Tuesday Open Thread

Update:  I have learned that the W-P design team discussed 4 options for W-P and overwhelmingly went with the one with the buildings at opposite ends of the property.  However, I am getting early warning that #4 might not make tonight's discussion.  Those of you going, keep an eye out for this and if there aren't 4 of them, ask why not.

End of update.

Presentation for tonight's Work Session on Growth Boundaries and Capacity Management (it also says Equitable Access in the title but since the equitable access framework is not in place, I don't get why that's there).

I like slide 9:

Expect recommendations to change during the process.

•Authentic community engagement leads to ongoing input from multiple sources, including new ideas and different ways of thinking about issues.

•Some of the Guiding Principles express conflicting values. The relative priority of Guiding Principles may vary depending on the issue.

•Technical and feasibility issues may also result in changes (e.g. transportation costs, construction schedule)

Pages 17- 27 on Advanced Learning.  Some interesting/funny reading/problematic reading.

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said…
So Pinehurst AS-1 is just left hung out to dry. The oldest alternative school in Seattle. Sad.

Anonymous said…
North End and APP Parents:

COME TO THE WILSON PACIFIC DESIGN MEETING tonight at Wilson Pacific, 1330 N. 90th (between I-5 and Aurora) at 7:30pm.

This is the ONLY chance for you say what kind of schools you wish to see built.

There is a push from folks who don't have kids, let alone kids who will go to these schools once built, to build essentially a community center. A big mega-school. Whhhyyyy????

The voters passed the Levy to build a K5 elementary for 650 and a comprehensive middle school for 1,000. They need to be separate: it is a big property, and, there is no reason to either join them up or put them side by side, concentrating 1700 kids. Who is going to want to send their students to that? Middle schoolers and elementary aged children (not to mention the preschoolers) are very different developmentally and have very different needs.

This is the ONLY meeting you can/will be able to attend to let the District know you don't want mega school or community center.

Two schools, at opposite ends of the property, with a big field in between that can be used YEAR ROUND for PE, soccer, little league, football, etc.

Like all SSD facilities, the community will be able to access the WP space after-hours per the joint use agreement (there is the Northgate Community Center and the Northgate Seattle Public Library about a mile and a half away available all the time to the community)

No mega-K8
Zella917 said…
The plan sounds pretty good overall, if the district can actually implement it well. I'm still hoping, probably unrealistically, that my rising seventh grade APP student will be able to finish her middle school years at Hamilton. (But since we're out of area, it sounds like she might end up assigned to a new program rolling up for Wilson-Pacific). I wonder when we'll start to get a peek at the proposed new boundaries . . . .
Anonymous said…
I see that high school capacity is being kicked down the road again. No timeline, no discussion. Just a mention of future study. Sigh.

Anonymous said…
Wilson Pacific poses some siting/design challenges since the flooding of Licton Springs causes flooding/runoff through the WP property N to S, right through the middle. Regrading and diversion of potential overflow will be needed.

A child's video shows the flooding from 2011 (clogged storm drains contributed to the flooding). Skip to the end of the video and you'll see the intersection just north of WP. You can see the east wall of the gym. In 2013, the waters ran though through the WP property, onto 90th.

Licton Springs Flood

More photos here (Nov, 2012):

Cars submerged in flooded Licton Springs

Charlie Mas said…
Here's a fun story from the Columbian about an open letter that State Rep, Liz Pike (R-Camas) posted on her Facebook page disparaging teachers.

Representative Pike serves on the House Education Committee.
Anonymous said…
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Charlie Mas said…
I was very encouraged by the early announcement/warning/caveat that the public process could result in changes to the recommendations. I sincerely hope that is true. I don't have any evidence to support the claim, but I can hope.

I think the ELL Services page represents the paradigm for all services. They failed to provide the rationale for the location of the World School at T T Minor. I'm sure they have it; I'd just like to see it.

The set-aside of classrooms for Special Education is the right way to set school attendance area boundaries. Those classrooms are not available for general education students. Why didn't they do the same for EOB?

I'm surprised that the District has repeated and emphasized the commitment to move north-end elementary APP to Wilson in 2017. They say "No Stand-Alone Sites" but surely APP @ Lincoln would fill the elementary school at Wilson and make it a stand-alone site. Projected enrollment in 2017 is 675.

Let's review their math about middle school cohorts of 270-360 but no more than 25-30% of the school population. This requires the host middle schools to have no less than 833 students (250/.3=833). I'm not sure they can hit these targets and they have not provided the rationale for the targets. I'd like to see it. June 3 enrollment at Aki Kurose was 735. Madison had 765, Denny had 883. At Mercer it was 934. If the District is going to put APP anywhere south of I-90, Mercer is their only choice. Mercer is very close to the east end of the West Seattle bridge and easy to reach from the 1st Avenue Bridge, making it a fair option for students from West Seattle.

The District is inconsistent when it comes to APP. They use the data to support the creation of a second elementary-middle school APP pathway in the North when that would clearly violate their specifications for program size. They don't propose any changes in the South where it will also violate their specifications for program size. Meanwhile, they say that they have promised the community that they will not do what they also claim that they plan to do, and in the south they say that they will create a pathway in West Seattle, oh no, wait, they won't. Huh?

Where is the statement that they will set-aside the needed classrooms?
Charlie Mas said…
The whole slide on Spectrum makes no goddamn sense at all.

Continue providing elementary Spectrum in each middle
school service area.

Except that they don't. Many middle school service areas do not have a legitimate elementary Spectrum program.

Continue providing guaranteed Spectrum assignments
at all attendance area middle schools.

Guaranteed assignment, but no guarantee of Spectrum.

Continue build out of ALO throughout the district
(access and quality).

There is neither access nor quality in most ALOs
Anonymous said…
Charlie, are any of the AL slides consistent with the MTSS plans? Given all you've said about impending changes, it feels like the growth boundary folks are living in the past, no?

Anonymous said…
No only is there no quality or reality to the ALO option, there is no oversight and accountability. It's all just something to show parents, and then to shine them on.

Shine on
Charlie Mas said…
They still incorrectly describe International Education as a program when it is really a curricular focus. Language immersion is a program; International Education is a curricular focus. There are a lot of students at Hamilton, Denny, Mercer, Chief Sealth, and Ingraham who are not participants in the language immersion and did not choose to enroll in an International Education program. That's what makes it fit the definition of a curricular focus. Here's a funny thing. Language immersion is listed as an example of a curricular focus in SP 2200. Funny, huh?

I'm not sure how I feel about making some language immersion programs option and some not.

STEM is not a program; it is a curricular focus. It is, in fact, listed among the examples of a curricular focus in SP 2200.

The presentation doesn't provide the rationale for moving K-5 STEM to Schmitz Park building. This puts two option schools in the Madison service area while there are none in the Denny service area. Concord could have been an option school, but the District chose to leave this language immersion program as an attendance area school. There are buildings available in the Denny service area. I'm not saying it's a bad decision; I'm saying they should provide their rationale.

There is no rationale provided for refusing equitable access to Montessori programs. If they have one, they should provide it.
Eric B said…
@Zella: A draft of the new boundaries should be out in the fall in time for the community meetings at the beginning of the school year. There are also some technical sessions in the summer where you might be able to get a sneak peek.

@Moose: there's no discussion of high school because there's no money to fix it right now. BEX IV reopens Lincoln in 2020-ish. When the current crop of elementary students rolls up to high school, we'll need another 1-2 high schools in the district, or we'll need to go to split shifts or some other capacity-increasing system. If the population increase looks permanent, the former is a better option. If it's a bubble, the latter probably makes more sense.
Josh Hayes said…
HP has it right: SPS has nixed the idea of co-housing "Pinehurst" at the Broadview campus in a farm of portables. There are no alternative proposals, and while Sharon Peaslee promises to continue to fight for it, it's hard to see this as anything but a death sentence. And the 150-odd kids who thrive in an alternative setting will have nowhere to go: Salmon Bay is only nominally alternative, and Thornton Creek is full to bursting. Hard to see how throwing 150 kids into the mix alleviates crowding. This is certainly a culture (SPS) where nails that stick up are hammered down with vengeance. So sad.
Anonymous said…
Charlie wrote: "I'm surprised that the District has repeated and emphasized the commitment to move north-end elementary APP to Wilson in 2017."

The way I was reading these slides, and I hope I am wrong, is that the district is repeating the promise with a BUT...sure, we made that commitment, and one factor is that we should try to keep our commitments, but there are other factors to consider.

-too cynical?
No Mega K-8, I have spoken with Director Smith-Blum and Peaslee on this subject.

I feel confident there will be no "one" school or co-joined building. There will be two separate schools. I believe there will be a playfield as well.

There will be a large number of students at that location, no matter how many buildings.

This is not the only meeting there will be on this subject and folks can weigh in at the previously advertised Let's Talk meetings and other community meetings to come.

I am glad the community is keeping a close watch on this issue.
Anonymous said…

It is the only DESIGN meeting for the public for Wilson Pacific specifically. Time to speak one's piece or forever after hold their tongue. Yes, there will be "let's talk" meetings, but, those are more diffuse in focus, and not about the building of the buildings for that campus. There have been some wonky ideas for the Wilson Pacific campus, not coming from the parents or educator community, thus, this is the meeting for the parents and teachers to speak up about what is rational, what works. This is the point in time, after which, designs will be settled and permitting beginning.

As for flooding, the City should put in storm sewers, that is their responsibility, and no doubt the architects and engineers for the project will be mindful and create appropriate systems to ensure flooding is not an issue going forward. They are professionals, I trust in their abilities.

No mega k8
Krab said…
Will there be a chance for members of the public to speak at the work session this afternoon?
joanna said…
I am not sure why you would say that some type of equitable access to programs and schools should not be considered. True a framework should be there. But if there is no access for students in certain areas to popular programs such international programs or even real Spectrum then there is a problem. A lot of planning around Spectrum makes no sense at all these days. The need for Spectrum peers to be in many of the same classes does not seem to be recognized. That need is an important one.
joanna said…
I am not sure why you would say that some type of equitable access to programs and schools should not be considered. True, a framework should be there. But, if there is no access for students in certain areas to popular programs such international programs or even real Spectrum, there is a problem. A lot of planning around Spectrum makes no sense at all these days. The need for Spectrum peers to be in many of the same classes does not seem to be recognized. That need is an important one.
Lori said…
Josh, are there any viable options for Pinehurst? What is your community talking about? Has the district met with you yet and said what happens in 2014? Do they just send everyone back to a neighborhood school? I hope you and others will keep us informed and tell us how to help your cause.

Karen said…
How come no one is talking about how the Principal at Whitman did away with Spectrum after open enrollment? How does that impact the slide saying all middle schools have Spectrum? Also, district-labeled Spectrum and APP kids who go to Whitman don't necessarily get placed in the appropriate classes. There is a silly math test that regularly puts kids who were working 1-2 years ahead in math at North Beach, for example, into 6th grade gen-ed math at Whitman. They are losing 2-3 years of math growth. I find it interesting that Whitman doesn't come up in any discussions. Some of these slides are completely false -- especially the Spectrum slides.
karen said…
By the way, Lori, I wish I could "like" your comment. Tell us how we can help, Josh.
The Let's Talk meetings are for any subject and can be as specific as you want to be with Tracy. Not to argue but it would tough to have multiple meetings on every single project.

No, you cannot speak at Work Sessions. There's nothing stopping you, though, from sending your questions/thoughts to Board members and we can see if that issue comes up.

Joanna, I didn't say it shouldn't be there - it should. I'm saying because program placement is key to ALL these decisions, where is the framework to guide the decisions?

Karen, tell the Board about what is happening at Whitman. They likely know nothing; I'm sure Bob Vaughan didn't tell them on his way out the door.
Anonymous said…
Board members won't know about the Spectrum/math at Whitman unless you tell them. There is such a lack of consistency from school to school. If math placement is ability based, for example, and it is not associated with Spectrum or APP placement, then 6th grade placement should be consistent from school to school. If one school uses MAP scores, another school uses their own test, and yet another school uses another matrix, there isn't equal access.

it's craziness
Anonymous said…
Do you have any more info on the various alternatives for WP? Option #4 was? It would be helpful if attending tonight's meeting.

It was for separate buildings on opposite sides of the property.
dw said…
Regarding math placement, ItsCraziness points out:

If one school uses MAP scores, another school uses their own test, and yet another school uses another matrix, there isn't equal access.

This is a correct statement, but what lurks unsaid (but implied) is what's been killing so many good things around the district in recent years, especially advanced learning.

If there is a choice between some schools doing The Right Thing and others doing The Wrong Thing OR all schools doing The Wrong Thing, which is better?? The latter gives everyone your "equal access", while the former does not. But the former is much better; at least it serves as many students as possible, where the latter is just garbage in the name of "equity".

The same thing carries over to classrooms, where teachers are being forced to conform virtually everything they do across a grade level, allowing zero kids in zero classrooms to get anything special that a teacher might have to offer. Since every human being has different skills, knowledge and passions, this kind of policy makes it impossible for any teacher to engage their kids in any kind of special way, to use an area of passion to strike a spark of passion in their students. It's sick and twisted.

To the point above, this attitude has made a mess of math placement, it's hurting advanced learning around the city, and it's chased away many good teachers, especially (but not only) at Lincoln/SNAPP.

Do people really thing equality at all costs is the best thing for our kids??
Anonymous said…
Yes, LEV does. You should hear them. And, Board Directors listen to them.
Anonymous said…
Short notes on the W-P meeting:

As Melissa suggested, the design option of having buildings on opposite sides of the campus was not presented. Four very similar scenarios were presented, each with the elementary and middle school massed on the west side (pretty much where the existing buildings are now) and the green space/fields to remain on the east side. Supposedly the design team was also shown a scenario with buildings on opposite sides of the campus, but it wasn't presented at the public meeting. There was also some vagueness about what programs would be housed in the middle school. APP 1-5 was clearly listed as part of the elementary building, but not so for middle school.

A-mom said…
Lori and Kate,

Pinehurst/As-1 has presented many possible scenarios for the survival of our school to SPS.Most were dismissed out of hand.Others ended up fulfilling another schools needs for space. Yet others were a "99% done deal" only to be killed with no transparency of process.

I think community support of our school shown by e-mails to growthboundaries@seattleschools.org (it's the cool new SPS e-mail address)
might help us secure a home.

Each middle school is supposed to have a corresponding option school,
perhaps our new home could be somewhere on the centrally located Wilson-Pacific site?
Anonymous said…
Another comment about the W-P plans - they don't seem to be planning for adequate on-site parking for staff (or visitors). The surrounding neighborhood can only absorb so many cars, plus it's very close to Aurora. The designer seemed to indicate the city would provide some type of variance in permitting so they wouldn't have to provide the 100+ spaces you'd need. If I were in the neighborhood, I'd stay on top of the traffic planning.

Anonymous said…
Or dw, the last choice left out is schools doing the right thing.

seattle citizen said…
Varner is back at it over at the Times. It IS contract negotiation time; she has teachers to malign by inference. After writing that (unattributed - but we know it's Varner) editorial about the NCTQ "review" of education programs a couple of days back, she now takes to her blog to go on about how those who question it are merely protecting a "sacred cow, blah blah blah..." ("Sacred cow," in reform-speak, means the same as "status quo": "Those pesky opponents to OUR program are mired in an inability to think or change."

Teacher training programs: the good, the bad and the useless
Anonymous said…
Varner is the dupe of dupes. Sadly, she's in good company at the intellectually-starved Times.

Broadview Big Blast Family said…
Today the Broadview community received the following email, and more specific information is here.

June 26, 2013

Dear Broadview-Thomson K-8 community,

Today I’m announcing a leadership change at Broadview-Thomson for the next school year. Your principal, Wyeth Jessee, has been appointed Executive Director of Leadership Development, starting July 1. In this role, he will be responsible for developing and implementing a leadership development strategy for the District, including creating a strong pipeline of leaders in both schools and Central Office.

I know Mr. Jessee has done an incredible job as principal of your school, and please know that moving a principal from a building – especially after the school year has ended – is not done without great thought and care. As Executive Director of Leadership Development, Mr. Jessee will be able to help the entire school district create stability in leadership, and replicate throughout the District the successful outcomes that students at Broadview-Thomson experienced.

I am committed to finding a strong principal to replace Mr. Jessee. Marni Campbell, Executive Director of Schools for the Northwest region, will oversee the process. We will move quickly to get input from the staff and community regarding the selection of a new principal for Broadview-Thomson K-8 and will keep you informed of our progress.

Please join me in congratulating Mr. Jessee.


José Banda
Seattle Public Schools
mirmac1 said…
Based on my info, Mr Jessee is a career ladder climber, even grabbing for the Exec Dir of SpEd ring, despite minimal experience. I did not see anything on his resume to qualify him for this position...
Anonymous said…
he will be responsible for developing leadership development

What a load of gobbety gook. More executive directors? Really. That's grade inflation if I ever heard it.

another parent
Another parent, agreed. It seems like a lot of navel-gazing rather than just doing the job of hiring good people for these jobs.

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