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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Overcrowding

I didn't hear much initially but now there are reports from Ballard and Ingraham about really large classes (even for high school).   As well, there seemed to be some large classes over at Lawton with the hope they will break them up. 

The question this raises is whether the district WILL break up these large classes AND if there is room and/or money for an extra class. 

End of Monday will be the first reporting period the district is looking at (4-day total) and then, at the end of the day on the 21st, the two week totals in order to make any further staffing decisions.

What do you hear? 

73 comments:

David said...

Sorry to broaden this right away, but anyone know whether class sizes are unusually large at Garfield too in the first few days of classes? We were wondering what would happen with that.

Anonymous said...

The Northwest School had its largest freshman calss EVER! So I don't tink SPS is gaining too many kids from private schools.

SolvayGirl

Anonymous said...

and what are we supposed to do for 1 week with 3 days, and 2 weeks with 5 days, with 37 teenagers crammed into a room with a bunch of folding chair desk things - because someone swiped some of my desks!

after 13/180 instructional days of catch as catch can, we'll have a meeting and start the insufferable hiring process so that in ....... November!

when the kids are all jazzed up on halloween candy and getting fidgety looking forward to or dreading another wonderful nightmare holiday season at what kind of home ...

and by the end of the year, even if my preps don't change, 60 to 80 kids will have been added and dropped to my classes pretty randomly,

and those map scores are MY fault!

(actually, fellow teachers, getting blamed for this mess is OUR fault - are you going to spend all of the next 8 weekends in fantasy football, or, are you going to help out candidates to replace our school board!)

ImAVictimBooHoo

none1111, getting active said...

ImAVictim makes a good point:

(actually, fellow teachers, getting blamed for this mess is OUR fault - are you going to spend all of the next 8 weekends in fantasy football, or, are you going to help out candidates to replace our school board!)

Teachers, are you listening? You are powerful in numbers -- enough to make a difference! But you won't make a difference unless you're actively doing outreach to your friends, family and neighbors. The ones who will listen to you. And talk with your fellow teachers and make sure they're paying attention and doing outreach as well.

Yes, it can sometimes be uncomfortable to broach the subject of politics with friends, but most people don't have a clue of who to vote for in School Board races, and they will listen to you. It's now or never, we CAN make a difference. I've hit several friends and neighbors this week, you can too!

KG said...

i believe the most important issue is the overcrowding and the pigs at at the trough lead by Duggan harman and company.

KG said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jan said...

David -- I don't have "boots in the school" this year. But I spoke yesterday with a parent of an incoming 9th graders, and she seemed to think that things were much better this year. Her child, at least, had a full complement of classes and they were (for the most part -- within the accepted range for that sort of thing) the ones he had signed up for. Her other child is a senior and they don't see the same distortions (or at least they didn't last year.) Hope they can sort things out for Ballard and Ingraham pretty quickly.

SP said...

The weekly Waitlist Summary Report was posted online in the Enrollment section for Sept. 8th. At least for some of the longest lists, nothing has moved (91 for Garfield, 85 for Sealth- both for 9th grades only).
The other highest:
65 Washington (6th grade)
62 Roosevelt (9th)
61 Mercer (6th)
55 Cleveland (9th)
53, 51 SouthShore (PK & K)
44 Pathfinder (K)
35 Ballard (9th)

3001 total kids still in limbo on the waitlist.

Anonymous said...

Directly related to overcrowding--I would like to see a detailed report for each of the schools- a head count of how many assignment area kids actually showed up vs the district's projections.

Also, tiebreaker information- how many siblings got in, and how many "choice seats" were filled.

And for specific "transition plan" rules, how many ex-Denny students were able to get into Sealth and how many still are wait-listed. As far as I've heard not all Denny/out of area kids got into Sealth to date, even though that has been the assumption of a 6-12 campus. So far, I've not heard of any out-of-area kids (except siblings and some Denny students) getting a seat at Sealth.

---Tune-up needed on NSAP

Anonymous said...

I posted this ? under Friday's open thread, but this seems more appropriate.

Is 40+ class size normal for HS? What about languages and AP classes? We are trying to do some HW now re: HS options. 40+ seems a bit high. What is the normal HS class size range you usually see in the northend? Finally, for those of you with insight or foresight, will these large class sizes continue in the next few years?

Thanks,
PS parent

Jet City mom said...

I believe that 32 is the limit per the contract.
When my daughter was at Garfield, she wanted to take a history class that was at maximum, however the teacher felt she would do best in his class & he put in an override- that the principal denied because for each class that was over enrolled the school had to pay a fine per union contract.

I imagine the contract still has similar language but when the district purposely understaffs schools- where is the money coming from to pay the fine?

Chris said...

My Hamilton 8th grader has 73 kids in her PE class, with one teacher. She said they spend half the period just taking roll. Granted, it's just PE, but it sure seems like a waste to me.

Anonymous said...

My 7th grader at HIMs has over 50 in PE and the lunch line is so long that she did not get to eat on Friday. Classes seem to be in the "normal" 30 plus range.

parent of HIMS

Melissa Westbrook said...

PS, that's a lot of questions.

No, 40 is not the normal class size for high school (nor should it be).

It really depends on the school and the class. Ballard, Roosevelt, Garfield and now Ingraham and Chief Sealth are running full. (I think Franklin is near full.)

However, my son at Roosevelt didn't have overly large class sizes in AP (about 30-32) or science and his elective classes tended to be smaller (22-24).

Again, it depends on the teacher and the contract. They can take on more and get paid a little more. I haven't heard of the fine that Emerald Kitty speaks about in her comment.

Will it last? Hard to say. Ingraham is becoming a stronger school all the time as is Sealth.

If the recession recedes, that might help but I have a feeling that even if it does, families will be cautious about diving back into private school because it is a long-term commitment (and by now, their kids have made friends).

If the district continues to grow, I would look for a new high school to open up in 5 years or so.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know if Princess left Cleveland as principal? Heard that in passing. If not, fine. If so, then what do we make of the STEM program in new hands?

Southie

SPS parent said...

Oh, the irony with the PE at Hamilton...getting a PE waiver requires 50% more time time than at other middle schools (90 documented hours vs state requirement of 60 hr, or 150 min per wk vs 100 min per week), and yet it sounds like they have too many students needing to take PE.

SPS parent

Chris said...

Exactly, SPS Parent. My daughter would LOVE to get a PE waiver, but can't make the hours needed since she doesn't play team sports. Weekly yoga and swimming doesn't cut it.

Anonymous said...

I heard that Hamilton has over 960 kids enrolled (and that their supposed capacity is closer to 800?). I keep wondering if the District will do the same thing that they did to the Lowell kids - at the end of the school year, suddenly announce that Hamilton is full and that APP has to move. I wish I had some faith the the District was going to proactively analyse and then manage the capacity (and lack thereof) at Hamilton. Jane

Po3 said...

Speaking of Cleveland; they have a waistlist of 55 for 9th grade!

I wonder if maybe this 9th grade class is a large cohort across the city, which would account for larger class size at the private schools.

Also, anybody know what RBHS enrollment is for this year?

Jamie said...

My freshman at Ballard says she has 37 in all her classes except band and biology. (Not sure exactly how she knows this, but that's what she tells me). Is the limit really supposed to be 32 even in high school?

Anonymous said...

How can Hamilton require more hours for a PE waiver than other schools?? Has anyone contacted Board members about it?

dp

Kathy said...

I hope the numbers of 37 students per class diminish within the next few weeks. Although, such disruption should never occur.

The district is slated to get MILLIONS of dollars for enrollment increases.

The district is holding back $1.6M in "Performance Management" dollars. The district also distributes dollars to schools based on a three year enrollment average.

There shouldn't even be a discussion if it is acceptable to have 37 kids in a class- it isn't acceptable.

Jet City mom said...

Each teacher contract is slightly different- but I think that the contract for high school teachers is 32 per classroom and 160 per day.

The way I understand it, I-728 money could be used to lower that class size, or it could be used for other things in the building " to make that size more manageable"

Now the current contract may not have a limit on class size, if the district/union decided other things were more important.
Apparently some districts don't have limits.
( from a Seattle times 2009 article)

There were no class-size caps in the upper grades, and the new contract did not set them as teachers had wanted.

But the new contract does provide that when a teacher's combined daily class load rises above 147 students in middle school or 157 in high school, a substitute will come in to spell the teacher for up to a day and a half each quarter.

Those numbers will go down in the contract's second year to 145 and 155 students, respectively.

The new contract puts Kent's class-size limits more in line with those of other area districts. In Auburn, for example, teachers in K-2 receive help when their classes exceed 25 students. In Federal Way, it's 26 students for grades K-3, and in Seattle, it's 27 for K-3.

A few districts have limits on the sizes of high-school classes, as Kent teachers had sought, but many do not.

hschinske said...

It's particularly difficult to get that 90 hours in if your child has any other after-school commitment. My son is in boychoir two days a week, and very few activities turned out to provide enough hours *and* be available on days that weren't Monday and Wednesday. (The lack of Friday activities was particularly galling as that is the *one* weekday we were sure of not having homework.) He ended up doing aikido at Tenzan, and we've been very happy with that decision as he turned out to really enjoy it, but it would have been awfully, awfully nice to be able to make up the gym hours with HOST activities, or at any rate with one of the several dojos, yoga studios, etc. that are within walking distance of Hamilton.

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

Melissa,
Thanks. I know it is a big question. RE: A new HS in 5 years. I know our family has been asking board members DeBell and co. over the past 5 years, and can't seem to get a yes or no response. Are they the wrong people to ask? If we need a new HS in the northend and I think we do, shouldn't we be talking about it NOW? We are looking at HS next year, and looking at large class size (even in MS) and popular programs like IB or Biotech with their limited seatings is a concern.

PS parent

hschinske said...

There was some discussion of the 90-hour thing on discussapp last year: http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=4649338642905686469&postID=3077536835771699628. I emailed around and found that (as far as I could tell) 90 hours was the new district policy but that only Hamilton was following it so far.

Helen Schinske

Melissa Westbrook said...

PS, Sherry Carr has expressed some concern over the rapid rate of reopening schools based on this spike of enrollment. She may be right and this IS just spike that will level off. We don't want to do too much too fast.

I forgot who did the research (either Helen S. or Charlie or Dorothy N. or Kellie) but this business of wanting buildings to be full is not the best way to go (especially with a neighborhood plan). You need a little flexible room and we are running out of that in many buildings.

I think the Board would have to see real agitation on the part of parents if they were to advocate for a new high school. Frankly, I think there's too much on the plate to think about it now (except, of course, for capacity planning).

So the time for that discussion is during the BEX IV discussions which I would think would be coming up soon, either in a Work Session or Board community meetings.

The issue is also - where to put it? The only choices I see is to take the land we are (will) swap with the City at Seattle Center and build a downtown high school. That would serve Magnolia and Queen Anne and take the pressure off of Ballard (and possibly Roosevelt or Garfield).

Or, give up Lincoln as a interim site and make it a high school again. I don't see this happening as the district likes moving schools out for renovations and they will be doing either Eckstein, Washington or Whitman under BEX IV and they have to have someplace to go in the north end.

It's a dilemma but I urge you to consider what capacity management issues you feel are most pressing and then think about what you would urge for BEX IV. You have to keep in mind, of course, that BEX is there to address not only capacity issues but condition issues.

Anonymous said...

What is the enrollment like at Nathan Hale? A friend of ours who is in the Roosevelt area requested it but was denied and sent to Roosevelt. They decided to go to a private school instead because they didn't like Roosevelt.

Susan

Anonymous said...

More off-topic PE waiver info:

The link on SPS's website has a general PE waiver form referencing the State's minimum of 100 min/wk/yr avg. If there is a District wide policy of 90 hrs (instead of the State's 60 hrs), where is it posted?

The link from Helen is RCW 28A.210.365, which is a model policy for PE and nutrition. It is prefaced by the words, "It is the goal of Washington state to ensure that:" by 2010 students in grades 1-8 should have at least 150 min of PE per week.

That is different from the State requirement of an average of at least 100 min/wk/yr. WAC 392-410-135 states "an average of at least one hundred instructional minutes per week per year in physical education shall be required of all pupils in the common schools in the grade school program (grades 1-8) unless waived pursuant to RCW 28A.230.040."

Enforcing 90 hrs is enforcing a goal, when the requirement is still 60 hrs.

60 hours is the State requirement and if other schools grant PE waivers at 60 hours then so should Hamilton.

dp

Melissa Westbrook said...

Susan, that's interesting because if there were space, that student should have gotten in. If not, then Hale is full? Like it's new size (what 1400?) full? Hmmm.

Jamie said...

Susan, that is interesting. Several of my kid's friends at Salmon Bay (who live in the Roosevelt and Ballard zones) are going to Hale. As is my neighbor across the street (we are in the Ballard zone). So I wonder if Hale is full now and turning people away.

RosieReader said...

PS - I was under the impression that there remains a lot of high school capacity, albeit not at the schools that people want to attend. Until all HS slots are scheduled to be filled for at least the short term (5 years) I would advocate that discussions about adding new high schools are the last place to spend time. That is, until we have at least 400 - 500 students more than the collective capacity of our existing high schools, and more coming in the future, I would hope Board and staff can find other things to focus on.

Jan said...

Wait -- maybe this is just the logical extension of the posts on needing a new high school, but if Ballard, Ingraham, Hale, Roosevelt, Garfield, Sealth, Cleveland and Franklin are all full -- then what is left?

Center and Nova (neither very large, and neither comprehensive -- which is a positive for some, but a negative for others) and thus neither is a school a kid can be assigned to against his/her will; and

West Seattle and RBHS. Is that really it? Two option schools, a school nearly in Renton (that has historically had huge problems attracting students), and one in the north end of West Seattle (the "Cinderella school that also struggles to attract kids, while the District pours all available assets (and kids) into its preferred sister, Sealth? Or when we talk "full," are we only talking about "full in the 9th grade slots?" And if THAT is true, do we know for a fact whether this class is just a single large class? So that next year's 9th graders will not have this problem? This also makes the abandonment of "choice" seats particularly alarming. Does this mean that the 10% set-aside might conceivably only apply to WSHS and RBHS? That sure isn't the choice feature that parents asked for -- and that the District promised as part of NSAP.

Anonymous said...

Even if Ms. Carr thinks the whole capacity issue is a spike, it is a spike that is going to last awhile judging by the numbers of large incoming K classes since 2006-7. There are more and more kids in K this year and our cluster is jammed. They have opened an elementary option school, but that is filling up as well as people are opting out of large K class size in their neighborhood school. Once these kids are out of ES, what then? We are seeing large classes in MS and MS full to capacity.

So what are we going to do with all these kids. I see Wilson-Pacific as a possibility. The Northened and parts of W. Seattle need some relief. I hate to think we are going to see class of 40+ be the norm because "this is just a spike" that lasts 6 to 7 years. Will Ms. Carr be around when that spike hits? Probably not. But the decision she makes or does not make now will affect these kids then.

PS parent

Anonymous said...

Is this overcrowding chaos going on in any other local school district or is it one of Seattle School District's "unique" problems?

Not a good way to function, folks.
I wonder if Bill Gates still thinks class size doesn't matter?
MGJ didn't think so, either.

Is that why you're in this mess?
It sure was avoidable. Do you think the parents in the Lake Washington district would put up with this chaos and lost learning?
Not in a minute.

--outside of the bubble

just sayin' said...

is there a way to get the school counts? will schools that didn't meet projected enrollment lose teachers? they should. and move them to the schools who are over projected enrollment.

Anonymous said...

Outside of the bubble -

The district where I teach - to the north of Seattle - has some overcrowded classrooms as well. In a few cases, we got new classes formed as of Friday (school started today). In a few more cases, we are still waiting (and hoping) that enrollment and funding will be such that we will be allowed to add a new teacher/new class.
We had quite a few 1st and 2nd grade classes in the 30s, and most of those schools were allowed to hire an additional teacher for a 1/2 class. We also added a couple more K classes and at least one 3rd grade class. Some of the older grades have not been quite so lucky yet because their numbers are averaged differently, so they are still quite large.

As teachers, we walked out several years ago over class size issues and contract interpretation. Since then, our district has been a little better about making sure class sizes are reasonable, and a little more responsive when we have overloaded classes. Plus, we are a smaller district and it's a bit easier to keep track of our numbers of students vs what Seattle has to keep track of. Still, we have had our years of chaos too, when kids just start showing up out of the woodwork and registering. We do send home a form near the end of the year asking about plans for next year so we can at least get a general idea of what numbers might be like that following year.

up north

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jan said...

RosieReader: I get your point (at least I think I do). But a couple of things: first, now that families "assign" themselves to particular schools by living in/moving to an assignment area -- how do you suggest the District move the bodies to the schools that have space?
Second -- I am not sure I would draw the line where you do. 400 to 500 extra kids, for five years, beyond full capacity at every school? Before you will even open debate on a new school? Where, in the interim, do you propose putting those kids. I think the 'long term view" is valid and important -- but that seems extreme. It seems to me that if you are going to ask the District to be admitting, in September, any number of kids who move/leave private school/etc. over the summer, you really need to plan for schools that have an extra 3 to 5 percent capacity every year -- minimum. When the parents/kids choose the schools by moving, full capacity at any point is overcrowded. Am I missing something?

And finally, I had the same impression as you (until this post) -- that there were maybe 3 or 4 "full" schools, but all the other comprehensives had room. Do we now really know that all comprehensives other than Beach and West Seattle are full or overfull? If our initial assumptions were wrong, and the schools are full and the pipeline looks full, doesn't it seem that they should start planning NOW (because if they don't start for 3 or 4 years, most new school solutions are 5 to 7 years out).

Jan said...

Anonymous at 5:12 -- if you want your plea to last, you need to repost with some identity/signature. Otherwise, to quote the blog "it is the policy and practice of this blog to delete unsigned anonymous comments . . . ."

Anonymous said...

Oh, and 32 is too many kids in a class. 40 is totally unacceptable. Talk to a high school science teacher who has to run a lab with that many kids in the span of 50 minutes, then get ready to do it again five minutes later.

Also, I was told at my son’s high school that they can’t teach expository writing (and, believe me, they don’t) because a teacher couldn’t possibly grade all those papers. If kids don’t learn to devise an argument, back it up with facts, and put it cogently into words they will ipso facto have a weak voice in their society. A former Lakesider (who also attended public high schools) said he thought that this was probably the major difference between private and public schools. Private schools teach kids how to be persuasive, confident, and powerful. But how many papers do their teachers have to grade? 75? How many does my son’s history teacher have to grade? 300? You could say that unequal outcomes are built right into the system by class size (the major factor, poverty, is not created by the school system - although it certainly is sustained by it).

Ugh. Don’t get me started on class size. I can’t believe parents and teachers aren’t up in arms about it! I think we should all be striking. And Bill Gates put in a dunce cap and made to sit in the corner of a chemistry lab at Garfield for all of eternity.

Miss Waterlow said...

Thanks Jan.

(actually, fellow teachers, getting blamed for this mess is OUR fault - are you going to spend all of the next 8 weekends in fantasy football, or, are you going to help out candidates to replace our school board!)

This goes out to parents as well, most of whom worry a lot and complain but that’s about it. Please pay attention not only to school board elections, but to upcoming state elections. Hopefully there will be another tax reform initiative on the ballot in 2012. If we’d passed 1098 (and blocked Eyman and the Food and Beverage Association) in 2010, we’d have spared our kids a lot of pain. There are so many tell-tale symptoms of people fighting over crumbs around here.

Also, please don’t be apathetic about the national 2012 elections, even if you’re feeling disappointed and disillusioned. If you think our public school woes are bad now, just imagine Rick Perry (or any other R) in the White House (and even more government-haters in Congress).

What none1111 said is true: it’s awkward sometimes to bring up politics with friends and acquaintances (at PTA meetings!), but there’s no other way out of this mess.

Miss Waterlow said...

And this was me (Anonymous at 5:12) too.

Oh, and 32 is too many kids in a class. 40 is totally unacceptable. Talk to a high school science teacher who has to run a lab with that many kids in the span of 50 minutes, then get ready to do it again five minutes later.

Also, I was told at my son’s high school that they can’t teach expository writing (and, believe me, they don’t) because a teacher couldn’t possibly grade all those papers. If kids don’t learn to devise an argument, back it up with facts, and put it cogently into words they will ipso facto have a weak voice in their society. A former Lakesider (who also attended public high schools) said he thought that this was probably the major difference between private and public schools. Private schools teach kids how to be persuasive, confident, and powerful. But how many papers do their teachers have to grade? 75? How many does my son’s history teacher have to grade? 300? You could say that unequal outcomes are built right into the system by class size (the major factor, poverty, is not created by the school system - although it certainly is sustained by it).

Ugh. Don’t get me started on class size. I can’t believe parents and teachers aren’t up in arms about it! I think we should all be striking. And Bill Gates put in a dunce cap and made to sit in the corner of a chemistry lab at Garfield for all of eternity.

Anonymous said...

How crowded are the classrooms, physically? Movable space, or worth calling the fire marshall in and see if you can force compliance that way? Have the school board members come in amd see what 30+ kids look like? Video the classroom environment and make sure it gets publicized. If admin doesn't listen, then sometimes you have to do am end run around them. It's been done before...

Up north

Anonymous said...

I am beginning to think the reason why capacity issue is in constant crisis because that is how it's managed. We have board members who are around for fixed number of years and Superintendants who are around for even shorter stint. The only people that stick around long term are the kids, parents, and teachers. So we have to take the long view or bail.

Capcacity and enrollment are intertwined, so youcan't tell me that since 2006 as enrollment has grown in some clusters and parents sending out warnings, the district didn't see this coming.

Honestly, if they can just leave the TFA, MAP, teacher eval pay review stuff for a bit, and start paying equal attention,$$, and managing this issue, we might be gettting somewhere. After all if it is numbers we are talking about, how about where to put our kids?

PS parent

Anonymous said...

This is mismanagement--in a nutshell. All the meetings and press conferences and visiting schools on the first day for a carnival show--but lurking in the shadows was a situation where many schools and classroom are barely, or not, functional.

Thanks, school board and district administration for this complete trainwreck. At least you can be counted on to be consistent--putting the students and teachers last on your always full political agendas.

--take another one for the team

Anonymous said...

I find the staffing process to be frustrating because it isn't transparent and it doesn't seem to be tied to any known relationship with enrollment.

For example, it is a fiction that schools are staffed according to their beginning-of-year enrollment. The way staffing works is schools have a beginning-of-year enrollment, and the district estimates an attrition rate. This is how the district arrives at the annual average full-time equivalent (AAFTE) figure for enrollment. And how does the district estimate attrition? No one knows--not even the principals. It is a secret.

In determining general and vocational education staffing, the district subtracts a percentage of the AAFTE based on assumptions about the percentage of general/vocational education classes that bilingual and SPED students will take. The resultant "contact time" figure is then divided by 30 and multiplied by 1.2 (to account for PCP time). That's how general/vocation staffing is determined.

The one part of this process that is not publicly known is the estimated attrition rate. Thus, a school's enrollment in September can be, say, 1000, and the district can mysteriously say that the AAFTE is 940 and staff accordingly. It doesn't matter recent history makes that AAFTE figure not credible. And since the "formula" for estimating attrition is a secret, no one can ever check it.

That is how a school like Ingraham can end up overcrowded. The district makes some mysterious assumptions about attrition and understaffs the school.

This is why the staffing process is, as I and others have said, not transparent. I have talked to two Board members about this, and in each case they simply expressed their faith in staff. That is why overcrowding is a campaign issue. Board culture has not changed. It needs to, and it won't unless we throw some or all of them out of office.

DWE

Anonymous said...

35 of a certain class were on the official esis list fri. morning. 4 of the 35 seats were empty at the opening bell, whew. 2 kids come in late, then 2 brand new kids. all seats full. 2 kids are dropped later in the day for not showing up at all, but voodoo voodoo drop add add drop and 37 are on the list friday afternoon. still have 37 this morning & go steal 2 chairs from teachers lounge. 1 of the dropped kids from friday shows up with paper to admit. 37 chairs, 3 are empty when the bell rings. 3 kids straggle in with excused late passes over the next 25 minutes and then ... 1 new new kid ... who gets my chair since there is only 10 minutes of class left.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring --- maybe we should wait for another few weeks and then all have meetings at the John Stanford Center of Exquisite Excuses - just don't ask any question with definitive yes or no answers, and don't ask questions with specific time deadlines for action or response. this is why gates and broad and walton get away with peddling their snake oil.

ExcusesAnyway

dan dempsey said...

Best News in all this is that Cleveland has a 9th grade wait list....... how many 9th graders are at Cleveland? {{ 250 ?? }}

Hey but wait a minute. The Cleveland enrollment was supposed to take the enrollment pressure off the other comprehensive high schools. Who drew those comprehensive HS boundary lines and what were they thinking?

Where are those set aside open seats?

===========
Cleveland featured double math for all students last year.

In Algebra EoC #1 testing of students who took an Algebra Class at Cleveland the pass rates were:

for all => 46.1% {{59.4}}
for Low Income students => 43.7% {{ 44.9 }}
for Black students => 31.5% {{ 29.5% }}
for Limited English speakers => 32.4% {{ 32.2% }}

District averages in {{ .. }} above

For Geometry EoC #2 taken by those who just finished a Geometry Class at Cleveland

for all => 54.5% {{70.6}}
for Low Income students => 51.8% {{ 54.9 }}
for Black students => 36.5% {{ 39.3 }}
for Limited English speakers => 45.9% {{ 43.1 }}

District averages in {{ .. }} above

It takes a double Math class period at Cleveland to score at about the same level as the District averages

==============
Cleveland uses Project Based Learning as an approach. They have each students taking a double dose of math and they are getting test results from OSPI that are about the same as the District average.
==============

Lets have a look at Cleveland HSPE Reading pass rates and same for District.

for all => 68.8% {{80.4}}
for Low Income students => 67.6% {{ 68.3 }}
for Black students => 62.3% {{ 64.0 }}
for Limited English speakers => 35.3% {{ 25.7 }}

Cleveland had been improving in reading for sometime. It is good to see that his is still happening.

Congratulations to ALL at Cleveland on a successful first year as a STEM option school.

The Math scores still have a ways to go for a STEM school .. but it is a good start.

===========
Anyone out there with a student at Cleveland?

dan dempsey said...

In California when I taught at Bellflower the maximum class size was 40 and a teacher's average load could not exceed 35 per class.

Class sizes traditionally have been
Utah largest
California next
and WA always in the top 5 largest.

=========
Note: In 2000 the National Science teachers organization considered a lab with more than 24 students to be an unsafe environment.

Do you suppose SPS has unsafe conditions?

Maybe it is all virtual labs done on the stuff vendors might sell to the SPS.

Jan said...

Dan -- no students at Cleveland, but I take exception to the following from your post:

It takes a double Math class period at Cleveland to score at about the same level as the District averages

As I read it (and maybe I am reading it wrong) the statement implies that if they had had a regular math class period, they would have done worse. That may not be the case. If, in fact, the method they are using is either flawed (which I suspect), OR the method they are using is producing good results but those results are not captured in the testing format being used (I doubt this, but I suppose it could happen), then you might have double math periods, and still see no test result (and then, of course, there are all the test issues, but those exist for all schools, regardless of single or double periods).

If I had to guess, my hypothesis would be that the test results are about what they would have been with a single period, because the teaching method (discovery math) is so flawed. It doesn't work well for many kids. And it works SO badly that even if you double the time they spend trying to learn math using this method -- it doesn't help.

I can't prove anything here. I just know from my brief brushes with discovery learning that it risks a scenario where there is lots and lots and lots of "wasted" time that does not move the needle. Can these kids afford to be taught using such flawed and inefficient methods? Do they have the time (and the patience) for a curriculum that has been deemed mathematically unsound by the OSPI folks?

kellie said...

Hi Mel,

I am the one that talks about capacity systems with regard to student assignment.

Simply put, a choice system can be run at capacity because the last student in gets the last seat. So choice systems are very capacity efficient and very student inefficient. They are student inefficient because students are unable to predict in advance where they will be assigned. Additionally, "the winners" in a choice systems are those students that have a stable in system address at the time of choice. Otherwise, the last one to enroll gets what is left.

A neighborhood system is student efficient because students can predict where they will be assigned based on address. However, they are capacity inefficient because students don't come in nice tidy little numbers. There are variations from year to year and neighborhood to neighborhood. Therefore, a neighborhood system MUST have capacity at every grade level AND in every neighborhood.

RosieReader's argument collapses because it is now completely irrelevant how much space is at Rainier Beach because you can't send students from north of the ship canal to the southern most school. Students must be assigned to a geographically contiguous assignment area.

The boundaries are already drawn so that Ballard's boundary is northern boundary is unnaturally far south and Garfield's southern boundary is unnaturally far north. The only way to make Rainier Beaches capacity work for the north end would be to have Ballard not actually located in the Ballard assignment area! Same with Garfield!

But the real issue is that the "growth" started with the current 9th grade class. Every cohort after this current 9th grade class is larger. In three years when these cohorts roll up to high school, there will be ZERO space in the system.

Lori said...

It concerns me that Sherry Carr thinks that current capacity issues are a spike that we may be over-reacting to. Why does her opinion differ from that of so many parents? Is this an evidence-based opinion? If so, can we all see the data?

If there's anyone out there on the Demographics Taskforce, how is it going? What data have been shown to you about our current population and projected future needs?

This really isn't rocket science. There should be a way to use the data the district has to answer the question of whether this is a short-term spike or not.

If parents really want to study the issue and lobby for another high school, start putting the numbers together yourselves. Read the Wikipedia article entitled "Population Pyramid" for an idea of how to illustrate population dynamics graphically (and I believe powerfully). Make a current pyramid for each high school, using its current 9-12 population plus the population of all K-8 students at current feeder schools. Do the same with the data from maybe 5 years ago and 10 years ago. Let's see how/if our pyramids are changing over time. It doesn't even matter that the assignment plan has changed because we are only interested in seeing the relevant cohort sizes at particular snapshots in time.

I think that a Powerpoint presentation showing these figures, if they end up looking the way that I suspect they will look, might help people see our future needs more clearly.

kellie said...

Sheri is correct to be cautious. Opening and closing schools is painful and expensive in terms of dollars, community resources and public support of education.

That said, caution should merely require better data. Better data can demonstrate to all the stake holders that the decisions are being made to solve a cleanly documented challenge. If the district has simply shown that every elementary in the NE had added between 2-6 additional homerooms AND that average class size had grown by 3 per class so that when the "new school" for 300 was opened, it was only after the already existing schools had absorbed an additional 700 students over the previous 4 years, there wouldn't have been such an outcry from other neighborhoods, that the NE was getting special treatment.

However, that type of data is only provided by the community and it is always "unofficial" data. Meg made the best chart I have ever seen where she proved that enrollment shocks from the multiple rounds of closure conversations was masking the (now 10 year) growth curve.

It is more than possible to document 10 years of consistent enrollment growth. However, the choice system masked this growth as families would often self-select out, rather than accept mandatory assignments.

As simple analysis of attrition of mandatory assignments vs attrition in choice assignments could easily document this. However, we don't need that analysis any longer. The NSAP has shown this as the greater than expected growth has been seen in non-entry grades.

The bottom line is that any way you slice the data, a new comprehensive high school and possibly a comprehensive plus another 400 student option school, will be required.

The only way to avoid this would be to start double shifting at both the high schools and middle school.

someone said...

@Kellie - very interesting info. Thx for that - not sure I totally grasp the concepts, but it does beg the question - if this stuff is so easily discernible and adequate data available - why hasn't SPS come to the same concrete conclusion? Which I read as the system is approaching capacity and must alter one way or another (more schools or different scheduling).

It doth make me wonder...

dan dempsey said...

Jan,

Thanks for the thoughts on Cleveland Math. Cleveland has been "Discovering" how to do math for a long time.

From fall 2006 thru spring 2009 CHS had the great school wide unmonitored IMP math experiment complete with copious UW/ NSF professional development. This produced shockingly low scores. The first year of Discovering 2009-2010 the 10th grade HSPE math scores were also bad.

NOW WE HAVE AN OSPI REAL ALGEBRA TEST.

I believe that without those CHS double math periods the CHS Algebra scores would have been much much lower. Note the District averages are below the sate averages.

I congratulate Cleveland Staff for performing well given what they have to work with. I do not congratulate them for their selection of the New Technology Network which was and is a colossal waste of money. $800,000 for three years.... thanks to Directors Carr, Martin-Morris, Sundquist, and Maier--- the always approving bobbleheads.

dan dempsey said...

Bubble???

Here is the enrollment according to OSPI from enrollment at MSP test time in 2011

SPS enrollment from OSPI testing

3rd 3871
4th 3755
5th 3711
6th 3331
7th 3203
8th 3102

Is there a middle school exodus that then returns at high school?

In Olympia parents have confidence in their local elementary schools and the high schools ... but some with money send their middle school kids to Charles Wright Academy near Steilacoom or to Nova Middle School for the academically talented near Olympia High School.

Jan said...

Interesting figures, Dan -- and interesting question. You know, it ought to be possible to figure out if the "Olympia" dynamic is happening here (anecdotally, I can think of a handful of kids who have moved back into SPS after middle school, but don't know in many cases what they did for elementary). I also know there are some people who homeschool through middle school -- and then enroll in public high school, as the academics become more challenging, things, like lab sciences are more difficult to manage on a homeshcool basis, and kids want to generate transcripts for colleges.

It ought to be possible (and not all that difficult) for SPS to determine, from kids transferring in to high school from something OTHER than existing SPS middle schools, how many of them have just moved to the District, and how many were already here, but were in private school or were home schooled. That ought to tell you whether what your figures show for elementary school is likely to show up in middle school AND in high school.

I wonder if the demographic task force (or whatever it is) can get the District to crunch the numbers?

Jan said...

And to Excusesanyway:

"Voodoo voodoo drop add add drop" is definitely the phrase of the day, if not of the week. Captures exactly how the schedule change process seemed to work at my kid's school. Thanks for the post. Hope you had a chair today!

Anonymous said...

I personally know at least 10 kids who went private for MS and returned to SPS for high school. I think it is fairly common.

SolvayGirl

h2o girl said...

Solvay, I do as well.

kellie said...

For a long time, the rule of thumb was that there was a 9th grade bump of about 300 students.

Where the students came from was not tracked but it was pretty consistently around 300 so that is the number that was in the planning cycles.

I have no solid information as to what that number will be under the new plan. However, my guess is that the 9th grade bump will actually increase. Families make many decisions around high school and predictability is critical to decision making.

The choice system, and the uncertainty around high school assignment, and the part where public school assignments often came after private school commitments were required, drove many public schools families either out of district or to private.

Many folks have already forgotten that a key driver of the NSAP was to increase enrollment. As guaranteed assignment plans tend to have higher capture rates for enrollment this was a strategy to manage all that excess capacity.

So the bottom line here is
1) New plan that is designed to increase enrollment
2) Overall population growth.

1+2 = overcrowding

Melissa Westbrook said...

If I said it incorrectly (but I think I did say it this way), Sherry Carr was worrying out loud. It was her OPINION that the district needs to watch the numbers and forecasting because, as Kellie, said the amount of energy and resources and pain over closing and reopening schools is tremendous. It was a cautionary note on her part.

That said, yes, the district needs to get better at this because it will have short, medium and long-term effects on our whole system.

dan dempsey said...

Let us not for a moment think that Steve Sundquist's insistence on closing Cooper so Pathfinder could move there had any rational capacity management basis. This caused great overcrowding at Schmitz Park and other elementary schools in Northern West Seattle.

This was not an SPS data management failure ... this was typical defective leadership from Steve Sundquist.

Anonymous said...

A sincere thanks for the congratulations to Cleveland, Dan. I think you know the staff have been working SO hard, so it is pretty great to have wait-lists for our program.

One fact-check, though: we've been doing double periods of math for most of the past 4 years. Some years only in geometry, but most years in algebra and geometry. Also, the math department last year was continuing it's work with the UW's PD3 project--their curricular approach continued to primarily be Complex Instruction, with some participation in project work.

--Catherine Brown, Cleveland HS

Charlie Mas said...

The District's demographic estimates project enrollments growing for at least the next five years. The estimates project enrollments that exceed the capacity of our schools.

I have no idea what Sherry Carr is mumbling about, but it isn't based on any District enrollment projections.

CT said...

Shoreline district often gets s good sized bump in enrollment from 6th through 8th grade. Shoreline elementaries are K-6, so Seattle parents anxious about the middle school switch get a boundary exception for 6th grade, then they attend middle school in Shoreline 7-8 and return to Seattle for HS. My neighbor is planning to do that unless her child gets into a K-8 option school.

Anonymous said...

I know a lot of people who switch to private for MS because Eckstein is so huge. They often then switch back to public for HS. There are also a lot of Northeast Seattle families who switch to Shorline's Shorecrest for high school because their drama department is so good but it isn't as cut throat as Roosevelt's nor is it babified like Hale's. Hales principal needs to remember that she is a principal of a HS now not a MS. Susan

Melissa Westbrook said...

Susan, what do you mean by "babified?" Too juvenile?

Jan said...

Charlie: am I correct in thinking that while we think enrollment is increasing for "at least five years" it would also take "at least five years" to site and build another high school (a little less to do something to Wilson Pacific or Marshall)? How far out can enrollment be predicted and how much softer do the numbers get as the time extends, I wonder? I can see where it could (maybe should) be pretty hard for the directors who voted to CLOSE schools 2 years ago to now be all bustley and brisk about building a new high school. Either they believed in shrinking populations then and just disbelieve the numbers you reference, or perhaps they are just choking on huge helpings of crow. But it IS a big endeavor in very lean times -- perhaps one of these scenarios is what has Sherry going.

Charlie Mas said...

The kindergarten projections can only go five years out because they are based on births. The projections for first grade can go one year further, then one more year further for each higher grade. Of course, as Jan suggested, each year we project into the future - including those first five - the numbers get fuzzier and fuzzier. Consequently, I haven't seen any projections that were more than five or six years out.

These projections were made public at the time that the Demographics Task Force was meeting.

At that time it was completely and crystal clear that by 2015 the middle school enrollment north of the Ship Canal would exceed the capacity of Whitman, Eckstein, Hamilton and the middle-school seats in the K-8s. There is no alternative to creating new, additional middle school capacity north of the Ship Canal. The very fact that the District has dithered about the one and only possible solution (re-open Wilson-Pacific as a middle school) completely mystifies me.

Anonymous said...

Melissa Asked:
Susan, what do you mean by "babified?" Too juvenile?

Yes, too juvenile. Shorecrest did Les Miserables. Ballard did Caberet. Nathan Hale did High school Musical 2, much to the disgust of High Schoolers everywhere.
Susan

Heather said...

Is this overcrowding chaos going on in any other local school district or is it one of Seattle School District's "unique" problems? Not a good way to function, folks. I wonder if Bill Gates still thinks class size doesn't matter? MGJ didn't think so, either. Is that why you're in this mess? It sure was avoidable. Do you think the parents in the Lake Washington district would put up with this chaos and lost learning? Not in a minute. --outside of the bubble