is interesting Melissa, I agree. Parents may ultimately have to make a choice between sending their student to an overcrowded school where it's hard to get into desired classes, etc., or choose a school they don't "like" like Ingraham.

Personally, i think that anything that undercuts the entitlement mentality that some folks have about school choice (I should have an option that precisely fits my needs) is a good thing. In my experience, you bundle pros and cons and make the best choice from among the all-less-than-perfect alternatives.

Unknown said...

It is interesting Melissa, I agree. Parents may ultimately have to make a choice between sending their student to an overcrowded school where it's hard to get into desired classes, etc., or choose a school they don't "like" like Ingraham.

Personally, i think that anything that undercuts the entitlement mentality that some folks have about school choice (I should have an option that precisely fits my needs) is a good thing. In my experience, you bundle pros and cons and make the best choice from among the all-less-than-perfect alternatives.

Unknown said...

Ingraham has something along the lines of 950 students, but at the curriculum night last week, the principal said that they had a waitlist for grades 10-12. I don't know why it hasn't moved, or if it will move, considering that the enrollment numbers are low. In the past, the principal has said 1200 students is the "sweet spot" at which the school functions best, at least in his opinion. Last year the school had about 1100 students.

I know that the district had some idea that the NSAP was going to have too many kids at Roosevelt and Garfield and not enough at Hale and Ingraham because in June there was $700k added to the budget to "hold harmless" Ingraham and Hale if their enrollment numbers were down. Hale looks to be about the same as last year.

Anonymous said...

Did anybody notice that Lakeside students has 2 times the number of national merit semi-finalists than Garfield did? More than 25% of the seniors are semifinalists.

Observer

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'd think Lakeside would do quite well. The comparison to Garfield is like apples and oranges so I'm not sure I see the point.

Patrick said...

Rosie, one of the good things about being in a big school district is that it should be possible to offer a variety of different schools so that there is likely to be a good fit for just about every child. Of course, the all identical neighborhood school model we have now prevents that.

Anonymous said...

I went to that Hamilton event, too, and noticed they have large open areas in each classroom wing. Like a classroom without walls (no, I'm not kidding). It is classroom-sized area filled with desks and a whiteboard or smartboard. Does anyone know what these areas are for? I asked a 7th grade student there and she didn't know; she said she has not seen them used so far this year.

I wonder if these could be enclosed to make more classroom space. I can't remember whether there are lockers inside these areas.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Lisa, I was told they were for large group work. I don't think they are large enough to become other classrooms.

Anonymous said...

The point is, Melissa, you'd sort of think Garfield and its APP cohort would do better than 18 national merit-semifinalists, which is less than some other public schools in the area, drawing from fewer students.

Observer

zb said...

"The point is, Melissa, you'd sort of think Garfield and its APP cohort would do better than 18 national merit-semifinalists, which is less than some other public schools in the area, drawing from fewer students."

Why? Lakeside draws the "National Merit Semi-Finalist" (i.e. children who score well on the PSAT -- that's the only criterion for semi-finalist status) from the entire Seattle metropolitan region. And, with their fairly generous financial aid policies, they become an option for a fair number of those children. It's not surprising that Lakeside ends up with more semi-finalists, since it, in fact, selects the types of students who are likely to score well.

hschinske said...

The Lowell office used to post the National Merit results for Seattle with annotations saying which students had been to Lowell. Quite a number had ended up at other schools than Garfield. So you never know who on that list was in APP at one time (and who wasn't, for that matter).

Helen Schinske

Jan said...

Observer: I am confused. I went and read the Seattle Times list of semifinalists, and Garfield had the highest public school total of any school except for Interlake High School in Bellevue which (ta-da) houses BELLEVUE'S gifted program! -- along with a well established IB program that I think predates anything in SSD.

Lakeside is a private school that takes only extremely high achieving and/or gifted children, and while they all (or at least the NMF ones) probably all work very hard, I would bet you that class size, school resources, etc. are all very different from what SSD kids, gifted or otherwise, experience. I agree with Melissa that comparing those schools really is apples and oranges.

As for Interlake, according to the Bellevue District site for the school, they had 1341 students last year (fewer than Garfield, but I don't know by how many -- 100 or 200?), of whom they say 80 percent were White or Asian, 3% were African American, and 9 percent were Hispanic. No clue what the economic demographics of the school are, but I am suspecting that, like the ethnic/racial percentages, they vary from GHSs.

Last year, Lakeside had 28, Garfield had 17, and Interlake had 14 (but had many fewer students overall than in 2009/10). The year before, Lakeside had 30, and Garfield and Newport each had 20.

In any case, I am curious as to what other "public schools in the area drawing from fewer students" you are talking about, but I am even more curious as to what conclusions you are deriving from the numbers. Do you think GHS has bad teachers and administrators who fail to get APP and other high achievers at GHS to perform as well on the PSAT as they should? Is it the District's fault, for implementing flawed textbook/curriculum choices like Discovery Math? Are you thinking the students are just lazy or otherwise undeserving of the program? Do we need to ad IB to GHS (hmm -- I am thinking that is NOT happening, given that there are other Seattle high schools that need and want an investment of quality and rigor, and GHS is perceived by many of its detractors as having "more than its share."

I agree though that there are several interesting questions from the data -- why GHS's NM semifinalist numbers are what they are, whether those are "reasonable" or "acceptable" numbers, and where GHS's numbers fit in relation to other schools (and why). Because there is usually only one gifted program per district, this is one of the few opportunities that exist to measure gifted performance (on at least one test) across multiple districts with varying kinds of gifted programs and varying economic and ethnic backgrounds.

When the District evaluates whether it is serving this group of students appropriately and well, I wonder if these questions come up? Hmm. Now that I think of it, I wonder if the District ever bothers to evaluate its performance with this group at all?

Anonymous said...

Bellevue is a lot smaller than Seattle. That's the "smaller" draw I'm talking about. Lakeside also has non-traditinally based math too, with emphasis on collaboration and discovery. Most would argue that a discovery basis is very well suited to high achievers. But, math is only one part of the psat. I guess my quesion would be more along the lines of correct identification.

Observer

Charlie Mas said...

First, I don't know how the number of National Merit Scholarship semi-finalists or finalists ever became the measure of anything, and I'm not sure what it measures anyway.

Second, I can easily imagine classrooms and contexts in which discovery math would work exceptionally well. It is likely to be a disaster in the urban classroom we typically find in Seattle with 30 students of diverse skill levels, learning abilities, and obstacles. The classrooms at Lakeside, on the other hand, presents a nearly ideal context for success with inquiry-based math instruction.

Inquiry-based math isn't a bad idea, it's just a bad idea for most of Seattle's public school classrooms.

If the question - reagarding identification - is predicated on an assumption that any student who belongs in APP should, naturally, be able to qualify for a National Merit Scholarship, I would suggest that you review that assumption. It is clearly faulty.

hampar said...

re: Hamilton work areas
I ... noticed they have large open areas in each classroom wing. ... It is classroom-sized area filled with desks and a whiteboard or smartboard.

I wonder if these could be enclosed to make more classroom space. I can't remember whether there are lockers inside these areas.


Yes,there are lockers in at least some, if not all of these areas.

I'm not sure why anyone would want to take the little open space in a building and fill it in!