Growth Boundaries PTA Meeting Last Night

 Board Amendment Work Session
Wed. November 13th, 5:30 pm
John Stanford Center for Excellent Education at 3rd and Lander in SoDo

This will be the first preview of proposed, first-draft Board Director Amendments.  Note that whatever is presented today may not see daylight in the end. 

The Seattle Council PTSA hosted a meeting last night with district staff.  Here is what one person heard:

"It is clear that there is going to be pain involved for almost every school in the district. It was like an opera of issues.
The schools that were the happiest were those that got to meet with the district and work out solutions they could live with.
The district does seem to need help working out natural neighborhood boundaries.

Tomorrow the school board members are having a work session to hash out amendments to the Round 3 proposal to be presented on November 20th. Amendments can range from being in small in scope -- a small boundary adjustment --to a complete scalp -- an  amendment to scrap the plan and replace it with a whole other plan.
Non-board members are welcome to attend as observers but cannot participate. Only Board members can put forward amendments.

There were very few hints about what were in the amendments, disappointing to those of us who have to explain all this to our families.

We expect a flurry of amendments tomorrow at around 5:30 and then after that as the board members may retract and change some amendments before their Friday amendment submission deadline. Staff is working round the clock to provide the information for all these amendments.

One major amendment will be from Michael DeBell and Harium Martin-Morris  that would go back to version 2.0 with tweaks -- APP back at JAMS not at Whitman and Eckstein, is the rumor.
Sherry Carr was exploring an amendment. DeBell reports some Board members have 10 amendments in the works.
If SPS is operating under normal parliamentary process  (and I'm not sure about that) there could be amendments presented during the November 20th vote.  (Editor's note: I can say with certainty that no new amendments will be put forth that night.  The Directors all know how difficult and disrespectful that would be to staff and the public if they did so.)

Of course, we could slow this train down and do what needs to be done for 2014-15, let the newly elected Board members get seated and then tackle it in a thorough way. The Seattle PTSA would very much like school PTAs to support that position.


* The staff did get the message that Wilson Pacific feeder schools including Bagley are very concerned about the transition plan for Wil Pac MS 
* Specifically, that version 3.0 asks  some kids to go to 3 different middle schools and possibly 2 different high schools before they graduate from SPS.
* The schools that surround Green Lake were united in demanding more predictability -- that the slicing and dicing takes a toll. 
* The Olympic View area split by I5 that includes some of our current Bagley families was a big topic of discussion
* A Special Ed advocate is concerned that they are not planning resources for specific kinds of special ed support (general ed versus resource room for example)
* Special Ed wants clear feeder patterns for  twice and thrice challenged kids so that they don't have to choose which challenge to get support on
* APP wants a home and does not want to be put in a school that forces neighborhood kids out.
* We were assured that there will be Spectrum  in every middle school with every Specturm qualified kid guaranteed a seat,  but they seem uninformed that Whitman dismantled its Spectrum program this year
* Not looking good for sibling grandfathers, although they will work with families to get all sibs in one school, but don't promise the first choice school
* Not promising allowing 8th graders to stay at Whitman instead of moving on to WIl Pac MS > they can't get the numbers to work out

Big issues remain: 
Competing criteria 
Feeder School vs Geographic Boundaries
Middle School Rollup verses Geozone splits
Balancing Option school geozone boundaries with needs of neighborhoods
Transportation - incredibly they haven't really worked on transporation. Broad hint that transportation for grandfathered kids may be coming to an end.

Families impacted by transition
* Staff did say that they will take a look at the numbers for current 4th graders and if they can will keep kids at Whitman for 7th grade
and then ask them to go straight to 8th grade at Wil Pac MS.
*Could there be a school within a school at Whitman? Keep all Wil-Pac kids together?
* Greenwood Elementary advocated for getting a Wil Pac MS PTA up and running soon.
* District will be looking at the numbers every year during the transition and expect tweaks.

Other bits...
* One parent suggested turning schools around I-5 into Option schools to relieve pressures on their boundaries.
That seems like it could be part of the solution for stabilizing Bagley boundaries.
* Roosevelt HS is overenrolled by 200 already, there's a shortage of books-- and that's before the population boom has hit"
Thanks to our readers for this input.  I think I may have to make up a scorecard before the Work Session to see if I can track these amendments and the ripple effects they may have.  


Anonymous said…
The above is a pretty good summary of the issues discussed in the north-end breakout session of the meeting... someone else will have to provide details of what was discussed in the "south of the canal" breakout session.

It looked as though there were about equally sized groups from both north and south. Tracey Libros met with the north end folks and Superintendent Bandas and Flip Herndon met with the south end folks.
Anonymous said…
Oops, should have signed my post above.

Also want to emphasize that Tracey seemed to understand the strain of relocating current students through geo-splits, but the answer to that was that numbers-wise, they have to pick a strategy -- geozones OR the 6th grade roll-up. The 6th grade roll-up plan was proposed in V 1.0, but they received "huge" community feedback in opposition to that plan. A FACMAC rep who was there echoed that they had received similar feedback about roll-ups in a previous survey.

The District has apparently also looked at grandfathering 8th graders only, but again from a capacity management standpoint, the numbers wouldn't work.

There was also discussion about JAMS - the Design Committee and Planning Principal are eager to hit the ground running, but have really limited ability to plan the basic program structure until enrollment is all settled.

Anonymous said…
Thanks for the report of the meeting.

Is it true that SCPTA's position is to hold off on the Growth boundaries plan for now, and only do what is necessary for next year?

also, when and where do the amendments being discussed at tonight's meeting get published? Or will they? Today's agenda does not have any links that I can find.

Eric B said…
I got the impression from Sherry Carr's community meeting that the board would likely bring forward amendments only if they thought there was a reasonable chance of passage. I don't think that all of them will pass, but I think most of them will. There may be some "statement" amendments (I want this for my community, and I know it's not going to pass, but I want to be on record asking for it and getting turned down), but probably only for ones that have a lot of very local community support but not widespread support across the district. One also assumes that there will be some horse trading among directors as well.
Po3 said…
"Roosevelt HS is overenrolled by 200 already, there's a shortage of books-- and that's before the population boom has hit"

Yet, Ingraham has 115 open seats and did not move everyone off the waitlist.

That seems odd to me.

katie said…
They would be able to grandfather the 8th graders if more feeder schools went to JAMS. Schools like Olympic View could easily go to JAMS.

There is no reason to over-enroll Eckstein. There will be plenty of folks trying to get in on the distance tie breakers.
kellie said…
I am just boggled by so much of this.

Problem solving 101: What is the problem you are trying to solve? Does this answer solve your problem?

I have yet to hear a clear articulation of the problem this plan is trying to solve. However, the sheer volume of 24 amendments should be an indication that the seven board members do not think this solves the "problem."

That also seems to be a nice synopsis of the community feedback. What problem are you trying to solve with this proposed plan and can you show us how this plan solves that problem, because we can't see it?

The follow up to that was in the letter I wrote last week, which is what is the cost benefit analysis. Do the known benefits of this plan outweigh known costs?

Lynn said…

I would guess that Roosevelt is full of attendance-area students - who are guaranteed a seat. Ingraham is probably providing special ed services that reduce actual capacity below the published number.

Can schools limit their enrollment when they have extra space after their assignment area students are enrolled? Does the school or the district office manage that?
Anonymous said…

At least some of the amendments should be posted by 5:30 this afternoon.

Last night, Harium mentioned that, technically, directors can bring amendments as late as during the Nov 20th School Board meeting.

Harium said that at today's work session, they would try to mover towards a smaller number of amendments, and move through them in a logical order.

Harium was the only Board member (that I saw) who was present last night, until Michael DeBell showed up later. He had evidently been at (another) meeting at Wedgwood.

As a prospective JAMS parent, I wish there had been more of an effort to have a public meeting in which the entire potential JAMS community (John Rogers, Olympic Hills, Sacajawea, Wedgwood, Olympic View, APP, etc...) was invited to participate, as there are many points of view when it comes to JAMS, and I am concerned that only those who wish not to be assigned to JAMS have our Board Director's ears.

- North-end Mom
Eric B said…
P03 and Lynn, some high schools do try to "buy down" class sizes by increasing the number of teachers over what would normally be set by the WSS. I don't know where the money for this comes from. It would tend to reduce capacity. I know that Principal Floe at Ingraham tries to move the wait list as much as possible, even when that results in some larger class sizes. My daughter was in a class that topped out at 48 students before counselors were able to transfer students to other classes and balance out the class sizes.
kellie said…
"Buy-down" is the technical term but it does not refer to site-based buy down of class size, as it did during the choice era.

Buy-down means class sizes that are decreased by federal money for specific services like ELL. This money is over and above the WSS.

Schools no longer control their enrollment. It is all done centrally. So high schools with wait lists may have wanted to move the list but the can't and vice versa. They can't refuse when downtown moves it for them.
Anonymous said…
Sped was also brought up, pertaining to the lack of planning around the different SpEd categories (5 of them), which schools would be getting what services, etc...

-North-end Mom
Po3 said…
So still does not anwser why 115 seats are available at IHS; unless that 115 is what is still open after the wait list was dissolved?

I don't think that is the case as I know families who really wanted IB and are assigned to RHS and BHS.

So, why would one HS be able to under-enroll while surrounding HS's are over-enrolled with students wanted to attend the under-enrolled HS?

Anonymous said…
The south end discussion focused on middle schools quite a lot --Kimball edged out of Mercer for no obvious reason, John Muir bussing it up to Meany when they can walk to WMS. There is this big APP halo around WMS. The elementary situation issues were the dislocation of the Maple (?) families to a school 8-9 schools furthest away, the conversion of Dearborn Park to a language immersion withhout that community's engagement. The special ed situation is no better with students with twice exceptionalities (e.g. sped - spectrum) getting bused to McClure for middle school . The administration is not aware of this problem and there are no proposals around to fix it. Overall, the proposals for the south end should be withdrawn.

Anonymous said…
I do think that the district could work a bit at framing JAMS as a school that will be great. Can they assure people that there will be activities and sports and languages, etc? I understand that the specific programming will be pounded out once the enrollment is decided, but it does seem like they are yanking people out of Eckstein to put them in a dark, empty, soulless building. My daughter will be going there no matter what (John Rogers), and all the noise about going there seems to be negative.

Louise said…
Reyna, I know, it saddens me. All this energy into "Start JAMS now!" for the last 18 months and then "wait, you mean WE might actually have to go there?" is disheartening.
Eric B said…
Po3, it gets down to how the space is used, and that SpEd in particular uses a lot of space for relatively few students. For the sake of argument, I'm going to make up a few numbers. Let's say Ingraham's capacity was set at 1200 students because it has 48 classrooms. That gives 30 students per classroom and each teacher gets one planning period (5/6 of classrooms are in use at any given class period). If you change two classrooms over to SpEd with only 10 students each, then you get a total building capacity (with the current program usage) of 1166 (1150 gen ed, 17 SpEd). Since the SpEd seats are assigned differently than the gen ed seats, then you have 50 fewer gen ed seats available for assignment. The more intensive the SpEd students' needs, the smaller the classes, and the more impact this has.

This also happens throughout the system for special classes that accommodate fewer than the WSS standard number of students, not just for SpEd. I definitely don't want to lay capacity blame at the feet of any program, or to say we should only accommodate those students at underenrolled schools. I'm just doing the math on how program use impacts capacity.

I'm sure Kellie can tell you lots more about it, but this is the fatal flaw in the plan to have a single capacity for all schools that would stay constant unless rooms were added or removed. The building usage really drives a lot of capacity issues.
Benjamin Leis said…
@Reyna: Have you been following over at I've actually heard a few different sources say complimentary things about the new principal Paula Montgomery and am cautiously optimistic at this point.

Anonymous said…
This is really, really nuts. 7 Directors scrambling to bring dozens of potential amendments to fix the *current* Staff proposals (the third iteration??) in an attempt to 'doctor' the proposals and get something less toxic done in 5 business days, when the just met with PTSA reps yesterday?

Doesn't everyone by this point see the Emperor has no clothes?

This is ludicrous, even by SPS standards. It was a PTA speaker last week who told the Directors in her public testimony that this is all crazy group-think, that this, if left unchecked and instead is allowed to proceed in some crazy marked-up re-edited form, is going to cause damage.

Instead of amendments, why don't 4 of them just vote "no"? Tell staff to formulate a simple list of the truly critical to-dos and present that? Isn't getting it right more important than getting it done RIGHT NOW? Seriously, they can take 4 weeks and finish up the important work to get it done right, and it will still be plenty timely. The massive rush makes this very suspicious.

This is like skiing too fast, which means you're skiing out of control, and that's when legs get badly broken.

They should keep doing their work, and refining solutions, and engage with the community for feedback and planning, BUT, the Staff should simply withdraw their proposals, just like they withdrew the Mann item last Board meeting. The world still continued to turn. If Staff can do it then, certainly they could do it now. This is far, far more messed up, and affects far, far more students and communities. If the Superintendent and Staff can't see that, then they truly must be blind. There simply is no other explanation.

They've obviously got it badly wrong, otherwise all 7 different Directors wouldn't be compelled to try and fix it. How did Banda let it get this far down the road, to get to this kind of craziness?

-do better
Word on the street is that there are over 20 draft amendments. I don't even think there are 20 amendments total in one Board year.

Naturally, not all of them will make it to what is playing out to be the World's Longest Board Meeting on the 20th. But if there are even 10 or 12, it signals a plan gone wrong.

Biggest hint (and it comes from you the readers):

- first, be doctors; do no harm

- second, be tortoises; go slowly

- third, don't be prideful and ask for help on public engagement (which I think WAS the fatal flaw because there were unanswered questions especially around rationale).

I have said before that this district has some very smart parents with specific skill sets to offer the district. For free.

The latest one that comes to mind is Katherine Schomer, the SCPTSA president. Her job? Public engagement process.

Bet she would throw some pro bono work the district's way to avoid this kind of situation.
Anonymous said…

Thank you for the JAMS blog link. I hadn't seen that site. And maybe few have? There don't seem to be many comments yet. I will forward it on to others in my neighborhood.

Anonymous said…

There is a small core of parents, primarily from John Rogers, Olympic Hills, Jane Addams K-8, and Sacajawea who have been attempting to advocate for JAMS for about the past year, but it has been very difficult, due to the ever-changing line-up of JAMS feeder schools.

There was an SDAT (School Design Advisory Team) that formed and met over the summer, working with the architect on the building repurposing project. The SDAT included parents from local elementary schools, as well as staff from Nathan Hale and Eckstein.

Paula Montgomery, the current planning principal for JAMS, will go on to be Principal next year. She is very solid, and committed to launching an excellent middle school at JAMS.

The Jane Addams BEXIV page was recently updated, and is a good source of info on JAMS, Principal Montgomery, and the re-design of the Jane Addams building.

- North-end Mom
Po3 said…
Eric B. Your explanation sort of makes sense, but in looking at the Spec Ed numbers at the three HSs(source OPSI report card) I see that all three HSs have approx 10% of their student population designated Special Education, in terms of head count that works out to approx:

IHS - 108 students
RHS - 173 students
BHS - 180 students

What is not clear is the breakdown of Spec ed by level. If IHS is serving medically fragile students then it makes sense that they would need to designate more sq footage to this student population.

Otherwise, it seems like all three schools are serving the same number of special education students (%wise) and require the same amount of designated space.

It just seems odd that IHS, on paper, appears to have room while all other NE HSs are completely filled.
joanna said…
Was there a breakout for the Central Region? I worry if the answer is, "no." I am pretty sure there are amendments coming from that area.
Anonymous said…
Same at Hale Po3. I know families stuck at RHS when they wanted Hale. RHS is overcrowded and Hale isn't. Not sure why they didn't get in. One has already transferred to a private school now.

Po3 said…
On paper, Hale only has 20 seats, which is not all that many compared to IHS 115 open seats.

I wonder if IHS cannot serve all the families who want IB due to shortage of qualified IB teaching staff and are need to turn students away?

Anonymous said…
The wait lists didn't move as much this year as in years past.

The same group that oversees the wait lists (Tracy Libros group)is also tasked with growth boundary work. There was also all of the issues with the roll out of the new computer system that lasted well into September.

Anonymous said…
Anonymous reposting from the Tuesday thread:

RBHS PTSA said...

It's always interesting to hear comments about Rainier Beach High School from those who are on the outside looking in. To answer a few questions: IB at Rainier Beach was introduced by the District, but was not okayed until we the people did our research and determined that it will serve our demographics well. We are committed to assuring the program has enrollment that looks like our demographics so we do not become two schools like Garfield.

I attended the Boundary meeting at JSCEE last night as well.

When asked why SE schools were being impacted when we don't have an overcrowding issue. The response was: Mercer is at Capacity and we are planning for future growth.

I asked for current enrollment, school capacity, enrollment if no changes are made and enrollment with proposed changes. Tracy Libros stated this was beign worked on, but did not give a date when we would see the data.
My recommendation is that no changes be made until the District can produce this data so they can be held accountable.

Secondly, SPED questions were not answered. Before any changes are made the SPED Program needs need to be understood and included into the boundary decisions. SPED is not a step child and should be given as much if not more attention than APP etc.

Overall the District once again did a piss poor jon of including families and the community in a very important decision that will impact our families and our neighborhoods.

Rita Green, MBA
RBHS PTSA President

Anonymous said…
do better, I don't feel comfortable with your labeling what SPS is doing as "craziness." It's not helpful, seems to be a stalling technique, or propaganda etc. I don't think everyone is upset with the plans, we can agree that there are a few issues that can be changed to appease most people, but many of us have put hard work into these plans and do not wish to throw it away. It would be better if you advocated for your individual agenda instead of calling the whole thing crazy as if we all think that. Please join in working on this with the rest of the community - say what you propose in a constructive way.

- positive direction
Anonymous said…
I have heard from IHS parents that the principal does some sort of magic to keep the numbers lower. The parents are happy with that because they do not want a large school like RHS. Not sure this is true but that is what most of the parents I have talked to think.

Patrick said…
Reyna, I'm really surprised to hear the Jane Addams building described as "a dark, empty, soulless building." My daughter is at JA K-8 now, and I like the building. There's a fair amount of light from skylights, the halls are pleasant and wide, there's a fine auditorium, plenty of athletic fields around the building, opportunities for field trips with no bus needed to the pond and creek, a nice garden. I suppose soul is what you bring to it, but there's no reason to be unhappy with the building.
Anonymous said…
Patrick, I'd assume she means community, school focus, some guess as to offerings (which obviously cannot be completely rolled out until enrollment, but you could say approximately, depending on enrollment numbers), somebody excited about starting X program next year, etc. not the particular building. And because right now the current plan seems to be two relatively small, disparate groups, instead of one large cohesive neighborhood community like Eckstein (or JA k-8) I think people don't really see the There there yet. Hopefully that will change very, very soon!

Anonymous said…
Reyna, Louise, et al,
Please remember that much of the ”start JAMS now” push was ge atearenerated not by north-end families, many of whom are perfectly happy with Eckstein despite its problems, but rather by people in the affluent southern NE neighborhoods who wanted north-end learners, especially the FRL/ELL crowd from Lake City, out of Eckstein. They, thanks to their supporters on the board, are getting the what they wanted and could care less about JAMS families, or any one else for that matter. You wonder why there us so little love for JAMS? There was never any to begin with.
- cynical & bitter
Ben, the JAMS blog you mentioned has been a bit quiet since planning is basically on hold until the future plans solidify. Look forward to more JAMS info there when things pick up a bit!.
Eric B said…
Po3, I don't know the full scope of IHS SpEd programs, so I can't help you there. Mirmac is a very good reference on SpEd issues, but I don't know if s/he is monitoring this thread.

The IB teaching corps shouldn't impact the number of freshman coming in, since the official IB classes happen in junior and senior years (except IBX, which is sophomore and junior). The extra year or two would give the school time to get more teachers certified. Also, Floe is not real shy about putting more students in IB classes.

HP, I had understood that Floe has a fair amount of authority on the number of students admitted from the waitlist, although he generally seemed to go towards admitting more. However, Kellie said that's all out in SPS HQ, and she usually knows what she's talking about.

One other possibility goes back to the 10% open choice seats. Somebody may limit schools to no more than 10% out of attendance area students. I don't know this is the case, it's just another semi-plausible possibility. I agree that it wouldn't make sense.
Anonymous said…
Cynical & bitter, I would not say that was an accurate assessment at all. NNE families want their own middle school; the area is dense enough to support it and many of the neighborhoods are becoming more vibrant by the secondl. Many of them currently leave for Shoreline, since it's closer and Eckstein is so overcrowded. Last year during the debating the two loudest groups were the k-8 and the south NE, partly because no one knew exactly who would be going to JAMS, so there were very few people wh actually could speak for JAMS. The ones I knew who thought they would go there wanted it to start last year, but there was no cohesive group, and absolutely no way to really get a feel for what people generally wanted(and it turns out those people are still in Eckstein's monstrous zone anyway now).

I followed extremely carefully, and I didn't really ever hear "no, I'm a NNE family, and I don't want my own neighborhood middle school." Who goes and when exactly - you are right, those are points up for debate, though. I am disheartened that the district is not doing much to make it seem like an exciting new school, but that is on the district, not on families who understandably are not excited about joining a fairly unsupported program. The district could still turn it around- the meeting last week was a good start.

Anonymous said…
Cynical & bitter,
you're being really unfair to the SNAPP leadership and other APP advocates who also advocated for a ”start JAMS now” approach for their own selfish reasons, without any regard to what the families in the actual Jane Addams neighborhood wanted. They too deserve credit for ”no love for JAMS”
NE Grandma
Louise said…
C&B, yes, that is what I meant, sorry. I totally agree w/you. Seems painfully obvious that the VNESS and other folks were all "start JAMS now" to get other kids out of Eckstein. Now when the boundaries might include their own kids, there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Anonymous said…
I heard Floe say, in September, I think, that he was hoping to make it work with the district so he could move/clear the wait list. It sounded consistent with the district being in charge there.

Now this is ME talking: I think the district has incentive to keep numbers at school under a certain threshold because otherwise they would have to give the school more staff & money.

Lynn said…
P03 and Eric B,

This schedule of Special Ed classes might be helpful.
Lynn said…

Where are you finding the number of empty seats at IHS?
Anonymous said…
I'm a NNE parent and I want my 6th grader left at Eckstein. Eckstein has some great programs, which I'm doubtful will be replicated at JAMS. The previous principal started a computer science program, which is wonderful. My kids have learned basic software skills, video game programming,app programming, and robotics. Thanks to this program, my 8th grader wants to pursue a career as a robotics engineer. Eckstein, to my knowledge, is the only middle school in SPS with this program. My 6th grader was looking forward to continuing with CS classes and participating in the rocket club or on the robotics team. She also planned to take Japanese next year. Will that be offered at JAMS? Will higher math be offered, or will 7th graders be attending math classes with 10th graders at Hale?

If I really thought JAMS would match Eckstein in quality of programs and extracurricular activities, I would be fine with my 6th grader moving there. I'm really skeptical though.

Lake City Parent
kellie said…
Enrollment and capacity numbers are really inside baseball. You have to know much of the story for things to make sense.

There is technically some space at IHS. I actually urged enrollment to add another Freshman cohort last Spring to take advantage of that space. They declined to do this because the 9th grade was at capacity and the available space was at the upper grades.

My feeling was potato-po-ta-to. Whatever, space is space but enrollment was clear that they would not over-enroll 9th grade just because 12th grade was smaller.
mirmac1 said…
Hi Eric B,

As you intimated, I'm not really tracking much of this capacity back and forth. You explained it very well. It is incorrect to go by % enrollment to figure number of students and their clasroom space needs. At least based on 12-13 #s, both Ingraham and NH have more high-needs students than Roosevelt (staffed at low student to teacher ratios). They are afforded classroom space for their programs. They also are afforded (under law) a general education seat (though they don't often get to use it).
If I really thought JAMS would match Eckstein in quality of programs and extracurricular activities, I would be fine with my 6th grader moving there. I'm really skeptical though.

And there you have it. Will JAMS be Eckstein, Jr.? No and it shouldn't be. It would be, no IS impossible for the district to instantly duplicate any school.

But I know they know everyone is watching and I believe they will make JAMS academically attractive. But it will be impossible to roll out at JAMS if everyone now wants to stay at Eckstein.
LN said…
Two questions.

1. Is Chris Cronas still the planning principal for WP?
2. Will Lincoln become the HS for QA/Mag, or will SPS continue to bus NW kids close to Ballard to Ingraham so QA/Mag can keep going to Ballard?

Po3 said…
Kelli - your explanation actually makes the most sense and I suspect that in the future years the school will have less seats as the fully enrolled 9th grade Ib/IBX/Gen Ed cohort moves thru and more of these large groups come in.

Not that this makes any families who wanted IB and were turned away feel any better.

Lynn- I got the numbers from the final enrollment report and the capacity report that were posted on another thread awhile back.

Eric B said…
Thanks for the answers, Lynn and Mirmac.
Odd Maps said…
Random comment, but the Directors' districts are oddly shaped. As far as the north-end is concerned, we don't seem like a north, central and south type bunch. We would be better represented with a QA/Mag/South NW rep, and a rep for West of Aurora or I-5 north of, say, market or 65th.

I am only pointing this out since I live in the NW. I am not saying there are other folks not being properly represented. I just feel like Peaslee represents the NNE part of town not the NNW part where I live. I was surprised by the maps of the Directors' districts.
One other item about what was discussed last night.

Beacon Hill parent, Julie Van Arcken, was at the SE group session. Julie has done the research and raised a red flag over outreach done to immigrant/non-English speaking parent populations over the growth boundaries.

She reports that she asked Tracy Libros, why the staff did not provide any translations of proposed materials until halfway through the process.

"Tracy said she wasn't sure if it would have mattered whether they had provided translations from the start, and then she cited that the only effective outreach they've done in this process with minority communities occurred in Fairmount Park and Bailey-Gatzert. No outreach to minority communities has occurred in the SE, the city's most diverse region.

When I asked the Superintendent to expand on Ms. Libros' reply that she didn't think it mattered when they provided translations, he said he disagreed.

Superintendent Banda replied, "We missed the boat" in terms of linguistic outreach to non-English speaking communities."

This is important to note as amendments go forward. If a whole region of the district did not understand (and was given the opportunity to understand) what was changing for their region, perhaps Director Patu is correct in asking that SE be removed from this plan.

This all goes to a bigger issue that is two-fold.

One, outreach, particularly translations and interpreters cost money. I'll just say that out loud because I know if figures into the district's thinking (as it should). So they have to balance those costs versus the kind of feedback they get when they spend the money.

Two, but don't immigrant parents have the same right to know that the rest of us do?

Because I am hearing this kind of - what can I call it? soft paternalism - more and more.

I heard it recently at an Operations Ctm meeting about student data privacy when three people around the table - a service provider, a district lawyer and a Board member - all said notification to these parents about their students and their data use to third parties was more difficult and really, it was "probably" more important to the parents that the students received the services than if they signed a document allowing their students' data out.

It was kind of breathtaking because none of us would want someone else deciding what is best for our children or that we probably didn't need the same information that other parents receive.

But it's a thorny question nonetheless.
Lynn said…
Thanks P03.

LN - the district isn't talking about High Schools at all - and Lincoln won't be available until 2017-18 at the earliest.

mirmac1 said…
Following up on Melissa's post. Banda's reaction is what I have come to expect from him. Many of the disenfranchised can take heart in his honest, straightforward take on the work product under his administration. No "mistakes were made" or plausible deniability BS.

And yes there are laws that say parents with a native language other than English have a right to access to important information information provided English-speaking families. If anyone is going to get that, it is Banda who, like me, probably served as a translator for his parents.

There is no quibble about budget priorities; there is Federal law, then there is everything else.

Granted, I generalize here regarding which laws and under which instance but as we see with the OSPI dissing of SPS' performance under IDEA - there's plenty to correct and there are plenty of us who will hold them to it.
Anonymous said…
@NE Grandma, 11/13/13, 1:54 PM:
Ha ha, but you're right of course. But note that the SNAPP crowd also comes from the south NE.

@Louise, 11/13/13, 2:00 PM + @[Lake City Parent], 11/13/13, 2:06 PM
Thank you for sharing, amplifying and exemplifying

@[sleeper], 11/13/13, 1:37 PM
I believe you didn't really ever hear "no, I'm a NNE family, and I don't want my own neighborhood middle school." That's not exactly a compelling data point. And no one knew exactly who would be going to JAMS? Where do you get that? Everyone following the BEX wars knew who was going to end up at JAMS – certainly no one north of 95th St. had any doubt.

You say of the NNE Many of them currently leave for Shoreline, since it's closer and Eckstein is so overcrowded -- this was a point made frequently by the south NE/SNAPP advocates. I suspect you are/were part of that gang or maybe just a sucker for their propaganda. But until I see real data showing 1) how many NNE families currently send their kids to Shoreline (a high enough number to justify your saying "many of them"?) and 2) what, to the extent there are NNE Seattle families in the Shoreline school system, their reasons for choosing Shoreline are/were (does/did Eckstein's distance or density play into their decision?), I am not buying it.

Also the two loudest groups were the k-8 and the south NE. Yes, though not in that order. And while the far north NE (e.g. Lake City) didn't get too much involved – I'd venture that was due to the district making too little an effort to reach out to non-native English speakers other disenfranchised populations – there were enough parents from the John Rogers and Sac assignment areas saying "we want our own neighborhood middle school" to give the prospective JAMS families a voice in the debate. I never, however, heard any who wanted JAMS to start without a planning principle and a year to plan. The only voices wanting JAMS to start last year were those of families from the south NE and of Directors DeBell, Carr and Martin-Morris. And since I'm reliving that circus I might as well remind anyone still reading: the short-term capacity management plan those Bozos championed (in which JAMS would have started last fall without any planning) did not reduce enrollment at Eckstein one bit. It rather swapped NNE riffraff for a more desirable contingent from Laurelhurst. Yuck.

@Melissa Westbrook, 11/13/13, 2:24 PM
I share your skeptism. I believe Paula Montgomery has great intentions but wonder how much she's talking to the many low-income and immigrant families who'll be populating her school. How prepared is she to handle the disparate levels of preparedness for middle school among her student body? I also wonder to what extent district staff really care about the NNE – their behavior and proposals suggest not so much. And who on the board, besides Sharon Peaslee, has the bandwidth or even desire to ensure JAMS being anything but adequate?

And so I remain,
Cynical & Bitter
Anonymous said…
Lynn, thank you for posting the link to special education classes. However, it raises another question - where can I find a definition of what the different services mean? SM1 vs SM2 vs SM4??? I can't find any explanation anywhere on the SPS website of what these abbreviations actually mean.
I'm trying to figure out where to send my daughter next year, and there is just no comprehensible info posted. I could sit her preschool teacher down & make her explain all the categories to me, but I shouldn't need to - spreadsheets that use abbreviations should have a key included on the spreadsheet - that's standard practice in most workplaces.

Mom of 4
Anonymous said…
I'm talking about many current 6th grade families north of 80th who assumed they'd be at JAMS and wanted it to go ahead and start rather than start at Eckstein and then get pulled. This currently includes families mostly in the Eckstein zone, but last year was assumed would go to JAMS. Remember last year 250 APP kids were not a part of this equation, so the line was going to be a lot further south. The question was WHICH of VR and WW would go, not whether either would go at all.

I read the numbers about Shoreline on here-300 I think. Yes, distance is a factor for the families I know (have you actually talked to any of them? I have), crowding, and also the gifted program(like our spectrum), all factors that change with JAMS.

I think that you are just hoping to find insulting things to say about people who don't agree with your narrative, and it is true I have a child at Lincoln. But I have always assumed I'd end up at JAMS someday with one or more kid(and it looks like now I will, but not necessarily with the kid I expected to), so I do have some skin in this game. And I don't think it is better for JAMS to start as part of this mega political sideshow, and am not seeing the 18 months of planning everybody talked about. It is currently November, and so far I hear "we can't plan yet, because we don't know." I am hoping and trying to make the best of things, but I certainly don't think what happened is we put off opening JAMS last year like some mean people wanted to, and now all that super extra planning is obviously making things much better. I do hope the extra year has helped the k-8, but I think the jury is most definitely still out about what it's done for JAMS.

Anonymous said…
Hey sleeper, I got carried away by my anger and I apologize for insulting you. I'll try to be more measured.
My perspective comes from the north NE, sounds like yours comes from the SNE (WW or VR perhaps?)
I do know families who send their kids to shoreline, none at the middle school level - so my anecdotal evidence biases me to think that state of Eckstein wasn't a factor as much as poor conditions at OH, SAC and JR. Conditions that JA K-8 helped alleviate BTW.
if I read your post right, you feel that I and others who advocated for deferring JAMS a year were mean. I respectfully disagree. I can think of one John Rogers mom who advocated for delaying JAMS a year, who might fit that description, but most of her hostility was directed at the K-8. I found every other pro-delay+planning advocate, whether associated with JR, SAC, OH or JA K-8, to be extremely compassionate and even emphatic in their advocacy. Likewise the four board members who approved the delay+planning approach. Especially M. McLaren whose hard won swing vote totally arose from a genuine concern for the at-risk children on the north-end.
Unless you're fluent in Spanish,.Somali and Arabic, you're not talking to a significant portion of parents whose kids will be at JAMS next year. It sounds like at least one of your kids will be going there next year. I urge you to work with Paula Montgomery and the JAMS planning crew rather than argue my cynical and bitter points. And I urge that crew to get to know all the JAMS fams, especially those north of 110th, west of 35th Ave NE.
I remain skeptical that JAMS will have nothing less than a rocky start, but maybe I can be a little less...
-cynical & bitter
Anonymous said…
No- the "mean" business was me trying to calmly repeat the sorts of things SnAPP and VNESS got called for wanting to start JAMS next year. I did not find the same split of compassionate/selfish among various advocates that you did, but then I wouldn't since I disagree about what the compassionate thing to do would have been. I still think that would have been a better call, but am trying not to be bitter myself when I see how this is ending up for JAMS with the delay. It is very hard, though, because like you I am unhappy with it, though unlike you I think the demographics would have been greatly improved if it had started last year (though I can agree that that might have been worse for the k-8, and I completely share their cynicism that the district can be trusted to follow through on long range plans). I have always been pretty cagey on here about where my kids to go to school, and actually I don't have a kid going next year (but soon after, and I think I should have more...). My kids will be split between Eckstein and JAMS, and I expect APP will be kicked out of the building before my APP kid finishes, so I admit it is hard to invest, but I am trying. I hope you are too, if, as I suspect, you are in the building now with families who expect to stay (how many exactly depends, I think, on how JaMS seems to be shaping up and what the buzz is around it.).

Anonymous said…
Like I said, you need to spend more time north of 110th / west of 35th Ave. Your last post only confirms.your myopia.
. I'm sorry you're in turmoil about the idea that the needs of the at-risk learners in Lake City merit equal if not greater consideration than families who can afford to feed their kids lunch every day. Fortunately 4 board members do feel that way.
. SNAPP? VNESS? Please don't get me started. If you really want to ensure a better outcome for the SNE in general and APP north in particular, please work with your communities to get the leadership of those two organizations to resign from any PTA and other parent/school orgs they may be associated with. Even if you believe their classic bully response that they're the ones being bullied, surely you see where their leadership and advocacy has gotten you.
i'm counting on you sleeper to open your eyes a little wider. I'm no longer bitter and cynical; i'm now signing off as....

*for ”sleeper, please wake up now” ;-)
Anonymous said…
Ok, this is definitely my last post on the topic, but what I said was I believe the other plan was better for those same learners, north of 110th. I think this is working out worse for them, and i thought it would last year when i wanted JAMS to start in 2013. I think this is about the same for Eckstein, worse for APP, but the big loser in the delay is those families north of 110th not at the k-8 and JAMS in general. And no, I am not going to call for anyone to resign, especially not as you and I sit here behind our anonymous handles complaining about what they do, which is worth a lot more than you and me posting on a blog. That APP has had one bad political outcome no more means they are failures than does the fact that the k-8 is moving after the district promised you it wouldn't would mean you should boot your BEX committee, who gave just as good as they got, and won, by the way, so I 'd expect to see some grace if you're a part of it.


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