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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Quick Update

Apparently the staff is integrating budget and capacity management. (Which is fine.)

However, they didn't make that clear to the Board at yesterday's Work Session and I wanted to let anyone know who was planning to come to today's Work Session. It will NOT be just about capacity management but will include the budget.

I attended the Board Executive Committee meeting this morning and a couple of the Board members let it be known that they had not expected this to happen without some notice.

From the Board webpage:

Note to Public: The board and district leadership are taking an Integrated Planning approach to the 2011-12 student assignment plan transition, long-range capacity management, program placement for 2011-12, and budget development for 2011-12. Upcoming work sessions and workshops may focus on one or two areas per workshop but may have information on all topics. This calendar will be updated as the work moves forward. Those work sessions are:

  • Tuesday, November 30, 4:00-8:00pm (Student assignment, academic assurances, and program placement)
  • Wednesday, December 1, 4:00-8:00pm (Student assignment transition, budget)
  • Wednesday, December 8, 4:00-5:30pm
  • Thursday, December 9, 4:00-7:00pm
  • Wednesday, December 15, 4:00-7:00pm (Budget estimates (Strategic plan, program placement)
  • Wednesday, January 12, 4:00-8:00pm (Budget)
(Thank you to the West Seattle parent who pointed this out.)

Also, if you see a Board member, be extra nice. The Executive Committee meeting (another thread) was 3 hours long. Yesterday they had a 4 hour work session and today there is another. So Kay, Michael and Steve will have been working on SPS issues for at least 7 hours just today. A round of applause for their hard work.

20 comments:

SP said...

So it's after 12:00 with the next Board Meeting in less than 4 hours and there are still no specifics online about the agenda, except for the 11/30-12/01 Power Point posted under last night's meeting.

The last two bullets "Capacity Management" and "NSAP Transition Plan for 2011-12" are greyed out/ with no details.

Anonymous said...

Melissa,

A humongous Thank You for pointing out the hard work our board volunteers are giving, just this week alone! I will be seeing at least one board member soon and will definitely take the time to say thank you. What a great reminder. Also helps when readers of this blog are THE most civil, reasonable, thoughtful people any board/staff member comes across. That's how we get traction... it is not enough to have the facts on one's side.

Elbow Grease Mama

Dorothy Neville said...

Greyed out means that they are supposed to be discussed today. I am sorry I am going to miss it, but I have theater tickets (not that worksessions aren't theater..)

One cannot really discuss the Capacity and NSAP without also looking at the budget. One cannot look at the budget without also considering other planning. It is frustrating that this was not made clear earlier, but I do have to say I think this approach, moving forward, is a good one.

Yesterday they covered some budget stuff and some of the program placement issues. Tonight they are supposed to pick up on program placement.

Tonight will also have Capacity management and Transition plan.

Charlie Mas said...

I hope someone was at the Board work session last night - I was at the school reports meeting for the SE Region at South Lake.

I have taken a look at the slides and there are some items there that really merit some highlighting.

Slide #5 has the Guiding Principles for Budget Decisions. I wonder if these are still the "draft" principles from the last work session on the budget or if these represent the final guiding principles. These are, of course, separate from the Budget Priorities yet to come.

Slide 22 shows Advanced Learning programs for elementary schools. You will notice the dearth of programs in West Seattle, the Madison and Denny Service Areas. There are a grand total of three: Spectrum at Lafayette, Spectrum at Arbor Heights, and an ALO at West Seattle Elementary. That's three programs for ten schools. There are more programs (4) among the four schools in the McClure Service Area.

You will also note that there are new ALOs at MLK, Dunlap, and Emerson. At least this slide claims that the programs are there. There is no reference to these programs in any of the school reports or in the schools' CSIPs. When these programs were created, by District-level mandate, the manager of Advanced Learning promised that they would not be ALOs "in name only". What evidence do we have of legitimate programs at these schools? Why are any of the ALOs programs "in name only"?

Here's the bomb on slide 24: there will be an APP pathway from Hamilton to Ingraham if other solutions cannot address the overcrowding at Garfield.

You can review the Program Placement proposals from the public on slides 56 and 57, or you can just look at the list of the ones I submitted. I wish I had been there to hear the discussion about these. I really would like to know how they were received.

Central Mom said...

There's a whole lot more to digest in that staff ppt!

>>Slide 36 says staff recommends including SPED students in class size calculations for funding (Yes!!! Tangible evidence of public feedback getting action from staff!!)

>>Slide 41 shows possible pathways for adding next language immersion schools. Of note is that Sand Point isn't included because they are trying to set up a 2-elementary-to-1-middle-school feeder pattern. North End LI HS would be Ingraham because of IB. (Boy, they are pushing everything and the kitchen sink toward Ingraham because of capacity mgmt concerns.) Mercer is designated new immersion middle school.

>>BUT slide 43 shows that next year would be yet another "planning" year and no start-up of a new program. That's a crock. They had all this year to do the same thing. And the year before. And, etc. And it's esp. egregious for McDonald -- if it is selected -- because they just spent this past year planning.

>>Slide 48. Staff isn't letting go of closing AS#1 and cites falling enrollment. Falling enrollment largely caused by Staff policies. I say: You go AS#1. Fight back yet again.

>>Slide 51. Staff and Madrona community want an expanded Arts and Music focus at Madrona to accelerate enrollment adoption. Well that's lovely, but that makes the only middle school draw area (Washington) w/ 2 K8s -- Madrona and TOPS -- with the same focus. Because TOPS is social justice themed with an emphasis on...wait for it...Arts and Music. And their Arts and Music programs have had to come out of parents' pockets for years. Again -- 2 K8s, same region, same program. Staff doesn't seem to be thinking very comprehensively here in a number of ways. (But since the CAO strangely threw TOPS and Madrona principals under different Ed Directors it is easy to see the disconnect.) And I think there is going to be pushback from various community members.

>>Slide 53 IB at at RBHS? The next slide acknowledges that the community has definite ideas of what should go into RBHS and the staff-recommended IB program isn't one of them.

Central Mom said...

And then there is the slide that my "older but wiser" District advocacy self noted with alarm re: the budget:

Slide 14 says:

•The budget process will involve trade-offs
•Exceptions cost money
•Exceptions cost staff time

Guess what ladies and gentlemen: It is just this argument that has been used by staff and cited by Board members (Sundquist is esp. memorable in his failure to address West Seattle NSAP issues last year) in failing to respond to public critiques that a particular Staff recommendation is full of holes and/or harmful to a particular community.

If you have an issue you care about, you are going to have to watch the budget process like a hawk and squawk loudly, widely and effectively to stop The Staff Train as it leaves the station.

Again: All decisions will be made and largely finalized pre-Christmas. Stay on your toes and sharpen your advocacy techniques.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Central Mom, right again.

I'll write my thread on the School Reports meeting I attended on Monday but I note that at today's Executive Committee meeting there seemed to be an assumption that there will be an APP pathway to Ingraham. (They were careful to couch it but my experience is the minute they say "nothing is set in stone", it is.)

Charlie Mas said...

Ah, yes, the two elementary schools to one middle school language immersion pathway idea.

This is very bad so long as the language immersion schools remain attendance area schools.

Let's say that the District does make McDonald the other language immersion school in the north-end. That would mean that the only two language immersion schools are adjacent to each other and no one who lives outside of that contiguous neighborhood has access to language immersion. Even if they do make the programs into option programs to open up the access, transportation will still only be available for students in the Hamilton Service Area.

Instead, the District should choose an elementary school in a different middle school service area but which borders the Hamilton Service Area and designate that school as the second language immersion school. This would provide transportation to the program for students in a whole other service area.

And, of course, they should make them option programs to provide more equitable access.

Charlie Mas said...

The second language programs should be placed at:

Fairmount Park in the Madison Service Area feeding up to Denny.

Wing Luke in the Aki Kurose Service Area feeding up to Mercer.

Green Lake or Olympic View in the Eckstein Service Area feeding up to Hamilton.

This would still, of course, leave the Washington, McClure and Whitman Service Areas without a language immersion option. Maybe space could be found for the middle school program at McClure and elementary space at Gatzert or Lowell (especially if north-end APP is moved to the north-end). An elementary program at Adams or Greenwood could serve the Whitman Service Area. Any of these locations could be made to serve for folks living in the McClure Service Area.

Bird said...

And, of course, they should make them option programs to provide more equitable access.

I went to a meeting the other day at JSIS with Sherry Carr in attendance.
When asked why can't JSIS be an option school, the answer was, in summary, Tracy Libros says we can't have one option school and two non-option schools for language immersion. Apparently the two other immersion elementaries can't be easily switched to option schools because of the locations of nearby schools. JSIS is another matter in terms of logistics.

It was bizzare. I would think that the Board would be in charge of making such decisions, but Carr portrayed it as though it was simply out of her hands.

If the reason were that Libros has data that shows that we can't take the JSIS neighborhood capacity offline that'd make some sense, but that wasn't the answer. It was much more of a policy reason which, honestly, should be owned by the board, not the staff. It was frustrating to hear Sherry say this.

Sherry told the parents in attendance that they should take all their concerns to Libros directly because her echoing the concerns as a board member aren't as effective.

It made me wonder at why we even have a school board.

Central Mom said...

There is no reason not to make the other schools Option Schools. They will simply be Option Schools with very large geozones. Zones that almost but not quite match the current neighborhood draw areas.

This is NO different than what might happen if, say, the public wanted a standard elementary school to instead be an all-Montessori, or military prep or aviation-focused or Arts or stand-on-one-leg-and-drill-and-kill Great New Program.

If the District can't get this right with conversion of Language Immersion schools to Option status, say good-bye to ever getting creative, non-cookie-cutter Alt programs into the District in the future. Therefore, it is in The Public's best interests to push back really hard here.

It is simply not as hard as Staff and Board are trying to make it out to be. Sorry. In this case, it's a case of being stubborn and not wanting to have to devote the time to the details. Meh.

SP said...

http://www.seattleschools.org/
area/board/10-11agendas/120110agenda/nsap1201.pdf

New agenda Power Point finally posted (filling in details to the grey areas not available earlier, even at 3:00pm)

A quick scan of the Transition Plan Topics shows that the previous issue "West Seattle Feeder Patterns" is no longer on the agenda, removed by the district without further Board discussion?

Charlie Mas said...

"Apparently the two other immersion elementaries can't be easily switched to option schools because of the locations of nearby schools."

Once again, operational expediencies trump our high-minded principles and academic priorities.

We're totally committed to something, so long as that commitment doesn't cost anything.

Dorothy Neville said...

Last night's program placement discussion was mostly to inform the board. Therefore there are still a lot of unknowns.

Re Immersion: Karen Kodama said that we can accelerate the process now that we have a bunch of working schools. Ingraham was given $15K to do the first year bit of gathering information. The other schools can be on an accelerated timeline.

Re APP and Garfield. Interesting discussion, perhaps even worth someone getting and listening to the transcript. Nothing definite, just a bunch of rah rah for the Interlake Model and crossing of fingers that this will work voluntarily.

Re exceptions cost money: the reference was that since they made an exception to Ballard and RHS last year, allowing them to increase enrollment (since predicted enrollment was going to be less than functional capacity) cost the district $700K. (?)

Re fixing the WSS to remove the "contact hour" reduction. Yes, that is a big deal and I do believe that one will get fixed. But there is still some confusion over how to implement the Draft WSS changes, which will fix that, fix systemic issues with K8s and fix rounding up by .2 FTE to .5 for PCP teachers and up to a whole teacher for classroom teachers. But the data set given out last night shows that some elementary schools would lose a teacher. Go figure, I don't see any rounding down anywhere. Dunno how that works.

As for the data sets the board wants to inform the budget, see this document. It is mislabeled as being non-grant, it has both. Please tell me where the 85 positions got cut. All I see is a lot of reclassifying folks and at most 19.2 centrally funded positions gone. AND, centrally funded positions include some school based staff, so this could mean cutting custodians and IAs or something.

Since Maria has been here have gone from having 4 to 15 executive management positions making the big bucks (pay scale rank 40+)

Maureen said...

Here's a thought re feeding two immersion elementaries to each international MS. Concord and Beacon Hill are not 100% immersion (not sure of the exact ratio, but let's say 2/3 immersion, 1/3 gen ed.) The current enrollment at each immersion schools is: Concord 370, Beacon Hill 450 (functional capacity is 370 so not sure what's going on there), JSIS 425.

Beacon Hill offers Mandarin, Spanish, and English. JSIS Japanese and Spanish and Concord Spanish and English. So, once the immersion has filtered through to 5th grade, Concord will graduate something like 40 immersion kids. BH will graduate 50 and JSIS 70 (if the current 4 kindergartens could roll up, they would graduate 100).

It's not clear to me that the HIMS area needs a 2nd immersion program since the one they have is 100% immersion with no English only seats.

What is the critical mass necessary to sustain a MS immersion program? Does it all have to be in one language?

Bird said...

What is the critical mass necessary to sustain a MS immersion program? Does it all have to be in one language?

I don't know that much about Hamilton, but I think the object is to at least fill one class per language.

I went to the open house at Hamilton last year and the head of the language program said that there were only 12 kids left for Japanese in one grade. JSIS used to start with 28 in Kindergarten.

I assume that some get lost to private school. I also think a fair number might end up at another middle school in the district. I saw some data that indicated by fifth grade quite a few JSIS students were living in the Eckstein area. I suppose folks now can't move and stay in the program, so maybe there would be less of that sort of attrition going forward. I really don't know.

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

What about moving JSIS to the Jane Addams building and growing it to a K-8 option school. The JA building holds close to 800 students and has been underutilized for many years.

Then move JA K-8 to the JSIS/Latona building. JA K-8 has about 400 or so students so they'd fit comfortably in the JSIS/Latona building.

Maureen said...

Slide 14 says:

•The budget process will involve trade-offs
•Exceptions cost money
•Exceptions cost staff time



This bugs me. Exceptions do not necessarily cost money and after they are established there is no reason they have to cost staff time either. If they draw or keep extra students into the system, they can increase revenue and net out positive. I'm sure there are tons of examples of this. TOPS is proposing community stops for their buses on a cost neutral basis (this will reduce transitions for at risk kids and prevent expenditures on interventions for these kids). Did Nova's lunch program cost extra? Providing yellow buses for HS APP kids has netted out positive.

All blanket statements are completely worthless (including this one!).

Anonymous said...

I don't know a whole lot about IB so maybe there is an obvious reason to put the HS Language Immersion program with IB that I don't get. And if so, I assume the LI kids would automatically go into the IB program.

But since the JSIS kids would be in the Roosevelt assignment area why wouldn't you put the HS language immersion program at Roosevelt? Perhaps they are planning on another LI elementary school in the north end that feeds to Hamilton but not necessarily to Roosevelt to have this make more sense?

Otherwise it seems they are just trying to move kids to Ingraham and out of Roosevelt.

JSIS parent