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Thursday, December 01, 2011

Needed Elementary Capacity in the Northeast


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


Possible solution A: A new attendance area elementary school eventually located at the John Marshall site (the building needs significant renovation). The program will meet at the Lincoln site until the building is ready.

Possible solution B: A new option elementary school eventually located at the John Marshall site (the building needs significant renovation). The program will meet at the Lincoln site until the building is ready. The option program could house a new program or it could house the language immersion program now at JSIS, relieving the overcrowding there and providing more equitable access to language immersion.

Variation: The new option enrollment language immersion school at John Marshall could be a K-8 providing language immersion through middle school and providing some relief to the north-end middle school capacity crunch (see Issue #1).

Possible solution C: Reopen Cedar Park as an elementary school. This solution is not mutually exclusive with any other solution.

Possible solution D: Actively attract students to the unused capacity in some north-end buildings through a variety of methods including program placement and changes to attendance area boundaries. This solution is not mutually exclusive with any other solution.

Possible solution E: Find some suitable building or building site for a new elementary school in the target area. Suitable buildings could be currently designed as schools, churches, motels, office buildings, apartment buildings, retail, or light industry space.

Possible solution F: What suggestion do you have?

Special note: The Special Education, ELL, and APP students who live in the north-end are just as deserving of a north-end school location as any other student living in the north-end.

15 comments:

David said...

Since the NE needs both elementary and middle school capacity, it might not be a bad idea to consider a new K-8 school modeled after TOPS. Alternative schools like TOPS are pretty popular with parents.

Josh Hayes said...

Hard to know about the wisdom of anything K-5 at Marshall, since it's only a couple of blocks from the existing Green Lake elementary school, right? Or am I thinking of the wrong building?

Anonymous said...

I think the only unused capacity in the NE part of town is at Jane Addams, and their program is growing every year, so I wouldn't count on that being available for long. I love the idea of a K8 Language immersion option school at Marshall -great central north location so would be a handy and convenient location for families all over N Seattle, and immersion would ATTRACT A LOT OF FAMILIES and the middle school portion would relieve Eckstein and Hamilton

I also like the idea of opening Cedar Park. There are no elementary schools in the far NE which stretches up to the Shoreline border (145th st) so it would be a convenient location. John Rogers is the closest school now and it is at 105th - hardly a neighborhood schools for families living at or near 145th. Plus maybe that would have a ripple effect freeing up space at Rogers, Wedgewood and Sacajewea.

I'd look at working with the city to get space at Magnuson Park too.

lendlees said...

How about moving Thornton Creek to Cedar Park and then building a BIG elementary school on the Decatur property? Build it in such a way that it could function as a K-8 in the future if enrollment drops down again.

Floor Pie said...

I've heard that Green Lake elementary is seriously underenrolled this year. What's up with that?

CT said...

If Cedar Park were opened, there are some families who currently have boundary exceptions to attend Shoreline schools (because it is closer than their current options) who might also return.

Anonymous said...

I am in favor of leaving the schools as they are if they are growing in success or they have a currently positive model. This would include leaving Jane Addams, Thornton Creek, and Rogers alone. If they are not at capacity, let them fill to capacity with real infrastructure (that means, stop the portable delivery).

All three NE schools are really doing tremendous work with very little district support.

Open the new schools with a good design (language, art, etc.). Build it smart and they will come. Leave what is working alone. Too many times, Seattle tries to make things bigger and as a result, the schools move into crisis management mode.

Signed,
Give the schools some breathing room and open the new schools in an intentional manner.

Anonymous said...

Repeat post:

Jane Addams does not have an active link on the SPS schools website. Is there a PTA website somewhere (is this a bad omen, or was it never active)?

CT said...

It has not been active for awhile - don't read into it. Couldn't access much last year either when my friend's child was assigned there and we were trying to research it. That was why we ended up talking to parents at various pools and parks and ended up finding many happy JA parents.

biliruben said...

Toured Jane Addams, and the PTA parent with us was extremely enthusiastic.

Opening up Cedar Park would be wonderful. You'd probably get some serious push-back from the artists colony currently entrenched, however. And judging by the roof (invisible under a thick cover of moss), I am guessing it will be millions to get it up to snuff. There are so many kids around there, it would definitely be a huge draw however.

Anonymous said...

Jane Addams PTSA is VERY active. Runs an afterschool program, a winter coat drive, an auction and other fundraisers, science career day, all of the school tours. Here's the website:

http://www.janeaddamsptsa.org/

I don't know what's up with the regular Jane Addams site.

- Very happy Jane Addams parent of a 1st grader

Spruiter said...

The Jane Addams school web site is in the process of upgrading to the new district site - it should be up and running soon, and in the meantime, check the Jane Addams PTSA site the previous poster mentioned

http://www.janeaddamsptsa.org/index.html

kellie said...

No matter how you slice it, something drastic and/or creative will need to be done in the NE. Even with opening all available property, we would be lucky if system capacity dropped to 100% for K-12. As an assignment plan needs to run closer to 95% that still means that all surge capacity will be in use.

It is hard to escape that the NE simply has fewer schools than similar sized areas AND those schools are on the smaller size. There is going to need to be some creative uses for BEX funds to expand the footprints for existing schools and very likely some form of partnership with the City or State to acquire some new property for additional facilities.

While the sale of University Heights did go to a legitimate community group, I am still shocked that the district sold such a large, conveniently located property. Opening University Heights would have actually added real capacity, it is large enough to have housed APP.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday the proposal was made to narrow the boundaries for John Stanford Int'l School on the West side and North side. The current boundaries are proposed to be brought in from Stone Way to Wallingford Avenue and from 46th/47th to 45th. All those North of 45th will go to McDonald Elementary. All those West of Wallingford Ave will go to BF Day. The East boundary has been left alone thus far, but I believe it should be brought in to I5 and the new families East of there should go to Laurelhurst Elementary which has room. This could free up more space at JSIS for siblings.

Unfortunately, there has been relatively little conversation about the existing JSIS siblings that find themselves suddenly outside the boundaries which the district increased to include them barely two years ago. As a parent in this situation, I'm extremely frustrated at the lack of sibling priority. The goal of the school district should be to keep families together and foster community which in turn tends to provide more school volunteers and monetary support. For families that utilize before/after school care, the logistics of planning multiple small children at multiple schools is expensive and difficult. The lack of foresight on the part of the school district caused this problem. They need to use a little creativity and make it right for existing school families.

Bird said...

Yesterday the proposal was made to narrow the boundaries for John Stanford Int'l School on the West side and North side. The current boundaries are proposed to be brought in from Stone Way to Wallingford Avenue and from 46th/47th to 45th. All those North of 45th will go to McDonald Elementary. All those West of Wallingford Ave will go to BF Day. The East boundary has been left alone thus far, but I believe it should be brought in to I5 and the new families East of there should go to Laurelhurst Elementary which has room. This could free up more space at JSIS for siblings.

Unfortunately, there has been relatively little conversation about the existing JSIS siblings that find themselves suddenly outside the boundaries which the district increased to include them barely two years ago. As a parent in this situation, I'm extremely frustrated at the lack of sibling priority. The goal of the school district should be to keep families together and foster community which in turn tends to provide more school volunteers and monetary support. For families that utilize before/after school care, the logistics of planning multiple small children at multiple schools is expensive and difficult. The lack of foresight on the part of the school district caused this problem. They need to use a little creativity and make it right for existing school families.


I'm repeating this post because I don't want it deleted for lack of a signature.

I have to concur. The district needs to guarantee sibling assignments for families put out of schools by boundary changes going forward.

There's just really no excuse for this. If the district is going to change a boundary, it needs to change it enough to accomodate the families that will be put in an unenviable split sibling situation.

The district currently guarantees a seat to the older sib in the younger sibs school, but no one wants to be put into the position of having to disrupt their older child's school situation to accomodate poor planning on the district's part.

The district came to JSIS this week and asked parents what they want when they change the school boundaries, and the overwhelmingly universal #1 answer was don't split families.

The district didn't listen to JSIS families when we told them last year and the year before that they needed to change the boundary sooner rather than later as they were undoubtably exacerbating an inevitible capacity crisis.

The school, which under the old assignment plan held 378 students, is expected to have 560 students in a couple of years, and now they say they need to make a change this year with minimal planning because the crisis is acute. Hint: You should have started planning last year -- we all saw this coming then.

I hope they will at least listen to us about the sibs.

Incidentally, I really think the proposed boundaries will continue to be too big. They are shooting for no more than 3 K classes per year, but they said that was how many we would have this year based on projections wand instead we have 4.

I think the district still hasn't come to terms with the fact that more kids will show up than they expect because families will keep moving into the neighborhood for access to the school no matter how small the boundaries.

As always, the school should be an options school. I'm fairly confident it will be some day, but as usual, the program planning won't be based on any rational underpinning, but will continue to be a mess and until their hand is forced by intractable capacity problems.