Growth Boundaries Work Session Part Two

I am going to attempt to slog through all my notes but I expect Charlie, Kellie and Meg to chime in here as we were all sitting at the back taking notes.  (And, I had to take a phone call during part of the APP middle school discussion.) 

Staff has done an incredible job in creating the various plans.  No one can truly know how long it must have taken and the tedious but important job of determining walk zones, ripple effects (if this, then that) and all the other issues they had to take into account.

So why so messy and why so much confusion?

My view (not shared by Kellie) is that the main flaw WAS the public engagement.  Kellie believes the problem was never truly expressed so the answers were always to be confusing and flawed.  I believe that I think I know what staff problem staff was trying to solve but that they never engaged their stakeholders correctly in the first place and so, never had real buy-in AND created mistrust.

The old set-up for these meetings - presentation, breakout groups, no rationale for plan details and no ability to ask questions - has got to change.

They did get through all the amendments (and kudos to Director Peaslee who worked hard to get it done).  I guessimate about 50 people there (and I thought there would be more).  Banda opened the Work Session saying "it's been a bit of a rollercoaster" - I don't think he was trying to be funny but sure, just a bit.  He said that this whole process was about "accommodating increased enrollment" and adjusting for the BEX IV building. 

Also, as to the volume of amendments, it became clear that the Directors had no intention of passing all these.  Many seemed to be thinking out loud ideas to bounce off each other that would not have been discussing if not put forth as an amendment.

Also, the staff is going to strive to get any agreed changes to the last version of the plan by Friday but if they are not able to, then some amendments that are slight changes may be grouped into one amendment. 

Ready?  Get a cup of coffee and here's what I heard.

Amendment #1 - Patu - No changes to SE - STAYS

Now there is a column to the far right in the amendments list for Staff Comments and they say "no changes have been recommended for 2014-2015 except Dearborn Park as an option school."

Okay, but once you take away a neighborhood school, you then have to change boundaries for surrounding school.  That's not a one-school change.

I covered some of this in my live blogging but the upshot was that most of the directors thought if Enrollment just made absolutely sure that the parents of Dearborn Park - many of whom I understand to speak English as a second language - get a letter that explains DP is no longer a neighborhood school, they will get assigned to Van Asselt BUT all they have to do is go enroll (during Open Enrollment) and most of the neighborhood will get into DP.

That's all.

The district didn't even have a conversation with parents about this change and the Board believes this magical letter will happen? 

Then we got to the first of Director DeBell's - for lack of a better word - manipulations of the evening.  He says that the director for International Programs, Karen Kodama, has worked with the principal and the BLT and that they were fine with the change.  He says he himself talked to the DP PTA.  But that's not what Betty - and it's her region - has heard.  It was quite the disconnect but Director DeBell has a bee in his bonnet over getting all the foreign language immersion schools on paper before he's gone. 

Patu started to listen as the other directors talked about the letter that would go to parents (but Tracy Libros was quick to say there are NO guarantees for Option Schools so she could not say that in the letter).  Director McLaren said well, maybe we could designate DP as an international school for a year and do outreach to make sure parents are well informed.

But really, I think the more DeBell talked, the less this change made sense to Patu and she stood her ground.  The amendment is going forward.  (I think McLaren's suggestion makes sense and if DeBell was smart, he should have jumped on it but now it's an either or situation.)

Amendment 2 - Peaslee - OUT
To delay all boundary changes except those absolutely necessary.  

Amendment 3 - Carr (I am unsure if this is in or out)
Lots of adjustments around Northgate/ Olympic View/Olympic Hills.  Staff said this would be a priority but that there are many schools where the situation is that there are more children who can walk to a school than the school can hold. 

Amendment 4 - Carr - STAYS
Revert to version 2.0 for a sliver area between Green Lake and Bryant that had gone to GL but was to change to Bryant.  This is likely to easily pass and staff is good with it.

Amendment 5 - Smith-Blum - STAYS
This is around the old TT Minor walk zone that has too many students going to Stevens.  Libros and Smith-Blum had a back and forth on this one and my notes reflect some pushback from Libros based on what might happen three years out.

Amendment 6 - Smith-Blum - OUT
Another version of Amendment 5.

Amendments 7 & 8 -  Smith-Blum - (I am unsure what the outcome of these two are.)
Around Stevens to Madrona boundaries.

Amendment 9 - Oddly looked like a staff suggestion but again, I am unsure what happens here.)

Amendment 10 - Patu, Smith-Blum - STAYS
Around where to site World School and rollout of Meany.  They are suggesting Meany rollout at TT Minor (where World School is scheduled to go).  They were careful to say that it does NOT mean World School won't go to TT Minor but that the only other place to rollout Meany would be in faraway Van Asselt.  (And Eckstein parents, you think you have issues?  Look at the map and see how you would like going from your neighborhood to one very far away.)

They noted that this area has three urban zones and no data to take into account new housing starts and the effects of density on the region.

Patu expressed the desire to site World School in a building "where we won't touch it" and that's the worry if they are at TT Minor.

DeBell asked where WS would go then?  And, is TT Minor a good place for a middle school (but I think for most parents location trumps building).   He also questioned the costs.  Again, it is going to cost to do anything - Van Asselt will need work just at TT Minor would need work.

There was a suggestion of rolling up Meany at Madrona which is underenrolled.  (Although one of Smith-Blum's earlier amendment would increase the elementary enrollment at Madrona so I don't know if that plays into it.)

Banda said that the district has a written agreement with WS to place them in  TT Minor but McLaren asked what would happen in five years if the district needed more elementary capacity in the that area?  The answer was that they could put on an addition to Bailey-Gatzert (staff looked into this).  That could work but it also means that B-G could be a fairly huge elementary school.

Amendment 11 - Smith- Blum - MAYBE
To create feeder patterns for Washington and Meany Middle Schools.  Staff had evidence that Mercer would end up short 123 seats and Meany would be under by 440 seats.  It seemed a stand-off to me.

Amendment 12 - DeBell, Martin-Morris - YES
APP North Middle School.  Here's where I left to take a phone call so I'll ask the others to fill in.
When I got back DeBell was saying it roughly hits the targets.  The issue seemed to be whether APP should split - right now - into three schools - or if there should be a wait and see approach.

Carr worried about a "weak start" at Wilson-Pacific that would "strain" the program.  Tracy Libros said that JAMS would open with APP and when W-P opens they could choose to say "let's start phasing out APP at Hamilton."  DeBell was accommodating saying that if the expected numbers of students at W-P were less, they could phase out APP at Hamilton and have quite a robust number at W-P (like 465 students). 

(Meanwhile, Charlie was fuming because yes, this whole discussion is around program placement which is NOT the work of the Board and yet here we are.)

Smith-Blum felt it important to work with the APP Advisory Committee on this issue and Peaslee felt it was a lot of movement for students.  This was interesting because DeBell had first said that he wanted to ease disruption for students.  I'm not sure the other Directors see it that way.

Amendment 13 - Carr - OUT
Also, APP middle school.

Amendment 14 - Peaslee - OUT
Also, APP middle school

Amendment 15 - Peaslee - OUT
APP elementary.  Why this was in here, I don't know.

Amendment 16 - Patu - STAYS
A bit of confusion here as Patu said she didn't want this one anymore given her first amendment against Dearborn Park going Option.  DeBell said that he would take it up as he wants DP to go Option.

Amendment 17 - Carr - STAYS
Amendment to put AS1 (which is Pinehurst's old name and since they are leaving that building, it appears if the school survives, it will be AS1) within JA K-8 as a program.  Carr said she was trying to land the school for the interim.

Amendment 18 - Carr - STAYS
This one is around placing the Native American program at Lincoln.  Staff did push back as Lincoln appears to be a go-to place for various programs.  Carr said there is room, it's on the busline and she seemed determined on this one.

Amendment 19 - Peaslee - STAYS
Pinehurst to interim at Lincoln and then move to W-P with Native American program.  It's all bit confusing what will happen to these programs but Directors seem to want to keep these programs.

Amendment 20 - Peaslee - OUT
Hamilton and Lincoln trading buildings.   (I note that staff said it would require numerous moves in and out of buildings.  Yes, and that's what we did with school closures as well.)

Amendment 21 - Peaslee - OUT
basically a duplicate of 19

DeBell then got very statesman-like and said that there had been advocacy for APP, AS 1 and the Native American program but not World School. He said that World School is very diverse but almost invisible and are just as deserving.

I can only say that (1) AS 1 and the Native American program have been small and undersourced and almost ignored for a long time.  So it's not like World School is alone in this and (2) where was DeBell when the BEX III money got taken away from World School? 


Eric said…
Right now if too many people apply to option schools in the "geozone" around the school then a lottery is used to choose who gets to attend the school. For schools like JSIS and McDonald, this can mean someone directly across the street from the school doesn't get in, but somebody a bus drive away does get in. This seems obviously bad to me in terms of transportation costs, splitting up neighbors, and supporting walkability.

Has the issue been raised as to whether the option school geozone tie breaker should be changed from a lottery to physical distance from the school?
Eric, not that I know of.

Also, as I previously stated, no discussion of Sped. Also, no discussion of grandfathering (which is not the Board's call).

I would suspect that the district will allow today's 7th graders to finish at the middle school they started out but likely incoming 6th graders and today's 6th graders will probably have to go to their new middle school. That's my take given that Tracy Libros wants fidelity to the NSAP and Facilities wants these growth boundaries changes to show real change so they can get real data on sizing.
Meg said…
There are a lot of problems in the formation of this plan. Community engagement. Showing what problem they were trying to solve with changes.

Another is Teaching & Learning's role - from what I've observed, capital planning basically takes what T&L wants, and then goes and creates a plan, even if doing what T&L wants forces them to create a crazy, Byzantine plan.

It seems as if T&L rarely appears at the few meetings with public engagement.

In my few chances to listen to Teaching & Learning talk about capacity and program placement, neither Tolley nor Heath appears to have any grasp on how program placement might affect capacity issues.

I have my doubts that they've worked closely w/ capital; when I had a chance to observe Tolley and Tracy Libros in the same meeting, he paused for a second, gave her a slightly uncertain look, and then called her... "Stacy."

I could be wrong - Teaching & Learning may have an intimate understanding of capacity issues and how program placement could affect it. But my observation is that Teaching & Learning management refuses to consider how what they consider an ideal situation might play out when implemented in real circumstances with genuine constraints.

I think it's a major contributor to some really terrible decisions.
Anonymous said…
Meg said "In my few chances to listen to Teaching & Learning talk about capacity and program placement, neither Tolley nor Heath appears to have any grasp on how program placement might affect capacity issues." This must be why the SPED part of the capacity puzzle is stuck out in limbo somewhere and has brought no working data to the table. SPED is under Teaching and Learning. I think you are making an excellent observation here. My guess is that Michael Tolley does not understand what is needed here to bring SPED into the capacity planning and management process as a full stakeholder.

District Watcher
Anonymous said…
Did Whitman come up in the discussions? Since amendment 13 was a "no," does this mean Whittier students will still be assigned to Wilson Pacific for middle school? And current 4th Graders will still have to attend 3 different middle schools?
Thank you.
Concerned Whittier Family.
Anonymous said…
Is anyone saying that the projections the board is supposedly working from for MS enrollment have problems? The attachment w/the various if this elem school here, then that MS looks like...?

Was that sheet done as straight roll ups from the elem. schools listed in each column?

If so, did anyone notice the supposed enrollment at McClure on that sheet was LESS than the actual THIS year (520), and no schools are pulled out to account for that ... and guess what, Queen Anne Elem. wasn't listed! So you think they just forgot it? All those kids go to McClure (or at least most - some of them are from north of ship canal b/c they went there in the first/second year when there was space.).

Also guess what ... THORNTON CREEK not listed as feeding any Middle School. Do THOSE kids not exist? It's a K5 - they go somewhere. Very few go to Salmon Bay b/c it's pretty far.

So if that sheet was a straight rollup, did TWO ENTIRE ELEM schools just vanish from the count?

Feeder patterns are the worst of all possible worlds - except for the world where schools just "disappear".

Signed: Math Counts
Eric said…
Melissa: Thank you, I wrote to director Carr asking for an amendment to the option school geozone tie breaker. Hopefully there will be another opportunity for amendments to be put forward...
Anonymous said…
Math counts, those schools are both option schools, and the kids are counted by the school they'd be assigned by address. So for TC, in the upper grades it's mostly JAMS, lower grades mostly Eckstein. This is also why incomIng 6th grade classes don't just look like fifth grade classes added together(though I do suspect they do not always account well enough for the 106% attendance rate we often see at middle school-private school families coming back after elementary).

Anonymous said…
Math Counts: As far as Thornton Creek is concerned, it's not a feeder school. No option school is counted as a feeder school. Instead, students at option schools are assigned to middle schools by their home addresses. So, the TC students should be accounted for in the total student counts of other elementary areas (John Rogers, View Ridge, Wedgwood, etc.). Whether this is actually happening, I cannot guarantee! But that's how it's supposed to work.

--TC reader
Anonymous said…
A few comments on last night’s work session.

- Several SB directors tried to convince Director Patu that if you live within the geo-zone of an option school, you have a (sort-of) guaranteed assignment to the “neighborhood” option school. Director Patu wasn’t buying it. Just wondering…is there any data out there showing the percentage of non-English speaking families who have successfully navigated the open enrollment process to enter option schools?

- According to Director Smith-Blum, not only are middle school roll-ups feasible (for Meany, at least), but they can be done in an elementary school building (T.T. Minor)!

- They are calling it a 5 year plan now, but they are only showing 4 years of North middle school and APP projections. Maybe this is because JAMS will likely be over-capacity (and still growing) by year 5?

- It is evidently safe to assume that enough kids will leave JA K-8 for JAMS, so that Pinehurst and Indian Heritage fit at John Marshall in interim with the JA K-8; but those kids who leave for JAMS are apparently negligible in the effort to “right-size” all the middle schools in 2014-15, by shoving NE APP into JAMS. Conveniently, those former K-8 kids will be in high school by 2017-18, so they don’t factor into the 2017-18 JAMS enrollment projection, which was the only data shown to support this scenario.

- According to Director Martin-Morris, a strong cohort of Spectrum students will magically appear when you provide “access” to Spectrum at JAMS, even if the only Spectrum school in the attendance area is a K-8, with their own middle school pathway. This was part of his reasoning why it was OK to take Wedgwood out of the JAMS feeder pattern.

-One of Director Carr's amendments would have put Northgate in the JAMS feeder pattern. Was the FRL population at JAMS not high enough to balance out NE APP with only Olympic Hills, Cedar Park, Sacajawea and John Rogers?

-There is something called UNEA (United Native Education Alliance?) that may or may not be the same thing as Indian Heritage (I don’t think I was the only one confused, BTW), and they want a couple of classrooms at Lincoln, then space at Wilson-Pacific.

-Whatever happened to Cascade Parent Partnership (Home School)? Does anyone know?

to be continued...

- North-end Mom
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
continued from above.

- Apparently staff can formulate their own amendment if the Director’s amendments are deemed too technically difficult to pull off in time for 2014-15 (i. e. APP at JAMS).

-According to Director DeBell, Wedgwood has historically gone to Eckstein, not Jane Addams ever since the building opened. Well, perhaps that’s TECHNICALLY true, since when Eckstein opened, Jane Addams was a Shoreline school, and what is now part of Wedgwood’s turf was covered Maple Leaf School, which was at NE 100th and 32nd (now developed into single-family homes). Maple Leaf school fed into Jane Addams. At any rate, it is apparently OK to close an alternative school that has been around for decades (Pinehurst), but you can’t mess with Wedgwood, because they have History on their side.

- Was there ever any discussion of how the proposed geo-splits would affect families other than APP or Wedgwood families? Did I blink and miss it?

-NE APP is evidently getting mitigation money for their program when they move to JAMS, but I didn’t hear anything about JAMS get mitigation money so that it can provide former Eckstein students with the same range of electives that they had at Eckstein? Did I blink and miss that, too?

-According to Michael DeBell, communication with a school’s BLT is the standard for community engagement around SPS-directed programming changes at schools. Following that logic, it is evidently it is OK for the Board (and evidently parents from other schools) to direct programming at a new school without engaging the community it will serve, because the new school doesn’t yet have a BLT or another official means of engagement.

-Director Peaslee is so Hell-bent on placing elementary APP in the NE, that she proposed stuffing it into two of the least-compatible schools in the NE (Thornton Creek and Olympic Hills), without regard to the wishes of their communities, or even their BLTs.

-Director Peaslee repeatedly asked if it was the JAMS APP students who were being split out of Hamilton into JAMS. Somebody (I didn’t catch who) kept confirming this, but isn’t it both the resident populations of the JAMS AND the Eckstein attendance areas who are joining the party at JAMS? JAMS…the new Hamilton, but it is OK, because there is room for portables at JAMS!

- World School was the mentioned multiple times, including during Director DeBell's moving closing statement, but there was still nothing concrete proposed for the long-term stability of the program.

- North-end Mom
Eric B said…
North End Mom, When my older kid went through Spectrum in middle school, there was a substantial fraction of the program that went to their neighborhood elementary but retained Spectrum/APP eligibility via ALO. They then exercised that eligibility at middle or high school levels. This may account for some of the "Spectrum will come out of the woodwork" idea. I'm not saying it's right, just that there is another pathway to MS Spectrum than ES Spectrum.

WV: distroll I guess I'm posting too much lately.
SB said…
Since APP students will be coming to JAMS from Hamilton International does anyone know if JAMS will be an International school as well?
No Whitman did not come up except in passing (and I'm struggling to find what that passing remark was). Meg, Charlie, Kellie?

I agree; I think this feeder pattern situation is not working well. Tracy told me (a different day) that it would make her life easier in one way with geographic boundaries but the computer changes would be horrible.

North-End Mom, I don't think there really is any way of knowing how people navigate the system. But to think that people who don't speak English well are going to get this letter and completely understand it and that's all the outreach they get, well, I doubt it.

I told Banda that one thing that should have been done differently is that for every iteration - any new schools brought into the mix - should have had notification. It shouldn't be up to the PTA or this blog to let them know.

Can we not use words like "shove" for students? It may not be to your liking where students end up but it's surely not the students' fault.

I believe the Native American program may be different than what was discussed but no clarification was given.

Cascade was not landed as far as I could see.
Anonymous said…
North end mom, you know I'm sorry about how all this is going down. Yes, I think Peaslee would just really like to pass the amendment, "Resolved, APP SUX. We do whatever APP says they do not want, and blame them if other schools are harmed by this guiding principle." I will personally buy you an ice cream cone if APP gets mitigation money or anything meaningful out of this. That is just the kind of thing they start saying whenever they have decided to screw a population but don't want to hear about it anymore, but never really follow through on. Maybe I should take cynical and bitter's moniker. Sigh. But regardless of how frustrated I am with the process, I want the middle school to be as good as it can be with the resources we have. I do think we should start thinking about music, because the north end has a lot of musical families(I have heard that some music teachers at Eckstein might be willing to move?)and if APP is going to be there, maybe an APP representative should join whatever planning committee there is.

I don't know if our kids will overlap at JAMS (I have a couple years), but I am hoping to help start/work with a middle school model UN program- if there is any interest at the school. I know people are upset about losing the technology pathways at Eckstein, but I personally have little to no expertise in that area. Hopefully someone else does.

Lynn said…
Eric B,

Spectrum enrollment in ALOs at JAMS feeder schools is:

21 Sacajewa
15 John Rogers
7 Olympic Hills

That's an average of 8 or 9 per grade.
David said…
Eric Fisk, I respectfully disagree with you. Option schools are not meant to be neighborhood schools, even though they end up that way a lot of the time. Language immersion should not just be for the wealthy few who can live across the street from it in Wallingford. A lottery system for option schools is the fair system.
LN said…
I agree with David. Does anyone ever bring up the equity and capacity issues related to option schools? If so, why are there more on the docket? Speaking of Dearborn....

Does anyone really believe Dearborn won't be full of rich families that live along the lake? It will actually be the opposite problem from JSIS and McDonald.
nacmom said…
Melissa Westbrook posted:

"Tracy told me (a different day) that it would make her life easier in one way with geographic boundaries but the computer changes would be horrible."

Really??? - the computer changes would be HORRIBLE?!!!

As compared to the boundary changes, school changes, reassignments, staff reassignments, split families?

Which would be more "horrible"? and more costly???

We're not still using VAX are we? Just how 'horrible' might it be?

Beyond. Ridic.

Somebody please tell me we are doing all of this b/c no one wants to take on the horror of re-coding the program?? Please. Anyone?
nacmom said…
Melissa Westbrook, you also state:

"I would suspect that the district will allow today's 7th graders to finish at the middle school they started out but likely incoming 6th graders and today's 6th graders will probably have to go to their new middle school."

At what point do they figure that out? You'd surely have a lot less (half?) resistance to moving if only half the kids are actually moving! Just sayin' SPS...
Anonymous said…
@ Lynn

How many Spectrum students (elementary) are at Jane Addams K-8?

- curious
search4chin said…
For clarification, as I understand it, the Indian Heritage program is a semi-defunct program hanging by a thread at Middle College in Northgate Mall. UNEA (Urban Native Education Alliance) is, again as I understand it, an after school Native program that is leading the charge for revitalizing the Indian Heritage Program and supporting the proposed collaboration of AS-1(currently at Pinehurst) and Indian Heritage.

kellie said…
My view is that there are so many amendments because the district never articulated the problem this plan is designed to solve. Because there no shared definition of problem. Everyone is tying to solve the problems they see. Board directors and community members are all trying to get their problems fixed. That is appropriate and normal.

However, if there were a shared problem to even reference. Then we could at least have some semblance of civil dialogue.
Anonymous said…
As I said a week ago, it was great to theorize on the perfect restart to the boundaries process but it wasn't going to happen. Neither staff nor board was going to back off or back down on moving on the project.

The comprehensive PTSA meeting? Kellie's perfect plan? Charlie's pointing out that program decisions don't rest with the board. Melissa's pointing out historical inconsistencies. Parents up in arms? All insightful and mostly right. But meaningless because The Process and Timeline was inevitably going to march on. A wheelbarrow of contradictory, hard-to-follow amendments was clearly the way this would all go down.

I urged people to get their ideas in last Friday. I certainly did.

And here we are.

I promise you next year will not be any different. Or the year after. This is the way the district rolls.

I repeat, don't give up on Seattle Schools. Just give up on the way things "should" work or "do" work in the private sector or even other districts.

Those places are not here.

Most kids eventually emerge with a good education despite all the discord. Many of us continue to fight for the kids who fall through the cracks of the system. The rest of the families get mad, take their marbles and go home - er drop out of SPS. Same every year.

Seen It
Anonymous said…
Melissa, Tracey mentioned at the PTSA meeting on Tuesday that the District had looked at keeping next year's 8th graders at their home school, but the "numbers didn't work" (I assume this means from a capacity standpoint).

Maybe they will do that in the end, but it certainly didn't seem likely on Tuesday night.

Anonymous said…
Curious- according to this recent data:

132 kids are either Spectrum or APP qualified at Jane Addams K-8. These are just the kids whose parents took the extra step to re-enroll under the Spectrum label, so not everyone, but close.

It's incredibly bad planning to assume that Pinehurst (or any other program) will fit at John Marshall with JA K-8, based on a couple of parents posting on the blog. No one from the district has asked the families at the K-8 about their plans. It's not wise to make program placement decisions with no data.

What happens to Pinehurst if it gets slated to go to JM, and then most of the JA K-8 middle school students stick with the program and there is no room for Pinehurst?

Patrick said…
I think NE has a very good question. My daugher's classmates in JA K-8's middle school are planning to go with the K-8, not JAMS.

Sacajawea Elementary School, 9501 20th Ave. N.E.
Nov 14, 6:30pm - Nov 14, 8:00pm
Seattle Public Schools board member “Sherry Carr will come to Sacajawea Elementary next Thursday, Nov. 14th, at 6:30 p.m., in the library. She considers Sacajawea a priority in the changes that take effect next year.

I understand the meeting will be in the lunch room not the library.
kellie said…
@ seen it

I never claimed to have a perfect plan. Honestly, I don't think I have a perfect anything.

I just believe that I need to document specific harm that will happen. We have nothing but bad choices on the table. I am painfully clear about the bad choices.

I just think that we are talking about students and their school experience, not amendments. I think someone needs to make certain that the impact on students is called out.
Anonymous said…
What grade is your daughter in? I'm asking because I know several former John Rogers families of 6th graders who intend to stay in the building, with JAMS, as long as the offerings are at least as comprehensive as what is currently offered at JA K-8 (choice of 2 languages, advanced band, orchestra, jazz band, etc...).

JR Mom
Nacmom, you have read what I said.

From TRACY's POV, going from feeder patterns to geographic boundaries would be a mixed bag and one of the huge issues for her would be technical.

That the feeder patterns are not great for others is not within her power. Others up the food chain decided that for her.

Also, I just think they cannot possibly grandfather every single student and expect to have real data on how it is all working. Someone will have change schools.

Listening, but my hope is that they will allow the current 7th graders to finish whereever they are at. That's just me.
Anonymous said…
So, basically the vast majority of Spectrum-qualified students in NNE Seattle attend an option K-8 program which does not feed into JAMS.

How the heck does JAMS maintain any semblance of Spectrum programming without a Spectrum school feeding into it?

- curious
Anonymous said…
Wedgwood families are working really hard to have all current Eckstein students in 6th and 7th stay at Eckstein. If you allow 7th and not 6th, there's bound to be loud cries of unfairness, as there would be if you moved them both. However, grandfathering anybody just doesn't seem the way to go. Does anyone have the numbers on what it would look like to grandfather the 7th graders? Isn't it then basically a roll up of 6th and 7th since if you grandfather Eckstein, you need to grandfather Hamilton 7th graders, too? That'll affect APP and non-APP. Would there even be an 8th grade? I'm just trying to wrap my head around this as I was pretty much settled on the whole 6th and 7th must go to the MS that their elementary feeds into.

Eric B said…
kp, If you don't do a geosplit, the upper grades in a roll-up middle school get screwed. You'll end up with a very small grade composed of 8th graders that elected to move to the new school (probably not many) and 8th graders that moved into the new assignment area and are therefore assigned to the school. Under your scenario, there might be an 8th grade class of 15 students.
Anonymous said…
Eric B - Pretty much what I suspected but am confused by the support to grandfather 7th graders since that's basically a part roll-up and so defeats the whole purpose of the argument for a comprehensive MS experience. In addition, you're not providing the relief to Eckstein or Hamilton if you don't fill JAMS right away. I understand why folks want to grandfather but am wondering if it's really practical to grandfather all 7th graders when the purpose is to spread the kids out to ease the capacity crunch. And, is this in any of the amendments that came out last night or is it still a geo-split all the way going forward?

Anonymous said…
I can't imagine the district would grandfather one grade while splitting the others. I just don't see it happening. My question is what classes and offerings will be impacted with a geo-split? Will there be a guarantee that the foreign language progression doesn't get interrupted, so the same languages would be offered at JAMS as at Eckstein? Would there be a guarantee of appropriate level math for all students (that doesn't involve walking to Hale)? Won't it need to be an Eckstein/Hamilton hybrid in order to provide some consistency to those joining from other schools?

If parents are to support the split, it would help to have some real assurances from the District. Where is Teaching and Learning in all of this?

Maybe some of these questions will be answered at the meeting tonight.

Benjamin Leis said…
@wondering - At least with respect to walking across the street to Nathan Hale for advanced math I think that's a reasonable answer. In the long run that's potentially a real positive for JAMS the easy logistics of coordinating with the high school.

Patrick said…
JR mom, my daughter is in 7th.
I do expect there to be significant numbers of students who entered JA as 6th graders this year who decide to go to JAMS instead of moving with the K-8, perhaps half to 2/3. But there are also a fair number of 6th graders who went to 5th at JA who will probably almost all go to JA @ Marshall. No one's done a survey, and it would be reassuring if they did before promising space in Marshall to various other groups. Words were said about JA having Marshall to itself and how that was a silver lining in exchange for having to move twice, compared to sharing the JA building with JAMS as it rolled up.
Anonymous said…
All middle schoolers need to move to their correct middle school next year. If it doesn't happen, this mess will be worse not better next year. The madness needs to be stopped as much as possible now.

APP will not be getting an optimal cohort size. That's the reality of scare resources.

There will be disappointed kids. Their lives will not end, though. And they will move on a lot faster if parents stop acting like Armageddon has arrived.

Those remaining at Eckstein and Hamilton will no doubt get the best out of this deal, but even those schools will be getting a nasty shock. Bye-bye students means bye-bye teaching resources. The halls might be less crowded but access to classes and class sizes are likely to be worse not better.

It's time to start thinking about individual kid needs in individual classrooms. Which can't happen with every other northeast parent stomping their feet and waving their hands.

Don't like your situation? Go take a walk in a different corner of the District. You'll come running back to the northeast in two shakes of a lamb's tail.

Please people,

"Move On"
Lynn said…

If every 6-8 student stays at JAK-8, there will be room at JAMS for AS#1.
Anonymous said…
Is the meeting at Sacajawea just for Sacajawea families, or can others attend?

NE family
Benjamin Leis said…
@Lynnn - But of course just like its very unlikely that all the middle schoolers will move with JAK8, its equally unlikely they will all stay.

*Gosh - wouldn't this be an important item to survey about*

I know there is a set of 6th grade families that planned to stay with the building. I'm curious if they'll change their minds over the course of the year. The JAK8 middle school is a known quantity and a good program. Most of the comparable groups of sixth grade families at Hamilton/Eckstein get attached to their friends/program and don't want to peel off. I could easily envision that some folks will change their mind when push comes to shove. But I'm speculating like everyone else.

Others can attend the Sacajawea meeting.
Nacmom, apologies - I meant "you need to read what I said about Tracy." You must have been baffled by my reply, sorry.

As for APP and Spectrum, it's clear to me that Tolley and Heath have plans and that's why no one is really clear about what is going to happen. I think it doesn't matter because it will change. That the Advanced Learning Taskforce has no real urgency (and yes, I need to write up that thread) should tell you something.

I am sorry to say that but the evidence seems clear.

NE Family, I'm sure no one would mind if you came to the Sacajawea event with Director Carr.

I am hoping for some clarity on some of this when staff has something to show at the end of the day tomorrow. I know they are probably working like crazy to have this ready for the Board meeting.

Quick show of hands - are you going to go to the Board meeting or just waiting quietly to see how it all turns out?
Anonymous said…
Hi Lynn,
I don't know about JAMS, but if every current K-7 student at JA K-8 elects to stay with their school, would there will be room for JA K-8 at JM?
- curious
Anonymous said…
Wonder when they will figure out that a lot of the APP Middle-school growth is due to 1)demise of Spectrum at the MSs 2)splitting the program so that it becomes geographically attractive to families who would have stayed in their MS, if they knew their would be served.

Such silly gooses....

APP MS parent
Anonymous said…
should have read "their students would be served..."

APP MS Parent
Lynn said…

There are 737 JAK-8 students this year and J Marshall's capacity for that age group is 852. Sounds like it shouldn't be a problem.
Unknown said…
There's no discussion of SpEd because we are totally lacking data which would inform the "New Model" or the ABCD model of delivery. The "New Model," itself seems to be poorly understood by those informing Tracey Libros. This is because it was "embargoes" by Stacey McCrath-Smith until after the colletive bargaining agreement was approved. But now that it has been approved for two and a half months, communication about the model from SPS has been fairly limited.

We have talked to Tracy Libros to let her know what our concerns are, but it is difficult to offer amendments or comment on plans when there was no plan for sped in the last set of maps and the district hasn't put out any recent data of what kind of student lives where. I, myself, can't get any data unless I ask for it in the form of a public records request, which will take months. This is despite the fact that the district hired two new people just to collect and analyze special education data.

Here are the set of recommendations that we disseminated at the last Special Ed PTSA meeting, at which Tracy Libros was present:

Special education students are entitled to consideration, like all other students, in the new student assignment plan and in should be factored into the boundary determinations. The ABCD model is a continuum of services that should be equitably placed in all service areas. All students with special education needs should be provided a clear pathway based on their residence like all other students. IDEA requires a guaranteed seat at a neighborhood school if the school has the service. Since all other students have guaranteed assignment based on residence, students with disabilities MUST have the same entitlement. (See next post for list.)
Unknown said…
(Edited and condensed version) Problem: Analysis is needed that provides residences of students with disabilities, or their identified needs.
Recommendation:Provide hot-spot maps of the residence of all students with intensive special education needs as you have for APP based on an estimate of A, AB, AC, or AD needs. District should estimate the services a student will need based on the current programming of each individual student.
Problem: Need clearly defined pathways for students with disabilities.
Recommendation: Provide a documented pathway for elementary, middle and high school for the provision of AB, AC, and AD special education services - recognizing that all students in B, C, and D programs will also require services available in A programs. Ideally, middle schools service areas should contain 3 comprehensive elementary sites for AB, AC, and AD services. If there some service areas missing a particular service - then access to that service needs to be clearly spelled out with linked assignment areas.
Problem: Need pathway communicated for students with unique assignment needs because of disability.
Recommendation: Provide and describe the pathway for students with unique special education assignment needs in DH/H, vision, and medically fragile services, and for any other known unique assignment needs.
Problem: Need transition plan to a continuum of services.
Recommendation: Describe the transition plan. How will students receiving services now in the SM1 - SM4 model be upgraded to the new ABCD model? How will that happen? What is the timeline?
Problem: What is the "pathway" for students with multiple exceptionalities? None has been described. Most problematic are the ELL services for students with disabilities.
Recommendation: Describe the pathway for students disabilities AND with ELL and AL learning needs. Pathways describe a single path. Unfortunately, our students have multiple needs, and they are entitled to have these met. Students with disabilities are entitled to ELL services and Advanced learning services in addition to special education.
Problem: Which is the correct list of schools? The published materials doesn’t make it clear.
Recommendation: Provide correct current list that meshes with other lists/data and provides continuum of services.
Problem: no preschool or transition pathway provided.
Recommendation: Provide site information on preschool and transition pathways. Describe types of preschool offered, and their locations for all regions of the city. List the district sites that will be used for adult transition programs.
Problem: The district has listed schools that are to be special education ACCESS sites. ACCESS was never supposed to be a stand-alone program. Which other intensive special education service will be available at each of these ACCESS (A) buildings?
Recommendation: List the additional services beyond ACCESS (A) for each of the new ACCESS schools. Each school should be an AB, AC, or AD site.
Possible Problem: Some identified sites are quite old and are likely not accessible for students with physical disabilities. Accessibility for new sites must be considered.
Recommendation: Provide accessibility information for comprehensive sites
Problem: Some school’s current enrollment is quite low. Adding comprehensive sites to the building will only lower enrollment and shrink school boundaries
Recommendation: Include school size as a factor when placing sites.
JAMS rocks! said…
Teacher staffing at middle schools are at a ratio of about 30 students per 1 teacher. Since the 900-950 students attending JAMS will be coming from Eckstein and Hamilton that means that many of the teachers at those middle schools will also move to JAMS. so the rumors that an Eckstein band teacher will end up at JAMS is most likely true. Eckstein can't keep all their teachers with around 500-600 less kids
Anonymous said…
Thanks Mary Griffin for sharing those special education recommendations here. It's so predictable, and so sad that none of this is on the radar at ALL in the churning about growth boundaries. Nevertheless, I am

ever hopeful
JAMS rocks! said…
Did anyone attend the Sacajawea meeting tonight? What did Director Carr have to say?
James said…
These growth boundary discussions are just silly.

My daughter lives in the Wedgewood school boundary.

If one draws a line between Wedgewood, Eckstein, and Roosevelt (the three physically closest schools), it forms a triangle.

In which my daughter resides. Yet the city of Seattle thinks that my daughter should have to go to Jane Adams and Nathan Hale, both of which are nearly 3 miles away.

When she could have just walked to Eckstein and Roosevelt. Like the kids literally across the street will be able to do.

Just dumb.
Maple Leaf said…
I was lucky enough to come across this forum through Maple Leaf community discussions and have spent the last hour or so reading through some of the posts. I am glad to have found a place where Seattle parents can express their feelings on the school system. I must have been living under a rock...

I was at the Growth Boundaries work session yesterday, and based on the tone of many of the safe and all directors besides Peaslee, it seems that an AS 1/Indian Heritage Combo + UNEA might be joining JA K-8 at John Marshall for the next two years as space is available. Would this mean the space at Lincoln in the south wing (14 classrooms) would be available?

Is the idea of a Hamilton annex so impractical that there is a need to make any changes at Hamilton if this space, that will have received at least a couple millions of dollars in repairs, will sit empty for two years?

As Jane Addams Middle School will start with a 6-8 population next year and the growing sentiment of the Olympic View community is one to be placed in it's feeder pattern (along with Northgate Elementary if Sherry Carr's amendment passes), wouldn't it be logical to leave APP at Hamilton for two years in entirety. Therefore, when the new JA K-8 at Pinehurst opens in 2016, Teaching and Learning along with the board can make recommendations for AS 1/Indian Heritage and APP sites based on how the neighborhood numbers fall. At that same time, if my knowledge is accurate, Fall of 2016 will bring the arrival of the first McDonald elementary class at Hamilton which will provide a more accurate look at the building's long term numbers.

Any Thoughts?
Maje said…
I know that Lynn said "There are 737 JAK-8 students this year and J Marshall's capacity for that age group is 852. Sounds like it shouldn't be a problem."

Though one should also keep in mind that the SE program at JAK-8 is slated to move to JM and that impacts the numbers.
Patrick said…
James, the Wedgwood area encompasses almost the whole area between Eckstein and JA. Somebody's going to be going to a school that's not the closest one, unless you want to split the Wedgwood students when they go to middle school. That has been suggested, but that would have downsides as well both for the students and more complexity for the district.

Ideally the District would have kept up with the student population, not sold so many schools in the past 40 years, and started reopening or rebuilding new schools at least 10 years earlier. But now we're stuck having to make some suboptimal boundary lines for the sake of all the students fitting in a building and elementary school cohorts continuing to the same middle school. Suboptimal, but not just dumb.
joanna said…
Math Counts, likely the discrepancy you are noticing is due in part to the fact that Lowell has moved toward Hay and taken some students due to the fact that Lowell is assigned to Washington/Meany.

I believe that you expressed some frustration with the model and yes it should change so that each middle school has its own set of sensible boundaries and those near McClure would be assigned to McClure. The exception would be for specific programs such as language immersion. The elementary school programs should feed into another school offering the same program.

Maureen said…
Mary Griffin and the Seattle Special Ed PTSA ROCK!
Chris S. said…
I've been thinking about the "technical difficulties" of making MS assignment geographical. I don't buy it. You already do high school that way; just put middle schoolers thru the HS algorithm. Cm'on, admit that it's political. MIght be an oversimplification, but I bet the technical work pales in comparison to the contortions they have gone thru with feeder patterns.

On another note, we were told at another meeting Wednesday night the reason Olympic Hills was being demolished while Decatur not was because of its condition. I KNEW Thornton Creek was worse because of THIS blog and I found the document and sent it to the people that said that.

So if you are concerned about capacity in NNE with Lake City Development, please be asking why they are demolishing a reasonably good building. (Not only TC but Cedar Park is in worse condition. - on one of the scores, Oly Hills was more like Bryant!)

$%^!& even when they have some reasonably good data (building condition, and they put a fair amount of work into it,) they forget it.

The point is, fact-check EVERYTHING.

wv is "greedity" - yes I'm greedity about public school buildings...
kellie said…
Chris S is correct. I am also boggled about the Olympic Hills tear down. The building is a tank. They could easily have added a very large wing to the building to add capacity and take advantage of the lovely campus.

Charlie Mas said…
I understand the perspective of the Wedgwood families who want to remain in the Eckstein attendance area. It is a very self-centered perspective based on where they live and what they see from that vantage point.

There is another, broader perspective that goes like this: We have a new attendance area middle school at Jane Addams. Close to 1,000 students will be assigned there. It should be the ones who live closest to it instead of those who live farther away.

I can see the perspective of the Wedgwood families. It would be nice to hear that they can see anyone else's. Right now they are saying - my kid should not have to travel 2.1 miles to middle school. Instead, other children should have to travel 6-8 miles to middle school. They justify the longer trip for other students because those students are already on a bus. They figure that bus can just keep rolling another couple miles past Eckstein and all the way to Jane Addams.

Or have I got that wrong?
Charlie Mas said…
Growth boundaries and program placement have all become subordinate to capacity management because there is a crisis in capacity management.

The crisis is this: In certain parts of the city there are more butts than seats. Plain and simple.

One of these areas is West Seattle. Fortunately, there are surplus school buildings there that can be opened to address the need.

Another of these areas is the Northeast where there are fewer surplus school buildings. There the District is using three strategies. 1) Re-opening whatever buildings they have: Lincoln, Wilson-Pacific, Cedar Park, John Marshall. 2) Building new capacity: Thornton Creek, Olympic Hills, Pinehurst. 3) Ship as many kids as possible out of the area: elementary APP at Wilson-Pacific.

The third strategy fills the elementary at Wilson-Pacific as a stand-alone APP school. The District leadership doesn't like this. It is counter to their antagonism to APP, but they have no workable alternative (though Director Peaslee tried). If the District were really working as hard as they could on he third strategy they would also make the Wilson-Pacific middle school a stand-alone APP school. But that would be just too nice for APP and therefore cannot be tolerated.

So, as a compromise, they will dissolve middle school APP and split it among two middle schools - the two without an established constituency to reject it: JAMS and WPMS.

Here's the risk: if the APP opportunity isn't sufficiently attractive, northeast APP families might not exercise it. That could mean the return of hundreds of students to Eckstein.

Middle school APP is not really all that wonderful. It's not that different from middle school Spectrum. The math is the same. I think a mixed APP/Spectrum Language Arts and Social Studies block would be about as good as a self-contained APP one. The APP science is better, but is that enough reason to ride for a couple hours a day on a bus? Maybe not.

A lot of northeast families are used to choosing an ALO at their neighborhood school instead of Spectrum or APP. A lot of them might choose Spectrum at Eckstein over APP at JAMS or WPMS. The District might have to pour a little sugar on it to get people to show up. A stand-alone school would do it. What else might?

Or am I wrong and middle school APP is very different from middle school Spectrum?
Longtime resident said…
Feeder schools method simply may not work well in areas where schools have been closed. Take, for example, the current Wedgwood/Eckstein debacle. As someone else pointed out, the current Wedgwood El. boundaries extend from Eckstein (north AND west of Eckstein) to pretty close to Jane Addams. This is because there USED to be a Maple Leaf Elementary, and there USED to be a Ravenna Elementary (a little grumpy about permanent school closures -- Queen Anne H.S. alum in the house -- anyone remember QA? There USED to be QAHS too).

Back to Eckstein... Some kids who would have attended Maple Leaf followed by Addams/Hale are currently in the Wedgwood attendance area. Some kids who would have attended Ravenna followed by Eckstein/Roosevelt are at Wedgwood. The Wedgwood/Eckstein/Roosevelt kids attend Wedgwood. Wedgwood is overcrowded, we have portables, we deal with it. But frankly, some families at Wedgwood in the former Maple Leaf El. area may prefer JAMS as it would actually be walkable. Most families living closer to Eckstein (yours truly) are going to be furious to haul themselves to JAMS, seeing Eckstein in their rearview mirrors (since there may be no bus and it's not a safe, reasonable walk) if assigned to JAMS. Feeder patterns only make sense in real life if they make sense geographically with the current open schools, otherwise geozones may be the way to go.
Susan said…
Could somebody rough out a geozone MS map, publish it, and see how much support it would receive in this community?
Amy Bonney-Hoffman said…
Dear Mr. Mas:

I'm not a Wedgwood parent, I'm a Whittier parent. However, our concerns are virtually the same regarding keeping our kids attending a walkable middle school rather than accommodating a voluntary program like APP. I also do not want my fourth grader attending five different schools in five years. Your comment about Wedgwood families being "self-centered' is unbelievably arrogant, and your disdain for the amendment process is palpable. Perhaps you could put yourself in OUR shoes rather than throwing unnecessary pejoratives around.
Anonymous said…
@longtime resident - Where was the Maple Leaf Elementary School? I know where the Ravenna School was - now the Ravenna Eckstein Community Center.

Also, does anyone know if SPS owns the building on Roosevelt and 78th NE where the Fairview Christian School is? My Maple Leaf neighbor was telling me that was where his child attended elementary school.

mamashines said…
I am new to SPS, so please bear with me. I have a kindergartener and 3rd grader at Wedgwood. I live in Ravenna, south of NE 75th. When we purchased our home, we were in the Bryant reference area.

I don't understand all of the Wedgwood bashing.

1. We are in a difficult situation. Half of our community lives closer to JAMS and half of us live closer to Eckstein. JAMS is set up to be a pretty great school. The principal is hired and fired up. She's also waiting to see who will be at her school before making programming decisions. Smart. It's a well maintained building in much better shape than Eckstein.

On the other hand, Eckstein is in my backyard. It's a well established program. Many of my neighbors live south of the middle school. Our kids, just like others in no-man's-land reference areas with closed elementary schools (Ravenna school) live in a fragmented neighborhood. Now, kids in Ravenna will go to Bryant, Wedgwood, Eckstein, and JAMS? That's hard for me to get behind. These kids play together, trick or treat together, and roughhouse in the alley. We go to Roaring Mouse, Vios, and Ravenna Eckstein community center events. These kids also will go to four different schools if the current proposal passes. Pathetic.

Wedgwood/Ravenna neighborhoods aren't alone. Many families in North and Northeast Seattle have similar issues about the proposed plans. It's an unfortunate reality that reference areas are large and the district closed schools in tight neighborhoods leaving some of us to take the brunt of the flip flopping.

2. Also, I don't understand the APP bashing. All kids in our district deserve a stable school community. APP has been bounced around to no end. APP kids and SPED kids have special needs that the district must meet. APP kids have special needs that can begin to be addressed with a special program and need to be. Yes, there are problems with the assessment tools used to identify kids. Hopefully that will change, but for now it is what we have. Many of these kids flourish in APP and could become at-risk kids without the program. Calling them elite is really unfair. As a side note, I do not have an APP kid nor do I plan on having my kids tested.

Neither of these communities are entitled: APP or Wedgwood. They consist of parents trying to do the best for their kids. Bouncing kids around in a special program and implying that they can handle it because they are "gifted" is wrong and harmful. Fragmenting my neighborhood to pad numbers at a middle school outside of my community is wrong and harmful. I do not know what the solution is but I do know that we need to respect one another. Most of us come from the same goal. We want our kids to have the best foundation possible.

The same is true for families all over the city.

Longtime Resident said…
Maple Leaf School was at NE 100th and 32nd Ave. NE (?). Long closed and torn down, there are houses there now. I should have clarified that, sorry. The point being that is why Wedgwood El. boundaries extend so far southwest and so far north, and that Ravenna and Maple Leaf Elementaries were operational when Jane Addams and Eckstein were built, which is why using feeder patterns for MS with the currently-operating elementary boundaries just doesn't work well in some cases.
Charlie Mas said…
The five schools in five years thing is a manifestation of the implementation of the attendance areas, not a manifestation of the attendance areas themselves.

Let's remember that even in the best of situations students go to three schools in those same five years. It's not like anyone goes to just one school in that time.

As for self-centered, it was an objective assessment, not a pejorative. These folks are seeing the situation exclusively from their personal perspective. They are not considering any other perspective. That's what self-centered means. Or am I wrong about that? Are they considering the needs of all of the students in the District when they suggest that someone else should travel further to the school that they regard as too far away for their child to attend?
Anonymous said…
APP is impossible to deal with as it is a large and sought after self-contained cohort. The kids are mostly capable of being reintegrated into their neighborhood schools, except for a very small group. It will be a boon for all students. Advanced math, up to three years ahead, is already available at every middle school. LA is blocked into ability levels also. Biology is coming to every middle school. APP is a logistical nightmare and does a disservice to the students who should be getting advanced opportunities at every school in or out of the program. Now that K kids must also be served, we are on the road towards NYC-style full combat mode to get into APP, with pre-school test prep and all the rest. I don't think it is working well for New Yorkers. In fact, I challenge anyone to read the New York magazine article from June on their G&T program and see what unpleasantness awaits us. Gifted programs like ours and NYC's are seen as answers to a mediocre gened program and that is reason in and of itself to get rid of them, in their bloated form. We need to get the regular schools up to a level that satisfies parents' need for at least a reasonbly good education. With the NSAP middle and high schools should be and appear to be heading in that direction. By the same token, SPS doesn't want to drive families out. So, AP is going to get kicked around and some families will opt not to get in and some may even go their local school after already being in for a while. Most level heads would agree that if student needs are met, not perfectly but reasonably well, without APP, they should do so.

Chris S. said…
Charlie, re: MS APP.
1) What MS spectrum?
2) I think MS APP is pretty important, for the social reasons at the age of maximum conformity.
ArchStanton said…
Paul said: ...SPS doesn't want to drive families out.

I don't accept that as a given. I suspect that with the capacity issues SPS is facing, they aren't crying over any families that choose to go private (gifted or otherwise) as long as their tax dollars remain in the system. Ask anyone who has left SPS for private, if a district rep ever contacted them to ask why they left or what SPS could have done to keep the student in the district. If a family has the means to go private, that family is more likely to advocate and be a thorn in the side - it's easier for the district if leave and go bother some other school with their demands and expectations.
Lynn said…

Every middle school will offer biology? That's great news. Do you know when this will be in place? Will it be available at K-8s also? Will it be the new science class for every 8th grade student?

So Whitman has reversed it's policy and is now going to offer honors language arts classes? That was quick.

I'm not sure what you're saying about AP classes. Are the high schools no longer going to offer them? Or do you think they will become less popular and some families will just not opt to get into them?

This is a lot of new information. Do you mind sharing your source?
Happy said…
Thanks Paul.

APP is the tail,that wags the dog. Large pull out programs really mess up school communities centered inclusion ideals.
Anonymous said…
About the Wedgewood bashing - Wedgewood is getting what it wants because it cried loudly and in an organized fashion. It also had a very good point, but so do Whittier and Bagley and Olympic View - and even more schools in the south end. What I find annoying about the Wedgewood situation isn't just that Wedgewood parents only cried out as NIMBYs when they were impacted and not when everyone else was taking a hit, but that the Board listened to them and are bending over backwards for them. I’m not saying that Wedgewood didn’t have a point, but I want a Board that keeps the whole picture in mind when parents are only focused on their own special snowflakes. I just don't see that happening currently. I have not liked much about any iteration of this process, but I am loathe to try to drum up any community response (AKA Wedgewood) because it’s gotten so complicated that it’s hard to know when you are arguing your own limited point and screwing other communities. Clearly the Board can’t keep track of the big picture, either, or they wouldn’t have so many amendments. Despite all the APP bashing (which seems more prevalent than Charlie calling Wedgewood self centered), I’ve observed that many with kids in APP are looking at the big picture – maybe because they have kids who aren’t in APP or maybe because it’s required to track this messy, confusing plan that will certainly impact them somehow.
mamashines said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lynn said…

Could you clarify what you mean by "school communities centered inclusion ideals?" It almost sounds like you have a vision of an educational ideal - and it requires that every student happily attends their neighborhood school. Is that correct?

If this goal is really important to you, I have some suggestions for you. First, make your school the best it can be for your student. If you think the math and science curriculum are weak, talk to your principal about it. Teach your children that everyone has different strengths and that every person is equally valuable. If you really want APP families to return to your neighborhood school, you could ask them what caused them to enroll in APP in the first place. What were they looking for - or trying to get away from?

If, on the other hand, you're one of those parents who are offended by the mere thought that APP kids exist, I can't help you with that. (Except to suggest that for you - maybe out of sight - out of mind is a blessing.) If this is your mindset, having APP families at your school is not going to make you happier.

If your real problem is with the complication a program like APP adds to capacity management, you're blaming the wrong people. It is the district staff who are running through endless APP scenarios. Who knows why?
Lynn said…

Here's what I see. APP families in the NE just want a place for the program where they can experience some stability. They don't want to go into a neighborhood school where they'll be crowded out again in a few years. I do think that APP and Wedgwood families are in agreement there.

If you draw a zone around Eckstein that holds just the right number of APP, Spectrum and General Educatsion kids, and includes Laurelhurst, Wedgwood doesn't make it into the zone. District staff seem to believe that would include enough APP students for a strong program.

APP can see though that they aren't welcome in the school, and that in a few years, enrollment would increase enough that they'd be kicked out.

The Wedgwood community's response to the staff suggestion sounded a lot more like outrage that APP families might attend their neighborhood school and push Wedgwood families out of the seats they only have because APP kids are bused out of the neighborhood. It's not concern about whether the plan will work for the school. It does sound selfish.
Lynn said…
Amy and mamashines,

Yes - enrollment in APP is optional. It's not like language immersion or STEM programs though. Those are options for students whose needs could also be met in a general education classroom.

APP is a program for students whose needs cannot be met in their neighborhood general ed program. Families can choose to stay at their neighborhood school - but doing so is choosing an inappropriate placement for their child. It's as if you were told you can either put your fourth grade student on a bus across town to an open fourth grade seat, or he can have a seat in your neighborhood school's second grade classroom. That's the kind of option APP families have.
Anonymous said…
Amy Bonney-Hoffman,

APP is NOT a 'voluntary' program, or an OPTIONS school. It is the appropriate level of education my child NEEDS, and is entitled to under the law. There is a huge difference between Spectrum, which doesn't promise you a space, and APP which HAS to - a huge difference both in the services being delivered, and in the factual legal obligations of SPS.

I'm sorry if you see this as elitist, or if you think my kid should just be happy back at his neighborhood school. But I literally PAID good money to SPS for an entire kindergarten year when my kid who tested the equivalent of the top 1% of second graders did nothing but learn how to count to 100 and trace letters - all while I watched him shrink into a seriously depressed kid. Nobody denies that kids in Spec Ed deserve support for their needs (SPS may ignore the hell out of them, I'm not denying that!) - why so much hate for APP?!

Ironically, for the record - moving APP into Whitman means my kids CAN actually walk to their assigned school finally - as it would for MANY other APP families in the NW. That was a huge part of the logic behind 3.0. And why should your kids get to walk just so that APP kids can take hour long bus rides YET AGAIN?

This is OUR neighborhood too.

Lynn said…

Are you still out there? Do you have sources for the changes you announced - or is this your wish list for all middle schools? I did some checking last night. It looks to me like the only 8th graders taking biology are APP students. Adding that class to every middle school would be a big change.
Lynn said…
Reposting for anonymous:

Amy Bonney-Hoffman,

APP is NOT a 'voluntary' program, or an OPTIONS school. It is the appropriate level of education my child NEEDS, and is entitled to under the law. There is a huge difference between Spectrum, which doesn't promise you a space, and APP which HAS to - a huge difference both in the services being delivered, and in the factual legal obligations of SPS.

I'm sorry if you see this as elitist, or if you think my kid should just be happy back at his neighborhood school. But I literally PAID good money to SPS for an entire kindergarten year when my kid who tested the equivalent of the top 1% of second graders did nothing but learn how to count to 100 and trace letters - all while I watched him shrink into a seriously depressed kid. Nobody denies that kids in Spec Ed deserve support for their needs (SPS may ignore the hell out of them, I'm not denying that!) - why so much hate for APP?!

Ironically, for the record - moving APP into Whitman means my kids CAN actually walk to their assigned school finally - as it would for MANY other APP families in the NW. That was a huge part of the logic behind 3.0. And why should your kids get to walk just so that APP kids can take hour long bus rides YET AGAIN?

This is OUR neighborhood too.
Horatio said…
Hate, hate, hate. I don't hate APP, the program. And certainly not the kids and not the parents either. It's about the way the program is run and who gets to be in it. Many educational experts believe large self-contained programs like ours are harmful to all students, in and out of the program. A small program for those who have a dire need for self-containment along with strategies within classrooms and schools to meet the needs of students requiring added rigor is not uncommon. There are both approaches in existence and many advocate for each. It seems that the poster Paul does not want our district to continue on it's path towards a NYC style two tier system. I read the article he mentioned and it is not the way I want our district to go either. It doesn't make me a hater, it's just my opinion. There are ways to accommodate most APP students in their neighborhood school, it's done all the time and can be done here, but it's a red herring to keep saying fix your own school, leave us alone, we don't affect the rest of the district, etc. Casually alluding to SpEd kids is also really annoying, those kids are truly underserved and comparing a non 2E APP kid's situation in the district to a SpEd kid is offensive to me and many SpEd parents.
Anonymous said…

First off, you have NO idea if one (or more) of my kids is 2E - given the high number of APP kids who *are*, it's equally offensive to assume they aren't. That said, my point was that while my kids may not be entitled to MORE than anybody else's, they sure as hell don't deserve LESS. And to tell my kids to just 'suck it up' in a class that doesn't meet their needs is just as unfair as it would be for me to tell someone's kid with special ed needs to 'suck it up' in a regular classroom. Both are inadequate for that student - the LAW already recognizes this, why can't you?

Like Lynn mentioned above, decide if your gripe is that too many kids get into APP, or just that APP exists at all... I would love nothing more than for my kids to get the education that meets their need in their neighborhood school, we opted for ALO as long we could. But if you don't understand the difference between when that works and when it doesn't, you have no right to pass judgment on my family.

- Tiredofbeingdefensive
Anonymous said…
I didn't see Horatio's comments as derogatory and his points about the NYC G&T situation are entirely valid. If you bothered to have read the aforementioned article you would see the parrelells to our district. Parents in NY view gened as a C grade education and will move or go private if they don't achieve G&T status for their children. They consider the gifted program merely adequate, a comment frequently stated on this blog. so if parents here are like the ones in NY, and there is no reason to think they aren't, then there is a level of disdain for gened and all the bluster and indignation is just bunch of hot air. Your response is so unrelated to Horatio's post that one can only reach that conclusion.

Anonymous said…
You know what they say,
The best defense is a good offense.
I agree, APP parents complain more than any group, I would love to see the numbers, and one has to ask why?
'Cause they got a good deal. I have never, ever on this blog seen a parent of APP say that they are getting a good education for their kids.
This program is nothing but trouble and needs reform.
BTW mine are APP in gened and we are convinced that staying in a neighborhood school and agitating for rigor is the best for our kids and all the others.

Flabbergasted Daily
Anonymous said…

Not sure what you are talking about - for the record, I have indeed read that article, when it was first published. But Horatio was not the one who initially referenced it, and my comments to *him* were in direct response to *him* commenting about how he was offended by *my* earlier reference to special ed. There was absolutely nothing in my response about the article....

I'm just going to assume that maybe you missed that part since my original post was missing my signature. But a more thoughtful and less reactionary reading might have made that easier to follow...

Good overview, Charlie. I think the district is taking a tremendous gamble with APP but then, maybe that's not a gamble but a strategy.

I personally think between APP and Spectrum, it's going to be either slash and burn or a war of attrition.

Arch, how I've missed you.

Paul, be careful in your typing because I believe you confused a couple of readers. AP is not APP and so that could be confusing if you drop a "P".

"Many educational experts believe large self-contained programs like ours are harmful to all students, in and out of the program. A small program for those who have a dire need for self-containment along with strategies within classrooms and schools to meet the needs of students requiring added rigor is not uncommon."

Yup, and a LOT of research supports self-contained programs and, as well, finds that high-performing kids get the least out of being in a Gen Ed class. And that "dire need" comment? Out of line. You may not like it but the feds and the State recognize highly capable children.

All children have a right to have their educational needs met.
Anonymous said…
Flabbergasted Daily,

Not trying to flame you, but your comment echoes something I see on here often. If you genuinely believe increased rigor in general ed is the way to go, why did you have your kids tested? You had to make the effort to have them labeled APP-eligible, and if you are committed to straight general ed. what was the point? (If you are doing ALO, clearly you agree some kids need more than general ed... so who draws that line?)

Just wondering
Anonymous said…
Really? Who doesn't want to know how smart their kids are? I'm not a MAP boycotter either, I like info and since tests are life in school, I want mine to know how to take them. Plus, we took a look at APP, took the kids on the tour and we let our kids decide. They wanted to stay with their friends and we had already been fighting for rigor with some real success. Granted, we were at a Spectrum school for elementary and it was already doing walk to math, but staff and parents pushed for walk to reading as well and it's there now. Middle school is plenty hard, we actually like a little more energy going towards social interactions, but the rigor is there and the neighborhood aspect makes a huge difference for us. So while I understand the parents going the cohort route, I think it is better for most to stay and fight.
Now Melissa, I hear many times about federal and state law and what it requires. It requires service to identified highly gifted, it absolutely does NOT specify self-contained or separate schools. Many districts differentiate between gifted who can be served in a gened school and/or classroom and those students who need a self-contained environment. Just like SpEd.
Back to the question, I love tests and I want my kids to learn how to take them. It's a skill set that it valuable. It also teaches them the drawbacks on relying on tests, something it hear echoed here frequently. I'm not against gifted programs, I just find ours becoming increasingly counterproductive to the goal of teaching all children to their maximum potential.
Now why all the ire when Charlie Mas himself advocates repeatedly for serving up more rigor in every single school? My guess is parents would say, OK, I'll stay put if the rigor is there but not until. Well that sounds reasonable, but who will put the pressure on if all the APP kids leave? Maybe, just maybe, we need to think altruistically and take a bad year to make it better in the long run for everybody.

Lynn said…

Many districts differentiate between gifted who can be served in a gened school and/or classroom and those students who need a self-contained environment. You realize that's what APP and Spectrum are - correct? Programs for children with different degrees of giftedness.

So while I understand the parents going the cohort route, I think it is better for most to stay and fight. Thanks for the unsolicited advice. As you are not parenting children who require the services provided by APP, please do not presume to tell those of us who are how to do it. I am flabbergasted that you do not realize just how offensive this is. Do you approach strangers in public and give them parenting tips too?

Nobody here is advocating against providing more rigorous options at every school. That sounds like a fine goal. Aren't there plenty of other families at your school advocating for this already?
Anonymous said…
OK, Lynn, but on the other hand, you and a number of others here have presumed to tell me what is best for my kid. According to some of you, a self contained program that removes the top 10 to 30 percent and puts them in their own classroom is BETTER for my hardworking gen Ed student and will "tailor the curriculum" to her needs (as if anyone tailors anything to anyone in a class of almost 30 kids, ha!) Differentiation can't be done for your kids but apparently it's very easy to do it for mine or (according to you) mine doesn't need it. We left our neighborhood school because of the terrible experience with self contained and how it completely ruined my child's educational experience. And some of you continue to tell me studies show that was better for HER. If you don't want people telling you what's best for your kids I suggest that all of you stop bringing up the benefits of self contained AL programs for Gen Ed kids.

Gen Ed Mom
Raj said…
I tell you gened mom, the app parent Lynn is so bombastic since she is trying to save her nonsensical program for her kids knowing it is wrong. The more the facts come in the louder she gets. Agree that she tells you over and over what your girl needs and how taking her kids to a special school is good for you. Research shows it both ways, the app kids ca n be educated in a regular school if done right, but Lynn will ne'er believe it. She's like the tea party for app, aggressive and fighting all the time to push the conversation to the self contained side. Frankly you both sound like broken records, always stuck on the same groove. But the louder she gets the sooner the district will pare down this bloated carcass of a program to eliminate the turmoil.
Anonymous said…
To suggest that any APP parent is recommending a 'self contained program that removes the top 10-30%' is completely disingenuous. At best, that describes Spectrum - a program that I frankly wouldn't advocate ANYBODY leave their neighborhood school for. I would wholeheartedly agree that a good ALO can provide just as much. But again, if that's the population you are talking about, you are missing the very real population that APP was intended for - so choose your argument. Are you opposed to APP in general, or just how big it has become?!? Great that your kids were served in General Ed - one of my kids did great in ALO: my younger one did not. After your answer above, have to wonder what choice you would have made for your kids if they had responded differently. (And find it richly ironic that you based your decision in part on their desire to stay with their friends - apparently it's ok for everybody in APP to 'get over' multiple splits...)

Have to say I also think it's VERY unfair in general to equate your experience at a school *with* Spectrum to the experience that many APP families had at schools without it...

I couldn't care less what choice you make for your family; nobody is on here arguing that eligible families opt in for the good of the whole. I have multiple kids and make my choices based on what is best for the kid at hand. Those aren't even always the same choices. I just want to be able to do what is best for my kid - the exact same thing you say you want.

- tired
Anonymous said…
Tired, not sure who you are responding to but my child's Gen Ed experience at a school WITH Spectrum (30 percent of the school) sounds exactly like what many APP families complain their kids experienced before moving. In a classroom without peers, kids that were different in age and maturity level, kids that had nothing in common with her and were nice but wouldn't have wanted to be friends with her. No teaching, no learning, depression. Became a totally different and very unhappy kid. I am not against APP. But I have asked many times "how big is too big?" And I have been told there is no too big. 30 percent is TOO BIG for self contained. It becomes a two tiered system and the kids who are not in the self contained AL program are left without peers and treated as second class citizens. How big is too big? Fairfax Virginia has been mentioned on this blog as a place with a system that mirrors as a district what my kid experienced in our neighborhood school that we left. I don't want that to happen in Seattle.

Gen Ed Mom
Anonymous said…
It is a fact that APP is heavily bloated and the district will be changing the program.

Self contained for gifted children is modeled on Special Education.
There may be debate about what constitutes that population, but it is certainly never the bloated percentage that currently is eligible for self contained in Seattle/

Best practices always include frequent monitoring and assessing for a least restrictive placement.
This is currently not done at all in Seattle.

The APP program is thankfully on borrowed time. RIP.

--enough already

Lynn said…
Gen Ed Mom,

I can't find the place in this thread where I (or anyone else) referenced your child or the effect self-contained Spectrum classes have on students in general education classes. You have pointed out many times that you were offended by my original comment. I have apologized for assuming to know what would be best for your child. Do you not believe that I was sincere? We can't have productive discussions here if participants aren't able to resolve misunderstanding and hurt feelings and move on.
Lynn said…
Best practices always include frequent monitoring and assessing for a least restrictive placement.

I'm trying to figure out how this would work in an advanced learning program. So the goal would be to slow down these students's academic progress so that they can be served in the general education program?
Anonymous said…
Gen Ed mom, I think you are conflating Spectrum( advanced learning program for top 8% nationally, very easily more in some area especially if kids from multiple schools go to one school like yours), administered however the school wants, much conflicting research on best practices, not required, different urban districts handle these learners in many different ways, with APP, top 2% nationally cognitively, single location, very little debate in the literature about best practices (self contained), required in some way, almost all urban district serve these students this way. Many people mix them up, but they are not the same. APP had nothing to do with your daughter's experience.

Most families(nearly all) already had a bad year, academically. With the district's track record for implrmentation, it's quite laughable to think they'd actually help serve these learners in neighborhood schools if they shrunk APP. It's nice your principal and teachers and community were amenable to changes which benefit advanced learners, but most aren't, and asking APP families to stay and fight is just asking them to never succeed in having their children appropriately educated. I agree it's technically possible for many APP student to be educated in some neighborhood school, but that does not mean they will be or were in the particular neighborhood school where they were. I also think this is true at fewer and fewer schools as class sizes balloon and standards become ceilings, which is part of why APP has grown. It would shrink if there were more options at neighborhood schools, but app families can't fix standards based education or large class sizes or principals who don't like advanced learning. The district could help, but that would take money, and, uh HA of you think the district will spend one more dollar on advanced learning. Can you imagine the outcry? Never happening. APP is here to stay.

Anonymous said…
It is important to remind everyone about the history. Version one of the boundaries plan was followed by community input. Version two of the boundaries plan was followed by community input. Version three (with major changes) was released on a Friday at 7 PM with no option for input before the board meeting the following week. Now some claim that schools like Wedgwood are “selfish” for crying foul. To those who make such a claim, please take a long hard look in the mirror. If you had your feeder pattern changed in such a dramatic way would you really take it lying down? Would you really accept a “do it for the greater good” argument in the absence of any data or discussion. The absurdity of the lack of due process with respect to version three fundamentally undermines the specious argument that Wedgwood is asking for special privileges. Rather, the community is asking for fairness (perhaps in part because it is quite clear that fairness would put Wedgwood at Eckstein). Please folks, spare us the sanctimonious moral high ground. Every parent in the SPS boundary process has a special interest—their child (children). Fairness must then be applied by elected officials to balance needs, and when fairness does not happen then communities must speak up.
--Fairness First
Anonymous said…
Lynn, not in this thread, but in other threads you and others have mentioned how it is better for Gen Ed kids if advanced learners are removed from the classroom. I can't go back and find all the comments. One expressed concern for 8th graders with advanced 6th graders in their Math class. How would they feel? (bad about themselves according to the poster). Concern was expressed about walk to programs because the kids who didn't walk would "feel bad" (so ridiculous as kids go in and out and change classes all day in many elementary schools). Charlie and Melissa both referenced research saying it was better for all kids to remove advanced learners from Gen Ed. Sleeper, you are getting to my point. I understand there is a difference between Spectrum ( top 8 percent nationally) and APP (top 2 percent nationally). I just think the size should be, well, closer to 2 and 8 percent. And I will ask again, how big is too big for a self contained program? Because at a certain size it becomes a two tiered system rather than a special program for those with needs outside the norm. I will never forget the feeling I had standing in the hallway last year observing my poor daughter and her unlucky classmates. While they waited, completely unsupervised, outside their locked classroom, numerous teachers and staff people, who it seemed expected them to be silent, YELLED at them "Room X, quiet, people are trying to learn here!" No one tried to find out where the teacher was (apparently it wasn't uncommon for her to be late), no one apologized to them or acknowledged how boring and hard it is to stand around all day NOT learning. Nope. They yelled at them. Maybe none of you have seen it, but this is what happens in a two tiered system. Some kids are entitled to learn and others are not taught and then blamed. These kids were of high socioeconomic status and had involved parents too. They just didn't test in to the right program at the right time. There are whole school systems like this. How big is too big?

Gen Ed Mom
ArchStanton said…
I will never forget the feeling I had standing in the hallway last year [...] They yelled at them. Maybe none of you have seen it, but this is what happens in a two tiered system.

Umm... this is an interesting anecdote, unfortunate, and could happen to any class of kids anywhere; I don't get how it becomes an indictment of gifted education -except that in this instance it happened to a GenEd class, and presumably all the other teachers and staff were somehow connected to AL. AL teachers have been known to be late and AL has it's share of bad apples, too. Seems that you should taken the issue up with the principal and staff.

Interesting that as someone with an axe to grind on the subject of AL, you should be concerned that: "no one apologized to them or acknowledged how boring and hard it is to stand around all day NOT learning", when this describes how many gifted kids feel daily when stuck in a GenEd class that doesn't meet their needs.
Anonymous said…
That's been pointed out to me. Thanks. It seems AL proponents think that advanced learners are the only ones who are ever bored as the Gen Ed curriculum is somehow magically individually tailored to each kid and not just as spotty as what you get in APP. This particular class was quite honestly a class of second class citizens at that school all year. They were a split who had been promised extra attention as the year before they'd also been treated poorly. They got stuck with a bad teacher and in fact I did take it up with the principal. (I had to stand outside her office until I got a spot on her calendar because there were "too many other fires" to put out). It wasn't actually news to the principal that the teacher was late, she knew. The other teachers and staff really showed very little concern for this class in any way, ever. It was clear to me they didn't feel they were even worth worrying about from that interaction. (The teacher is routinely late and as a staff person/teacher you don't take pity on the kids and try to help them, but instead you yell at them?). I can't imagine what would have been a bigger priority than making sure the teacher stopped being late and started actually teaching but I was told I could sit in the class or my daughter could be homeschooled. No one had time to monitor the situation (hence the kids standing in the hall and being yelled at on a regular basis). They did eventually get rid of the teacher much too late to make a difference. It was a two tiered system with some kids just not being worth taking care of from what I saw. That's what CAN happen and it is what did happen to that class last year.

Gen Ed Mom
apparent said…
Actually, the Accelerated Progress Program is not a large program. The entire districtwide Seattle APP enrollment from grades 1-12 is currently 2,296 students – about 4% of the 51,000 SPS student body – made up of 922 elementary school students (2013-14 actual), 867 middle schoolers (same), and 507 high schoolers (2012-13 actual).

So in fact there is simply no capacity related reason for splitting APP any further than its 6 current (i.e., n/s2ES+n/s2MS+n/s2HS) sites without waiting for the pending advanced learning task force recommendations. It is highly disingenuous for Superintendent Banda and the school board to propose breaking APP apart now under this false guise of capacity management.

Making matters much worse this political proposal to split APP is really capacity MISmanagement. Probably the stupidest aspects of this daft boundaries plan are: a) splitting APP against vocal family sentiment, b) shoving the resulting big fragments of the APP program into neighborhood schools against vocal family sentiment, c) shrinking all future attendance area boundary lines just to split APP against vocal family sentiment.

As one attendance area parent points out above, “All kids in our district deserve a stable school community. APP has been bounced around to no end.” And the entire north Seattle APP middle school population of 542 (2012-14 actual) would all easily fit into 952-seat John Marshall Middle School, with plenty of room left over to coshare with another SPS option program long-term, or with any schools needing interim space short-term.

Instead, this wacky draft plan favors uprooting Jane Addams K-8 from its existing home at Jane Addams Middle School so as to give JA K-8 exclusive interim use of the John Marshall building for the next two years until its own new JA K-8 building opens in 2016, and thereby . . . a) splitting APP middle school next fall without any AL task force recommendations; b) shoving the resulting APP program chunks into Eckstein (or JAMS) and Whitman (or Wilson-Pacific); and c) shrinking all future attendance area boundary lines (Eckstein, JAMS, Whitman, W-P) in order to accomplish this political APP split against vocal family sentiment from both program and neighborhood families!

Why attack the APP program when you are only cutting off your nose to spite your face? Why not support keeping the APP program intact, and all stand together against such destructive SPS capacity mismanagement? Why not advocate a win-win for both APP and attendance area families all at once?

P.S. And what a peculiar argument: That we should dismantle our advanced learning school program that is working well here – as evidenced by vocal community feedback – because another different program thousands of miles away in New York City has some problems! Hey, I heard of a language immersion program in Outer Mongolia that has issues, so why not . . . ?

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