Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Short-Term Capacity Meeting Underway

Short-Term Capacity meeting packed.  A lot of (and excess) explanations and I think parents are chomping at the bit to get questions started.  Big APP at Lincoln contingent along with Adams.  Not sure who else is here.

Boundary changes off the table until outcome of BEX done.  Not even changing middle school feeder patterns.

Meeting on Friday at Hamilton with principal and staff so they can discuss options.  Hamilton/APP at Lincoln parents, you might ask about attending to listen or asking for minutes from that meeting.

Move APP from Hamilton to McClure?  That was one option proposed.  Staff not really enthused but thought it could be discussed but not as a short-term solution.

Question about fire safety at Eckstein but staff says they do drills and do comply with needed safety activities (even if they don't have sprinklers everywhere).

One parent question - where is Teaching and Learning and Advanced Learning over moving APP students from Hamilton to Lincoln?  Good question.

John Rodgers wants a portable to save music room.  (One Adams parent wants Salmon Bay to take on more students to save Adams' music room and NOT add yet another portable.  Yes, he knows Salmon Bay is an Option school but is adamant that ANY school with room should take on more students before continuing to stuff already overcrowded schools.)

Gloves coming off - Eckstein parents unhappy over district's lack of concern for their crowding.  They suggest J. Addams moved immediately (to John Marshall?) to use Addam's building for middle school.  (They seem to forget the promises made to J. Addams families.)

Also, big applause over NOT voting for BEX over this issue AND the perception that the district is favoring option schools over neighborhood schools. Uh oh.

Wish at least a couple of School Board members had stuck around to hear this input from parents.


ConcernedSPSParent said...

What promises made to JA?

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with the parent who spoke about favoritism to option schools in regard to capacity. Thornton Creek, for example, sits right in View Ridge's attendance area. They are allowed to cap at a nice reasonable number. View Ridge kids are crammed into closets. Even the supply closet is being used for teachers. Every part of the school is jammed with over 650 kids (up from 400 a few years ago). Thornton Creek still around 400 I believe. Not fair.

mirmac1 said...

I'll say I was glad to see Marty McLaren go to the SEAAC meeting to learn about the severe needs of SpEd students who are moved like pawns. I'll easily vote no on things if my child is a pawn moved to wherever the district has room, not where Federal law says she must be assigned, but for...

Anonymous said...

This was the NSAP amendment put forth by Sherry Carr (2009):

The evaluation of middle school and K-8 capacity and facilities, including Jane Addams, will be included in the BEX IV capital program planning. Therefore, there would be no change to the Jane Addams K-8 program prior to completion of BEX IV levy planning in 2013.


kgroth said...

@Melissa Westbrook - thanks for the running commentary. It seems your post was after the first half hour of the meeting. Were you able to stay for the whole meeting and will you be able to provide a recap? I'll be checking with parents I know who went for their take on the meeting.

Interesting comment you posted on the BEX IV Levy. I wonder how adverse our kids' school situation will be if BEX IV doesn't pass in 2 months since if we "go over the fiscal cliff", Seattle voters might be reluctant to pass the large BEX tax levy. Does it need a 66% supermajority to pass? I heard from the SD that if it doesn't pass then we'll take extreme measures such as many portables and staggered school schedules.

Gomamago said...

A indirectly related question, how does a school go about aquiring portable classroom space?

Is there a bias against aquiring portables to provide room for arts education?

Anonymous said...

Jane Addams currently has about 600 students and is growing. John Marshall has a K-8 capacity of 552. I really don't see how it would work to move Jane Addams to John Marshall.

-in the NE

Anonymous said...

Most portables do not have water piped in. Art programs usually need a water supply.

Anti Portables

Lori said...

Jane Addams currently has about 600 students and is growing. John Marshall has a K-8 capacity of 552. I really don't see how it would work..."

That's easy, logistically. Jane Addams is an option program. The district sets it enrollment. That isn't true with neighborhood schools, which have to accept everyone within their boundaries.

In fact, I hadn't thought of this until just now, but precisely because JA is an option program whose enrollment can be controlled centrally, it actually is a good candidate to fill an interim building with limited capacity. (note, I'm not trying to get into an argument or pit neighbors against one another. Just stating that growth at JA is not a reason it can't go to John Marshall)

Anonymous said...

Salmon Bay just added 3 full classroom and is at like 700 students-- currently trying to do work on the rooms it has to make space for the students just added. Yes, an option school and can cap enrollment, but saw the capacity issues and knew the district would see a school with space and would need it so worked out a plan with the district to undergo an expansion. But currently pretty packed.

Old timer said...

I remember when JA was a middle school and they had staggered schedules.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 12/11/12 9:09 PM said...

I have to agree with the parent who spoke about favoritism to option schools in regard to capacity. Thornton Creek, for example, sits right in View Ridge's attendance area. They are allowed to cap at a nice reasonable number. View Ridge kids are crammed into closets. Even the supply closet is being used for teachers. Every part of the school is jammed with over 650 kids (up from 400 a few years ago). Thornton Creek still around 400 I believe. Not fair.

--Reposter that agrees with Anon

Anonymous said...

But it's not about growth at Jane Addams. It is current enrollment. JA is ALREADY over the capacity at John Marshall. How do you choose who gets expelled?

-in the NE

Anonymous said...

... and which already overcrowded elementary school are you going to pu them in.

- in the NE

Aurora dweller said...

I'm sure that no one would be expelled; couldn't they just add a portable or use a supply closet like the other overcrowded schools do? It seems close enough that the issue could be worked out. But I don't think they'll use John Marshall for Jane Addams anyway since I believe they plan to use it as an interim site.

Anonymous said...

How can anyone say there is favoritism toward option schools when Jane Addams is getting kicked out of their building and Pinehurst is being eliminated?

- near northgate

Anonymous said...

@in the NE

Jane Addams enrollment is 581 (as of 10/1). That's a difference from the capacity of JM (as a K8) of only about 30 kids. Let's be real here for a minute. How many schools do you think there are in the NE that are over-capacity by 30 kids? Answer: Almost all of them! Those that aren't now will be before any BEXIV solution is ready.

How can you even post this nonsense about not being able to fit into a building (by 30 kids) when Eckstein has 300 kids more than the building capacity?

Add a couple portables, limit enrollment for a few years, and voila! It fits!

Is there room to grow? I don't know. How many portables can be placed at John Marshall?

-North End Mom

Lori said...

No one gets expelled. The October 2012 numbers for K-8 are 581. Of those, 56 are in 8th grade and will go to high school next year. Instead of enrolling 75 K kids next year, enroll 50. Same with 6th grade; instead of enrolling 83 kids like this year, enroll 50. Voila, enrollment is down to below 550.

Besides, how do we even know that that 550 number is "real"? Every school in the NE seems to be way over its intended capacity, some by 20% or more. Every year for the last 5 years, when I think they can't cram any more kids into my own neighborhood school, they somehow manage to do it. The capacity "limits" are often very fluid.

Anonymous said...

JA does not (and should not have to) shrink to move. The school's community can stay the same - but the building can't. They should move to Marshall ASAP, this summer, to allow a comprehensive middle school with about 400 - 500 kids to start immediately in the building. That is a short term capacity management solution that aligns with the long term situation - a new MS at the site. JA is moving anyway. They will have stability for several years in Marshall, complete autonomy (unlike if they were put in Lincoln or if others were put into their big bldg with them). No one in the north end is getting everything they want - look at Eckstein, Bryant, Adams, APP, BF Day (have you been in their tiny underground cafeteria? And they're getting 3 more homerooms and portables too!). Two portables at the Marshall site will be more than adequate to accommodate them - and they'll have more space and PCP rooms than everyone else. If they want more than support to stay as their school, the broad community support sinks pretty fast.
-- north end parent worried about everyone, not just my piece-o-pie

Anonymous said...

@North End Mom

So your solution to solve an overcrowding problem ... is to create another overcrowding problem?


According to your numbers you are expelling 33 6th graders. And loosing the capacity for 25 kids that will have to go to other overcrowded elementary schools.

It seems to me it makes more sense to put all middle school kids at John Marshall.

-in the NE

Anonymous said...

Anon at 9:09-

Thornton Creek is built for 150 kids, as a k-2, and has more than double that with no building adjustments (other than 4 portables). It is the most overcrowded school in the city, no joke. There are twelve working toilet stalls, full stop. 350 kids is too many as it is, every room full to the brim, the music the PTA pays for is in the cafeteria, etc. We have it far worse than View Ridge. It's bad there, too, and I hope the new school offers relief, but don't turn on us. We also only have the one playground, to View Ridge's how many? I don't really mind the new school they are building on the TC playground. It's true we need the room for kids in the NE, and we are willing to do our part, but I certainly can't agree that the building is not currently taking on enough students. As an option school they are used to getting picked on (certainly not favored- HA, says the program that was nearly shut down the other year, is threatened with moves pretty much every year despite jumping through whatever hoops the district offers, and has the same list of broken promises as everybody else from the district a mile long), but 350 is not a reasonable number for that program. It's where we are, but the way the building is (and, oh, right the program) it's certainly not proof of "favoritism."

TC mom

Anonymous said...

For those of you advocating to start the new Jane Addams MS next year, how would you propose to do that?

The schools likely to feed to JAMS are Olympic Hills, John Rogers and Sacajawea. Those schools currently have 113 5th graders combined. That is not enough for a comprehensive middle school (and a smaller number than Jane Addams K-8, if left in place, would likely draw for 6th grade next year).

Would you pull current 6th and 7th graders from these neighborhoods out of Eckstein?

There will need to be at least one other school that feeds to JAMS - Wedgwood makes the most sense, but their southern boundary is literally across the street from Eckstein - how is that going to go over? Olympic View is likely to feed to Wilson Pacific. So who else would feed to JAMS?

Moving the Jane Addams K-8 program to John Marshall would also lessen their kindergarten draw from the John Rogers and Olympic Hills attendance areas, both already projected to need more homerooms/portables for next year.

Does anyone have confidence that the district can really work through all the logistics, fight the battles from the boundary neighborhoods and currently enrolled Eckstein families who might be moved north, in the two months before open enrollment starts?

It seems like this could make things worse rather than better.

- Questioning if the district could pull this off

Anonymous said...

. and which already overcrowded elementary school are you going to pu them in.

- in the NE

Sandpoint! Or Macdonald! Which are both barely half filled. Why aren't we using these more when there is such a crisis in the other schools?

Anon at 11:43

Anonymous said...

Old Timer got me wondering,

Could Eckstein run a split schedule? If this has been considered and rejected-does anyone know why?

-another parent

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine that there is time to pull together a "comprehensive" middle school anywhere (Jane Addams, John Marshall, etc...) by the 2013-14 school year. I would like to think that putting together something as complicated as an entire middle school would take more than 8 months to plan.

If they attempted to scrape something together by next Fall, and call it a middle school, any family who could would say, "No Thanks!" If it was a middle school for the north end of Eckstein (John Rogers, Olympic Hills, Sac, etc...), there would be incredible out-migration to Shoreline.

-North End Mom

Anonymous said...

RE: Music in a portable...
Music teachers can survive without running water, but can run into issues if the kids are moving/singing a lot and get thirsty. Some minor issues that need to be dealt with:
-Storage. Music teachers need LOTS of storage.
-Temperature Control, as many instruments are temperature sensitive. Having four walls exposed to the outside means that the temp drops far faster than classrooms.
-Security. Those xylophones are EXPENSIVE! Plus, it seems like the room people would break into if they're looking to have fun as opposed to make profit.
-Transitions. It's just kind of a pain for the classroom teachers that have to escort their kids and the kids themselves, considering our weather.

It's not impossible to do music in a portable-it's certainly done in many places. But there are reasons why it's not as simple as buying a box and putting the music teacher in there.


(Also, it's a pain in the neck to move a music room...SO MUCH STUFF! Breakable stuff! Stuff that doesn't fit in boxes! Pianos on tiny wheels! Ramps with sharp turns! Just thinking about planning such a thing makes my head hurt!)

Anonymous said...

Salmon Bay is also not crowded by district standards. Their middle school had a wait list of 60 students or so. Why not let 'em in? Why artificially cap enrollment?


Anonymous said...

On the topic of Jane Addams Middle School.

I was at the meeting last night. During the presentation, Lucy (Morello) made a statement about opening the Jane Addams building as a middle school by 2014. I asked her about this afterwards, and she explained that if this happened, it would be as a roll-up with the environmental sciences K-8 program still in the building.

The construction of the Pinehurst building is evidently being accelerated, so that the K-8 program could move in there by 2016. So, co-location, if it happens, would be for 2 years (2014-15 and 2015-16).

She said that this would have to go through Teaching and Learning, to see if it is feasible (since there are currently no K-8s that have middle school students assigned to them).

It seems like it would be a tight squeeze, even for just two years.

Also, I agree with Melissa. It was unusual to attend a "community meeting" with no School Board members present. It was being taped, so perhaps they will be watching it?


kellie said...

An assignment plan based on geographic assignments is considered at capacity around 95% of system capacity. AFAIK, SPS is running at something like 110% system capacity.

The over-capacity issues impact everyone. Sniping about this school vs that school doesn't help anyone. Frankly the "data" aka the information that is presented lacks so much transparency that is typically not even useful.

Many schools that are wildly over-crowded like Eckstein look "not too bad" just because of the percentage over-capacity obscured the whole numbers that are over capacity. Other schools with large special ed populations, also look "not too bad." Thornton Creek has three self contained rooms. If those were full gen ed rooms, that would add another 50 students to the numbers. McDonald and Sandpoint, are really full for brand new schools and soon to be just as crowded as everyone else.

Sniping that this school should do more or that school should do more, frankly only distracts from the core problem. By my estimate we need something close to 7,000 seats in order to bring things "back to normal" or back to what schools looked like prior to the NSAP.

What might lend some perspective would be to look at the 07 enrollment numbers, when most schools had a waitlist and were therefore considered full. Check that delta to now. There are only about a half dozen schools that are truly not full and they are easy to spot. Moreover, they are not in North Seattle or West Seattle.

Sadly, BEX is not enough to fix things. But without BEX, it is going to get a whole lot worse.

suep. said...

Hi Kellie, thanks for all your insights. But what do you mean by this?

"in order to bring things "back to normal" or back to what schools looked like prior to the NSAP. "

Do you believe the NSAP contributed to the current capacity crisis -- or are you just using that as a reference point for when enrollment was lower?

I'm just curious because I would have thought the NSAP would have helped balance out capacity by filling some otherwise bypassed schools. -- Or at least that was the intent, wasn't it?

Another point: Does anyone in the district acknowledge that the costly and irrational school closures of 2009 seriously contributed to this current mess? (And have we ever heard any mea culpas from the remaining board members who voted for that plan?)

For one thing, all of APP was south of the ship canal back then, leaving more space in the north end. Meany was still available as a middle school in the central district. Even Summit (Jane Addams) was being used for middle and high schoolers (K-12). Isn't it ironic that that the district is proposing to return that building to use for middle schoolers.

I strongly feel that the communities who were uprooted or created as a result of Goodloe-Johnson's 2009 "Capacity Management Plan" (closures/splits) should not be uprooted again only four years later. That includes Jane Addams families and the APP families who were redirected to Hamilton. These communities have invested in these schools. It's unconscionable to evict them.

(Yeah, I know. Too much of what the district does is unconscionable.)

Anonymous said...

Why not split APP at Hamilton? Someone mentioned the suggestion of McClure as another possible site as it's not full. When the first split happened, the APP cohort just got bigger. If split again, you have room to grow without bumping out NSAP Hamilton kids.

not ideal, but there's space.

Melissa Westbrook said...

When Summit K-12 was closed and JA K-8 created, a lot of parents took a leap of faith on JA. Some of it was about it being a new school but some of it was the feeling/belief that the district would want the building back.

I guess they were not wrong on that point.

The Board wanted JA and promised they would be there through 2016 or 2017. (Dr. G-J did not really want JA.)

So did the district make a mistake creating JA in the first place when they knew the middle school issue was coming? I don't know but I do know you cannot just continue to make promises to parents who do what they are asked and invest in a new community.

I am fairly certain TC IS full and has the same common area issues as attendance area schools.

I will try to get a recap but this thread addressed the major issues. Unfortunately, the first 30+ minutes was the staff going over the basics. That stuff is all on other threads or online.

The district has chosen for BEX to be a levy so it just needs 50+ plus one to pass. A bond would have given them ALL the money upfront but that would have taken 60% to pass and would have been too dangerous. So a levy doles the money out in pots.

An extra portable for art? There's a thought. I have no idea how many portables they have at this point but I doubt they would buy one for such a purpose. You can ask.

On the issue of interim buildings. One thing to understand is SPS likes to move out community when they are building. They need those buildings to house populations. So you might be able to move JA to Marshall but I suspect the district has other plans for Marshall (like moving the populations at Wilson-Pacific there while they redo that building - I'd have to check).

John Marshall has a pretty large capacity; I find it hard to believe JA is that big. But, it has virtually no playground.

Keep in mind,most districts build on-site and do NOT move people off campus.

North End Mom, when my sons were at Eckstein it was about 1100/1150. We were unhappy then. (And, in fact, Olchefske allowed 100 extra kids in who were "distanced" out under the choice plan without a word.) When I complained, I was told by some parents who went there in the '70s that they had allowed 2,000 kids in the people back then and to stop complaining. I'm sure that will get pulled out again at some point.

It is an interesting question about staggered schedules because yes, it could happen. It may be the transportation costs would be a problem but it would prevent any 6th grade annexations.

Sue, the district admit a mistake? Never.

suep. said...

To anon at 8:13 -- Really? "Why not split APP...?" appears to have become a mindless refrain of this district -- one which I wish everyone would refrain from using.

Look, APP has only been at Hamilton for 3 years. Many of these families have already been "split" multiple times. The years at HIMS have not been easy, it has taken work for everyone to adjust and make the school work. With the new principal, the program and families are only now getting settled in and things are looking up. The program is not even that big at the school. There are Spectrum, language immersion, Gen Ed and Sped kids too, which is a great mix. But why just target the APP kids again? 'Why not split Spectrum or language immersion or --?' See how arbitrary such suggestions are? None of these kids should be "split."

Why not open more schools instead?

Why not hire competent staffers at JSCEE instead of the incessant hand-wringers who present endless pointless Power Points?

Ed reform in this town needs to begin with the John Stanford headquarters. Why not split that, and cut that unwieldy and inept bureaucracy down to a reasonable size and make it staffed with insightful people?

Melissa Westbrook said...

I will say that one interesting comment - that got repeated as a talking point by APP parents last night - is that they did not "choose" APP. They said their students "needs were being met." I would assume this is akin to being enrolled in a Special Ed program.

Again, the district has ignored Advanced Learning and now the chickens have come home to roost. Having a thoughtful program that makes sense - to all - with locations that make sense could make all the difference in the world.

FYI, I have asked - repeatedly - about the Advance Learning Taskforce and haven't received one reply. Very disappointing.

Anonymous said...

SueP, your 7:55 post is so true.

As to why APP is always considered for splitting? Enrollment is already capped for Spectrum and Language Immersion programs at HIMS, while APP keeps expanding.

Also APP is the only program at HIMS with a majority of students being bused in from other areas. If there is another building closer to where some of them live, why not bus there instead of to HIMS. I'm not saying I agree with this, but it does make some sense.

-Ann O'nymous

Anonymous said...

I guess I was looking at it from a different perspective. Rather than spliting, it's offering more of the program widely throughout the city. If you see APP as one big giant cohort that should be kept together and exclusive, then a split would be viewed as a negative. But if viewed as a program that can be offered in multiple sites that has room for growth and quality improvement, then that may help areas where all the schools are at bursting point. Also if you open up the MS "APP" classes to non APP kids who can do the work, you'll have a sizable cohort within a school to sustain an accelerated and compacted program. Just a thought.

not ideal, but there's room

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Melissa, for raising the issue of APP students' needs. A Dec 11 2012 NY Times article, "US Students Still Lag Globally in Math and Science" (by Motoko Rich) contained this: "In the US, only 7 percent of students reached the advanced level in eighth-grade math, while 48 percent of eight graders in Singapore and 47 percent of eight graders in S. Korea reached the advanced level. As those with superior math and science skills increasingly thrive in a global economy, the lag among American students could be a cause for concern."

I say: COULD? Is. As a nation, we're not far behind in % of students who achieve the average. But the APP students at Hamilton are in that 7% of high math and science learners. They are amazing and crazy for math. I knew this when, volunteering in a FIRST grade class, the teacher asked for "ways to make 8" (expecting, I assume, answers like 6 plus 2 or 20 minus 12 - that's what I thought in my naivete). She got "2 cubed" and "square root of 64" from different students. When she asked who knew what a square root was, almost one-third of the first-graders raised their hands, and the child she called on perfectly defined it. Ditto cubes. THESE CHILDREN NEED HIGH LEVELS OF MATH. This cannot, absolutely cannot, be provided in a regular classroom.

Be honest: could you, any of you who think dividing up APP and sending them wherever is such a great idea b/c they can just learn wherever they're stuck, and they can help other kids master story problems - could you teach 26 kids all day and also prep to keep teaching a 6 year old who can do cubes and square roots? And then the next year when that kid is in second grade, what is s/he going to learn? And third. And by middle school, that kid is ready for HS algebra. Not the half-cheeked kind where you do one year's worth of curriculum divided between 7th and 8th grade. No, the entire burrito in 6th. These kids can do it. Why kill this amazing success story? (Especially given that Hamilton is hardly Eckstein level crowding.).

It really seems like SPS has a fundamental problem with APP and quick-learners that makes them consider "let's break up APP" to be the answer to every single north end question, whether it makes sense or not.

-- a parent who wishes my rural high school had taught physics, chemistry or calculus, and thrilled my kid can move as fast as he's able with a room full of kids who "GET" him.

Anonymous said...

Supposedly Q13 Fox's 10pm news last night broadcast some video from the meeting. Did anyone happen to see it, or record it?


suep. said...

@ Ann O' and not ideal,

But every time you 'split' a program like APP, you are dividing all its resources in half, potentially moving it to a school that has no experience with AL programs or APP, teachers who have no experience in this field, and leadership that may or may not support it. The program is necessarily weakened and has to rebuild sometimes from close to scratch each time. So it's not a simple cell division.

I'm afraid your comments indicate you don't have firsthand knowledge of how all these splits have actually worked (or not worked). I recommend you defer to those who do and not hypothesize about other people's schools and other people's children.

Ann O' your comment doesn't make sense. First, all middle schools in general draw kids from wider areas than elementaries, so many kids are bussed to middle schools, not just APP kids at Hamilton.

Second, your suggestion still involves bussing.
One of the alleged points of the APP middle school split was to send north end kids to a school closer to their homes. That is what Hamilton has accomplished. The school is obviously much closer for the northend APP families it serves than Washington was, making bussing less of an issue. Plus the district receives extra funding for APP transportation which goes into the general transportation pot. Not a major consideration, but a consideration nonetheless.

Third, there aren't any or enough other buildings with space in these kids' neighborhoods (north end), hence this entire discussion and last night's meeting.

APP is not the only program that is expanding. Enrollment is increasing district-wide. Hence the current 'crisis.'

Your claim that you don't support your own suggestion rings hollow. Then why are you suggesting it?

Evicting APP for the sake of evicting APP is an ethically and logistically vapid argument.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I will note that APP elementary and middle has already been split. There are now two locations for each level.

This is a group that does work off the cohort model. They did split and families have worked to make those splits work. To keep doing it over and over without a good reason is wrong.

The district needs a coherent Advanced Learning program (and someone who will really support and direct it).

Anonymous said...

I do get APP w/a kid in it. But my take is you either have to cap APP off at some point like other school districts with their G & T program. Then you have long wait list, an entrance exam to get into (like NY's magnet schools) or a lottery and I am not so sure how any of that that will go down here. APP is growing and quite quickly. APP is going to keep outgrowing its space especially if it's located in an already stressed area. This is not sustainable even if APP has its own school without some kind of cap. Short of capping enrollment into APP, then you need to tighten eligibility or look at multi-sites. I'm going to leave this as my last comment because I don't want to make this into an APP debate.

not ideal, but there's space

JB said...

So how do I make the decision of whether or not to enroll my 5th grader in APP for MS, when we have no idea where it will even be?

feeling the futility

Eric B said...

On APP, I think we need to make a choice. Does the program occupy the entire space of a school (eg Wilson-Pacific for elementary), or does it live in attendance area schools (eg Lowell, Hamilton, etc.)? If it's the former, potential attendance and access is limited. If it's the latter, there is less stability as capacity demands on the attendance area part of the school fluctuate.

I don't know what the answer is, but we need to have an answer before long if APP is really going to be viable in the future. I can't see sending a kid to Lincoln not knowing where they might go when the music stops and the building is needed for a high school.

Anonymous said...

I agree with "not ideal". Or, you can try to cap enrollment by scaring off parents who know that their APP-qualified child needs stability.

I am so disgusted by AL leadership I can't even think about it anymore.

--APP in ALO

suep. said...

Fair enough, not ideal.

If there were evidence that the district had the inclination, ability or resources to make APP strong at multiple sites, that might be different. But the district hasn't demonstrated that commitment or interest, and the program, in many (not all) of the current locations, has weakened with the constant splits, upheavals and leadership issues. Splitting it again would be inequitable and necessarily damaging.

One of the problems with HIMS is that the district crammed too many programs under one (smallish) roof.

Charlie Mas said...

I'm kinda offended by the proposition that APP be capped. How do you tell a student or a family that a child will not get an appropriate academic opportunity? Any child?

Imagine if the District told the family of a third grader that the third grade is full so their child has been assigned to an available seat in the first grade. It will be okay, the district says, because the first grade teacher will try to accomodate the student's academic needs which are different from the rest of the class. Would that be acceptable? How acceptable would it be when the first grade teacher is unable to provide any meaningful accomodation?

APP and Spectrum, like ELL and SpEd, are an effort to provide students with an appropriate academic opportunity. That's all. It's the same thing that every family wants for their own child. They want their child to get a lesson at the frontier of their knowledge and skills.

Benjamin Leis said...

From the description it doesn't sound like the district added any new information at the meeting. Is that correct or have they made any new concrete decisions?


suep. said...

By the way, anyone enjoying these battles over limited school buildings and space? If so, just wait 'til charters get here! I-1240 lets charter schools take over school district buildings and cap enrollment at will. Imagine the fun capacity tussles and arguments we'll all have then!

Charlie Mas said...

Splitting APP is not a viable solution because there is no other school that could take even half of the cohort.

There's no room. Too many butts, not enough seats. It isn't program specific. Students cannot be moved because there is nowhere to move them. All of this talk about moving students is empty because there is nowhere for them to go.

John Marshall? Not ready.
Lincoln? Not ready.
Wilson-Pacific? Not ready.
Magnolia? Not ready.

The district's best choice, so far as I can see, is to move NOVA to Mann and move all of middle school APP - north and south, about 450 students - into Meany. They will have to do it all without making any capital improvements to either of the buildings beyond whatever they can get done before the fall.

It will be a burden on these communities and on the World School, but it will free up needed space at Hamilton and Washington and might be marginally acceptable to the APP community.

Then, when the Seattle World School moves out of Meany for TT Minor, the District can add another 400 general education, ELL, SpEd, and Spectrum middle school students into Meany as well.

Anonymous said...

At least in the NE, there are many students that are not APP-qualified that are not getting lessons anywhere near the "frontier of their knowledge and skills." This is a failure of AL to standardize ALO procedures.
--In the NE

Lori said...

For the northend, they did add one bullet to the slide relative to the earlier slide deck.

In addition to annexing 6th grade APP to Lincoln or Marshall as options, they indicated that they would explore programmatic changes at HIMS that might allow the APP 6th graders to attend as planned. District staff are meeting with the HIMS principal this Friday to discuss options. Apparently, there are some "flex" spaces to consider, and perhaps scheduling fixes that would allow room for this cohort.

Of course, as someone said to me after the meeting, maybe, if this pans out, APP gets a "1-year stay of execution" because big decisions still have to be made for what happens in 2014, 2015, all the way until new buildings open in 2017.

apparent said...

Perhaps it is important to correct a couple of misapprehensions about the old John Marshall middle school building on Ravenna Boulevard near to Green Lake.

First, its current capacity is listed as 760 seats, not the lower number mentioned above. So it is certainly large enough to house permanently the entire north Seattle elementary APP population, together with some compatible option program, or indeed an additional 6-8 middle school APP option (e.g. language immersion) that would draw away some kids now heading towards Hamilton.

Obviously, JM's unusually large size would also make it an attractive home for other K-8 or middle school populations mentioned in this capacity thread.

Second, another common misapprehension is that John Marshall has "virtually no playground," presumably because it stands on an ocean of asphalt mainly given over to parking. In fact, by walking or googling the lot you will see that the expansive school property actually includes 1 basketball court, 2 tennis courts, and 2 volleyball courts, in addition to approximately 120 striped parking spaces! (No kidding). For APP kids, this contrasts very favorably with the current limitations at Lincoln.

This is not even counting a smaller toddlers play area on the northwest side, or the long, landscaped front lawn facing the main entrance on Ravenna Boulevard. And inside the building, there are not 1 but 2 large interior gymnasiums in the center of a so-called racetrack classroom corridor configuration, still labelled separately for boys and girls in the 1927 building, now perfect for frequent rainy day recess for two separate programs, or even for younger and older kids if an APP 1-8 or another K-8.

Let's keep our facts straight.

Melissa Westbrook said...

A couple of APP things that also were said.

One, some parents of incoming Hamilton 6th graders said fine, you do that and I will send my child to my feeder middle school. That could make things worse for Whitman and Eckstein.

Two, as has been rightly pointed out, this needs to be settled so people know where their child will be going to school.

Also, Pegi McEvoy clearly said that APP would eventually be going to Wilson-Pacific but how firm that is remains to be seen.

Ben, depends on what "new" to you means. There was little new to me (except this idea that APP was firmly going to Wilson-Pacific).

Charlie, you rang a bell for me. Before this meeting, there was a Work Session on Creative Approach applications (and it was kind of interesting as well). The point was made that the Mann building was to have the basement redone so as to add space (and Nova wants to have 7-8th graders now). It makes total sense as the building should be reinforced from the basement up anyway for earthquake safety.

Apparently that got taken out of the BEX budget but I would advocate to shore up that building both for room and safety. Penny-wise, pound foolish.

Anonymous said...

Whoa, suep, relax please I'm on your side (really). Just because I don't agree with their point of view as I described won't make it go away. I have kids in APP too, I don't like the splits either, but I also don't think having a victim mentality "everyone's against us" gets us anywhere. Fact is, our kids are already in buses, so planners may see the APP program as easier to move. You're right that populations are growing in all the schools, but that leads to even faster growth of APP at HIMS which takes some of the pressure off neighborhood middle schools and concentrates more kids at HIMS. Again, I agree with you, I don't want more splits either but if there's space for a "Northwest APP" at McClure and no space at HIMS I can understand why it's being considered.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful! APP and McClure. A match made in heaven, and at just the right time in history.


Anonymous said...

In an earlier post on this thread, you wrote this:

"The Board wanted JA and promised they would be there through 2016 or 2017. (Dr. G-J did not really want JA.)"

Could you please explain how these promises were made? Were they firm, as in on paper?

I've only seen the Sherry Carr 2009 amendment stating that there would be no changes to the Jane Addams K-8 program prior to completion of BEXIV levy planning in 2013.

Where are the promises that they would "be there" through 2016/2017?

-North End Mom

Anonymous said...

apparent - Look, I get that you like the John Marshall building, but the big fact you left out is its unsuitable location by the freeway. It's simply not suited for younger kids because of this. Try as you might, you won't convince me otherwise. Health effects data doesn't lie. The front lawn as a playspace? Right by the street? Are you serious? "Expansive school property"? You're cracking me up.

JM is not the answer

suep. said...

Ann, No I don't have a victim mentality. Those are your words. (So "Whoa" back atcha!) I think the district has done a fine job of mistreating many schools, programs and kids over the years, and I've spent the last few years documenting and advocating against all of this, locally and nationally.

But your comment contained inaccurate premises. And the 'solution' you entertained does indeed focus only on evicting APP kids. Why buy into that, especially if you don't agree with it? Constantly evicting the same kids from schools every time the district miscalculates or mismanages capacity is not a solution that anyone should support or tolerate.

Also, the repetitive and blithe suggestion by various people (some -- unlike you -- with no kids or knowledge of the program or its history), of splitting APP for the 4th or 5th time in fours years does not acknowledge the reality of what that actually means in practice.

As for McClure, that is a small building and it's not empty.

NESeattleMom said...

One question: Does anyone know what the School District idea is for the 2014-2015 for the current 5th graders in APP at Lincoln if they send them off to an annex either at Lincoln or at Marshall? What is the Yr 2 plan? Also, how can they mitigate all the comprehensive middle school experience when there are only about 64 5th graders in APP at Linooln--(correct my number if I'm wrong.)Second, a comment: My personal opinion is that APP will not continue to grow at an ever-increasing rate. I think there was a one-time bump up from the north south split such that north families decided to opt in since they didn't need to cross the ship canal.

Anonymous said...

Because of the way the district allocates capacity, and the way different aged cohorts use space, buildings have different functional capacities depending on the population using it. According to the district's numbers - John Marshall has a capacity of:

552 as a K8
455 as an elementary
690 + as a middle school

Keeping the facts straight

Tami said...

Charlie, where do you get the total number (north and south) of APP middle school students as 450? At the first PTSA meeting this year, Principal Watters said that Hamilton had 400+ APP students.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Keeping, that seems mighty low. When Marshall was a high school and I walked through as a Closure and Consolidation committee member, I was told 900 students. That was for a high school.

North End Mom, I don't have time right now to find that JA promise but I remember it being made. I can try to find it but I suspect any JA parent knows about it.

The APP move to McClure might work - I don't know the numbers. What WON'T work is to treat them as the movable feast.

As for mitigation at Lincoln for 6th grade APP, I would not bank on it. There is far too much on SPS' plate to make sure to follow thru. I say that with no disrespect to staff but I just don't get it.

SPS - make a decision and stick with it. (Does anyone know right off-hand how many APP students there are at Lincoln, Thurgood Marshall, Hamilton and Washington?)

Anonymous said...

I don't have APP breakout numbers for TM, HIMS, or Washington, but absolute enrollment numbers including APP@Lincoln are here: http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Departmental%20Content/siso/enroll/2012/octp223.pdf

Lincoln is on page 98 and has 524 students as of the October count.


Meg said...

The problem in the north end is not any program, it's sheer volume.

K-5 enrollment in the Whitman, Hamilton and Eckstein service areas was around 7,800 students in 2001-02. It is just over 11,000 this year. While it's not the case at every school, virtually every K-5 grade band in the north end is at a 10-year high. If you make APP entrance criteria more rigorous, those kids will simply be back in the overcrowded local schools.

Grades 1-5 at Hamilton's feeder schools are at 10-year highs for enrollment. Even without APP, the rising attendance area 5th grade cohort is almost as large as the entire 6th grade at Hamilton this year. And the 4th grade cohort is bigger than the 5th, and the 3rd grade is bigger than the 4th, and on, and on. Birth rates in the Hamilton service area have been up; the trend of increasing K cohorts looks likely to continue. Chucking APP out of the school to McClure (which has space, but not enough) will only get Hamilton a temporary reprieve while creating massive overcrowding elsewhere.

Some kind of division at Hamilton will need to be made. There are too many kids guaranteed seats there. Offering APP up for dismemberment is a favorite game district-wide (and there are too many to move all of them to McClure), but won't solve Hamilton's problems.

Does that mean APP shouldn't be moved? I don't know. At all locations with serious overcrowding and multiple programs competing for inadequate space, a clear-eyed assessment of what is least disruptive to student learning needs to be made. Calls for chopping up programs and accusations of favoritism aren't assessments, they're reactions.

Anonymous said...

Ah, try this for APP enrollment counts:


It's not entirely ideal as it breaks students out by where they live, not by where they attend school, but it has some concrete numbers.


Anonymous said...

Those capacity numbers for John Marshall are from Joe Wolf (K-12 Planning Coordinator). There are a lot of spaces at John Marshall (as there are at Hamilton and Jane Addams) that are not currently useable as classrooms. So renovations could add capacity, but not in time for next fall. I don't have the district's data on portable capacity at John Marshall.

October enrollment numbers for Lincoln are 524 (106 enrolled in 5th grade - the largest 5th grade in the north end).

Keeping the facts straight

Anonymous said...

OK, I lied I came back for more. For data, this is where I went to for APP info:


or go to SPS enrollment data page and scroll down to site.

For APP growth:
Total APP enrollment for 2007 was 1294
Total APP enrollment for 2012 is 2063

From the data, if my math is correct,
2012 APP enrollment from McClure and Whitman areas for 6,7,8th grade = 176.
APP enrollment from Hamilton, Eckstein 6,7,8= 244

Roughly number of 2012 APP students at Hamilton is around 420 students.
2012 APP @ Lincoln is 524

So today if you want an APP K-8 school just for the northend, you need about 1000 seats.

I dug this out from a Jan. 2011 report that has McClure functional capacity at 764.
2012 enrollment is 448.

Please check my math as I'm on a lunch break and doing it on the run.

not ideal....

Eric B said...

@Keeping the facts: If there are 120 parking spots on the JM site, there's probably room for 4 portables. Adding any more than 4 takes a Master Use Permit, which is a year-plus project.

Anonymous said...

The solution needs to be North of the ship canal. Transit options can not keep kids on the bus for hours at a time. We drive our kid to school everyday. Queen Anne would be a terrible option. If APP 6th graders stay at Lincoln the Music and art teachers could make the walk from Hamilton. Lincoln is still the second best option to Hamilton. A dad

Melissa Westbrook said...

What about the idea of moving one department at Hamilton to Lincoln? Not fun but more equitable than singling out the APP students.

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

-parent, that's a pretty tired lie by now. Giftedness is not bought, and nor is APP. SPS enrollment district-wide is "growing without check." What do you propose we all do about that? Invoke Deng Xiaoping?

Anonymous said...

"What about the idea of moving one department at Hamilton to Lincoln? Not fun but more equitable than singling out the APP students."

Great idea. LA/SS is a block (mostly I think?) great department that could be moved.

Makes sense, won't happen.


apparent said...

Dear JM is not the answer,
The John Marshall building is located further from the freeway than are both TOPS K-8 and JSIS elementary. Unless you now advocate decomissioning both of those successful school buildings – which I don’t hear you doing – then your reliance on “health effects data” seems expedient rather than principled. So then what is the answer?

Dear Keeping the Facts Straight,
According to the district's numbers: John Marshall has a capacity of 760 seats. This is the number that remains consistently displayed on the SPS BEX IV Capital Levy–Recommended Projects spreadsheet, where the JM building continues to be listed under “School Type” among a few “Interim Schools” together with the Lincoln building. From your posts now projecting substantially lower capacity numbers, you are making it sound as though Joe Wolf (K-12 Planning Coordinator) has not read the district’s own published BEX IV spreadsheet. Also, as Melissa pointed out, in recent years the John Marshall building even held a higher capacity of 900 high school students.

The reality is that if north Seattle elementary APP had been assigned to the 760-seat John Marshall building as its interim (and also potentially permanent) site instead of being given its short fuse at soon-to-reopen Lincoln High, we would not now be facing the inevitable further elementary split that the SPS administration has explicitly forewarned after a temporary sojourn together in the planned Wilson-Pacific builidng, and we could also probably design much more attractive options for at least some of our rising APP middleschoolers despite capacity constraints.

Anonymous said...

The majority of Hamilton APP classrooms are on the west side of the building. Relocate the rest to the north and west sides. The empty space and music rooms at Lincoln are on the south east side of the building. So actually, pretty darn close together. And while all populations are represented in music at HIMS, the great majority of music students are APP. It does not take ten minutes to walk between the buildings. If certain HIMS classes were offered at the Lincoln building, and not just APP students were involved in the shuttling it would be more equitable and still feel like one school. A "crossing guard" adult could supervize the passing periods and kids could be given a two minute grace period before being marked tardy for any class at the other location. Not ideal but better than another split.

open ears

Anonymous said...

If the overcrowding at HIMS is intolerable then something must be done, even if the solution isn't ideal for everyone. APP already buses kids in from other areas so it's only logical to consider a portion of them a more easily movable group than the other students who attend Hamilton and also live in the Hamilton neighborhood. It's not a matter of one group always being targeted for unfair treatment (unless you choose to see it that way). These past few years have been difficult for many students and families, that's the legacy of NSAP and school closures, Spectrum has been butchered, transportation eliminated.

Dividing northend APP East-West so that kids who already ride buses from Ballard, Magnolia, and QA can go to a new APP program at McClure that's closer to where some of them live, might ease pressure on Hamilton and Whitman, and increase enrollment at McClure which is not full. Probably many of those kids will continue on to high school together at Ingraham or Ballard. I don't want to see APP divided again, and this might not solve every problem, but I understand why it's being considered.


Anonymous said...


And everyone else who thinks that APP kids should go back to their own schools, the biggest number of APP students at HIMS are from Eckstein's assignment area. Where you gonna send em?

open ears

Anonymous said...

I think next year's 6th grade APP parents next to have realistic expectations if this horrible idea comes to fruition.

There is no way the 6th graders could be offered everything the kids currently have access to at HIMS. There are 6th graders in all three levels of band (I don't know about orchestra) this year at HIMS. The band teacher wouldn't be able to do that next year. There just isn't time in the day to do that. I also see math and language as being problems.

I don't know how much teachers could realistically walk back and forth. Yes, the schools are fairly close, but once you exit HIMS from whatever floor you are on and then walk through the park and then across the street and then walk through Lincoln and up however many stairs, you have eaten much of the class time. It can't be done in a standard a passing time.

No matter how much one dislikes APP and wants to take it out on the kids, it just isn't fair to treat 170 kids (a guess of how many APP 6th graders there would be next year) so differently from every other 6th grader in the district.

-Parent figured me out. I bought my child a seat in APP from the Kwik-E-Mart.

Anonymous said...

a parent,

I think you are wrong about buying your way into APP.

The COGAT is not a reliable test. My kid has been in Spectrum classes with kids that tested into APP but opted for Spectrum in the neighborhood schools, and some are blazingly bright and some can barely keep up with Spectrum and should really be in a standard classroom.

Anyone who wants to and can do the work should be able to be in APP. Some kids don't test well. But when they are running circles intellectually around their classmates, voluntarily taking on math at home that is two and three levels above grade level, and bored silly in class with no one to talk to about the intricacies of Greek and Roman mythology, with teachers that over and over say to us, "We just don't know how to challenge her. She should be in APP", that kid should be able to be privately tested and if she passes, should get an APP seat.

And anyone who tests in but can't keep up should be sent to a more appropriate classroom. Who cares about a test, when the kid devours the work like a chainsaw through ice cream?

another parent

Anonymous said...

At least a little of that growth is due to the new ALO system. Prior to- not quite positive on my dates- 2010?, kids who tested into APP and did not go would not be counted anywhere. Now at many neighborhood schools, they are still counted as APP by virtue of enrolling in their ALO (just a different report card). That added to the growth overall accounts for all the growth- not "bought" seats. Sheesh. I think this is a particularly unattractive argument.

-APP needs a home

suep. said...

Ann, if you truly "don't want to see APP divided again," why do you keep trying to make the case for doing just that?

Po3 said...

Could 6th grade APP move to McClure and create a mushroom model, meaning that over the next three years the program transitions out of Hamilton into McClure?

Is there a way to survey parents on this?

What are the pros and cons?

Anonymous said...

Sue P. then what do you propose for Hamilton? This is Short Term capacity thread. Re-do Hamilton NSAP and make it smaller? Would that be fair to the local kids? How much time will you buy doing that? Looking at the number of kids coming up in the lower grades all over the NE, it does become a question of sustainability. Does APP needs its own school: K-8, if so where and how much will that cost and bear in mind the time line and BEX $ for all this for all the other schools in need. Sigh. I can't look back. At this point I'm trying to look for solutions and I realize it can't just be about my kids' programs or schools. It's all interconnected. And I don't want to even look at HS right now......
not ideal

Anonymous said...

Was a draft of the 2013-2014 Transition Plan ever presented?

Would very much like to see a copy as it will govern enrollment for 2013 and forward.


Anonymous said...

There is a confirmed and agreed upon need for 2 middle schools north of the ship canal: all three existing comprehensive middle schools are at (Hamilton) or over (Whitman, Eckstein) capacity. Of them, Eckstein is the worst, and, it needs relief now. Ten K5 schools feed to Eckstein, and the quality of education is sliding downhill at Eckstein. Faculty are leaving.
There is a confirmed plan for the two middle schools: Jane Addams and Wilson Pacific. It is clear one middle school is needed now, one will be needed later. So, the simplest solution is PUT THE MIDDLE SCHOOL IN THE MIDDLE SCHOOL NOW. Seriously, it is that simple.
There are two groups, the K8 and the ‘excess middle schoolers’, and, they both have to go somewhere. Why would you NOT put the middle schoolers in their middle school? Why would anyone (actually, it is not ‘anyone’ is it the K8) suggest you bus the middle schoolers past their neighborhood middle school to travel to a temporary interim housing building (John Marshall), WHEN THEIR BUILDING IS READY FOR THEM NOW? Why would you not put the K8, which is homeless, much like STEM@BOREN and APP@Lincoln, into an interim facility while they wait for their building to be built, just like the other non-attendance-area based schools? This isn’t about being vindictive or unfair to the students of the E-STEM K8, it is about what is the ‘most fair’ for the most students: to be blunt, it is 1 K8 vs. 10 K5s.
While it is understandable that the K8 would rather not move from their neighbor’s middle school, the point is, their neighbors need it back. Now. And, your Sherry Carr promise just expired. The BEX planning is done.
We are all in this together. This is not about throwing anybody under the bus. This is the reality of not having enough seats in the system. West Seattle is a mess, and the North is a mess. And the high school mess is looming. So, given that there are not enough seats, the question then becomes, who goes where? The District has a duty to all children in all facilities and all programs, and K8s are a valuable and vital option for families. However, they are the ‘option’, not the ‘mainstay’, not the default attendance assignment. The overwhelming majority of Seattleites have consistently embraces the comprehensive middle school model. As such, put the middle school in their building. And do so with sensitive implementation, so that the quality is outstanding and equal to that of Eckstein.
-stop the madness

Anonymous said...

As for the K8, I can only understand them through the lens of the era of Any Rand, and forceful self-focus, but that is simply not my lens. Their suggestion at one point to have two kinds of middle schoolers in ‘their’ building is completely odious. It would create a ‘caste system’, those part of the ‘collective’, and, the ‘outside interloper’. Kids go to school together, they wear one tee-shirt, they sing one school song. Deliberately trying to engineer a non-cohesive building is, at best, sad and short-sighted, at worst, loathsome. Perhaps the kids should have separate bathrooms too? Could they share the fields?
The good news for E-STEM K8 is that there is a building to go to! John Marshall, and in terms of metrics, it can hold you. You are 581 students. Capital did not count certain classrooms, because they were not 750 square feet. But ask McGilvra about classroom size. Many throughout Seattle have smaller classrooms. It really is a blessing to have somewhere to go: unlike Summit, whom perished for you to take ‘their’ building, or Pinehurst K8, whose fate remains indeterminate (I have to say, does not look good), but whose size precludes them from taking the Marshall building. Is it unfortunate that you have to move? Is moving inconvenient? Yes, and, yes. But, it is better than the alternative. Ask Summit about that. History is nothing if not a lesson in numbers: E-STEM K8, look at the numbers of students in the ten K5s which feed to Eckstein, then look across to the situations in the Hamilton and Whitman middle school service areas and ask yourself if time is on your side. It is not sustainable or equitable.
By implementing Jane Addams now, the ‘excess’ middle schoolers could be put into the middle school, including the Wilson Pacific bound ones, and then, when WP is ready, they could move on. Heft in middle school is best: with heft, comes a richness of electives, music, and athletics. So, rather than trying to land yet more portables at Eckstein and Whitman and duct-tape Hamilton, utilize the Jane Addams to house the middle schoolers, not Marshall.
By utilizing Jane Addams, the best part is that the education quality of the coming program will get some time to ‘bootstrap’ in place, so that the northerners will be getting a known entity. That is important. Perhaps approaching Jane Addams’ implementation as an annex of Eckstein would be the way to go, so that Teaching and Learning can spread the faculty across the Ecksteinites in both physical locations so that the program quality is maintained in both locations (The District looks like it is considering this anyway, but using the Marshall not the Addams building). We are all in this together, and in the end, implementation is what the focus should hone in on: all kids deserve a great education, so lets make sure the ‘newbies’ on the block (Meany, Wilson Pacific, Jane Addams) get the time and attention they deserve to make them great!
And please, vote yes on BEX. Pretty please?
-stop the madness

Anonymous said...

Stop the madness -

Well said! Send this to everyone you can find down at the district office.

-It just makes sense

Melissa Westbrook said...

Okay Stop, you make a lot of big statements.

One, do you know for certain what promises were made to J. Addams? I'm not sure you do and frankly, if the district can easily discard those promises, then no one is safe in the future.

Second, my understanding is that J.Addams is NOT really ready to be a stand-alone middle school. Are you sure on that point or is that your opinion?

Third, J.Addams is NOT homeless; it's in the building it was started in. That's not homeless.

While it is understandable that the K8 would rather not move from their neighbor’s middle school, the point is, their neighbors need it back.

Sorry, no neighborhood owns a building and Jane Addams was a K-12 and now a K-8 for decades. So no one can just up and claim it.

I will also point out that not all K-8s are option schools. Did you not know that?

And outside interloper? Have you considered the feelings of Thorton Creek which is its crowded building and yet will watch a new K-5 rise up right across its playground? How do you think those two communities will work together?

Yes, we are all in this together but your words that came before that statement don't exactly support that feeling.

"Seriously, it is that simple."

Actually, it's all a lot more complicated than you think.

Anonymous said...
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suep. said...

@-parent, it's hard to tell which is greater -- your ignorance, or the giant chip on your shoulder which makes you so irrational and bitter toward gifted kids.

Oh and by the way, your presumptions about my family are wrong.

Anonymous said...

The thing that's hard to swallow in all this is the supposed crowding at Eckstein. The claim is that it is utterly unbearable. If that was really true, why wouldn't people simply select J. Addams? It's right there in the same neighborhood and it has no wait list. The only conclusion is that Eckstein isn't really that unbearable after all. Let's get a grip.


Anonymous said...

Whoah. My giant chip? Gee. It sounds like you are the one with a chip Suep. And no, I'm not wrong.


Anonymous said...

Well, Melissa, we will just have to agree to disagree.

To summarize:

2 middle schools needed in the north: yes or no?

1 needed now, (unless you are ok with 16 portables at Eckstein), another in 4 years from now: Yes or no?

1 of them is already built (Jane Addams), one of them is 5 years away (Wilson Pacific)? Yes or no?

The rest, my friends, is commentary.

And yes, I do know that some K5 grade bands of K8s (2 of them, actually out of the 10) are not enrolled by option, but rather by assignment; and yes, I do know you know, that EVERY SINGLE MIDDLE SCHOOL PORTION OF A K8 IS BY OPTION, and that my discussion was focused on the preservation of educational quality for middler schoolers north of the ship canal. Educational quality is suffering at Eckstein. The District’s plan is to do a ‘roll up’ of the Wilson Pacific comprehensive middle school at the Marshall building in two years. That is not workable, and thus, not a true plan. I would rather the District spend what little time and what energy they do have making operationalizable plans, and not let everything, including the E-STEM K8, slide off a cliff. You know the District’s numbers are wrong? Check out the last presentation of BEX. They ‘forgot’ about 403 elementary seats in the north. That tells me that if the E-STEM is successful in their desire to stay put in the middle school, all that will happen is that they will be pulled out of there as a K5 to be put into an attendance area elementary school at Pinehurst. Melissa, you have been in this for years, and so you know that the promises made are not to be relied upon. Wish it was different. And, thank you for your advocacy for all children.

-stop the madness

Whataboutthis? said...

What about creating a Spectrum/APP middle school at Marshall? That would provide relief to both Eckstein and Hamilton. I know the district wants to hold on to that site as an interim, but I'm not sure that's realistic.

suep. said...

Yes, 'parent,' your chip. You're the one irrationally and ignorantly harping on about gifted kids, on a thread that is supposed to be about capacity issues in the north end, of which the APP program is only one part.

"And no, I'm not wrong." Ah, I see. You know everything there is to know about the private lives of APP families. And you also believe (stated earlier but since deleted) that giftedness doesn't exist, but can be bought. Hmm, your credibility is rather shaky, I'm afraid.

suep. said...

@not ideal,
...then what do you propose for Hamilton?

Well first off, I propose we recognize that Hamilton is not the main issue in the north-end overcrowding problem, and even if the district tinkered with it, it would not solve much and for long.

Next, I would suggest we find out what the actual space options are at Hamilton. HIMS parents at the meeting last night said there is potential space available. Maybe putting up a few walls to make classrooms out of the flex-spaces would be the least disruptive and expensive option.

Are there too many schools feeding into HIMS? I don't know. Maybe that should be addressed.

At any rate, the bigger picture, as has been clearly outlined elsewhere on this thread by others, is that the district simply needs to put one or two more middle schools online in the north-end asap. Anything less than that is mere tinkering and delaying real solutions.

Anonymous said...

Nobody said there were NO gifted students, but just noting a cause of the huge increase. Evidently, the topic is soooo touchy and taboo, that merely a mention private tests sends people into a frenzy. My post was deleted by the audacity of the suggestion, and not by me. To me, that proves the point. Does anyone really doubt it? None that I know.

-parent across America

eckstein parent said...

I don't think it is easy for prospective parents to know about the crowding at Eckstein or how it affects the school. There are no daytime tours, so you don't get caught in the halls during class changes unless you are volunteering there after your kid is already attending.

How many times a month is it ok to have your child accidentally slammed into the lockers by someone who outweighs them by 100 lbs? That probably depends on your child. Do you know what the tipping point for your child would be in 6th grade? Do you know how fast your child will grow & then not be the kid who bounces but rather the one others bounce off of?

Would a 5th grade parent understand that kids can not carry backpacks & can not visit their lockers between classes because there is no room to open them? That means keeping track of not only your binder & books, but also music, graphing calculator, and supplies for your art project in your hands.

It might be hard to visualize the interactions among 500 middle schoolers/per lunch in one cafeteria with a couple of adults. Perhaps your child will thrive in the that milieu or perhaps be overwhelmed & not eat. Do you know which it will be?

You won't get this information on the tour.

Anonymous said...


Your post was deleted because you posted unsubstantiated conjecture. You have been asked to prove what you are alleging. You have not done so.

Your fascinating analysis of people you know does not a fact make.

-billy goats gruff

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Unsubstantiated conjectures abound. There was one right above about the weight of students in the hall. But NEVER mention private testing to APP parents. Especially APP parents who do privately test. And, NEVER question the validity of segregation or its wider impacts on capacity or even worse, equity. Those conjectures are intolerable! (mostly because they are true)


Anonymous said...

@anon at 5:25
Your post will be deleted, because it is unsigned, but Salmon Bay enrollment is currently at 694 students (per Oct 1 2012 count).

-North End Mom

Anonymous said...

Right on, a parent! You are not biased or rude when you put your unsubstantiated opinion out there stating that some kids in APP don't belong there because of the way they were qualified for the program. Not at all. It is simply that these oversensitive parents, clueless to what their kids need, are willing to squelch your free speech!

Another parent

Anonymous said...

Dear parent --

I'll address private testing. I have a child in Spectrum, not APP, but I had her privately tested when the District's cogat came back with a weird disconnect of 92 percentile in quantitative and 32 in verbal. My child has never been in the bottom third verbally, ever, so I knew that was wrong. She was tested as a kindergartner-- when they are new to school and totally uncomfortable with a random stranger asking them questions. So, knowing that those #s were totally unrepresentative, I double checked my gut by having her privately tested. While I agree that there may be a "pay to play" element in the system, I know my child is in the right place. She's thriving in first grade now and all of her MAP scores are in the mid to high 90s.

I'm also the kind of parent who would pull my child from the class if she weren't thriving -- both for a better fit for her and to make room for someone else. But, I suspect that the vast majority of parents wouldn't pull their kid even if he or she was struggling considerably.

JS said...

That 2011-2012 Salmon Bay report lists 263 for K-5, and 354 for 6-8 (Total 617). You have to scroll down.

Unknown said...

Can anyone fill me in on what was said regarding the overcrowding in West Seattle?

life beyond the north end

Anonymous said...

Agree Sue P.

This is what I was working from (if you believe these estimates), from the 2012 state of district report:

"Growing enrollment. For the 2012-13 school year, enrollment grew by nearly 1,400 students for a total of 49,864 students. In the next 10 years, enrollment is projected to grow by 7,000 students, which is equal to 14 elementary schools, 10 middle schools or five high schools."

So I'm not sure we"ll be building the 1 or 2 MS (w/ W-P by 2017) fast enough. And if you look at northend HS need, our current crop of MS is going to hit it full swing soon. I hope the district is careful at choosing interim sites and what get housed until we'll need it for the next HS.

The only thing I will add re: APP housed w/in another school is the concern that if APP's growth continues at this rate or even slowed a bit, it can swallow gen ed seats up. That is where I was coming from when looking at APP program and its history in particular. And historically that leads to a split or make new history by having its own school. It's a real wrinkle.

not ideal...

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the Salmon Bay #s correction. I apparently have never read a K-8 report as I did not realize they separated each segment by numbers. I appreciate the clarification.

Anonymous said...

Yup, Salmon Bay is almost 700. I think building max capacity is something like 704. So they could maybe squeeze a few more bodies in. But the school is fairly packed.

Anonymous said...

Really? A friend of mine transferred into Salmon Bay in the middle of the year due to some exceptional circumnstances. Compared to other schools - it was very roomy and had very good student teacher ratio's. Lots of middle schools have 30 or more per class, but not SB where low to mid 20's are standard in the middle school. It seems the "capacity" numbers are pretty arbitrary. Salmon Bay is definitely not packed by any stretch of the imagination.


Anonymous said...

For a link to the past...Couldn't find it on the District website but thought there was an amendment from Director Carr to leave JA alone until 2013.

Here is a link to that wording from a post on this blog back in 2009, http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/2009/06/two-big-amendments-proposed-for-sap.html

And if I recall correctly both amendments cited in the post, passed.

So the guarantee to JA is if/until BEX IV passes and then figure it out.

I don't believe moving JA to JM will benefit the surrounding area as JA pretty much draws from the immediate neighborhood. Which would mean if it is moved very far away that the trend in enrollment for the elementary grades will not continue. Those will be extra elementary kids to squish into John Rogers, Sacajawea, and Wedgwood.

If the levy passes and schools slated for WP are shuttled to JM will it provide enough of a relief valve at Eckstein? I don't know.

But there definitely needs to be some major pressure relief prior to 2017.

If the levy passes would starting to roll-up the future JA MS at JA along with JA K-8 be the best of the crummy options? Let's face it -- all we have are crummy options, no one will have an ideal outcome - so which option is the best of the worst that we can agree on and advocate for with the District?

If past actions of the District can be used to predict future actions, they will let all us parents be distracted by beating up on each other. I think the APP move to McClure was a nice red meat toss into the ring. Then they (the District) will do a quiet end run around our squabbling mass and voila -- they will have selected the very worst of the worst options for us, but the easiest for them.

I hope that doesn't happen -- but just saying I've seen it happen so many times before. Get the parents to fight, get them distracted, and do what we want to do.


Anonymous said...

MS classes at salmon bay are mostly 28-32. (they used to have small 6 grade homerooms but lost that due to funding). a few are under and more like 26 and a few are over and more like 33 or 34. however, the extra classes were added in the elem school this year. as i said, they could put a few more bodies in, but the facility is fairly packed

Melissa Westbrook said...

Unknown, there was very little discussion of West Seattle. Seemed odd to me but I dn't recall any parents from that area and the staff just mentioned the various schools with some homeroom needs in West Seattle but there was no real discussion. Let me review my notes.

Anonymous said...

Eckstein is hanging in there. The teachers are strong and there for kids, and they are adapting well to what has been a big change in student demographics without one penny from the last Levy or any real support from the district. The parent who fears for her child's hallway and cafeteria situation could pick JA, but Eckstein is still offering a great education to its students and has a strong parent community.
I'd be in favor of offering app opportunities at more schools. I see it as growing a program and allowing kids to get their needs met at their neighborhood school instead of splitting a program. Or, if this cohort considers itself a family, leave it intact and start offering a satellite app program at another location that develops upward from a K class.
-Eckstein Dad

kgroth said...

@Melissa Westbrook -

Thank you for answering my questions earlier in this thread.

With all the discussion on what to do about the middle school situation in the NE and the fate of Jane Addams K-8 and Eckstein, I didn't hear discussion about Pinehurst K-8's fate and where it could move in the interim or permanently. We are pushing the School District for a plan for our school prior to 2013/2014 Open Enrollment so we can message to our families and prospective new families. Though the lack of mention of our school doesn't bode well for our future. We're concerned we'll go the way of Summit K-12 and get pushed out by Jane Addams (again). In 2010 our school was promised 5 years to grow our program and here we are 2 years later getting the boot.

I am new to public schools so my assessment of the situation is that the District makes promises to schools that they intend to keep until the environment changes and they need a school for a different purpose/population.

I appreciate all the info you and other parents share on this blog. Though I dislike when I read comments of parents attacking each other online, it's like the cyber-bullying that we are trying to prevent happening to our kids. Please let's keep this blog as a place of fair, open discussion without trashing each other. Thank you.

- Pinehurst Kindergarten Parent

Anonymous said...

McClure? Seriously, I hadn't jumped into the fray until now because I thought the meritlessness of this would be obvious: McClure doesn’t have a capacity problem, it suffers from an academic problem, or, more accurately put, a perception of academic quality problem.

Splitting the northern APP again will require 350 seats per site, to accommodate steady ‘market share’ over the next five years of OVERALL District enrollment growth. McClure doesn't have that to give: its capacity per the SSD's KPI October 2012 report is 558, its enrollment is 448. Yup, that is a110 seats. Not enough. Moreover, look at the residency projections: the kids are there, they just don't show up to this school. And, to top it all off, it is another one of those ‘micro sites’, it is two acres, so there is no spillway for portables. Oh, plus there is the issue of Catherine Blaine K8, that will have ‘too many middle schoolers’ in a little while, who will need to go somewhere.

Putting APP in there will obviously trigger the pent up demand for middle school seats that thus far has neglected Queen Anne (sorry, Queen Anne--you, like all the other middle school service areas, deserve excellence), which will mean -wait for it - APP would get the boot in what I predict record time: a mere two years (instead of three!). Please, can't we do better that to use APP as a bait and switch lure? They are kids too.

Realistically, APP can only stay where it is, unless they want to pull it out and put it all into Wilson Pacific, which would accomplish lots of good things. Namely, (1) that would right size Hamilton so that it could handle its future projected enrollments, (2) it would protect other schools from getting booted out of Hamilton, (3)
it would place it in a geographically central location (which itself is not dense with students), increasing accessibility, (4) it would also protect other schools getting pulled away from their middle schools of Whitman and Eckstein, as fewer of their feeder schools would be needed to be pulled away to 'fill up' the Wilson Pacific gap because it was only getting half of APP, and (5) it would protect Jane Addams, (the other likely candidate for APP – because of volume of seats available owing to its ‘freshness’) because whenever you have two guaranteed seats feeding into a single building, you get what's called competition - which ultimate results in a loser , who gets booted. That is a painful process that too many have been through already; let’s not repeat these mistakes over and over and over again. Let's just get it right the first time and put it all in a central location cohoused with an option spectrum program to be a single school so no other school community gets tangled up in its destabilizing nature. It's not its fault: APP JUST ISN’T A GOOD FIT WITH AN ATTENDANCE AREA ASSIGNMENT SCHOOL IN THE LONG RUN for elementary or middle schools, it works best for everyone if it's paired with an option draw and the two are complimentary. Otherwise, they'll just keep being in perpetual instability and the rest of us will be the collateral damage. For those who might try to point to Thurgood Marshall or Washington, do you think they too are not having the exact same issues as Lowell did and as Hamilton has? How many portables do you want those sites to cap out at?

So, no, no APP at McClure, thank you.

-just say no to McClure, say yes to long term planning

Anonymous said...

StepJ good points.

Does anyone know how many Middle Schoolers there are at Jane Addams? And, how many of those Middle Schoolers have Eckstien as their neighborhood school? Wouldn't want to see more added to Eckstien or even the neighborhood elementary schools because Jane Addams changed locations.

-a north end parent

gingama said...

I'm sorry I was unable to attend the meeting. Thank you all for your advocacy. Does anyone remember anyone saying anything about West Seattle schools? I'm asking about Alki in particular.

Thank you.

Spruiter said...

Jane Addams currently has 193 middle schoolers. There are 56 8th graders, 54 7th graders, and 83 6th graders. Having a third section at 6th grade this year allows for more flexibility in scheduling, and we would very much like to see that continue next year (and even grow to a 4th section to help alleviate MS capacity - this growth would require some renovations to create more classroom space).

I don't have the attendance area data from 2012, but in 2011, 88% of the Jane Addams K-8 middle school students came from the current Eckstein service area. Of those students, most are from John Rogers (57), Olympic View (21), Sacajawea (20) and Olympic Hills (19).

The Elementary school distribution is as heavily skewed to the north. Last year, Jane Addams had 98 elementary aged students from John Rogers, 73 from Olympic Hills, 42 from Sacajawea, and 37 from Olympic View, and our enrollment has grown since then. Moving Jane Addams out of the neighborhood where the bulk of our students live would negatively impact the surrounding schools which are at (or over) capacity.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the stats.

So, if I'm understanding you correctly, you are concerned that Jane Addams K-8 families would not be willing to spend 3 years out of their 9 year tenure with the environmental sciences K-8 program at an interim location (presumably with transportation provided)? You are concerned that some might jump ship and go to their neighborhood schools?

I can see how some families may not be that committed to the program, and/or not willing to put their kid on a bus, but other option schools around town have been able to survive moves from one site to another (Thornton Creek, TOPS, etc...). Interim housing is a temporary thing, after all, and those dedicated to the program will stay.

If some decide not to stay, that would be unfortunate, but at this point, I think most north-end elementary schools would be willing to suck up an enrollment surge if it means a predictable, safe, comprehensive middle school in our neighborhood is the prize.

The other option on the table seems to be co-location, in the Jane Addams building, with assigned middle school students from the Jane Addams Middle School feeder pattern, for at least 2014-15 and 2015-16. Is this option preferred by the Environmental Sciences K-8 community over temporary housing at an interim site?

-JR Mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

"I am new to public schools so my assessment of the situation is that the District makes promises to schools that they intend to keep until the environment changes and they need a school for a different purpose/population."

Pretty smart for a newbie if you ask me.

I don't believe Pinehurst came up at the meeting and again, I don't think there were parents there talking about it.

This Eckstein situation is quite real, I have doubt about it. However, I am getting the vibe - as I have for years - of ownership. And I have no doubt who believes their children should get access to Eckstein and its long lineage of excellence.

Some seem to think "well, "those" people will eventually get a new shiny building so that should be okay for them. What if those people still believe/want access to Eckstein.

I understand where the building is and so what elementaries it is likely to end up serving. But this is the very same attitude that was seen during Olchefske's time and frankly, not so pretty. It comes across as if Eckstein parents believe JA parents are being selfish. Switch shoes for a brief minute and then tell me that.

We need to afford everyone the right to advocate for what they believe is best for their school's population. Yes, there is the greater good and the capacity issue but you cannot blame people who were told one thing and now feel suspicious about what is to come.

Anonymous said...


Melissa, I unfortunately do not understand your references.

Who owns, or feels like they own Eckstein middle school? We all do, every single taxpayer, including those without children, living in Seattle.

That question is a different question than who gets access to Eckstein. And, who gets access to Eckstein? Anyone north who is east of the I5, except for Laurelhurst.

And, who controls who gets access to Eckstein? That is a different question then who gets access. And, who controls is simple, it is the District, not the parents, and certainly not the parents in adjacent elementary schools.

The problem lies with the 'who gets access' question. Access is roughly for all of I5 east (save for Laurelhurst). The question is, is that workable? The answer is no. 12 k-5s are mapped to Eckstein, with guaranteed access per the NSAP, and that is not working, and it's only projected to get much worse. So, who is it not working for? Everyone north who is east of the I5. I infer from your post there is something nasty bubbling up from some 'southern' schools who want to push out 'others'. Not saying you said that, just that I inferred that, and the pity about that kind of inference is that it puts one group of parents against another, which is not productive, and which is not happening here. And of course, the southern most school, Laurelhurst, is already remapped to Hamilton. So one cannot really make this type of allegation. Should Bryant be remapped? To where? Will Olympic Hills be remapped? Likely. That's not Bryant's fault. Will Montlake get remapped upon opening Meany? Likely. Will that mean schools south of Washington are "pushing it out"? No. It's just geography and capacity realities.

All parents don't want their kids pushed around in bathrooms, so right now, that is what happens/ has happened occasionally at Eckstein (and it is not Administration's fault, it is a fairly predictable outcome when 1,300 12 to 15 year olds are crammed in a space built for 950). That is why all of the parents who want/chose a comprehensive middle school want this fixed, for all kids, all 1,300 of them.

So, as I see it, "stop the madness" is just the messenger. Don't shoot him, don't vilify parents for wanting to fix their middle school by demanding for a more realistic plan, and don't get mad at the Eckstein building for not having been built for 2,000 ;).

When I read "madness's" posts, I read a desire for all east-I5 students to get a comprehensive middle school with an emphasis on quality (hence the suggestion of spreading Eckstein across two sites). Can't argue with that.

My mantra: FOCUS ON QUALITY(we must have accountability from the District for quality, and, capacity affects quality), NOT GEOGRAPHY (which was a product of the ice-age, which has long since passed)!

So, Melissa, anybody, best ideas to get Jane Addams going as an outstanding middle school? Clearly, community engagement is critical and an excellent principal along with dedicated, experienced teachers are a must, but specific ideas? I am supremely interested in that, as it is likely to be where my kids go to school, and even if they don't, I want both it and Eckstein (along with all others) to be excellent! Thanks.

Ironic, isn't it, that now that the District intends to launch a program to build new schools, nobody is heading Teaching and Learning? That is concerning.

-no shooting of messengers

Anonymous said...

@ no shooting

AMEN! and Thank you!

I echo your concern about Teaching and Learning leadership. It is frightening that SPS is attempting to launch new schools, including 3 middle schools, without leadership where they need it.

Did you catch last night's public testimony at the School Board meeting? There were few speakers (9?), but of those who spoke, 2 were parents from John Rogers, and 3 were parents from Sacajawea, all advocating for their children's middle school education.

Were they begging to stay at Eckstein? No!

Were those who testified hostile in any way towards the K-8 program currently housed in the Jane Addams building? No!

These were parents who simply want the best possible middle school experience for their children and their peers. They are ready and willing to throw their collective energies into making Jane Addams Middle School a great middle school for their kids, while at the same time contributing to a real solution for capacity management for all of North Seattle.

The District knew this would be hitting the boiling point by now, or the "Sherry Carr" amendment would not have passed back in 2009. It was extremely poor planning by the District and School Board, and it affects everyone in the NE, regardless of which school their children attend.

Dragging this out any longer than the time that is absolutely necessary to implement a strong, well-thought out middle school in the Jane Addams building should be avoided at all costs. If this means placing the K-8 in temporary, interim housing, then that is how it should be managed.

If the K-8 is allowed to remain in the building, pressure will surely build, due to the strong surge in Eckstein enrollment due to begin in 2014, and the future of the K-8 will be at risk, especially if by then there are no interim solutions available for them.

Likewise, dragging this process out puts our families - those of us with kids in the surrounding attendance area schools- in a situation where leaving SPS for Shoreline is the only option for a safe, high-quality comprehensive middle school education for out children.

Are we aware that there are parents with a more secure path to Eckstein who want our north-end kids to have their own middle school? Absolutely. Our kids are at Eckstein too, and we share their frustration about the over-crowded conditions there.

Please try to see the big picture here. It is not an "us" -vs-"them" kind of thing.

-North End Mom

Anonymous said...

Last night I asked my 6th grader who goes to Eckstein if she ever gets shoved into lockers between classes (a question I asked as a result of reading this blog). She responded yes like it was common practice. She has had her binder knocked out of her hands with papers falling all over the place with hundreds of kids rushing by. She refuses to use the restroom. Have I been happy with her education so far - yes. Do I think she deserves to be knocked around between classes and avoid using the restroom all day -no way. Does she have a right to attend the comprehensive middle school walking distance to our house without having to be told we should have bussed our child to Jane Addams to avoid the crowding so it must not be that bad - ridiculous.

A lot of kids are affected by this capacity situation and it is only going to get a whole lot worse in 2 years if responsible, non- political solutions aren't made ASAP. What do they say in High School Musical - "we're all in this together" - lets stop acting like Congress and work for the good of everyone rather than pitting everyone against eachother.

NE Mom of 3

Anonymous said...

There is a capacity issue for elementary students as well as middle school students. JA K-8 in it's curent location can help with both. It can not do that as well in a smaller building.

If it is a choice for either JA K-8 or future JAMS students to be at John Marshall for 2 years, why move a program twice so that another does not have to move at all?

It seems better to me to put middle school students at John Marshall as opposed to K8 students, especially since they are coming from the same area.


Unknown said...

Shooting of Messenger, first it's 10 K-5s to Eckstein and now it's 12. I'm confused.

You are absolutely on point about this launching of new schools without a T&L head. (I thought that Cleveland STEM and K-5 STEM were shoved out there way too quickly as well.) A new school takes planning and in this district, once it gets launched, it seems to be on its own.

Actually, I did sense some hostility in the remarks of a few Eckstein parents at the middle. And, when a JA parent got up, he noted an Eckstein parent trying to wave him off. (That was quite visible.) That's when I Tweeted that I thought the gloves were coming off. It was not good.

There is almost nothing at this point that can be done to make JA middle school "great". A great school doesn't happen overnight or even in a few years. That's the point. JA has only existed a few years and there's this "why don't middle school parents want to go there?"

I will put forth that some years back when Carla Santorno was head of C&I, I asked her about K-8s which was a hot topic. She shrugged and explained that she didn't support having a lot of them because parents tend to THINK they like them but when their kids get to 6th grade, the kids are either chomping for new peers and/or the classes/offerings at a comprehensive. I honestly think it is a mistake to have so many K-8s.

I always look at the big picture but I have experience with Eckstein and I have sometimes seen some very much "us versus them" attitudes. That I pointed it out, well, you can disagree.

Anonymous said...


Please explain what you mean by this?

"There is almost nothing at this point that can be done to make JA middle school "great". A great school doesn't happen overnight or even in a few years. That's the point. JA has only existed a few years and there's this "why don't middle school parents want to go there?" "

The current program in the Jane Addams building is not a middle school. It is a K-8 program. It does not have full comprehensive middle school offerings. Many parents shun it just because of the lack of offerings.

The K-8 has a focus and a culture of its own (which are great for things for a K-8 to have), but entering into this "culture" at grade 6, when there are others who have been immersed in the K-8 culture for much longer is not really that appealing to many of us who have kids about to enter middle school.

The K-8 is also very elementary focused- this is understandable, since there are currently more elementary students than middle school students. I'm going out on a limb here, but I think most parents of kids leaving elementary school would rather their kids go to a school where middle schoolers, and only middle schoolers, are the primary focus.

I understand that may take years to make a "great" middle school at Jane Addams. The point is that attitudes are changing amongst some families, and there are a growing number of parents in the area who realize that we aren't all going to fit into Eckstein, we know our kids won't be assigned there, and we are willing to put our time and energy into helping our new neighborhood middle school become a "great" school.

SPS is planning to open 3 new middle schools in the next 5 years, and I refuse to believe that the one at Jane Addams will be a failure, just because it doesn't carry the Eckstein brand (although if some of the current Eckstein staff would like to work at Jane Addams MS, it would certainly help towards making it great!).

-North End Mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

NE Mom, someone previously asked how to make JA's middle school more desirable. Frankly, I don't see how this can be done overnight so that the pressure gets taken off Eckstein (if that is the goal). And I just stated that the issue with K-8s is precisely that they don't/can't offer all that a comprehensive does.

What is interesting is that apparently there ARE Eckstein parents who want an "Eckstein Annex" at JA.

I was quite surprised to read this in some Talking Points being circulated in advance of next week's meeting at Olympic Hills for the NE region.

A new middle school or Eckstein Junior? Are the elementary schools surrounding JA that would feed into a new JA middle school all on-board with this "Eckstein Annex" idea? Were they asked?

This is what I talk about when I mentioned "ownership." It's a bit much.

Anonymous said...


Please explain these talking points further. What grades? Would existing Eckstein students be assigned there?

I've heard rumblings about a 6th grade Eckstein Annex, for all the 6th graders (not just those from up north). To me, this sounds like a reasonable solution if 1300 kids at Eckstein is intolerable. It is at least equitable, spreading the inconvenience across all the Eckstein community.

-North End Mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

NE Mom, these are NOT district ideas. These are apparently ideas from parents who believe this is what should happen.

I had offered this idea of an annex of a grade level at Marshall but I don't know what this is. I find it troubling that it sounds more like an Eckstein off-shoot than a fully-fledged middle school.

Anonymous said...


Nope, I have not heard an "Eckstein Jr"-type annex discussed at all by parents at north-end schools, though some know about the 6th grade annex idea. We are all starting to communicate with each other about the middle school issue, and this idea did not come from this end of the Eckstein Service Area.

I can see that it might be possible to launch a comprehensive middle school by a geographical split, which is how I am inferring that an "Eckstein Jr" would be formed. Launching a middle school this way would require a great deal of planning and resources. I don't think a geographic split would be a valid way to address short-term capacity management. It certainly is not an equitable solution.

I have trouble seeing how "Eckstein Jr" kids would have access to the music program and all the other offerings that they would normally receive as Eckstein students.

I also think it would be incredibly difficult for Eckstein staff to pull this off, with less than a year planning. Has anyone bothered to ask them what solution they would endorse? It sounds like SPS is taking the position that nothing needs to be done for next year.

-North End Mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, I have the "talking points" memo so yes, it is real.

Again, NE Mom, why do you think that all parents want an "Eckstein Jr."? Parents whose children might be assigned to that school might have their own ideas of what they want in a comprehensive middle school.

But I see that I was thinking if JA was kicked out that a new middle school would rise up. I'm thinking that is more to be the case than an Eckstein annex but you would have to ask staff about that.

Yes, SPS is taking the position that they can play chicken for another year. They are not so good at that game.

Anonymous said...

I'm not following you. I never said anything about north-end parents wanting an "Eckstein Jr" annex. I don't know anyone who wants to be annexed off from the rest of the school, especially if it is at all grade levels.

A 6th grade annex might be a viable short-term capacity management solution, but only if absolutely necessary.

The parents I know from north-end schools certainly feel that we need our own middle school up here, in the Jane Addams building, but we want a well-planned and well-executed one...not something hastily thrown together for next year.

If, by Eckstein Jr, you are referring to a comprehensive middle school with great teachers (like Eckstein), a broad range of offerings (like Eckstein), etc...then sure, that would be great, but a middle school at the Jane Addams building will have its own identity, and much different demographics and needs than Eckstein. In that respect, it will not be an "Eckstein Jr."

-North End Mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

All I can say is there are parents with clearly differing opinions than yours and I have the proof.

biliruben said...

I would give Jane Addams about a 30% chance of surviving with it's current community intact, if asked to move twice. Even once is going to be a real struggle. It's just too new a school, and though the parents, teachers and administration have worked very hard and successfully to make it a fantastic school, it just doesn't have the history to survive two large geographic moves.

Please don't kill the school, for our kids sake, as well as the district's, as it serves a vital role, both in terms of capacity and it's program.

Anonymous said...


I totally understand your compassion for your child's school, and your wish for it to survive.

I'm not aware of a program that died in interim housing, but maybe someone with more history in the district can point out some examples?

But here is the deal. "Survival" for your community seems to be contingent upon receiving and filling a huge, customized building, big enough to fit 720 kids in a 3-up chimney model, for what will likely be the largest K-8 program in Seattle, assuming it fills to its full potential.

In your post, you state that surviving one move (to the Pinehurst site, less than 1.5 miles away) will be "a struggle" for the program.

Does the District know that they have committed $40M dollars to build a huge custom building for a program that might not survive the move...or might not fill the building once it is relocated?

Do you understand that the previously- proposed opening of the Jane Addams Middle School was slated for 2015? The K-8 program refused that plan, because the building they were offered - one that could be built within that time frame, and which was comparable in size to other K-8s- was not large enough for the K-8 program they had envisioned?

This change put off the opening of the new middle school until 2017, well past the beginning of a predicted enrollment surge, and resulted in extreme anxiety in parents throughout the Eckstein Service Area over the quality of their children's future middle school education. The children who will be hit hardest are those who will be assigned to the Jane Addams Middle School. My kid is one of those kids.

Our middle school will be implemented in some yet-to-be-divulged convoluted interim capacity management scheme so that the K-8 program can remain in the Jane Addams building until its new building is ready for occupancy.

If anyone knows of another example where an option program was given priority over the needs of the neighborhood assignment kids, please share!

The only way our children will have access to the middle school building in their neighborhood will be by either temporarily opting into the K-8 program (there probably won't be room for us to continue with the program in its new building), or the District may decide to assign our kids to the building still occupied by the K-8 program.

Apparently, the District now thinks that they can move the construction schedule up, and get the K-8 program into their new building at Pinehurst by 2016-17. Enrollment at Eckstein is predicted surge by 2014-15.

I understand not wanting to move twice, I really do, but if you think your program is in the hot seat now, just wait until 2014, when the middle school surge hits.

I know the environmental sciences K-8 is an excellent program, and I want to see it survive, because I understand that some families prefer the K-8 model, but the K-8 community needs to own the fact that they have caused real anxiety for the families of all the 10 schools feeding into Eckstein, and especially your neighbors in the north end.

-North End Mom

North End Dad said...

@North End Mom

How has the "K-8 community" caused this anxiety? Or are you specifically blaming the Jane Addams K-8 community?

Anonymous said...

@ North End Dad

Sorry, I meant the Jane Addams K-8, though truthfully, the blame falls on SPS. It has been a frustrating roller coaster ride, caused by some ridiculous capacity management decisions.

-North End Mom

North End Dad said...

@ North End Mom

So are you blaming the Jane Addams K-8 community for this or not?

Anonymous said...

@North End Dad

Yes, I feel that the Jane Addams K-8 community is partially to blame for the anxiety many families in the area are experiencing.

Personally, when the Jane Addams MS was put back in BEXIV, I fully supported the JA K-8 staying in the JA building until their new building was ready for them in 2015. Two years of short-term fixes to get us through to 2015 would be difficult, but bearable, and worth it if it meant the K-8 could be relocated with just one move (though I wish the displacement of the Pinehurst program could be avoided).

It takes time to adequately plan and staff a new middle school. 2015 seemed like a reasonable year for its implementation.

Their refusal to accept the expanded (not rebuilt) Pinehurst building, combined with their adamant stance against interim housing is delaying the opening of the JA building as a middle school until at least 2016, possibly 2017. That is a long time for our kids to be in limbo, without an actual school to call their own, and yes, I feel that the Jane Addams K-8 community neglected to consider the needs of the kids who need the new middle school when they asked to increase the scope of the Pinehurst project. They did not ask for our input on a decision that will affect hundreds of our children. They could have, but they didn't.

I understand that the JA K-8 program is fighting for what they consider to be the optimal accommodation for what they feel their program can become. I also understand completely that the Pinehurst location is far from ideal for an environmental science program.

There are two very different perspectives here, which I think is part of the problem. One perspective is that of an option program that feels it can set the size and configuration of its program to what they consider to be optimal, and they expect the District to accommodate them. They have been given one of the largest buildings in the north end for the first 4 years of their program, and that, or something close to it, is what they feel they need in order to "survive."

The other perspective is that of families in assignment elementary and middle schools who, in some cases, have experienced rampant growth, even after the NSAP. These schools must take anyone who shows up from their attendance areas, and, unlike option schools, they do not have the ability to cap their class sizes or enrollment. Most of these schools are either at or over-capacity, with the most extreme example being Eckstein. These families want and need relief from over-crowding.

One group is fighting for their optimal instructional model, the other is fighting for basic need of a safe learning environment for their children.

Middle school for north-end kids has historically been a mess, dating back to when our kids were bused past the Jane Addams and Eckstein buildings for middle school at Hamilton. This anxiety, angst, whatever you want to call it has been brewing for a long time.

-North End Mom

biliruben said...

Thanks for your response, North End Mom.

I certainly don't know the history of option schools killed in interim housing. Perhaps if you could let me know of an option school that was moved to interim housing, much less moved again, that would be a start. Every school and every community is unique, so I'm not certain what you are trying to say here.

I think, given we are only to 3rd grade in our roll-up and are up near 600 kids. I'm not certain if that includes special ed or ELL or pinehurst. We had a large waiting list this year, and have offered to go to as many as 5 middle school homerooms per grade. Their is no doubt, without SPS sabotage, JA would fill either the current or the new building.

I am very aware that Jane Addams was proposed to be moved to Cedar Park, but that fell through because it was landmarked as a historic Thiry designed building. It can only fit about half what Addams enrollment currently is in it's present state. Are you suggesting that would be an acceptable alternative? Gutting our school so Eckstein kids won't have to suffer humiliating jostling in the hall? Where do you suggest the other 300 of our kids go?

As for your comment that kids at Jane Addams should be somehow treated as second-class citizens... I don't really know what to say. Well I do, but I'm still trying to keep an open mind and think of solutions that help the whole SPS community, so I'll hold my tongue.

You clearly don't know what anxiety is, when your program is constantly on the chopping block, and other parents are cannibalistically attacking our very existence.

The real issue is we need more capacity, period. We need new buildings, not just moving programs from one building the the next in a game of musical chairs.

We are an environmental science school that has accepted that we will be moved into a concrete jungle 1/5 the size of our current footprint, with little to no green-space. We are okay with that, for the good of the district and our fellow families and their kids.

That said, I repeat, please stop trying to kill our program. We have sacrificed enough.

Anonymous said...

North End mom-
When you moved into the Seattle Public School District, or enrolled your children in SPS(which ever came last), what school was operating the Jane Addams building? Pretty sure it was not Jane Addams Middle School.

It was Summit K-12 when I moved into this school district. It was Summit K-12 when I enrolled my son in school. Figured my kids would go to Eckstein or private school-never considered them going to Jane Addams Middle School-it did not exist. I can't imagine that too much anxiety could be caused by the Jane Addams community.

Maybe as was mentioned earlier in the blog, a staggered schedule at Eckstein is the easiest short term solution.

-Non of the solutions are ideal.

Anonymous said...


If you inferred that I think JA K-8 students should be treated like 2nd class citizens, I'm sorry. I don't think that at all, and certainly did not mean anything I've written to be interpreted that way.

After Cedar Park was off the table (due to landmark issues), BEXIV planning continued with only 1 middle school opening in North Seattle (Wilson-Pacific). By early October, it was determined that one new middle school would not be enough, and repurposing the Jane Addams building as a middle school was back on the BEXIV proposal, with a new building planned for the JA K-8, at Pinehurst, opening in 2015. This would be an expanded building, not a full tear-down rebuild. It's capacity was to be 525-ish, which would mean that the program would have to morph to a smaller configuration to fit (this could be managed over time, with temporary portables, if necessary).

I am not surprised that this proposal is frequently over-looked, since it was changed within days of it's introduction, after the Jane Addams BEXIV task force met with District personnel. The JA folks pressed the district for a larger building, and that is what they got. Too bad that it resulted in pushing back the opening of the much-needed middle school in the Jane Addams building by two years.

I am not trying to kill your program. It is a great program. I'm just trying to offer (evidently not very effectively) a different perspective of the roller coaster ride of BEXIV planning.

@non of the solutions...
When we entered SPS, I thought my kid would go to Eckstein too, but that will not be an option for him. He will be assigned to the new JA Middle School, which will likely be housed at an interim location for at least part of his time in middle school.

-North End Mom

Anonymous said...

The Jane Addams Middle School does not yet exist as a physical place, but it will exist when feeder patterns are re-drawn, which could happen by 2014. As soon as feeder patterns are drawn, our kids will be assigned to a middle school that does not yet exist, and housed in some form of interim housing if the Jane Addams building is unavailable.

One scenario has us interim-housed in the Jane Addams building, co-located with the K-8.

So, yes, there is anxiety among this pretty substantial group of families...they are the families of all kids in grades K-4 at the elementary schools from the northern region of the Eckstein Middle School service area (Sacajawea, John Rogers, Olympic Hills, Olympic View, etc...). We have no idea what the future holds for our kids' middle school tenure...no clue if it will be a good school, staffed by excellent teachers, or where it will be located between 2014-2017.

- North End Mom

Anonymous said...

As far as I know every school (expect Nathan Hale, I think) has had to move twice when their building got remodeled. They moved out to an interim location and then back in to their building. Is that correct?

Anonymous said...

Can someone explain to me what the different options and electives are in a comprehensive MS like Eckstein vs a K-8 or a small (or non-comprehensive) MS? My understanding is that the academic options are practically the same either way at MS.


Maple Leaf Mama

Anonymous said...

@Maple Leaf Momma

I don't know much about what is offered at smaller comprehensive middle schools, but at Eckstein, world language choices are Spanish, French, and Japanese, whereas at Jane Addams K-8, only Spanish is offered.

-JR Mom

Anonymous said...

@Mapleleaf mom - electives are funded based on population - and the school is able to choose which electives they can staff and offer. So, a K-8 could offer more choice IF the size of the MS was larger. If smaller, fewer.

~someone who has asked

Anonymous said...

Response to earlier in the thread: options schools may not cap numbers. They are given the same class sizes as everywhere else in the district. You're likely confusing charter schools with option schools.

~ consumed by school stuff these days

Spruiter said...

I would like to clarify some of the points made by North End Mom who feels that:

“the Jane Addams K-8 community neglected to consider the needs of the kids who need the new middle school when they asked to increase the scope of the Pinehurst project.”

The District’s original proposal to move Jane Addams K-8 to Pinehurst, made on October 9th, was intended to shrink the program to a school with two classes/grade at elementary, and 3 sections/grade at middle school. This proposal was never fully fleshed out – but we were told that in order to do this quickly enough to move us by 2014, there might be a minor renovation to the building, plus they would add 9 portables (I have no idea where 9 portables would fit on that tiny campus). We would have also had to start shrinking enrollment immediately to prepare to fit.

At this point, yes, our community responded and said this was not an acceptable option, for a number of reasons. Of course the fact that this plan was not sustainable for our program was one of our key points. But I strongly disagree that the Jane Addams community and our BEX Task Force was not thinking about the rest of the NE community. In fact, one of the reasons we opposed this plan (in addition to the displacement of Pinehurst K-8) was that we are substantially helping capacity issues at NE elementary schools, particularly in the northern part of the service area. Our strongest draw is from the John Rogers, Olympic Hills, Sacajawea and Olympic View attendance areas. Shrinking our program has cascading impacts on all of those schools. All of the NE schools currently have larger K classes than 5th grades – evidence of the growth the entire NE is experiencing. However, the above mentioned schools have the greatest size discrepancies between K and 5th grades (e.g. – the John Rogers K class is 180% the size of their 5th grade, whereas the View Ridge K class is 115% the size of the 5th grade) – these schools are growing fastest right now - and shrinking our program, or moving it out of NNE Seattle, will negatively impact capacity at these already overcrowded elementary schools.


Spruiter said...


Regarding the claim that the original Pinehurst proposal:

“was changed within days of it's introduction, after the Jane Addams BEXIV task force met with District personnel.”

That is not how it happened.

We asked the district to meet with our BEX Task Force to brainstorm options, alternatives, and to get a better sense of their priorities, goals and constraints. We NEVER pushed, nor even proposed a rebuild at Pinehurst. In fact, when we met with District staff, Sharon Peaslee and Kay Smith-Blum on October 19th, we were quite surprised when they immediately brought us the current proposal for a brand new building on the Pinehurst site. At that point, we continued to ask the district to look into other options that would not negatively impact Pinehurst K-8. So the new building at Pinehurst was certainly not a result of that meeting, or anything we pushed for (other than a building large enough to fit our community and help alleviate capacity issues at neighboring schools).

Our approach to interim planning is the same – we continue to be concerned about equity between Eckstein and JAMS as those schools are likely to have very different demographics. We are concerned that moving our school to interim housing at John Marshall would negatively impact our community, particularly our 45% FRL population and our ELL families. We are also concerned about the cascading impacts this would have on the attendance elementaries in our neighborhoods, as well as the quality of a new comprehensive middle school for our neighborhood that is slapped together in a few short months, and that would pull students out of their current school.

I recognize that there are no great options for any of us at this point. Frustration is high as are the stakes – we all want the best for our kids. I detest feeling like I have to engage in this conversation right now, but I can’t ignore claims that are made about my school community that I know first-hand are not true.

Anonymous said...

@North End Mom-
I fall into the category you listed. Not knowing what Middle School we will be attending. I guess what I am trying to say is I feel it is wrong to blame the Jane Addams community for anxiety-that's all.

-none of the solutions are ideal

kgroth said...

Let's not forget that in all this discussion regarding NE Middle Schools, Eckstein, and Jane Addams K-8, there is not a plan for Pinehurst K-8, not even a proposed one. We are still pushing for one but it seems our voice is not as loud as larger schools such as Eckstein and Jane Addams.

Our alternative option school has been threatened with closure 4 times in the last 7 years and of course that impacts our enrollment growth. It's amazing that we have 180 students with that level of uncertainty always hanging over our school. Our kindergarten class this year is double last year's class. We fill a need for kids better served by an alternative model who might not all thrive in a traditional school. So to ensure that all kids get a good education, the Pinehurst K-8 alternative option school needs to continue, even if at a new location.

Anonymous said...

JR Mom & Someone who has asked -

Thank you for the clarification.

-Maple Leaf Mama.

Anonymous said...


Thank you for your response.

I didn't mean to imply that JA pushed for the Pinehurst site. I'm sorry if I gave that impression.

During the meeting between the Jane Addams reps, District Staff, Kay Smith-Blum, and Sharon Peaslee, was there ever any concern raised about how NE middle school capacity would be managed until 2017, if the Jane Addams building would not be available until then?

Did SPS offer any assurances that they had a plan to deal with the NE middle school surge without using the Jane Addams building?

Did the Jane Addams community ask for these assurances?

I'd like to know the answers to these questions, because, so far, those of us with kids who will be assigned to the Jane Addams Middle School as building-less nomads have not seen a plan for how our kids will receive a quality middle school education, and this is the root of our frustration.

And, by the way, I totally agree that pulling north-end kids out of Eckstein into a grade 6-8 middle school "annex" by next fall is not an equitable or realistic solution to the over-crowding at Eckstein. Implementing a real middle school requires much more planning time, and our kids deserve a real middle school.

As far as the demographics are concerned, Jane Addams Middle School will be a neighborhood middle school, and, as such, it will likely reflect the demographics of the neighborhood elementary schools feeding into it. The challenges are not new to us,since we already experience them at the elementary level, but thank you for your concern.

-North End Mom

Spruiter said...

@ North End Mom

Throughout this process the Jane Addams community has been actively advocating that the district allow our middle school to grow to help alleviate the NE middle school capacity shortage, while not sacrificing the capacity relief we provide to overcrowded elementary schools.

We have asked that the District keep our MS program optional, and not assign middle school students from the north end of the Eckstein Service area to Jane Addams K-8, as we recognize that a K-8 is not the same as a comprehensive middle school.

While we have grown significantly each year, despite repeated threats to our building, we have seen that the lack of stability for our school has been a limiting factor in this growth and we have asked the District to give us stability in the interim so we can continue to expand our middle school.

We have joined you and other parents in asking for a multi-year interim plan (including a plan for Pinehurst K-8) as soon as possible.

I am glad to hear that we are in full agreement about the flawed and divisive 6-8 middle school “annex” proposal.