Thursday, May 30, 2013


Much was revealed at the Growth Boundaries presentation this afternoon. Here is just a short list:

There will be new service delivery models for Special Education: Resource, Access, Behaior, Contained, and Distinct. We don't know what these mean or how they will work, and the whole thing is subject to the collective bargaining process, but it looks like radical change.

There will be a new delivery model for APP. The District isn't saying what it will be or how it will work. They won't even offer the pretense of engagement on it until next year - after they make all of the decisions.

There will be a new delivery model for Spectrum. It appears to be nothing. For many families this will be nothing new.

Just because a school chooses to become a STEM school it doesn't make it a STEM school. It's only a STEM school if the District decides that it will be a STEM school. The difference is indistinguishable in practice, but the District says that one kind of STEM is a program and the other is a curricular focus.

The district says that international education and language immersion are synonymous. They deny the existence of students in international schools (like Beacon Hill, Mercer, Denny, Hamilton, Ingraham, and Sealth) who are not in language immersion programs.

Option schools are not schools; they are programs.

Pathfinder is the option school for the Denny service area despite the fact that it is not in the Denny service area. Elementary language immersion schools, however, even after they become option schools, must be located within the geographical boundaries of an international middle school even when they no longer have a geographic community.

Montessori programs are not an option and equitable access to them is not important.

Dearborn Park may become a language immersion school, but it would not become an option school. No explanation is provided.

We really, really need the equitable access framework that the staff was supposed to have in September in time for BEX IV planning. It isn't even on the staff's timeline. They appear to have dropped all plans to complete it.

The District staff plays a game in which the rules are different for everyone and keep changing.

The determination of a delivery model for APP - including program size - will come after the decision of how many sites to have and how big the programs will be.

Community engagement still comes AFTER the decisions all of the decisions have been made and too close to the final vote to have any influence in the outcome. The staff claim that "the conversation is just getting started" but all of the decisions have already been made and they aren't talking to anyone.


Anonymous said...

the only reason I won't back down from calling out the toadies of gate$ is that they add no value to my workday, except by accident, and they suck all kinds of time and money out of the system that could be helping kids.

however - I'm having a hard time seeing how getting the names of everyone making over $75,000 a year working at headquarters and at the u.w. coe and at ospi and at the esds .... and firing all of them would negatively impact my day job.

clearly, what matters to these high level bureaucrats is their position within their bureaucracies - and if you're a gate$ toady look for demons to bash, you couldn't ask for better demons. it is actually too bad.

let's just start selling the school properties off to the most connected bidders, fire the 10's of thousands doing the day work of taking care of the kids and replace them with junk-mart serfs having rodney tom "health" care and rodney tom - goldman "retirement" ..


CapacityCapacity said...

This looks like crisis politics. They are using a crisis to make a bunch of unrelated changes they want.

The crisis is capacity. If they wanted to directly address capacity, they would open new schools as fast as they could, put attractive programs in them (like STEM or actual working Spectrum), and get people to move over to them. They would do that and nothing else.

Instead, this entire presentation is focused on reworking existing schools and programs. It barely talks about new buildings and what will be in them. The entire thing is about whacking away at existing schools and buildings.

It is taking the opportunity to bundle unrelated stuff on to something important. It is the belief that no good crisis should be wasted. It is making something complex to hide what you are doing. It is wrong and should be stopped.

mirmac1 said...

I disagree. The issue of equitable access to desirable or necessary programs and services is separate from capacity. One is a philosophy, the other is operational.

Anonymous said...

This is the first I have heard of Pathfinder being in the Denny Service area. I don't see anything about it on the slideshow. Can you share more of what was said?

Anonymous said...

The problem is that given the current operational challenges, several of the district's philosophical priorities are in direct conflict with each other. Efforts to convert international schools to option schools, for example, will have a positive impact on equitable access to programs/services, but a negative aspect on walkability, transportation, alignment with NSAP, etc. Slide 8 of the recent presentation lists the "Guiding Principles" for the current proposal, but they seem to be really fixated on the equity one, at the expense of others. That inconsistency makes it feel more like crisis politics to me, too...


Anonymous said...

In looking at the agenda for this Saturday's Board Retreat, it looks like they are creating an Office of Strategic Planning.... Hmm....

A Friend

Anonymous said...

I welcome the proposed change for international schools to become option schools, we sorely need more diversity. However, there are two reservations: where will the neighborhood kids go? There's not much room anywhere in the north end. And the second possible glitch is that the district will need to make it very CLEAR to EVERYONE who choose JSIS (and probably also MacDonald), that these schools, as they exist now, depend on parents being able to come up with a huge amount of money each year (>$400,000 this year, with >85% families contributing), to pay for IAs. Beacon Hill gets grants to pay IAs, JSIS and MacDonald do not. If these schools are not able to raise this amount of money, if the new parents are unwilling or unable to pay, then the teachers, as incredibly skilled and devoted as they are, will NOT be able to get the kids to the same amount of fluency as they do now. It will still be language immersion, but not as successful, since each child will receive half of the help and attention they now receive . Also, since Math and Science are taught in the immersion language, test scores for these subjects will go down. JSIS will no longer be a school of distinction.
Caviat Emptor (sp? rusty Latin). Choose with your eyes open, do not get upset if the school you choose turns out to not be the one it is today.



Anonymous said...

Sorry, Caveat Emptor, brain is leaky.


mirmac1 said...

CCA, thank you for noting the exorbitant cost for IAs. One significant clarification. Beacon Hill gets grants for IAs to help ELL students. That money is NOT MEANT to help non-ELL students learn a different language. The district must tread carefully if it thinks it can "leverage" ELL restricted funds to build "international schools" This is an audit finding waiting to happen.

Anonymous said...

We don't know what these mean or how they will work, and the whole thing is subject to the collective bargaining process, but it looks like radical change.

It would be radical if they didn't change things. It's a bait and switch. Change the names when everybody figures out the meaning of what's there now. (Ever notice it's always the same number of program types?) Keep everyone guessing. That way, you never have to actually do anything.


Charlie Mas said...

The question was asked about where the neighborhood kids would go if the language immersion schools become option schools.

The trick here is the size of the geographic preference area around the school.

If the geographic preference area is the size of the current attendance area, then the answer is that the local students will go to the language immersion school - at least as many as can fit. In this way there will be no more access for families living outside the attendance area than we have now and only need a little more space at other schools than we need now.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, if the international schools are converted to option schools but then have tight geozones around them, how does that improve access--except for Wallingford residents who may have been squeezed out by recent boundary shrinkage? If the the whole premise is equitable access, a small geozone doesn't seem to make sense--especially when two such schools are next to each other.


Anonymous said...

It's funny how the same folks who claim 2 years with a bad teacher will ruin a kids life forever are the same ones who are content with disrupting communities, shuffling kids around, diluting and weakening programs and staffing them with unqualified personnel, etc., etc. in their eyes, all this apparently has no impact at all on kids.

I do recall Goodoe-Johnson's "kids are resilient" statement. Apparently that philosophy remains alive and well in JSCEE.

But we need to be careful what we wish for, or all we'll get are programs we want - but in name only. Any quality program must have experienced staff and administrators that go with it, or you're just getting a label, and nothing more.