The Future of the Student Assignment Plan

Despite media reports that make the New Student Assignment Plan sound like a completed project, it is, in fact, a work in progress. After adopting a framework and then a new policy, the District applies annual patches and technical revisions to the Plan at least annually. These annual "transition plan" adoptions make both small and large changes to the basic framework and implementation of the plan. Last year's transition plan, for example, dramatically altered the transportation standards, added APP IB at Ingraham, changed the rules for siblings, created attendance areas for Rainier View and Viewlands, adjusted the boundaries for southend high schools, and more.

In addition, the annual Program Placement decisions are folded into this document in a way that precludes any discussion of Program Placement decisions.

There will be an annual transition plan for the coming year as well. This plan will be adopted soon - probably by February - and will include a whole lot of stuff that very few people have yet to hear anything about.

There is a flurry of proposals out there. None of them have been settled on. Let me stress that.


This is, however, the time to propose ideas and to offer comments on ideas - BEFORE DECISIONS ARE MADE. There are a number of steps that people can take.

Make a Program Placement Proposal
The Program Placement Policy, C56.00, allows anyone to make program placement proposals. Send you program placement proposals to Dr. Enfield at her email address. I sent in twelve of them. There is no Program Placement Proposal form this year. I used a saved version of last year's form. In the absence of a form, simply do your best to describe your proposal. Be sure to make it crystal clear that you are submitting a program placement proposal. Include those words "Program Placement Proposal" in the subject line of your email. Also, please report it here. I ask you do these things because I will submit a public records request for a copy of every program placement proposal submitted and I want to make sure that they include them all.

Submit an idea to the FACMAC.
Send your idea to the FACMAC in an email addressed to

Go to this web page for more information on FACMAC, meeting minutes, background information on capacity issues, and more.

Comment on some of the ideas now in the flurry of ideas.
Now, don't anyone fly off the handle. None of these ideas has been decided. That said, once they are decided they will be very hard to change. So I believe this is the time to offer your input - pro or con.

I will list some of the issues here, but they each really deserve their own thread, so I will make a thread for each of them.

Issue #1: The urgent need for additional middle school capacity in the north-end.

Issue #2: The urgent need for additional elementary capacity in West Seattle.

Issue #3: The urgent need for elementary APP space in the north-end.

Issue #4: The urgent need for additional elementary capacity in the northeast.

Other Issues


klh said…
Are there any proposals out there on issues other than Program Placement that would affect this year's NSAP transition plan?

Siblings, Garfield priority, new boundaries, etc.?

Or maybe that's a separate thread...
The district has repeatedly said no boundary changes. That would mean nothing opening at Boren except if they moved Ks or 5th graders there from some school (I can see the Ks, not the 5th graders).

Garfield is on their "watchlist" but frankly, yes, I think something probably should be done. What I don't know but it seems like nothing shouldn't be an option.

Siblings. Still a problem but again, unintended consequences. The district knew they might be causing some problems for some families but boom! along come more kids and now it's more families.

I do think instead of overreaching (STEM at Fairmount Park) why not a program you already know is popular and you know how to do like Montessori? Give people a reason to move their older child.
Eric B said…
This is a shade of meaning, but District staff have said no "significant" boundary changes. In deeper discussions, this boils down to no changes at all in the north end elementary and middle schools, except possibly at JSIS.

Any attendance area elementary school that opens (Fairmount Park and Van Asselt are on the list) would need boundaries drawn, which would impact the other schools around. If the schools are opened as option schools, then no boundary changes are needed, but the risk goes up as we are depending on people choosing these schools rather than being assigned. From an enrollment perspective, option schools are easier, but a compelling curriculum needs to be developed.
Anonymous said…
To qualify, they don't want any significant boundary changes for next year. After that, I think boundary changes will be considered.
mirmac1 said…
Interestingly, the Series 2000 policies that are to supplant the C Series (that included C56.00 Program Placement), is completely silent about a process for program placement (at least as far as I can tell from the 84 pg doc online).
dan dempsey said…
I would like to see a core-knowledge alt school.
Jan said…
Dan -- K-5? K-8? K-12? How big do you think it would be? Could we start one and "cohouse" it with the program currently at Pinehurst (where there is space, and the sharks are circling?)
kellie said…
The "transition" is going to be for at least 4 more years so we can expect to see this process of a transition plan every fall for the forceable future. In other words, you can save this post and just repeat it next year.

It takes a long time to turn a battleship and while SPS is not nearly as large or complex as many urban school districts, it is also not small. As such, it generally takes at least half of an organization life cycle to make a major change.

A public school system is a 13 year system providing K-12 education, as such, you are going to have a minimum of 6-7 years of these fairly significant adjustments each fall for the next school year as well as to be expected "surprise" post open enrollment adjustments. This is because it will take that many years before standard show rate predictions actually are standard to the new program.

This also means that you can begin to sketch out that all of the problems that were pointed out with the NSAP will need to be addressed at some point in a transition plan. You can make a list of the biggest NSAP complaints (Garfield boundaries too big, RB needs support, West Seattle feeder patterns and boundaries, north end middle school capacity, special ed close to home, alternative pedagogy and option status not being linked, etc) and sketch out which year they are going to need to be addressed because they can only be ignored for so long.

How many folks said "Garfield's boundaries are too big." One year into the plan, this had to be dealt with.

How many folks said "Language Immersion and/or Montessori need to be option programs." Well two years into the new plan and JSIS is breaking at the seams and the Montessori programs are beginning to have capacity problems.

How many folks said, "Nothing in this West Seattle plan works." Two years in, the feeder patterns have over-crowded Sealth and starved WSHS. The north elementary schools are exploding even with the crazy boundaries.

Now is the time, not just to give feedback on this years plan but also to start writing the plan for next year.
Liz Gillespie said…
Is there any update about the school board considering reopening four elementary schools (Van Asselt, Columbia, Boren and Hughes)? Some early October news reports said a decision might happen in November -- but I see no follow-up reports about it.
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