Agenda and Documents for Interim Plan Vote Thursday


The agenda includes Public Testimony.  I made the list but so did three people speaking about Stevens.  The directors had discussed how to make this as wide-ranging a group as possible but I'm thinking really did nothing to make that so. 

I find the updates confusing.  What I think I am reading is that staff wants no changes but mitigation efforts (some of which, as I predicted, they would likely be doing no matter what the vote). 

They do have a caveat that if the staff recs are changed, an update will come by the end of the day today (Wednesday the 30th).

Fiscal Analysis.  I find this a bit hard to read but they present Director Carr's amendment - to create JA Middle School next school year - in two forms.  One is co-location until 2016 or co-locate one year and then JA K-8 moves out the next year to John Marshall.

Enrollment projections.  Again, not a lot of help because we're not seeing the direct comparisons of what these head counts mean in various regions.  Interestingly, many high schools are project to decrease slightly (40 or less). 

For middle schools, there is a modest increase overall - from 8225 to 8352, a difference of 127 students.  But where is that growth mostly?  At Hamilton, up a whopping 98 students.  I don't really get it (unless there are a lot of APP students).  (Eckstein had been projected to be 50 fewer but it looks like it's only about 25.) 

Other items of interest:

- K-5 STEM in West Seattle continues to grow at a good clip.
- Gatewood will be up over 500 students.
- Schmitz Park will be near 600.

- QA Elementary also continues a good clip and will be nearly 340.

- Bailey-Gatzert will go over 400.

- Bryant is projected to be over 600.  (To note, View Ridge is nearly there already at 598.)
- JA K-8 is projected to be up 63 and nearly to 650 students.
- Olympic Hills?  Up a whopping 55 students.
- Olympic View?  It climbs up over the 500 student mark.
- Laurelhurst is projected to be down about 15 students (those boundaries need to be redrawn in that area).

- Very little growth in the NW except at Viewlands which will climb over 300.
- Ditto on the SE.
Low enrollment schools (per their building size) - Pinehurst (146) and Madrona (a newish K-8 building at 286 - not good)


Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…
How did the Cedar Park meeting go last night? Sharon Peaslee was slated to be there, and I understand the artist colony was mounting a large and loud showing to avoid being moved. I wish I could have gone- losing those elementary spots in the NE would be a huge blow to our already (obviously) awful capacity problem. Seems like both the JA and Eckstein factions could temporarily put aside the swords to agree that Cedar Park should be used for SPS student space!

NE parent of 2
Anonymous said…
Oh, I see there was a large discussion two posts ago, and the school is definitely coming. Phew. Sorry, carry on, school warriors.

Also, not sure about expanding Laurelhurst into Bryant exactly- the new TC school should absorb some of Bryant's students, right? I think we have to look at the whole map. There are so many kids in this neighborhood; some of the boundaries are definitely going to look weird, and maybe that does end up meaning people 2 blocks from Bryant go to Laurelhurst, but I think really they just are all going to need to get moved around.

NE parent of 2
Anonymous said…
Thank you for starting this thread Melissa. Here is my repost from the Open Tuesday thread:

From what I can see, the numbers do not buoy Eckstein parents' insistance that JA must move next year. Their population is not expected to increase. So, they made it through this year, they can do the same next year. It isn't optimal, but it is workable. And it won't cost additional transportation dollars to shuttle JA kids farther from home.

JA itself is slated for significant growth.

Next year's pressure from the south part of NE is coming from Hamilton, not Eckstein. Most of that pressure is coming from APP. So what to do? Since the district has punted the question for years now, doubt it will be solved this week, but from my point of view, the district's Advanced Learning leadership either needs to step up or step out. Meantime, APP will get to choose between a crowded school or a split program or a move. That is not parents' fault. That is the district's and the strong light of lackluster planning needs to be focused on the issue.

Sherry Carr's amendment needs to be voted down and the district needs to get busy yesterday planning for additional middle school capacity in 2013-14 as well as an answer to APP programming.

Capacity Wonk
Lori said…
What's going to be interesting this year is to see how the simple act of posting these projections affects enrollment choices.

For example, if I'm the parent of an APP-qualified kid at View Ridge, do I gamble and enroll at Hamilton, which appears likely to be very crowded and may lose half or all of its APP cohort the following year?

Or do I take what looks like a safer bet and choose Eckstein, which is supposed to experience a reduction in enrollment next year? If a lot of families make this choice, then Eckstein is just as crowded or more crowded than this year!

Ultimately, parents are being asked to make middle school decisions with incomplete information about what is going to happen to their child in 7th and 8th grade, so it seems very likely to me that the estimates are really only guesses. Past enrollment patterns probably don't matter at this point because families might behave differently when faced with chaos and uncertainty.

I hope the district releases numbers as soon as open enrollment ends this spring so everyone can see how this all shakes out.

(for historical purposes, I can reflect back on what happened at Lowell. I had to find my old post on the APP blog, but in 2010, they estimated 40 kids for 2nd grade and 58 for 3rd grade for 2011 and instead enrolled 75 and 83, respectively. Their estimate was under by 60 kids! Was that all just enrollment growth in general, or parents leaving overcapacity elementary schools? Who knows, but it give me pause when it comes to relying on enrollment estimates)
Jon said…
So what is going on at Madrona? My understanding is that it's been a problem for a long time, poor performance and way under capacity. Why not replace the principal and fill Madrona with a new program (maybe a STEM K-8)?
Lori said…
oops, sorry, typo. my parenthetical statement should be what they estimated in May 2010 was for the 2010/2011 school year. Sorry I was unclear.
Anonymous said…
Can't wait to hear the wailing of Bryant when their demands of managing enrollment means families are sent to Sand Point and Laurelhurst. Boundary changes next year will make this year's capacity worries seem like a picnic outing. Especially when downtown refuses to grandfather this time around. Think that isn't the push? Think again. Transportation costs won't support grandfathering.

Older and wiser
Anonymous said…
BEX is on my mind today. Did anyone hear Greg Wong, head of the Schools First organization, on KUOW this week? He said on the last BEX that all schools came in on time and on budget. Does the AT LEAST $75 million overrun on Garfield suddenly go 'poof' just because Schools First says so?

No sorry, it does not.

Have not decided my BEX vote yet, but seeing the very bad planning in the northeast with money going to projects that won't begin to solve the problem and in some cases in West Seattle and Northeast Seattle will make the problems worse I am leaning 'no'.

Anonymous said…
As someone who attended the meeting last night, I would say that once the neighborhood heard that the transition to a school would fill a permanent need, not just an interim, and that the plan would be to keep the park intact and permit neighborhood use, they were understanding of the capacity issues of SPS and seemed to be moving toward looking at solutions for where the Artwood Community might move and how to make that transition better. The district also committed to MUCH better communication.

The fiscal handout? From what I can tell, it's the same one that was given out before the 1/23 meeting. I hope we get an updated one (I know that there were revisions being shared with the board.)

The updated Action order - I asked Pegi and she said that it is possible that there could still be changes until late this afternoon.

And, yes, the primary middle school capacity crunch for next year is Hamilton, not Eckstein - and the one enrollment figure that jumped higher than expected was the 6th grade APP enrollment projection into Hamilton.

The REAL capacity crunch that is even more intense is the elementary crunch in NNE Seattle, which will be exacerbated by the restriction of entering students into the JA K-8 program starting next year in order to accommodate a 2013 JAMS start-up, if Carr's amendment passes.

Give an extra year and give the most affected schools the time they requested to plan a solid launch, continue to help with NNE elementary capacity, potentially avoid a double move of a 600 student program that would cost a lot more (moving the program, transportation, speedy update of building), and give all affected communities the redrawn boundaries before open enrollment next year - information they need to make informed decisions.

Gaining all of the above is far more important than gaining the ~150 spots gained TOTAL between Eckstein and Hamilton.

~CedarPark resident
Jon, Madrona is a pretty sad story but it's very much like AAA. It just drags along despite efforts to have made it better. It is definitely the victim of district neglect and yes, something should be done.

DistrictWatcher, yes, I hear Mr. Wong on KUOW. He did not have answers to some questions and yes, said BEX was on-time and on-budget.

That is very irritating. Be honest and be honest about what changes have happened in BEX that will make it better.

Instead, it's "we need the money." Not good enough.

You have to vote your conscience.

Just to know, the district can bring this back in a couple of months should it fail. It depends on whether you feel the district needs a message that has not/will not get to them any other way.

But it is painful to see capital mistakes and poor spending year after year.
Anonymous said…
So it seems whether JAMS opens in 2013 or 2014, Hamilton is still going to be packed. So what are some realistic options for the next few years until some (or all?) of middle school APP moves to Wilson Pacific and relieves the crowding at Hamilton?

Leaving APP 6th graders at Lincoln, in fall 2013 or beyond, does seem quite undesirable for many reasons, including the gloomy condition of the currently unused south wing and the fact that those students would then miss out on much that Hamilton offers.

But it does seem to me that using Lincoln in a limited way to relieve the pressure at Hamilton makes sense. I know there is a concern with the traveling back and forth, but it must be possible to problem solve that and have, perhaps, some 2-hour block classes at Lincoln. Maybe even keep it to 7th and 8th graders who have just one portion of their day at Lincoln and the rest at Hamilton, as they may be able to handle the transition better. I assume lunch and music and gym would still all need to take place at Hamilton.

-Hoping for creative solutions to make Hamilton work
Anonymous said…
Those projections show the elementary enrollment at Pinehurst growing slightly next year. I find that highly unlikely since the district still has yet to give them any answers. This makes the NNE elementary issue even more significant. We simply can't lose any elementary seats in the NNE right now.

Starting the JAMS roll-up next year will impact elementary enrollment at Jane Addams, and thus at Olympic Hills, Olympic View and John Rogers, which are all full and growing fast.

The rushed start of the new JAMS also won't do enough to help the Hamilton situation - that will still need to be dealt with by 2014 at the latest.
Anonymous said…
Looking at Wedgwood's numbers, it looks like they have to have four K AND continue to have four 1st grade classes. Another portable for them?

Anonymous said…
My comment above meant to say expand to four 1st grade classes since they four Ks this year...

Eric B said…
On the BEX not fixing the problems, some other people said before that BEX is an attempt to solve a $1-2 billion problem with $700 million. It's a start, but it's not the end.

WV: oneskin
I'm a little puzzled.

If the 6th grade academy was a bad idea, why isn't moving Hamilton's APP students over to Lincoln? Same downsides except that it's a narrower group of students who get singled out.
Anonymous said…
I think any APP parent against the 6th grade academy would be against keeping 6th grade APP at Lincoln. for the reason you just mentioned. Making Hamilton work at the expense of 6th grade APP is not the way to go.

Anonymous said…
Hamilton's projected enrollment increased by 98 students. The post questions why that is and speculates whether it is due to the number of APP students. From the link included in the article, the increase appears without question to be caused by an increase in the number of projected APP students. If you look at the last column, the difference between the number of APP students enrolled at HIMS as of Oct. 2012 and the number projected for Oct. 2013 is 100 students.

I do not see how the school can manage a population increase to 1072 students (despite the principal's best intentions), and the risk that the projection may be underestimating enrollment compels a solution beyond just trying to squeeze everyone in.

Current HIMS Parent
Anonymous said…
Has there been any discussion of moving APP to McClure, where there is excess capacity?

We may do APP, but the instability makes it unlikely. One of the big draws is the quality of the instrumental music program. But if the whole school moves out in a year, or this July, that doesn't apply, as I am sure the teacher stays with HIMS. Our child can be placed in algebra with a good teacher at our neighborhood MS.

One consideration is preserving options for HS. If he's APP qualified and is in Spectrum in MS, can he move to the APP track in HS?

Considering APP
Anonymous said…
Yes. Half of APPN should be assigned to McClure. McClure is barely even a middle school without additional students. And Half APPS should be assigned to Madrona. It's an option school that doesn't attract students. Washington is a neighborhood school and no longer really has capacity for that.

Anonymous said…
I just looked at the Presentation for tomorrows meeting,

and on page 6 it is listing Jane Addams K-8 and JAMS co-housing in the Jane Addams building for 2013-2014. Is this a late change in the recommendation from staff?

Reader, really? APP is that moveable feast that we just use it to fill schools? And what happens when McClure or Madrona fills? Do you know that APP actually used to be in the old Madrona and it was such a bad situation that John Stanford said they should never be co-housed again?

No, I don't think so.
I see that for 2014-2015 for JA to make the change to a middle school but it's pretty confusing.
erik tanen said…
Move Stevens/ Madrona boundry North by a few blocks and that would put more kids into Madrona and relieve some of the overcrowding at Stevens.
Move The Stevens/ Lowell boundry a few blocks east and capture more kids for Lowell ( which could house 450 and has 200) and easily relive the over crowding at Stevens. All this would cost would be the cost of a new map. As opposed to a portable at Stevens which costs $200,000 + which Stevens does not want.
Anonymous said…
Let's see... APP students have CHOICE. They may attend their neighborhood school, any and all option schools, or an APP cohort school. It's pretty hard to feel to sorry for them. There's no "right" or "entitlement" to an ever growing "cohort" of like-minded peers of similar entitlements. So yes. If the group must be together, and must unboundably large - then it will need to be put somewhere with space and split up most likely. And it's far more choice than anybody else in the district is "entitled" to.

Yes. I think so.

Anonymous said…
Assuming BEX passes, isn't either some, or all, of northend middle school APP going to move to Wilson Pacific eventually? Then what we need is a sensible interim solution that allow Hamilton to handle all the students feeding in for the next few years. Again, I'm not suggesting moving APP from Hamilton to Lincoln, but I AM suggestion that Hamilton as a whole could consider using some Lincoln space in a limited way to relieve the pressure at Hamilton. It's not ideal, but it's better than singling out any group and removing them completely from the comprehensive middle school experience at Hamilton.

Unless the writing is on the wall for a permanent split, why move any portion of middle school APP anywhere right now? (not that there's any good place to go). If portables are not an option at Hamilton, one of the creative options on the table should be limited use of Lincoln.

-Hoping for creative solutions to make Hamilton work
Anonymous said…
I've said this before, and after hearing all the other options out there, I still think one of the best potential solutions is for Hamilton to use Lincoln as an annex--but not an annex where a particular group of students gets marginalized (e.g., 6th grade APP), but rather a situation that treats students fairly and takes a more integrated approach. If people are concerned that 6th graders are too young to walk between campuses (I don't agree personally), then have the older students do it. Maybe even just the 8th graders (APP, Spectrum, Gen Ed, etc.), who aren't likely to feel so isolated from their school if they have to spend a few hours offsite, since they're already more settled in and are more likely to know the kids with whom they're walking over. It might even make them feel good to get something those little 6th graders aren't "ready" for!

If every 8th graders spent at leas their 2-period LA/SS block over at Lincoln, would that solve the problem at HIMS?

Reader, you have choice as well - neighborhood or option. The APP have an extra choice but ONLY if they want to be with a cohort. Otherwise, they take what they get at the neighborhood or option school. Actually, the federal government does recognize them as a cohort so I don't know how to argue with that.

Well, it's not fair to keep moving them around. It hurts the program, creates upheaval at whatever school they are at. Either give up the program or put them in a permanent location.

I believe the Wilson-Pacific location is for APP 1-5 but I would make sense to make the elementary school APP 1-5 and then feed those 5th graders into the middle school.

Fine by me if you want to move an entire section of Hamilton to Lincoln but it is unfair to single out any group.
Anonymous said…
I still think waiting on the JA Middle School until the 2014 provides the most positive and sustainable transition to opening this school. Why open it with nobody wanting to go there? What would the morale be? It would negatively impact the 100+ students who are forced to go there and be a hardship on the positive growth (and capacity) of the JA K-8 program. Let Hamilton and Eckstein take the extra students for one more year and open up JA Middle School with the right community support.

-Parent of 5th grader who wants some positive growth, not just change to accommodate crisis
Anonymous said…
Dear School Leaders,

After reviewing 2013-14 enrollment data, which shows a potential increase in the number of APP students at Hamilton International Middle School, staff recommend designating the Jane Addams K-8 building as an attendance area middle school, with the first students assigned to Jane Addams Middle School beginning with the 2013-14 school year.

The updated proposed Board Action Report is posted online:

The School Board will vote on the annual short term capacity management plan during a special meeting at 5 p.m. tomorrow. The plan, along with the new student assignment transition plan, will address Seattle Public School’s capacity needs for the 2013-14 school year.
Parent said…
Regarding Melissa's comment at 12:07, yes, Madrona's numbers are too low and it has complicated issues. Please remember, though, when you talk about any school, you are talking about an important place to the children and families who attend there now. You are talking about a place that is right now actively promoting itself (especially underenrolled schools) as a great learning community. I recently visited Madrona for the first time and was really impressed by the staff and students, especially the kindergarten teachers and classes. Please be thoughtful about the words you use to describe schools.
Anonymous said…
"APP is that moveable feast that we just use it to fill schools?"

Sign me,

If it's good enough for special education, then it's good enough for APP
former dragon said…
Special Ed fills schools? At the same rate as APP? I had no idea.
Anonymous said…
We should be coming together as a learning community not pitting one population against another. Every student deserves a quality education. Let's not let SPS's mismanagement make us support for "my child" at the expense of "their child."

I've seen this divide and conquer attitude for so long in SPS. Now we are sinking to APP vs SpecEd? Really? We already have NNE vs NE, Hamilton vs Eckstein, and... well the list is long. Let's come together and make sure EVERY student gets what they need and deserve.

- Need for togetherness
Anonymous said…
It's all playing out as expected. So staff now at the 23rd hour says stuff kids into JA next year? Didn't they promise that any change would be broadcast BEFORE end of day on Wed.? This smells like the usual backroom dealings from the "in crowd" of Eckstein area PTA and FACMAC "leaders".

I really hoped other voices could wedge into the conversation, but as usual, it's who you know. Another broken promise to the communities who aren't affluent.

Disgusted and Done
Anonymous said…
FYI - the updates to the agenda and attachements for the special Board meeting today were posted on the SPS website late yesterday afternoon.

-Checking the website
Please be thoughtful about the words you use to describe schools.

I said that the problems at Madrona were mostly the district's fault (that and the former principal who stubbornly stuck to a formula that did not work).

Again, Madrona will go the way of AAA if something doesn't happen. Ask AAA how that felt to watch the district allow your program to twist in the wind.

I'm sure good work is being done there and as someone who has advocated in the past for small, struggling communities, I do think about the words I use. But when you have large and newish building with a very small population, then something needs to change.

I agree - I'm thinking staff is reluctantly saying open JA middle school. I don't believe this sudden change of heart.
If you follow my link in the thread, you will get to the new updates.
Anonymous said…
Staff has obviously changed the official recommendation because they want to be seen publicly supporting the majority opinion of the board. It's pure politics, and it's not the right or best decision for the affected schools and families. AND it makes not one jot of difference to HIMS or APP. It just upsets lots of people, makes them scramble to get things to work, and basically says "FU" to the NNE.

Anonymous said…
Staff has obviously changed the official recommendation because they want to be seen publicly supporting the majority opinion of the board. It's pure politics, and it's not the right or best decision for the affected schools and families.

Come on. Give the staff at least some credit. I'm certainly not a defender of everything the district does or the way things are done. But when I've gotten proactively involved in certain issues and met people face to face, and learned more about the complexity of the issues and the efforts they're making, it becomes a little harder to lump all district staff together and dismiss or castigate them all (maybe some, but not all). Believe me, my blood boils at times too, but I don't think it's fair to assume that every conclusion I disagree with was made by uncaring people disregarding data and only playing politics.

Give at least a little credit
In this case, I think the staff was forced to play politics, not that they wanted to. This really seems to be coming from the Board.
Anonymous said…
I don't think so. I think the numbers support this recommendation more than the previous estimates did. They certainly do to me, and I don't have a dog in this particular fight. No conspiracy, no back room dealings. Just decision-making.

-really, really sick of the name calling
Anonymous said…
This is all about the middle school numbers. There is no assessment of elementary school needs. If Jane Addams is moved to John Marshal, will as many elementary parents send their kids there? Doubtful. So add a few more portables to Olympic Hills, John Rogers, etc.

All about middle schools
Who is name calling?

Anonymous said…
The new numbers DO NOT support this recommendation more than the previous estimates. Pegi herself said that the only unexpected shift in the numbers was of the # of APP rising 6th graders.

Why something that is totally happening in the Hamilton reference area is solved by hurting those in the NNE is beyond me (especially with excess capacity at McClure, Lincoln and John Marshall). This doesn't solve the Hamilton problem, which still needs to be solved either after one more year or later this spring.

~frustrated and feeling mislead
Anonymous said…
Not you, Melissa, sorry that was unclear. The NNErs on here(I am a NNEr with older kids, but I don't really harbor any ill will toward the Eckstein parents. I've been there during the school day and agree with them that it's not working this year), upthread & on the last thread.

Anonymous said…
But it's not just happening in Hamilton. Eckstein was already not shrinking enough, and it turns out it is shrinking even less than they thought, basically not at all.

I don't agree that this is harming NNE. It's starting the school we need, NOW.

Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
So this newest amendment assigns all current feeder schools to Eckstein in 2013-2014 PLUS adds Laurelhurst? That may relieve some room at Hamilton, but doesn't that just add more kids to Eckstein next year?? Can Eckstein handle that when it is struggling to handle the current population now?

Confused by the logic
Anonymous said…
Salmon Bay doesn't need anymore students directed to it ... it had 67 students on the wait-list last year for 6th grade. It is the only choice for Ballard students who don't feel Whitman is a good choice. ARGH!

NW Family
Anonymous said…
It relies on more students voluntarily going to Jane Addams for 2013-2014 instead of being forced to go there. I'm assuming that comes with support to help in this recruiting.

No changes to APP, so I'm assuming no complaints from there??

Seems like a fair compromise.

-lots of fun
APP parent said…
The new plan relies on easing crowding by persuading parents to send their kids to other schools. APP parents, including myself, will complain, because we worry about what will happen if and when this hope that the district can "recruit" kids to go elsewhere fails.
In that case, we expect someone's going to, at the last minute, propose keeping 6th grade APP kids at Lincon.
Anonymous said…
It's a fair compromise assuming they are successful in getting more families to enroll in an option school that has uncertainties of its own. As an Eckstein parent, that makes me very nervous. I thought I could possibly endure another year of crazy crowding, but adding additional students to Eckstein next year without removing any seems a bit crazy to me. Then again I'm not a gambling person and I am very curious as to how they are going to recruit more students to JA next year.

Confused by the Logic
Anonymous said…
Adding laurelhurst kids to Eckstein would pretty much be a break even proposition since the projections for next year for Eckstein were a bit less.

Wouldn't make it better, but wouldn't make it worse.

~tired of this
APP is quite the wild card. The district can say that they believe most APP kids will go to Hamilton but no way of knowing, for certain, how many actually will. So to say there will be 98 more APP kids at Hamilton is a guess.
Anonymous said…
@Confused by the logic

Then remove the uncertainties by stop dumping on Jane Addams! Even through the uncertainties of the last 4 years this school has grown every year. But don't force people to go there before proper planning and notice. Support the school and you will find that more than enough middle school kids will CHOOSE to go there.

-lots of fun
Lori said…
Not sure it's a break even. Laurelhurst has 87 5th graders per October 2012 count.

Eckstein has 1298 students this year, projected to go down by 24 next year and be at 1274.

Maybe I've been exposed to too much Everyday Math lately, but it looks to me like adding Laurelhurst to Eckstein this fall would bring them to 1361 students, quite a bit more than they have this year.

Yes, some of those 87 might opt into APP and go to Hamilton. Anyone know historically how many kids that tends to be each year?
Anonymous said…
Also, last year JA K-8 got 46 additional sixth graders who didn't attend K-5.

Anonymous said…
Former Dragon - yes, special ed fills in the gaps at schools everwhere AND the students are moved ALL THE TIME. The difference between special ed and APP - is that you opt into APP. Special ed is a forced assignment to anyhwere with a seat. Some families have even been moved in the middle of the year.

And NO Melissa - special education families do not get same choice as APP. They get 1 and only 1 seat. And no, it isn't at their neighborhood school either. So, there's no guaranteed school assignment for everybody. For APP - there's many, many choices. More, than anyone else. For special ed families there is no choice at all.

-sped family

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