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Sunday, October 14, 2012

From Concerned Eckstein Parents

Sent to us:

Urgent Call To Action:
 We are writing to urge, implore, BEG you to write to all members of the School Board THIS WEEKEND!   The Superintendent and District Staff put their BEX levy proposal before the school board on Wednesday.  The proposal includes a new middle school at Wilson-Pacific and repurposing the Jane Addams building for a 1000 seat comprehensive, attendance area middle school. 
 The Board has NOT reached consensus on this topic, and the second middle school at Jane Addams is at risk.  PLEASE WRITE TO THE SCHOOL BOARD TODAY—THEY NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU RIGHT AWAY.
 Here’s how things stand:
·        Eckstein already has some of the WORST OVERCROWDING in the district.
·        Eckstein currently has 25% portables, most of which are extremely old.
·         Eckstein’s Capacity is 950, they are currently enrolled at 1300.
·        NOT putting a comprehensive attendance area middle school at the Jane Addams building would likely cause Eckstein's enrollment to surge over 1500 in two years.  By 2017 that number is likely to surge past 2000.
·         Jane Addams K-8 has been offered a home at the Pinehurst building, which is slated for expansion.
 
 A key recommendation of this proposal is that two additional comprehensive, attendance area middle schools are needed urgently in the North Region to address current overcrowding and anticipated enrollment demands, particularly for Eckstein and Whitman middle schools.  Together, a new Wilson Pacific Middle School and the repurposing of Jane Addams offer some hope of relief from the unacceptable overcrowding at Eckstein.

 There is an alternative proposal from the community to grow Jane Addams K-8 to a “mushroom” model, where there are three classes at each of the K-5 grades and five classes at each of the 6-8 grades.  This will NOT solve the overcrowding issues at Eckstein or address the predicted enrollment growth in the North East.  IT IS NOT A VIABLE SOLUTION.

 The School Board needs to hear from our community about what is fair and equitable for our children. Overcrowding—and all the resulting problems it creates—is not conducive to learning.
 Share your concerns with your school board members TODAY!


66 comments:

Anonymous said...

What, exactly is the point of this? Is it asking for parents to support the current proposal, which has the comprehensive middle school opening at Jane Addams in 2015, or are they lobbying to get it opened before then?

The Pinehurst building won't be ready for the Jane Addams K-8 until 2015. Where are they supposed to go until then...Lincoln? John Marshall?

With the geozone enrollment, the Jane Addams program is very much a "neighborhood" school. Moving them to a distant interim site would probably kill the program, and result in families enrolling their elementary kids in the already-crowded attendance-area schools (John Rogers, Olympic Hills, etc...).

And what about the middle schoolers? Can a full comprehensive middle school be funded, planned and staffed before 2015?

North end kids deserve some respect. They deserve a middle school in their neighborhood, but it should be done right, not "urgently" scraped together.

I agree that NE middle school is a mess, but looking out for just the needs of one population, with no regard for the other children involved is just wrong.

-North End Mom

Anonymous said...

I suspect that the call for action is to make sure the current proposal, 2 more middle schools in NE gets vocal support. It's harder for the school board to hear the advocacy for something that doesn't exist yet (i.e. a new middle school) compared to the advocacy for a group that exists (Jane Addams, as currently configured).

But, it's worth hearing a clarification -- are folks advocating for the comprehensive middle school in Jane Addams before 2015?

zb

Anonymous said...

Everything about Eckstein's situation and urgent needs is valid. I don't think it will be physically possible to accommodate the growing population in 2014. It makes me sad to read this as it targets our neighbors and friends and an excellent school. It makes me so angry that the school district put our community in this situation. It is clearly their fault.

Eckstein parent of 1 with 2 on the way

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

Assuming the JA comp middle school is the plan, can they put the 6th grade in an interim site in 2014-15? I know it's not ideal.

-NE elementary parent

Anonymous said...

Fair and equitable? Snark. I'm sure it seems to be very fair and equitable when you're killing another school. Any parent who sends this with the mistaken assumption that Jane Addams Can fit into Pinehurst is knowingly passing on a lie.

-ignorance or selfishness!

Anonymous said...

We continue to pay the price of MGJ's (and the previous Board's) bad decisions.

When will this District get out of crisis mode and get on to focusing on learning?

tired parent

Anonymous said...

Melissa - any idea when the district will release district wide enrollment numbers?

NW Mom

Anonymous said...

Jane Addams has built a good school community and deserves to keep its building, just as Pinehurst has worked hard to improve their school. No matter how crowded Eckstein is, I'm not in favor of robbing Peter to pay Paul. That is what turns public school parents into private school parents, or possibly charter school parents.
What other options are there that haven't been brought up? Back east they've had good success with some 6-12 models - eliminating that transitional period that is middle school, so that kids have a little more stability. Utah used to use the track system when over-population crowded their schools, so that 3 tracks were only at school at any one time. Shoreline also did a track system back in the 70's when their levy failed - theirs was a morning/afternoon type of track system. I'm sure there are more out-of-the-box ideas that could be brought up as temporary solutions until WP is built that don't include uprooting and dividing one successful school community (they won't all fit) and essentially killing another.

CT

Anonymous said...

I have a new K kid in NE Seattle and I'm new to much of the politics of Seattle Schools. One of the things I've already heard in my month in school is that this new BEX proposal is causing schools/PTAs/parents to advocate for their programs at the expense of others.

It seems like this email is asking parents to throw JA and Pinehurst under the bus. How does that improve schools for all NE kids? It doesn't take a lot of time on this site to learn what the impact of the move from JA to Pinehurst would have on both programs.

-New to SPS and already disappointed

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Po3 said...

Sad to see communities pitted against eachother.

Anonymous said...

The situation at Eckstein must not be too terrible. If it was, people would have signed their kids up for JA or Pinehurst, or even Salmon Bay.

If you walk to your favorite restaurant and the line is a mile long with a 2 hour wait - what do you do? You don't cry about it, you go somewhere else. Evidently, it's worth the crowding.

One of the whole motivating factors in the establishment of Addams was the fact that it is an option school, with a draw, and was k-8. Back in the day, it was unthinkable to force kids out of their popular schools for something unknown and less desirable. Parents would have raised a huge stink if their little dears were required to give up their favorite schools for something else. In a way, people get the situation they get because of their own complaining.

JA Parent

Anonymous said...

@JA Parent

Let me get this straight...you are blaming the over-crowding at Eckstein on the Eckstein families?

Wow.

I totally disagree. All the blame for the unacceptible over-crowding at Eckstein lies squarely with SPS and the School Board.

The NSAP is centered around middle school feeder patterns. It guarantees a seat at a comprehensive middle school for every student living within the middle school service area.

They should have NEVER approved the NSAP without it including a fourth comprehensive middle school in North Seattle.

I know the Jane Addams K-8 program is a great program, but due to the fact that they decided to put a K-8in that building, instead of a comprehensive middle school, there is simply not enough comprehensive middle school capacity to support the NSAP.

This is NOT the fault of the Jane Addams K-8 or Pinehurst K-8 communities, because their option middle school programs aren't big enough to provide significant relief to the over-crowding at Eckstein.

It is NOT the fault of the Eckstein families who chose for their children to attend their assignment middle school.

The blame falls soley on SPS. They got us into this disaster, and it is their job to find a solution.

-North End Mom

Anonymous said...

I'm not blaming anyone. But, why aren't Eckstein families choosing something else if it's so terrible at Eckstein? There are other options available with space available offering good educations to kids. I'm just pointing out, it must not be so terrible.

I do obeserve though - no matter what the district does, it causes parents to go up in arms. If they had put a comprehensive middle school at the Addams building when they made it a K-8, - parents would have howled because they wouldn't be allowed in at Eckstein. No matter what they did at that time, they would have caused mass discontent. It seems like the choices that they wound up making were really to appease families - leading right back to the current situation.

JA Parent

Anonymous said...

So Cedar Park is totally off the table, 100%, there is no way to use it for JA?

--NE grade 1 mom

Anonymous said...

RE: why cant they move JA to Cedar Park?

...or lake city elementary? Or building a second school on the Jane Addams acreage? (they are doing it at Thornton creek!).
-ABC

Maureen said...

Was this 'plea' crafted by the Eckstein PTSA? I find it odd that there are no names or titles attached to it.

Does anyone know how much empty space (ie MS seats) currently exist at Jane Addams and at Lincoln and how soon John Marshall could be occupied?

Anonymous said...

Cedar Park was landmarked, which means the external structure could not be changed. It would hold less than 300 students in the best scenario. I spoke with Pegi McAvoy personally and she said that the cost per child was prohibitive.

~lives in Cedar Park

Anonymous said...

From Utah:

"Since the late 1980s, the district has had as many as 18 schools on year-round schedules to deal with overcrowded buildings. Rather than construct new buildings, year-round schools assign students to four different tracks and at least one group is "off track" at any given time. That way student attendance is staggered, and schools can enroll more kids than would be possible if all students were in class simultaneously.

Students still receive the same number of instructional days, but experience three- to four-week breaks throughout the year and shorter summer breaks.

Horsley said the district saved an estimated $130 million to $150 million over the years by switching to year-round schedules rather than building new schools.

"We anticipate we have not had to build eight to 10 elementary schools because of the year-round schedules since the late '80s," Horsley said."

CT

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

Middle school schedule on track system
http://www.wcpss.net/school-directory/551.html

CT

Patrick said...

I'm very disappointed by the tone of this plea from an Eckstein community member. It's as if all Eckstein's crowding was the fault of those darned greedy Jane Addams parents for daring to have a school within the Eckstein empire!

Try blaming the people responsible: very poor enrollment projections from the District, the past Board's NSAP guaranteeing an assignment school spot for everyone in Seattle while simultaneously trying to run all the schools at 90%+ capacity. Their contradictory policies and promises have painted the District into the corner it's in.

It's still possible to solve the problems without killing one school in order to save another. There's possible space with portables and remodeling at Pinehurst, Jane Addams, the old Lake City School, and possibly one end of Wilson-Pacific while construction proceeds at the other end. Using some combination of those spaces as the interim site for Wilson-Pacific Middle School should reduce the immediate crowding for five years or so until the new middle school is ready.

Anonymous said...

Eckstein parents,

My son goes to John Rogers, and is in the 3rd grade. He will enter middle school in 2015, presumably at Jane Addams, if the BEXIV proposal with Jane Addams as a comprehensive middle school passes. On the other hand, he could end up assigned to an enormous K-8 at Jane Addams.

I would prefer the comprehensive middle school, but I have no idea how SPS is going to put together a middle school from scratch. I can only hope that it will be a good one.

As Eckstein parents, whom I'm guessing hail from the Bryant, Wedgwood, or View Ridge neighborhoods, you KNOW where your kids will go to middle school, and you KNOW it is one of the highest-performing middle schools in the state. Yes, I understand it is crowded, but there must be a limit to how many more portables that can be placed at Eckstein, so SPS has to come up with some sort of solution to get Eckstein through until the Jane Addams middle school is opened in 2015.

At John Rogers, we don't have the luxury of knowing that our new middle school will be a high-performing one. We can only hope.

I support your cause, a comprehensive middle school at Jane Addams, but I can't say that I support the tone by which it is delivered.

-JR Mom

NESeattleMom said...

Concerned Eckstein Parents--Who are you, and are you thinking about the other families in northeast Seattle? Imagine that your child was in Jane Adams now as a kindergartner. How would you feel if you were told that your school was supposed to move to a school that has half the capacity of your school. We should not be sucked into turning one SPS group against another SPS group.

ConcernedSPSParent said...

Is JA going to Pinehurst as a K-8 or elementary?. I.e. Are they killing the JA program?

Anonymous said...

NE Seattle Mom

At the worksession they talked about adding to Pinehurst so it has well over 500 seats. I don't remember the exact number. This is close to the current number of students at JA K-8.

SPS parent

Anonymous said...

melissa, this post is basically like an anonymous comment, and those get deleted, so it shouldn't have been posted, in my opinion. it's too bomb-like — and a very unclear ask and it does come across as selfish, even though i agree that eckstein is horribly over-crowded (and hamilton is getting there - as is whitman). i'm a north end parent with a student on the cusp of middle school, so i should be someone who is behind this plea, but i sure can't get behind the anonymity, lack of focus on the big picture, and the general tone of this piece. yuck.
elizabeth

Po3 said...

Elizabeth has a very good point, if this had been posted w/o a name in the comments it would have been deleted.

Anonymous said...

@ Elizabeth

I have gotten this post via email about a dozen times this weekend. It was signed by eckstein parents.

- another eckstein parent

Patrick said...

At the worksession they talked about adding to Pinehurst so it has well over 500 seats. I don't remember the exact number. This is close to the current number of students at JA K-8

Did they talk about what form that addition would take -- portables, a permanent addition? How long would it take, would that be for fall 2013 or 2014?

Anonymous said...

There are almost 600 students currently at Jane Addams. We currently have 3 classes/sections per grade in K-3rd, and 6th grade. As we roll up the smaller classes (4-5, 7-8), our numbers will continue to climb to roughly 720 students (assuming no district intervention). Our school has ELL, Spectrum, General Ed, and Special Ed populations. We feel strongly that we need at least 3 classes per grade in order to have a critical mass of each of these populations.

I understand and appreciate the capacity issues in the NE and the need to right-size Eckstein.

Throughout this process, our community has been willing to relocate to another building, as long as SPS can figure out a solution that will allow us to maintain our critical mass.

Neither the initial proposal at Cedar Park, nor last week's Pinehurst proposal allowed for this. The Pinehurst proposal also did not address the future of the Pinehurst K-8 school. We hope that we will see a more workable plan from the district this week.

I do not like the way the school district pits communities against each other - BUT - WE DO NOT HAVE TO TAKE THE BAIT.

Suitable homes for Jane Addams K-8, and Pinehurst K-8 both support a more realistically-sized Eckstein, as does a thoughtful roll-out of the new comprehensive middle schools being added in the north end.

How about we all work together towards solutions that are fair and equitable for ALL of our children?

- We can all do better

John Rogers Parent said...

As a parent, I hope to teach my children that the world does not resolve around just them. I am so disappointed to hear comments made by parents that only have their needs/wants in mind. At a recent community meeting, Thornton Creek parents, one after another, we threatening to vote no on the upcoming levy if their building there was on the list. Really? Come on parents, we have it pretty good here in the north end....let's talk to some of the parents and kids at in the south end schools whose PTA's are not able to raise $100,000 through an auction. The fact of the matter is, we need middle school space. The Jane Addams building was built as a middle school (junior high actually). Let's do what makes sense and make it a comprehensive middle school like Eckstein for feeder schools such as John Rogers, Olympic Hills, etc. It is not a slam on the current Jane Addams program - it is just doing what makes sense. The current Jane Addams program is great - it can stay great in another location.

Anonymous said...

Well said JR parent! But where would that other location for JA K-8 school be?

JA Parent.

Anonymous said...

Who is going into the lincoln building with LOL?

There must be 1000 extra seats there if LOL has 500 and RHS had more than 1500 when it was there.

That could temporarily accommodate a new middle school, Eckstein's 6th grade or all of Jane Adams & Pinehurst.

Is there room on the Jane Adams site to add a building for a middle school? It would not need to be a huge middle school 500-700 kids.

-Eckstein Parent

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure how Lincoln was configured when Roosevelt was there, but currently there is not enough lunchroom space for the existing 500 or so. They sometimes have waits for seats.

a parent

Anonymous said...

This email from Eckstein-area parents is amazing in its self-involvement.

An email demanding FAIR AND EQUITABLE for "our" children which insists that FAIR AND EQUITABLE means throwing the most successful new program in SPS in 10 years - Jane Addams - into a facility that won't work and won't solve the crowding problem and in short will destroy our school?

That is FAIR AND EQUITABLE? Wow. Just wow. What an amazing middle school lesson in Lord of the Flies.

Disgusted Near 130th

Anonymous said...

Regarding using Lincoln as a temporary space for another elementary: there is no real playground at Lincoln for the 500 kids already there. The APP parents raised money and installed a play structure that is meant to accommodate up to 35 students. The rest of the play yard is dirt, which quickly turns to mud and gets tracked into the building. The other option is playing on the parking lot - and sometimes in the gym, which has been done.
See what we "elite APP parents" get from SPS?
Mom of 2

Anonymous said...

Re Eckstein Parent at 6:18am--

There is no more "Lowell at Lincoln"; the Lowell name has been removed and it is currently named "APP@Lincoln", even though the two programs are still artificially bound together into one 'school'.

Lincoln has north and south wings and a central section. The central section was renovated some time in the early 90's (I think), whereas the north and south wings are in very decrepit shape. APP@Lincoln is using the entire central section, with a couple of 5th grade classes in the south wing (the few in 'usable' condition). The district would have to do some serious renevation to make the north and south wings usable. Given that they want to completely overhaul the building in 2017 it doesn't make sense to redo it in 2013. Also, squeezing high schoolers into a space joined with lower elementary schoolers is probably not the best idea.

SPS has already planned to use part of Lincoln for another elementary school in 2016, according to the current BEX4 plans.

APP Parent of 2

Louise said...

I agree with Disgusted near 130th. Fair and equitable for who, exactly? Oh yes, the Eckstein kids, everyone else be damned and get out of our way, basically. This email is so very very disheartening.

Anonymous said...

As the parent of a kiddo in a K-8 school in the NE, I try to put myself in JA's situation. Here you are plugging along in your school. You have worked hard to build a program, improve your program. Your school is performing really well and you have a strong community. Then, BOOM, out of the blue the district decides that they can solve a problem they created by killing your school. The very thought of this happening to our family makes me sick to my stomach. And yes, if they do it to JA, they will do it whenever they mess up again and need to. They have done this before. Meaning, yes, this can happen to any of us. Imagine your school plucked and moved to a different neighborhood, and likely divided into pieces.

These kinds of tactics are not acceptable. While I am very sad about the situation at Eckstein, and, YES, it needs to solved asap, the JA pluck, move, and potential divide is not an acceptable solution to me. It is pitting community against community.

SPS needs the very creative and innovative thinkers, problem solvers, and collaborators that SPS schools and teachers are working hard to develop in our classrooms every day. What do we teach our kids when we solve solutions this way?

-FedMomof2

mirmac1 said...

Banda's former district was so overcrowded, the school day was divided into two shifts at some buildings. If Eckstein parents want to relieve overcrowding and stay in their school, it would seem equitable to split the school day on an interim basis.

Anonymous said...

@we can all do better

I read your post, and had to chuckle a bit. It has become tiresome to hear the JA parents whine about how they can't possibly go down to 2 classrooms per grade for K-5, so that they can fit in a reasonably-sized building, because they need a "critical mass." There are several successful K-8s in town that have only two classrooms per grade in grades K-5, even schools with special ed and ELL students.

My kid is a "neighborhood" school in NE Seattle. He has 29 kids in his 3rd grade class. I guess we should be happy, because we've acheived "critical mass," and there is even more "critical mass" to look forward to in middle school.

Do you honestly think JA is getting 3 kindergarten classrooms per year because the District agrees you need a "critical mass" at elementary to function? You are getting 3 kindergartens per year because the other elementary schools in the area are running out of space, and by Jane Addams taking 3 those 3 kindergartens, they can get some relief (and the District doesn't have to pay for portables).

In fact, I would guess that the reason why you haven't been moved yet, and the building repurposed as a middle school, is because there is no place else in the NE to put your 388 elementary kids or all the special ed and ELL classrooms.

You also say that the intended maximum capacity of the Jane Addams K-8 (assuming no district intervention) is 720, (as a 3-up "chimney" model)? Wow! Let's HOPE that there IS some "district intervention," because a chimney model only leaves a handful (15-20?) seats open for families who don't want their kids at an over-crowded Eckstein.

This year, about 40 or so kids entered Jane Addams at 6th grade, because last year's 5th grade class at Jane Addams was small and there was room. With the larger classes rolling up, access to the middle school for kids who would otherwise going to Eckstein is pretty much shut off, if you stay 3-up for the middle school grades. I'm thinking you would have to go to at least a 5-up for middle school to provide significant relief for Eckstein.

I hope they can come up with a place to put the Jane Addams program, because it would nice to be able to house more than 270 middle schoolers in a building built to house about 1000 of them!

-Can I have a pony too?

Anonymous said...

I agree with John Rogers Parent. I don't have a child at either school, but I think people shouldn't slam those Eckstein parents. They are not throwing another school under the bus - the district created this situation. And as sad as it is to impact JA in this way, it just makes sense with the numbers. Every one of the kids at both schools has been screwed by this - we're in damage control mode. The proposed solution helps the greatest number of kids, that's all. Jane Addams doesn't get a special protection - if being screwed by the district got you that, everyone gets special protection. Meanwhile, Eckstein is on fire and those parents are legitimately advocating for their kids. JA should advocate too, but as a bystander, unless someone comes up with another real, viable solution, JA can't sit on a site that can accommodate so many more students that can help the dire situation at Eckstein and the NE in general. It's just the best of all terrible options. It is the board's job to make the "greater good" decisions, and this one is the right one. Not fair, but the best option.

-Don't shoot the messenger.

Anonymous said...

Could Jane Addams seize control of their current campus under a "conversion" charter?

Perhaps the district is planning the move to head off that possibility?

- Puzzled about conversion charters

Anonymous said...

There is a new BEXIV list posted as a link on another thread (sorry, I can't seem to copy the link here).

According to the new list, JA K-8 moves to a "new location" in 2017, and both Wilson-Pacific and Jane Addams middle schools open in 2017.

5 more years of this? I can't wait to hear how they think they are going to manage that!

-Eckstein Bound

Patrick said...

"Can I have a pony too"

I'm sure when the larger Jane Addams classes reach middle school, the school and the District will do everything possible to continue to accommodate new 6th graders. That's why we're limited to 3 rooms each in the elementary grades and turned away more would-be K students. 720 is based on what would happen if nothing changed. If we get more middle school students, assume rooms will be reconfigured and portables added.

Anonymous said...

Dear can I have a pony,

The 720 student figure is a minimum of what we feel we would need to accommodate in a different building for our program to remain intact.

If we were to stay in our building, we could take off much more pressure at middle school - up to 5 sections per grade which would allow for plenty of growth at middle school.

Personally, I am quite confident that we will be moved from our building. What I am asking for is for us to be moved to a building that would fit a minimum of 3 classes/grade.

I am asking the Eckstein community to help us advocate for that, and help find a solution for Pinehurst K-8 as well. Just because none of us created this problem doesn't mean that we have no role in working towards an acceptable solution. The Eckstein community is a powerful lobby - one that could be used to help support other schools as well as your own - which actually supports all of us.

I truly appreciate every one of you who have spoken out on this blog condemning the tactics used in this letter. Because yes, I do believe

-We can all do better

Klay said...

"can I have a pony too" wrote:
I'm thinking you would have to go to at least a 5-up for middle school to provide significant relief for Eckstein.

I think that is the goal, 5-up not 3-up. 450 elementary and 450 middle school.

Those seats, and the 760 interim at John Marshal in the BEX IV proposal (from just a few weeks ago) don't completely cure the problems at Eckstein. It a proposal that gets close AND prevents displacing a very successful and growing program to a building that will require them to cut loose quite a few students. I wonder if that 450 MS number at JA can be tweaked to make more room?

I'm puzzled by this plan - possibly because it keeps changing and I'm reading it wrong - in that it seems to just shift overcrowding at Eckstein down to the elementary level. Where do the elementary students from JA that won't fit in the Pinehurst facility (it can only hold about 50% of the current K-8 program) and from the apparently doomed Pinehurst K-8 end up? I'm thinking they end up at the already overcapacity elementary schools in the northeast.

-K

Anonymous said...

I will be voting no on BEX based on as a nail in the coffin the emailed letter from Eckstein parents at the beginnng of this thread.

You BEG? You IMPLORE? Oh please, give it a rest. We have suffered for decades and none of your community lifted a finger.

And as to the accusations of PTA and Ravenna-Eckstein being a tight little group of parents out to do the best by their kids (and if there are scraps left over maybe something for someone else?) Yup. Lived it. Still living it.

At least Jane Addams and Pinehurst serve communities of poverty and diversity which is more than I can say for the majority of the Ecksteiners and Ravenna PTAers.

Excellence for All my A$$. Seattle Public Schools will get my vote when they do right by the Rest of the North End and the South End and West Seattle too.

Southie

Anonymous said...

The Jane Addams community is asking for a minimum 720-seat building? Are there any other K-8s that large in Seattle?

Sounds like the John Marshall building to me!

- just saying

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, what a can of worms I opened (and I did it for a reason).

I didn't post the e-mail because I advocated for anything Eckstein is saying. I do see their points and, fyi, they had a near-bomb scare there recently which pointed up, in vivid detail, how difficult it is to control that number of students in a building.

But you see what the district has done with all these last minute machinations that have NO explanation.

The BEX staff does this every - single - time. They throw out a newish list and then wring their hands to the Board that "the process has got to move foward", the Board accepts that and votes for the STAFF'S list.

Not FACMAC's. Frankly, I think FACMAC's input should have just as much sway as staff's at this point.

I plan on writing a longer and more detailed assessment about this issue in the next couple of days but what might help?

Not circling the wagons. Looking for REGIONAL solutions. Most of all, putting pressure on the Board do not be fooled or muscled into approving something.

Keep in mind, though. and this IS key:

you are voting for a pot of money, not a list of projects.

Did you get that? Money, not projects.

Under the law, the district, once the vote is yes, gets to do ANYTHING they want with capital money as long as it is capital needs.

Anonymous said...

I would like to set the record straight regarding Thornton Creek, in response to common misconceptions and/or comments posted on this blog.

#1. The new school on the Decatur site is NOT being offered to the Thornton Creek Program. This possibility was originally on the table, but no longer. The current program is to be retained in the current building, resulting in 1000 elementary students at the site. The most recent word from board directors is that it will be a neighborhood school.

#2. The "[self-involved] Thornton Creek parents threatening to vote against the levy" at community meetings may have been parents, prospective parents, or neighbors. Please report your sample size if you wish to generalize to this degree. It certainly wasn't me, although I have warned the directors in writing that I am concerned about the levy passing, based on the diversity and number of people who are, hhmmm, unhappy.


#3. The occupants of the current building know overcrowding as well as anyone. The opinions I've heard on BEX actually range from hunky-dory to feeling like a mom-n-pop business when the Walmart SuperSchool is coming in next door--threatened. Put yourself in the shoes of a parent or neighbor of the shop and think about where you'd sit.


#4. The Thornton Creek program has been designated by the state as an innovation school. This is the kind of honor you hang on the wall. It doesn't come with money, or freedom. In theory, maybe a bit of protection from district non-support -oops! oh well. The staff are responding to the Creative Approach Schools MOU/potential MOU, in ways that primarily involve curricular autonomy, not "broad exceptions" from the CBA, so they are not exactly sitting on their hands.


TC observer

Charlie Mas said...

TC Observer, I think Thornton Creek - and every other school seeking Creative Approach - should ask for exemption from policy F21.00, which gives the superintendent authority to relocate or close any program or school.

Benjamin Leis said...

An interesting coda from the meeting tonight at JA. The plan has changed again. Now the pinehurst site is going to be rebuilt from the ground up with a 600-700 capacity building.

This still leaves the Pinhehurst kids hanging in the wind and an uncomfortable rich school/poor school dynamic between the 2 middles schools in the NE. But leaving that aside is anyone else bothered by the math where we are building several thousand new middle school seats and only rehabilitating one HS building?

Ben

Anonymous said...

Ben,

I'm bothered by the math. And I firmly believe the district are being too cautious wrt MS seats in the north end now. They are over-counting, in a big way, quite possibly double-counting APP seats. They got burned last time and don't want it again.

One big problem with the NSAP is that the district officially can't count option school seats as part of the available seats. It means you have to end up over-building because you technically can't force kids to go to option schools.

Eckstein is in a world of hurt, but the attitude of Eckstein parents right now towards Jane Addams and Pinehurst is disgraceful. They ought to be ashamed of themselves, and attacking the school district and board for lack of creativity, not lashing out at other schools. They've got what they wanted and destroyed Pinehurst in the process. There's no need for them to do a victory dance on the grave.

Winston

Anonymous said...

Report of Eckstein incident

I will agreee with the comment that this highlights the need for true counseling services in schools.

Patrick said...

Ben, I am bothered by that math too. According to the current plan, in 2017 we get an additional 1200 middle school seats from Wilson-Pacific plus 700 or more seats from the Jane Addams building being repurposed as a middle school. Subtract the 400 seats Eckstein is already over capacity leaves 1500 new seats; is it really credible that the number of middle school students in the NE is going to go up by 1500 in the next four years?

Anonymous said...

I don't know how anyone is supposed to keep up on this.

There is a new-new proposal. There was a JA meeting last night and now Pinehurst will be rebuild with three floors so that it can house a mega Jane Addams community in 2017.

- it is just crazy up here.

Jamie said...

Patrick, I can see why those numbers seem inflated but WP will be for the NW kids as well, so perhaps not so inflated then? Who knows.

Can the Pinehurst site handle a school for 700 kids? I've only been there once but it seemed small.

Maureen said...

Isn't JA supposed to be all about environmental science? Seems like Northgate isn't optimal for that. Though there is the Thornton Creek restoration project. Maybe that will help?

And three stories on a small lot? Does that mean we can expect a rebuild of Montlake for the next BEX?

Re the disconnect between MS and HS capacity. If I were them, I would make sure the MSs were built in a way to accomodate making them 6-9 if necessary. (Or maybe they are just planning on policies that will increase the HS drop out rate and/or send more kids to Running Start.)

Anonymous said...

Here are a few details about the BEXIV bombshell delivered last night at a meeting at Jane Addams.

District Staff present included Pegi McEvoy, Lucy Morello, Kim Whitworth. Sharon Peaslee was also there, as were at least two FACMAC members.

The Jane Addams K-8 community rejected the Oct 10th proposal, because the enlarged Pinehurst building proposed to house their program was only adequate for 2 classrooms per grade at elementary and 3 cohorts per grade at middle school. The Jane Addams K-8 BEX Task Force group met with District Staff on Friday, and explained to them that the program must have 3 classrooms/cohorts per grade, K-8, in order to fit their instructional model.

The Jane Addams K-8 program will get a brand new building on the Pinehurst site (total building replacement). The school/program will be re-named. The new building will be large enough to house a 3-up configuration, grades K-8.

Cost of new building: $40M
Opening date: Fall 2017
Capacity: 680
Teaching stations/classrooms: 35
(includes choir, music, and art rooms and 2 science labs, SpEd, ELL, etc...)

Environmental habitat building
Green roof
Greenhouse
Landscape to support interation with environment
Outdoor environment to complement classroom learning
Building that supports emphasis on music, the arts and PE


In order to meet a capacity of 680,a 3rd story is required for part of the structure. SPS will request a code variance.


Program: Option E-STEM (environmental science/STEM label), ELL, Self-contained SpEd, Spectrum, on-site childcare.
No room for a developmental preschool.

Jane Addams Middle School would not open until 2017.

There is no intention of moving the Jane Addams K-8 program from the Jane Addams building until the new building is ready for them in 2017.

To cope with middle school enrollment, Pegi McEvoy said that they were looking into rolling up the new Jane Addams Middle School in the John Marshall building prior to the availabilty of the Jane Addams building in 2017. There was no official start date mentioned for this roll-up process, or what schools would make up the feeder pattern for Jane Addams Middle School.

Sharon Peaslee and Kay Smith-Blum were credited for their advocacy of the Jane Addams K-8 program, and for pushing for the $15M increase in BEXIV in order to accomodate adequate programming for the Jane Addams K-8.

-a fly on the wall

Jan said...

So, as I read this, we are now "back" to "destroying" ONLY ONE school community -- Pinehurst's current alt program? If this all works, I am truly glad for the JA community -- it sounds like a great school, and destroying it by amputating a third of it would have been a sorry waste.

But I can't help feeling like we are all supposed to just say "yay" now and walk off the field -- ignoring the fact that there seems to be no solution here for Pinehurst's kids.

Maybe they can house them at WP with APP (option programs tend to get along well, because neither can "force" the other out through growth). If not that, is there ANY credible plan, ANYwhere for where that community can go? (I am assuming it could move some distance and survive, but probably NOT all the way to, say, RBHS.

Benjamin Leis said...

I also am very curious if the Pinehurst parents/PTSA have organized and if they have an official position yet?

I should add at the meeting last night the status of Pinehurst was raised several times and everyone was very careful to say the JA community did not want to displace another school. One other option apparently still on the table by the district is whether to build out the north field instead. That being said, its incredibly irresponsible in my book to propose to eliminate a school without at least specifying a transition plan at the same time.

And back to my original question, the district will be building /setting up 3 large middle school's system wide. That's nearly 3000 more projected kids. Lincoln HS will only house 1500? kids. Where does the district plan to put all the other kids when get to 9th grade?

Ben

Josh Hayes said...

@ben, the Pinehurst community has only started to respond to this, but that's because this was literally out of the blue. I can't help but feel this is by design: district folks wanted to rush this by and make it a done deal before anyone could mobilize in opposition to it.

The fact is, yeah, Pinehurst has gotten two "school of distinction" awards in the last five years; yeah, we had the highest MSP reading score in the city last year, and on and on. (The ultimate frisbee team won their division last fall, too!) None of that matters to the district, because kids are all interchangeable widgets to them: it's just a question of getting seats somewhere, and then the problem is solved, as far as they're concerned.

I don't think that the Pinehurst K-8 community is wedded to the building per se. But there's no proposal for relocation as far as I know, and I suspect the hope is that we'll just shut up and enroll at some, you know, normal school. As it stands, since my youngest child is now in 7th grade, if we're tossed out next year we'll just home-school for a year before high school (or maybe go to Salmon Bay; it is after all our "local" option school, a mere four miles away). I feel bad for the families with younger children at Pinehurst, though, who were encouraged to enroll there by the district's promise to support the school. I've learned by now that everything, everything, the district says, should be ignored. It might be true, it might not, and there's no way to know which it is until something actually happens. Certainly I'm interested to hear whatever proposals the district has for the future of current Pinehurst students, but equally certainly, I won't believe a word of them.

Anonymous said...

I posted this on the BEX bouncing ball thread, but since this is the thread that started this discussion, thought I should post here as well:

I am incredibly disappointed to hear that SOME Eckstein parents (and families feeding into Eckstein) are lobbying HARD to push Jane Addams to move out of their building ASAP so a comprehensive middle school can start there right away.

Eckstein parents - I'd really like to hear from others of you - do you really believe that the Jane Addams program should need to move TWICE so that the NE comprehensive middle school kids don't need to move at all??? Please reassure me that the people who indicate they are speaking for your community do not represent your views!

There is no reason that the comprehensive MS that will eventually end up in Jane Addams can't start at John Marshall (which is where those parents are proposing the JA K-8 should move asap.) I can't imagine a reason that makes good sense for why the comprehensive middle school should get priority for the JA building, except what seems to be a sense of entitlement from SOME of those parents.

If the rationale for this pressure is based upon the belief that the Jane Addams building should be used by students who live in the local neighborhoods, you should know that the Jane Addams K-8 program is made up almost entirely of students currently in the Eckstein MS feeder area. According to 2011 enrollment data, the ONLY assignment schools that have more than 15 total kids going to JA are, in order of quantity, John Rogers, Olympic Hills, Sacajawea, Olympic View, Wedgwood, Sandpoint and Bryant - all in the current Eckstein MS feeder area. These are the neighborhood kids. In fact, John Marshall is closer to many in the Eckstein feeder area as a whole than it is to MOST of the JA families.

I just keep coming back to the feeling in my gut that, even though the parents that have been lobbying to take over the JA building are getting what they want, they have no compassion or understanding that other parents don't want their children moved multiple times. Truly, if Eckstein is so crowded, please, come to the vibrant, diverse, growing, E-STEM, Spectrum school that is JA K-8, but do NOT push others aside thinking that your needs are the most important.

And don't even get me going about the lack of concern about the Pinehurst program...

~Signed ~ Appalled at the lack of compassion - is this what you're modeling for your children??