I Support Kellie LaRue's "Let's Hit the Pause Button" Approach

We are fortunate to have some really smart, savvy and qualified-to-speak parents like Kellie LaRue.  She has written to the Board about the Growth Boundaries and below are her thoughts.  I support them all.

Yes, I know that there has been a lot of good, hard work on this effort.  But because parents were not really included in the planning in a meaningful way, we are now at the point where people are wildly trying to get their own relief.  That there IS so much pain, in many areas, says to me that the plan is fatally flawed.  (That Director Patu wants the entire SE taken off the table says something.)

I urge you to read the entire thing.

Kellie's Thoughts:

urge all Board Members to vote the Growth Boundaries plan down in its entirety.  Instead focus on a 2014-only plan. I do not make this recommendation lightly. I have sincere and substantial respect for the amazing work of staff, in particular TracyLibros and Joe Wolf for the immense amount of data they have sliced and compiled. 

The bottom line here is that we are out of space and this re-arranging of the deck chairs does not make things better for most families. SPS can’t every three years implement a new, disruptive, and costly long-term plan, justifying the costs and pain as ‘paying out in the long-term’.

Short Version
I simply believe there are just too many fatal flaws in this plan for it to accomplish what it is expected to accomplish. These fatal flaws include:

Wrong Priorities:  Long-term plan that doesn’t acknowledge short-term realities
Wrong Communities:  Failure to put students FIRST
Disproportionate impact on fragile communities.
Substantial community feedback to “Go Slow”
2013 Enrollment Based Updated Projections - Not Available
Feeder Patterns create un-necessary changes and Gerrymandered boundaries.

Simply put, it is my opinion that this plan effectively re-starts the clock on the gains NSAP was intended to create. This plan is re-boundarying the entire district only 4 years after the implementation of the NSAP, re-creating that substantial pain and cost. The new boundaries are also unlikely to last even another 4 years.

This is re-starting the clock on grandfathered transportation costs and split siblings, right at the moment the sunk-costs into those issues is about to resolve, while also guaranteeing SPS will need to repeat this expensive and disruptive exercise in two years for BTA, and again in 2017 for McLeary implementation.

As always, I am happy to discuss my conclusions. I am also including a longer version below for anyone that is interested in the detailed reasons. 
Detailed Version
The bottom line here is that we are out of space and this re-arranging of the deck chairs does not make things better for most families. Following is a list of fatal flaws.  

2013 Enrollment Based Updated Projections - Not Available
This plan is not validated by the recently-released elements of 2013 Enrollment data and the updated projections are still not available to validate the plan. Due to Rachel Cassidy's resignation and the computer change over the summer, release of enrollment information was delayed. A small piece of 2013 enrollment shows that there were 100 more Kindergarten students in the Eckstein area than projections. Once again, in the area of greatest capacity shortfall, growth is higher than expected. We still do not have the full projections available for next year.

Feeder Patterns create un-necessary changes and Gerrymandered boundaries. 
Re-creating Feeder Patterns is a flawed way to build middle school boundaries. Feeder patterns mean that it is a higher priority to keep kids together between 5th and 6th grade, than to have a stable elementary school experience. 

The reliance on feeder patterns means that the need for an elementary school to be right-sized for the receiving middle school trump all other considerations necessary for a stable elementary school experience. The cascade effect of going from 9 to 12 middle schools is causing every elementary boundary in the district to be adjusted. Each adjustment represents many dozens of split siblings as well as divided middle school cohorts. Moreover, the necessity of bending and twisting the elementary schools into the feeder pattern means that many neighborhoods are needlessly divided. 

Split Siblings - the new normal
SPS and its families are now 4 years into the NSAP. We are finally at the point where most schools have only a handful of split siblings. Overall capacity problems have grown to the point that very few split siblings are getting Choice assignments, as very few schools have Choice seats available. 

At the moment when the impact to families of the NSAP feeder patterns is about to resolve, this plan will to start the process all over again and re-divide families all across the district. The split sibling issue was sold as a temporary and transient element of NSAP that would be resolved once NSAP worked through the system – but it’s now apparently a permanent feature of SPS assignment plans.

Wrong Priorities - 2014 is more important than 2020
In this time of capacity shortfalls it is much more important to families to get 2014 right, than to build an unrealistic 2020 road map, given how much change there will be in the next 18 months. There has been powerful community feedback about how confusing and damaging this plan is. Even a subject matter expert like myself is routinely baffled attempting to explain who goes where when. Explaining ‘why’ is simply not possible.

Moreover, as BEX is simply not providing enough capacity for current enrollment, let alone anticipated growth, it is most probable that SPS will be asking the voters for an additional infusion of capital funds via BTA in 2015. This would negate the majority of the Growth Boundary changes post 2015. How many times in a row will SPS implement hugely disruptive and costly plans, only to discover that expected savings and space don’t materialize, and the entire plan needs to be re-worked three or four years later? At a minimum, all post 2015 decisions should acknowledge, they could be changed by BTA IV decisions.

Finally, while State Funding is its own issue, it is a waste of resources to build a plan for post-2017 that does not include the McCleary smaller class sizes. Again, the funding may never materialize. However, even pretending to build a plan for post 2017 should include this decision, or at a minimum acknowledge that all post 2017 changes are subject to McCleary

Wrong Commitments. - Failure to put students FIRST
While I understand the desire to give people time to know what is coming, the commitment needs to be to the student experience first. This current plan has the 4th graders in the Wilson Pacific attendance area scheduled to attend three different schools in three years.

If we were only focusing on the capacity that is actually coming on-line in 2014, we would be able to divide north-end middle school into four quadrants and give allmiddle school students a comprehensive experience, rather than comprehensive for some and a deeply disrupted experience for others.

At this point, any boundary plans should be based on the premise that WP is a 100% options school purely so that this deeply disrupted middle school experience is not ensured for the predominately ELL and FRL families in the Northgate area.

Disproportionate impact on fragile communities. 
The scope of these proposed changes is comparable in to the full change to the NSAP. Communities like Wedgwood that are well organized and vocal have the benefit of legislators writing on their behalf. However, there are many more communities that will be experiencing even more changes with less connection. Because many of the changes to more fragile communities are secondary and tertiary impacts created by the new ‘improved’ feeder patterns, these changes lack transparency.

Ignores near-Universal Community feedback to “go slow” 
All across the district, effectively ALL the community feedback is "go slow" or "do only what needs to be done." By and large, families are more than willing to participate in the primary impact of capacity challenges, where the consequences are very transparent. However, they are not willing to sign up for yet another deeply disruptive plan with hidden secondary and tertiary impacts, and vanishing long-term benefits

Multiple communities are reporting that these capacity changes do not seem to reflect the experience that the "boots on the ground" see. There was similar feedback during the 08-09 closures as many neighborhoods, reporting incredibly full pre-schools, large numbers ofhousing starts that were not included in the projections as well as dynamic housing turnover to families with small children. These reports were mostly dismissed as anecdotal over-reactions but were confirmed to be, in fact, under-reporting the phenomenon in the following years. Once again, many neighborhoods are reporting dynamic increases in density that do not match district projections. Why do we keep repeating the exact same mistake over and over?

There is NOT a place for everyone to land. 
One of the reasons stressed for getting this plan in place NOW is that the plan has a place for everyone to land. I think this NOT an accurate assessment. There is not an obvious place for Pinehurst, Cascade Parent Partnership or the Indian Heritage programs.

Moreover, there is also not a place for APP. The extensive debate on APP placement is really just an indication that there isn't room for APP but nobody wants to admit that just yet. APP was always sent South of the Ship canal for capacity management reasons. Bringing Advanced Learning close to home is just not possible as part of this capacity shortfall.

Finally, there is not a long-term location for the World School, despite its designation for placement at TT Minor.TT Minor will be needed as a neighborhood school in just three years, given the central area’s huge density of housing starts and new families. Please do not set the World School up to be moved again. 

The World School is the poster child for being placed last. I sincerely believe they deserve a safe long-term location. I was one of the few people who testified in 08 that placing the World School at Meany was short-sighted and that they would be displaced again. In 08, I urged the board to move Summit to co-locate with Meany as the central area did not have enough middle school space and to place the World School at either AAA or Madrona. However, the pressure of the closures was just too much. Please secure a stable long-term location for the World School.

The primary reason, I do not believe this plan is amendable is because of huge burden of amendments. At this point the amendments will determine where siblings are split and which families get the rotating middle school. It is extremely unlikely that the families impacted by this will learn of their fate in a timely manner. 

The bottom line here is that we are out of space and this re-arranging of the deck chairs does not make things better for most families. 

SPS can’t every three years implement a new, disruptive, and costly long-term plan, justifying the costs and pain as ‘paying out in the long-term’.

Thank you for reading this far.


Steve said…
I think I agree with this post, but what I'm not clear about is if the same kind of process won't just happen again like this in the future. I don't necessarily believe that SPS knows how to engage parents, set expectations, and find the best solution. In my experience, it has always been the same process, which results in parents having to become experts about capacity management, etc. instead of being able to rely on the District experts to come up with the best possible solution.

Peanut said…
100% agree with Kellie.

SPS has got to get its act together, not be in this ridiculous, data free, reactive mode.
Anonymous said…
Kellie is very articulate.

She is also mostly right.

However there is a problem.

There is no room for all the north end kids to attend school in a coherent enrollment pattern next year.

The kids all have to fit somewhere.

Staff and board have to have some guiding operational rules to put the kids somewhere.

Even if the rules don't make longterm sense.

So the crazytrain at least North of the Ship Canal will move forward, despite articulate protests.

Every single parent has to understand this because even if they are not impacted now, Kellie is double right. There will have to be major changes again as soon as the 2015-16 school year.

Next year is going to be ugly and the blame begins with every board member who allowed Goodloe-Johnson to push through the school closures as well as every current board member who did not prioritize first and foremost clear direction as well as resources for staff to get planning and enrollment moving faster.

Seen It
Anonymous said…

I always appreciate your big picture perspective.

I hope your message is shared around the city for the benefit of families in all regions.

The District does not have spare monies or community goodwill to squander with a large scale miss on this plan. All the same warning alarms from 08-09 and the NSAP implementation are going off again.


Anonymous said…
I totally agree with Kellie's post. I would love to see exactly what changes Kellie would recommend for 2014. Could someone post what Kellie would recommend for 2014?

Anonymous said…
Seattle Schools isn't looking at planned developments yet Yesler Terrace is a major project in central Seattle. Seattle Housing Authority and Seattle U have written to the district about impacts of the boundary proposals on low-income students attending Bailey-Gatzert.

It is in fathomable that the district is proceeding with any plans for capacity, enrollment and boundaries with a promote data set that has proven at least 10% inaccurate.

The state legislature also deserves a fair big of blame for passing the tab of school construction and maintenance into property tax payers. Take a look, and this is a separate issue than the McCleary ruling on basic education funding:


Ann D
Anonymous said…
Unfathomable - auto-correct got it incorrect

Ann D
Greg said…
Complete agree with Kellie.

The guiding principle of the boundaries work should be "First, do no harm."

That means minimal changes and student movements in 2014 and in each year after, only doing changes that yield significant improvements for the students. And it means focusing on reopening buildings as fast as possible, including possibly having students in buildings while work is still being done, as new space is the only thing that actually will help with capacity.

The current plan should be voted down by the board and the district staff should be directed to work on a much simpler plan focused on 2014.
Anonymous said…
I think Kellie has posted many times the brief list of must-do's for 2014 (which could be adopted in an early to mid Dec. Board, quite quickly). My take, sorry to paraphrase Kellie, who is MUCH more concise!

1. Move the Hay/Lowell boundary to put the non-Queen Anne parts of Hay's zone into Cap Hill/Lowell, which has approx. 250 available seats right now. That school neighborhood zone was drawn too small in order to accommodate APP which is no longer located there. Does not appear to be controversial.

2. Draw start up boundaries for new elem school at Fairmount Park - it will open in 2014. Does not appear to be very controversial b/c it is so vital and actually relieves intense crowding in West Seattle.

3. Determine who will go to the new JAMS. Most people think that sixth grade rollups are very bad, educationally speaking, for the kids who start in the tiny underfunded and incomplete school. If Eckstein is divided, then both schools could have over 600 kids (WITHOUT APP) in 2014, and I think some models show Eckstein back to about 900 kids by 2017 and JAMS at 800s then and both schools at 1000ish before 2020. So while there is hypothetically room for some small amount of APP in one of them, it's only for a year or two. Action must be taken to start JAMS well, with a big bang that equals comprehensive middle school, but any action that involves a couple hundred APP kids will have to be undone within a few years. District has walked that road many, many times. After all, look, that is the EXACT area that got over 90 Kindergarteners more than expected/predicted this year! Guess what - they'll proceed to middle school.

Re dividing Eckstein to create 2 full schools: consider that this is the pattern the district will probably follow as it opens 3 new middle schools and at least one (maybe two) high schools.

Some children could end up being in a 6th grade roll up alone in a building, and then again in a high school with only 9th graders. Would ANYONE argue that a high school with only 9th grade is a experience that enhances educational opportunities for college admissions? But the Eckstein/JAMS decision will set the pattern for a whole lot of stuff. Rollups or comprehensive from the first day?

4. Something must be done to help Hamilton bridge until Wilson Pacific comes on line - but exactly WHO will go into WP doesn't need to be decided in two weeks, b/c the school doesn't open until 2017. So the relief for Hamilton has to occur, but it doesn't have to be permanent or the final nail in the WP plan.

The relief could be as simple as "allow Hamilton principal to use part or all of Lincoln's South wing as annex to Hamilton until new school spaces are available." Thus the disruption is probably confined to having 8th graders walk two blocks to language arts.

--signed GO SLOW2
Anonymous said…
Agree. And the next round of assignment proposals has a greater chance of making sense if the district HIRES A DEMOGRAPHER before making them.

Back to the drawing board.
mirmac1 said…
The point I agree with most strongly is the dumping of feeder patterns. Going to school in WS used to be easy, if you lived at the south end you went to Denny and Sealth, if you lived in the north end you went to Madison and WSHS. And it isn't the kids who are wedded to their future MS or HS, it is the parents. Go back to geographic boundaries (NSAP) and make every school a quality school with attractive programs and lots of support.

Kellie, I would sign your petition.
Benjamin Leis said…
To start, I agree with about 70% of Kellie's reasoning. Most of Kellie's concrete ideas seem reasonable to me like doing middle school zones separate from elementary schools. But Kellie as usual doesn't supply some of the most important details on what this would actually look like. I appreciate that that was a deliberate choice to maintain some neutrality but the meaning of what is actually necessary for next year is critical here.

A great deal of the most contentious issues from this round of proposals do really have to be settled and cannot be deferred because there is

* No space left in existing buildings.
* A building is about to be renovated.
* A new building is coming online and needs to have its program started up.

Secondly without a longer term plan to frame some of these decisions, more disruption may actual be created. It doesn't matter if the long term moves don't happen next year, but all of the actual changes should be aligned with the end state we're moving toward. I.e. you don't want to move a whole school into one feeder pattern this year, and switch it the next because you didn't decide on its final state until late in the game.

Go slow is often used as a proxy in the district for maybe if we wait long enough the problem will go away. This also has tended to lead to a yearly rehash of the same possible logistical variants for school locations etc. I'm frankly tired of the drawn out decision process and the uncertainty it engenders. One of my comments at last year's short term capacity meetings was that I was sure I'd back again this year. If we don't chart a real plan I'm sure I'll be back again next year as well.


Anonymous said…
Kellie - I like your ideas (as outlined by another blogger). And I really like that you highlight the difficult decision that will have to happen with respect to the division of Eckstein/JAMS (assuming no APP). It's either pull kids from Eckstein into JAMS (which I understand would be very very difficult for a lot of kids, as well-articulated by "grandfather" on this blog, and I do feel for those kids) or do a 6th grade roll-up at JAMS (which is equally unappealing to most families). How is that issue to be resolved? Everyone at Eckstein agrees the overcrowding needs to be relieved (and it's beyond dispute that JAMS WILL open next fall and needs some kids!), but few are willing to be the ones to go. Very tough situation. How do we resolve it?

Anonymous said…
I can support most of this thread but I am completely against APP using Hamilton's wing if that is a space that can save Pinehurst and the Native American school. APP, JA, JAMS and Eckstein might not have optimal situations, but those 2 populations would have no program period. Alternative education is important.

Alt Parent
Anonymous said…
@ Ben. Completely agree with you. No action is not an option. And no community is going to be happy with the final solution. The long term planning is so botched that a better perspective isn't 'who wins' - it's 'how can we spread the pain of this most equally'. Everyone gets a piece. It's time to move on. With all of us chanting that the board and district planning has been about as horrid as it is possible to get. So horrid that perhaps all planning should be taken out of the district and given to the city. I am deadly serious.

Here is a way to make space for everyone, I think. NO ONE WINS here (except maybe Wedgwood but I guess someone always comes out on top). But it will work for next year. And all parents need to know that a return to geographic boundaries for middle school can and should be a real solution up for discussion and implementation next year. With the result of one more promise of mass-disruption to the system.

Here's the emergency housing. That is all this is. EMERGENCY housing. There is no attempt to have optimal programming for ANY population. IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO HAVE OPTIMAL PROGRAMMING BECAUSE THIS IS A SELF-INFLICTED EMERGENCY. Hold the district accountable. Every family is the victim here.

Pinehurst and Native School go to Lincoln. There is no other place for them. Therefore, they become the immovable part of the puzzle. It is not OK to entirely drop the programs for space reasons. Would you want your program to be entirely dropped for space reasons? Enough said.

APP Elementary stays at Lincoln. If enrollment numbers are too much for all of APP to cohouse with Pinehurst and Native, send 1/2 of APP to Broadview-Thompson. If there is not enough space at Broadview-Thompson, put 1/2 the cohort at Lowell. Or divide between all 3 schools if necessary. Does it stink? Yes. But it is feasible.

JAK8 goes to Marshall. Does it stink? Yes. But it is feasible.

JAMS opens with 6-8 grades. Some kids will move from Eckstein to JAMS from the getgo. Does it stink? Yes. But it is feasible.

SandPoint ELL directed to JAMS to get instructional efficiencies. Therefore Laurelhurst goes too. And most of View Ridge. This will be done specifically to prevent the entirely preventable case of a very richly resourced "have" school sitting 2 miles from a school that will struggle to get resources. The district should move forward on this with no apology to working toward equitable programming. Does it stink to some of the neighborhoods? Yes. But it is feasible.

Sacajawea and Wedgwood are directed south to Eckstein. Same reason as above. Put a few blocks of View Ridge East into Wedgwood or Bryant. If you can see Eckstein, you should go to Eckstein. Or any school for that matter. But View Ridge will have to "give" on the elementary school. Does it stink? Yes. But it is feasible.

APP goes into both JAMS and Eckstein as well as Hamilton. It stays that way until the district decides the delivery mechanism. If it's eventually dispersed, they'll have a head start on building placement. If it's gathered together, all populations can move to WP or other school when they come online. Does it stink? Yes. But it is feasible.

APP takes the pain. Eckstein and JA, which don't want to have to deal with APP or have students shuffled take the pain. JAK8, Pinehurst and Native Academy all take pain by losing their building. Parents take the pain of attending a middle school they may not have expected.

But there is room for every single population. Which is more than I have seen out of any proposal to date.

Let's do it and be done with it. For this year.


Anonymous said…

YES! THANKS for writing!

There are emergencies that the district needs to deal with for next year.

Something that I think is getting missed in the conversation is that (and someone correct me if I've got this wrong) McCleary REQUIRES that class sized are reduced by 2017.

Where is that in the plan?

How is it even reasonable or logical to have vote in a plan that goes out to 2020 that does not meet the McCleary requirements?

I've talked a lot about the fact that the basis for the numbers is already in question.

But voting in a plan that likely will set the district up for legal challenges in the future?

IMHO, the board should be working on settling a reasonable plan to deal with the emergency issues for next year instead of arguing over where to put the deck chairs in the future.

Any chance that enough people will stand up and convince the board to vote this down?

Anonymous said…
Have any of the people on this blog who know or don't know what's feasible in Lincoln marched through the whole school?

It has some spaces in weird places.

The district says only 225 more bodies can go in next year b/c that's all they're going to spend money to reno for over summer, but the space could hold maybe up to 500/600 more. -- Ask Joe Wolf. He reads this sometimes. SPS just has to have the will and creativity to make it happen. HA!

So: is it possible that the district could step up the reno's a bit and fit APP elem in the north wing (where they are now), Hamilton Annex and some Pinehurst use in the South wing (scheduled for a 225 seat summer reno but it's bigger than that), and Pinehurst core in the spaces around the auditorium (several rooms, could be reno'd quickly THIS SPRING even while school is in session b/c area is not currently used and wouldn't impact school kids during day)?

I think it's not an either/or game. That's the district pitting us all against each other again. I think all 3 uses can fit.

Pinehurst is really small. It's a k8, and those other tenants are elem and MS too, so it seems possible.

The Native Heritage program seems like it should find space in Ingraham right now, frankly, since it's a high school program and that's the HS with more heritage students than even the program. It's great that AS1/Pinehurst and the Heritage program want to coordinate, but it seems like that's a response to the threat they face. They don't actually need to be together.
Signed- All 3
katie said…
I think Pinehurst and the Heritage program should go to Cedar Park. It is located near the students and well, existing programs should get a building.

The plan to make Cedar Park an attendance area school is a plan to intentionally make a high poverty, high ELL school in a substandard building with more than 50% portables.

Cedar Park should be an option program.

Chris said…
Dumb question: what does "roll up" mean? I keep seeing it mentioned but have no idea what that means. Thanks.
Anonymous said…
Eden - You are so sweetly asking logical questions. But you are too new to understand that logic in planning does not happen in SPS. It is an organizational flaw that has been evident for more than a decade to families all over the community.

You can stamp your feet, wave your hands and say it is madness, but you will accomplish nothing. How much has your logical questions and thoughts affected so far? Nothing. A lame note from DeBell blaming it on a missing demographer? And that's the *best* impact you've had?

This district is a crashing tidal wave of planning ineptness overlaid with some very nasty politics. It is supposed to be all about the kids, but in capacity, it is not. Not for a moment.

So the sooner you stop expecting logical and moral action from the district the better. See which way the wave is about to crash, do your best to surf on behalf of your family and those families who have no one to advocate.

As for the McCleary argument it is a red herring. The state will find a way to water down those class size mandates because most districts can't meet it and taxpayers won't pay for it. They'll give a little extra money for teachers that won't pay the full cost of salaries and the money will never trickle down to smaller classes in the next few years.

Seen It

Anonymous said…
Exasperated - what you are proposing sounds drastic considering the time frame. You are changing a large elementary's boundary to feed a lot more students into 2 already overcrowded schools so they can go to Eckstein since they can see it while bussing a very large population of kids who currently walk to Eckstein North to a school while kids in the walk zone and who live very close to JAMS would go to Eckstein because part of their Elementary Feeder school lives really close to the school. This among many other things in your plan would not fly. I think it makes much more sense to ditch feeder schools and divide Wedgwood and View Ridge middle school boundaries. When you look at a map, it just makes sense from a walkability standpoint.

NE Mom of 3
Lynn said…

Move Pinehurst and Native American School to JAMS with JAMS 6-8. If there's room in the Northwest for 270 APP students, there's room for these alternative programs.

Use the 225 new seats coming online at Lincoln as an HIMS annex.

That's all you need to do for 2014-15 in the north end.

In the SE - no changes for 2014.

In the SW, open Fairmount as a K-5. Redirect West Seattle Elementary to Madison.

In the Central District, reopen Nova at Mann. Begin TT Minor renovation for World School.

Anonymous said…
Alt parent, if APP is not at Eckstein or JAMS next year, then Pinehurst can be there, along with I think Indian Heritage. It is not either/or.

Anonymous said…
People are probably writing and writing (I know I have)--which is great. But these people have not historically listened to reason.

So many communities are effected and upset--if enough can get behind a "slow down" rallying cry, maybe it's time for some old-fashioned, glaringly public, civil disobedience.
Lynn said…
Is the heritage program meant to remain high school only? If so - yes they should be accommodated at Ingraham next fall. If space can be made for them at Wilson Pacific, that would be great - but get their program back together now.
Benjamin Leis said…
I'll stick my head out one more time and mention one thing about the annex at Lincoln plans that some commenters want. If the long term goal is to maintain a single north APP cohort or to somehow keep them at HIMS then an annex dove-tails nicely. However, if the program will be split and the new final locations are coming online like JAMS or the space is needed as an interim one for another program too soon then it really doesn't.

I feel like a lot of the proponents are basically hoping that by influencing the short term choice they will get a long term change as well.

Thus I think this is another example of why these decisions need to be framed against whatever the final plan is and to do so in its absence is to probably end up unnecessarily and at short notice moving kids around.

Anonymous said…
No, I don't think we are all just lying about our motivations, Ben. Personally I don't think the numbers are there for 3 programs, and not quite yet for 2, AND I don't think the projections are right at all for north middle school enrollment(aside from which the proposed plans so far including APP drastically exacerbate inequality within the two gen ed programs), so I don't think we actually know yet whether Wilson Pacific or JAMS is the best second location, besides Hamilton. I advocate for the annex because I think it's best in any scenario- whether we end up split to w-p/Hamilton (first choice, assuming they are only a little wrong about the numbers) or w-p/JAMS, or if they are REALLY wrong about the numbers, and it's not going to grow at all (not that likely), then just w-p. of course I would like to keep everybody together in an ideal world, but I am actually advocating for what I'd like to see in this one. I am also personally invested in JAMS and want to see it have a good start, which I think is less likely with APP in it and just a couple tiny, poor elementaries feeding the gen ed program.

Anonymous said…
Seen It--

Thanks. I was already getting more depressed by the moment. It is incredibly discouraging to hear folks that have been at this for years simply resigned.

The problem is that this wave I'm supposed to try to ride is actually a Tsunami, and the more prudent way to save my kids and those kids that have no one to advocate for would be to get everyone to higher ground.

Lynn said…

Leaving APP at HIMS leaves two options for the future - a split between WP and HIMS or moving 100% of APP to WP. Isn't that enough flexibility?
Eric B said…
Chris, a roll-up is a school started at the lowest grade, and then expanded year by year with incoming students until it's full. For a middle school, the first year is 6th grade only, the second year is 6-7, and the third year is a full school of 6-7-8. One odd factor with the assignment plan in Seattle is that people who move into an area get assigned to the new assignment area school. that means that in the early years of the rollup, a middle school might have 250 6th graders plus the 10 7th and 8th graders that just moved into the area. While there are some arguments about how comprehensive an education the 6th graders would get in that situation, the 7th and 8th graders would be screwed.
Anonymous said…
@ Eden. I didn't say I am resigned. I am still swimming and surfing after all these years. I have not dropped out of the system and I still believe public school is the best thing about this democracy.

But you are going to be bitter not to mention ineffective if you think that your logic will change the wheels in motion here. Same thing I say about Kellie. It's not that you're wrong about capacity. It's that this train has been rolling for a decade and it ain't stopping for next year. (The train isn't even pausing for DeBell and Smith-Blum to get off...just a quick shove to the side of the tracks and a "see ya" - not that they seem to care -by the looks of it they are running far away as fast as they can, so that the wreck is in their rear view during enrollment.)

So the best thing to do is get some amendments quick to the invested-in-next-year Board Members in the next hour or two, hang on, and begin to pick up the pieces yet again after the Board votes next time.

Neverending trainwrecks and tsunamis are apt metaphors.

Seen It
Robyn said…
Seen it,

Your writing definitely makes you sound resigned to accepting whatever the Board throws your way. I still hold out hope that the Directors could do a combination of an amendment and what Kellie proposes. Her thought of doing what is necessary just for 2014 is going to lead to lots of change and unhappy people. I say that with the assumption that a chunk of Eckstein will be pulled out and sent to JAMS in the Fall.

Now, as far as being new, in a couple years Eden won't be new anymore, and she will be replacing passionate people whose children will have aged-out of the system. We NEED the next crop of informed parent activists to be involved and following this. If there's something you think she should know, tell her, but don't say, you should just be quiet and pick up the pieces when they land. That doesn't serve the future SPS kids well at all.

I'm not new, and I haven't given up yet since we can still fight even if 2.0 is passed. I said to a friend yesterday, I won't know where my kid is going to middle school until the 1st day of 6th grade. Even then, I won't know where my kid will have spent all of her middle school years until the last day of 8th grade.

I can only hope my kids aren't in the same unpredictable situation for high school. However, it sure looks like they will be given their current ages and lack of forward-looking solutions for the upcoming high school mess.
Anonymous said…
@Robyn. You are not understanding me, or probably I am not being understandable! I am not at all willing to pick up Board scraps. But I am also not willing to have parents dream up a new assignment system a couple of hours before amendments are due and have them crushed when they are ignored.

I am saying be proactive within the space and very little time we have left. Then regroup for next year. That's a call to battle not to defeat.

To think the board will approve a geographic assignment only in the north end and leave feeder schools in place elsewhere is a very bad bet. They will not wholesale adopt geographic assignments in the whole district before the next meeting. They won't. There is not enough time.

Nor is holding up an assignment plan based on McCleary possibilities. Anyone who has watched the process lurch forward knows timing and implications are malleable.

Pragmatic courses of action are not at all the same as defeat.

Seen It
Anonymous said…
How can the average SPS parent not be completely pessimistic? Three of the board members voted for an equally misguided proposal just a few short years ago. I think those three will vote "yes" for virtually anything the district wants.

I really don't know why this district wants to create so much work for themselves. Having been involved with the last minute Lowell to Lincoln move, I know how much work it entailed. I expect the district thinks the parents will do much of the work. They're right - the parents that can will do a lot of work because they want their kids to have a good school experience. It's so sad that this is the way the district is now.

I hope they will stop this disaster, but I won't be holding my breath.

Anonymous said…
I'm getting a little exasperated at people who keep saying "I got it, let's send View Ridge to Eckstein" - NO, VR walks to Eckstein too, just as Wedgwood. I keep seeing this proposal coming up in blog discussions, and please know it involves putting WALKING kids on to a BUS. It has NOTHING to do with haves and have-nots. It has to do with walking to a neighborhood school. A few blocks circumference of Eckstein doesn't cut it - the majority of kids in the VR attendance area walk to Eckstein.

-VR>Eckstein family
Anonymous said…
@ seen it

Thanks for the concern for my mental health. I'm concerned about becoming bitter too. :)

apt metaphors indeed. Let's continue with this visual journey.

So if you are walking by a train that is about to leave the station and you saw someone place a bomb on the second to last car, what would you do?

You could walk away, telling no one.

You could try to get the attention of the conductor and help get folks off the train and away from the bomb.

You could get on the furthest car from the bomb and hope the blast doesn't reach you. (You might think you are far enough from the blast, but what if you are wrong?)

I think this last choice is what is happening.

You've rightly pointed out that logic hasn't worked yet in getting the conductor even admit there is a bomb. We've told him, as have many other people, but he's so fixated on leaving the station at 12:01 on the dot that it doesn't matter.

Since I'm a logical person, it's hard for me to figure out how else to actually get the conductor to see that there is a problem. Simple logic should dictate that he would at least acknowledge that there is a problem and then take action to keep the passengers safe.

Since logic doesn't work here, what does? I'd love any suggestions.

I can't get on this train, and I couldn't in good conscious just walk away. What to do?


Anonymous said…
Wasn't last year about hitting the pause button?? JAK8 rallied to stay at JA one more year...and here we are...back at the same point, but with even more overcrowding. You can't just keep kicking the can down the road.

Anonymous said…
No, of course not! Everyone agrees we need to open JAMS next year. But some of the rest of it should wait, and will be hard to undo when their numbers(which they will tell you are not great) turn out to be wrong.

Anonymous said…
Bryant, View Ridge and Wedgwood stay walking to Eckstein. Bus Laurelhurst to JAMS or keep at Hamilton.

Walk This Way
Anonymous said…
I agree with Kellie.

And, this is most definitely NOT pause, by the way. This is acting judiciously, as opposed to rashly. The bulk of the plan is rash, so, to say 'yes' now, is actually to act rashly, which pushes a fragile system closer to failing.

Why does Mr. Banda think that he must get this Board, right here and right now, to commit to his plan for implementing schools that don't yet exist and won't exist for years? What is his 'chicken little' angle on this?

The work the staff has undertaken is good, it just is not ready. It won't be a case of starting over,it is a case of refining what has been done to take into account enrollment trends, high school problems, and special ed needs.

If the Board finds the political courage to simply say no to the non "must-haves", then, they will be in a better position to execute the must-haves on a rolling ball basis with maximum accuracy and minimum though-out BEX IV. Much less risky, much more sound. MUCH BETTER GOVERNANCE.

JAMS needs to be opened, with a simple boundary at 85th to mirror Hales.

Fairmount needs to get boundaries.

World School needs a location to move to, one that is not TT Minor.

Hay needs to loose its eastern edge to Lowell.

Indian Heritage needs to move to Ingraham.

Pinehurst needs to bunk-in with JAK8 at Marshall, and then go back to Pinehurst when their building reopens.

And APP grade 6 needs to stay put in Lincoln for a year while the Task Forces are doing their work.

Every thing else can wait until policy or data or both catches up.

Kellie is right. Splitting siblings has got to stop, taking Dearborn from assignment to option has got to stop. Pushing Muir out to Meany, and all of the other really tortured elements of this plan has got to stop. Walkability matters. This plan makes far too many trade-offs due to false constraints, and as a result, walking children would be pushed onto busses for years. That is money we need for the classrooms, if we don't have to spend it on transportation, then we shouldn't!!!

Some say, greenlight it now, and another Board can reverse this nonsense later. But the problem is, once something has been agreed to, even if it hasn't been enacted, it will inertia, and, may be unstoppable. Some say, 'we are out of space now', to which I would answer, 'then what is the differnce if building A is crowded or building B - why shuffle the boundaries when it is not fixing anything?'.

The only thing that fixes a capacity shortfall is more capacity. So far, that has meant 30+ portables a year for the last several years. That is a patch, but, not a solution. Capacity costs money, so, where is the District's Legislative request for capital dollars??? That is Banda's job! Is he doing his job? Is the District really even admitting the extent of the problem? That is the problem.

Children, families, communities, and teachers deserve better.

-act responsibly
Anonymous said…
I think transportation wise laurelhurst to jams isn't that much of a stretch. It's a little bit further than Hamilton, but I bet the drive is actually faster. But does that actually make eckstein & Hamilton small enough (with app staying) and jams big enough?

Anonymous said…
Also, we're not talking to the board on this blog. As others have pointed out, for anything to change on the 20th, right? the message has to get to the right people, ie the board.

Also, I find it fairly unconvincing when people argue that someone else should go to JAMs for any reason other than distance and transportation.

Anonymous said…
@ act responsibly, isn't "APP 6th grade 'staying' at Lincoln essentially arguing for a middle school roll-up just for north end APP? And doing it in an elentary setting, to boot? Chances are they'd end up there again for 7th grade, too... Or would it not really be a middle school roll-up because it won't really be a middle experience at all, but rather extended elementary school? Do you really think they're going to offer those 6th graders a full 6-period day of core and elective classes, while the rest of the school is on a traditional elementary schedule? I'm having a hard time believing that at this point.

Charlie Mas said…
"APP grade 6 needs to stay put in Lincoln"

If APP grade 6 were to stay put, then it would be staying put at Hamilton. That's where it is now.
Charlie Mas said…
The Board's practice to date has been to adopt a transitional plan each year for the coming year.

Why disrupt that practice? What is the benefit of setting expectations now for up to six years in the future? Why not just take them one at a time?

Surely they know that they are just going to have to re-jigger each of these each year anyway, right? They are going to have to re-fight all of these for each of the coming five years anyway. Nothing is actually getting solved for the long-term here.
Anonymous said…
Kellie, Melissa, I think you are advocating geographic boundaries to start JAMS?

What exactly are you recommending for APP?

Anonymous said…
In response to GO2SLOW2s comment.:

1. Move the Hay/Lowell boundary to put the non-Queen Anne parts of Hay's zone into Cap Hill/Lowell, which has approx. 250 available seats right now. That school neighborhood zone was drawn too small in order to accommodate APP which is no longer located there. Does not appear to be controversial.

This is a controversial issue as evidenced by the robust response to the downtown school posting comments from earlier today. Simply moving these kids to another non-neighborhood school is not the solution.

Downtown Parent
Anonymous said…

Indian Heritage just moved into Lincoln this year after they got kicked out of WP with very little notice. You are proposing to move them AGAIN to the other end of the NE? And what about the Medically Fragile Special Ed population? Wave a wand to make them disappear?

The small rooms around the auditorium are not all in one building. They were originally the band/orchestra space, so lots of very small practice rooms. And there used to be a little theater and one of the gyms there in the other building. So mostly they were not classrooms configuration. I do not know anything about construction, so perhaps it is possible to renovate them into classrooms to put Pinehurst in, but then what happens when Lincoln has to be turned into a HS? Re-renovate these spaces back into gyms, theater and music practice rooms? Sounds expensive. Whatever renovations SPS makes to Lincoln needs to work for the ultimate end purpose of it coming back online, as a HS for all those extra kids who will need an extra HS by then. Also, none of those rooms outside of the main building are labs, where will Pinehurst K-8 do science?

I realize we all want the best for our children here, our family is in APP too. But we cannot just advocate to move other people's children around willy nilly.

What about thinking of two shifts at Hamilton? Maybe have classes from 7:00 to 6:00 and stagger the kids? Those who want to do sports start at 7:00, the ones who want to sleep in start at 11:30? And maybe kids who want to be homeschooled or tutored in one or two subjects can leave early from the 1st shift or come in late for the 2nd shift. The super teachers that everyone wants can work mid-shift so both groups of children can have classes with them. It is not optimal, but I think we are way past optimal here. Everyone is going to feel some pain, but if we act like it's not a big deal, the kids will do okay.

Anonymous said…
No, sorry Downtown Parent. It absolutely is the solution as evidenced on the Downtown thread. We have no money to open a Downtown school right now. We don't even have the money to plan for a downtown school right now, but we will when the BEX funds kick in.

Right now there are exactly 3 solutions. Bailey Gatzert for south downtown, Lowell for north downtown, TOPS as a K8 option for all. That is 3 more options than people all over the city have at the moment. Of course it isn't optimal. But take the "that isn't the answer" whining and lobbying somewhere else because every poster on this thread can let you know from personal experience that you're seeing as good as it's going to get for downtown for awhile.

This thread is about what has to happen immediately. It ain't downtown.

Anonymous said…
Didn't realize Native Heritage and medically fragile are at Lincoln.

Cannot support moving either of those populations. Can't support closing Native Heritage either. That program has literally been mismanaged. The feds even said so. SPS owes it. Medically fragile issue speaks for itself.

Sorry APP. Truly.

nacmom said…
Somehow, this thread has morphed into every other one: "how I would play this out". I understand that temptation (I did it myself for a long time with NSAP), till I realized I was only making myself feel better.

I find myself getting frustrated that he district is opening 950 ish MS seat (JAMS), which we have been begging for and yelling about for the better part of a decade, and desperately need - but wait, what? NO ONE want to go there! No one. That's just dumb.

Of course, it will be painful. Of course, it's going to be disruptive, but it's almost 1000 seats - hooray! and yes, I'd be happy to send my kid there. No, they don't want to go, but they are a kid, of course they don't. They only think about themselves and the short term. As an adult, my job is to think also of the greater good and the longer term.

The fact is, although this plan has a fatal flaw (see next post) it is adding capacity. Someone(~ 900 someones) have to go. I think every last one of them would rather be somewhere else, but you know what? they will get there, and with any luck have decent leadership and begin to build "their school".
nacmom said…
Now onto the bigger issues.

Yes, Kellie, yes. Just two days ago I was telling friends who were asking "No, there is no good reason to wait, it will not be better next year, it will be just as bad, probably worse"

Then I read Kellie's message and a few things resonated with me, so much that I am pulling a complete 180 and advocating voting the plan down, but I add a condition. Only vote it down if your (board and district) plan and reasoning is that we need the time to switch MS's from feeder to geographic. That is the sea change worth delaying for. There is no point in delaying if the plan is to proceed just as we are now.

Things that changed my mind:

1) Most of the changes to elementary boundaries are to shoehorn the MS piece. So, 6 years of elementary impacted for needed change...at MS? It makes no sense. DO THE LEAST HARM.

2) Split siblings: Kellie is 200% right about this and amazingly, I didn't even realize it. You would think, after fighting the district for years on this very issue, I might clue in! Hundreds (maybe more?) families will be split for their 6 elementary years, again, not b/c of necessary change for their ES, but b/c of MS capacity issues. Just dumb. Maximum harm.

3) This process is ridiculous. A plan that will be cobbled together by 11th hour amendments? I saw this happen with the NSAP and we are all still dealing with the fallout of that rush job. It's not transparent and frankly not even ethical. Don't do it. Just don't.

4) Geographic MS boundaries. This CAN be done and reduces the 'unnecessary harm done to innocent' so blatant in current plan. The district/board believe that parents want this plan b/c of it's predictability, but that's confusing the issue. they want(and need and deserve) predictability, but it doesn't need to be tied to this model. Geographic works just fine.It worked for me growing up (and yes I went to different schools than my friends) and lots of districts use this for a reason - flexibility! Ask parents! I have been and they mostly all for the plan that gives them certainty with the least disruption. Imagine!

So, change course completely on the MS piece and the rest of the unnecessary disruption goes away. I frankly would like to see this implemented for next year! but maybe that is not possible. Or is it? I'm guessing no, but man, it would be sweet!

Now some stuff (I don't pretend to know it all) does need to happen for 2014.for N end MS:

1) 950 ish new MS seats are available at JAMS. They need to be filled. Seemingly, by only unwilling populations - but THAT harm/pain/disruption is the unavoidable variety. It actually directly solves the problem we are facing. We asked for, need and got a new school. Now kids need to go there. Harsh reality.

2)some #(250 ish?) of kids need to leave HIMS building. THAT's the school that needs urgent capacity relief. There's no way around this for 2014.

I am NOT going to say who should go where. Just know, about 900 somebodies have to go to JAMS. This is the form that 'capacity relief' takes after years of portables. Painful, but necessary.

Truly, I wish us all luck and please always remember to be kind. We gain nothing fighting each other.
Lynn said…

The district says there will be 225 new seats at Lincoln next year - for the WP elementary roll-up. That's not going to happen (general ed seats at WP.) I believe there will be some renovation happening this summer.

Anonymous said…
Indian Heritage is NOT in Lincoln.

The other program serves fewer than 10 individuals who are under age 21. They are not in the building more than a couple of hours.

Lynn said…
Indian Heritage is at Northgate isn't it?
Anonymous said…
Also, I was told at the School Board meeting, it was stated that Indian Heritage serves less than 15 students (I was told the number was 8).

Why would a high school program of less than 15 students move to a temporary site when Ingraham could house them now? The older teen small program serving 10 is staying, but it is tiny and does nit use or require any core space due to the nature of the service.

And why would a k8 with about 150 be a fit for an elementary school of about 600 when it is moving because their building is being redone, and the students who are going to their building are slated to be housed in Marshall? There is room at Marshall, which will be at K8, and then they can all move back to Pinehurst, which will be a k8 and is their building where they come from in the first place.

Anonymous said…
Carol Simmons says Indian Heritage Program and administration IS at Lincoln. She says they want to stay there until theycan move back to Licton Spring at WP. I trust that she knows which building she is in.

Anonymous said…
Many on this thread are commenting on what are true emergency needs that must be addressed for next year. Nearly all the comments are about north end. Stevens (Capitol Hill) has FOUR kindergarten classes this year and cannot sustain that level of new enrollment in future years given the size of the building and number of classrooms. It is surrounded by several other schools with open spaces (Lowell, Madrona). Something must be done for it for next year.

-- Stevens parent
Anonymous said…
Does anyone have a proposal for how transportation would work if we use geographic boundaries for MS? In the current system, you need to reside in the middle school area of the school you attend to get transportation. As an example, let's say you do not attend your neighborhood (or closest school). Instead you attend an option school, which is perhaps your second closest school. Do you get the bus? Would busing only be given if you attend schools within a certain distance? The feeder school design seemed to simplify the transportation issue and need to cut costs...maybe.

- Wanting the bus
Lynn said…

Here are the Seattle Public Schools and Seattle Intertribal Coalition Meeting Minutes (From August.) It says "During construction, we will make Lincoln gym available to continue the Indian Heritage community aspects of the program."

Could this be what Carol Simmons meant?
That's interesting about the medically fragile being at Lincoln because I asked a district official and he only mentioned Indian Heritage, saying it was the only other program at Lincoln.
Anonymous said…
I regularly sit outside S door of Lincoln in a car, waiting. There is a group of students, small group, who are HS age to age 21 in the building. They are differently abled, but frankly I don't think they're in the same "medically fragile" with wheelchairs and high level physical needs as were at Lowell. I don't know, obviously, their personal issues, but I haven't seen them use equipment like breathing assistance, etc. I think they are older kids who are in a transition phase - It's not medically fragile, I don't think. Access vans come for some of them. But I haven't seen wheelchairs (they all go up and down the steps on the south side). I understand there are all sorts of levels of care - please don't jump on me for not knowing exactly what the definition of medically fragile is, but I'm just saying who I see.

I think the speculation that these students are 'medically fragile" and cannot be relocated is confusing these transition program students with the former co-tenants at Lowell on Cap Hill, who are still at Lowell, and were definitely medically fragile high needs.

And no, Heritage is not in the building as far as I know. The group using the south wing could probably continue along w/HIMS students. Or they could probably use a community center or rented space in an office or something too - they don't use cafeteria or gym or anything that seems to require "school" type space, just a bit of room and stability - what everyone needs!

And it doesn't make any sense to move Heritage to Lincoln if there are already more eligible students at Hale or Ingraham ...
Anonymous said…

I regularly sit outside S door of Lincoln in a car, waiting. There is a group of students, small group, who are HS age to age 21 in the building. They are differently abled, but frankly I don't think they're in the same "medically fragile" with wheelchairs and high level physical needs as were at Lowell. I don't know, obviously, their personal issues, but I haven't seen them use equipment like breathing assistance, etc. I think they are older kids who are in a transition phase - It's not medically fragile, I don't think. Access vans come for some of them. But I haven't seen wheelchairs (they all go up and down the steps on the south side). I understand there are all sorts of levels of care - please don't jump on me for not knowing exactly what the definition of medically fragile is, but I'm just saying who I see.

I think the speculation that these students are 'medically fragile" and cannot be relocated is confusing these transition program students with the former co-tenants at Lowell on Cap Hill, who are still at Lowell, and were definitely medically fragile high needs.

And no, Heritage is not in the building as far as I know. The group using the south wing could probably continue along w/HIMS students. Or they could probably use a community center or rented space in an office or something too - they don't use cafeteria or gym or anything that seems to require "school" type space, just a bit of room and stability - what everyone needs!

And it doesn't make any sense to move Heritage to Lincoln if there are already more eligible students at Hale or Ingraham ...

re "district official" who told Melissa that Heritage, not medically fragile was in building: I think that person was wrong on both counts! I think it's transition students, not 'fragile' if that's a specific level. Given how little they know about Mann, how much do you think that person knows about anywhere else?

signed - about lincoln
Anonymous said…
When the Medically Fragile students moved in, there were several SNAPP APP parents posting about their concerns re their children having to share the building with these students. You can go back and look. Re the Indian Heritage Program, see Carol Simmons' post on 10/18 @3:21pm in Seattle Schools Work Sessions on Growth Boundaries thread, which states clearly that the Native American program IS there. Those of you who are trying to deny that Sped and Indian Heritage are there so APP can take over Lincoln, can deny as much as you want. Does not change reality.

And should you manage to pressure the district into displacing these groups in favor of APP. I shall notify the ACLU and whichever federal agency that deals with the American Disabilities Act. Because I am now TOTALLY DISGUSTED!

Lynn said…

I have never been inside Lincoln school and my children will never attend school there. I have nothing to gain from displacing anyone. I am TOTALLY DISGUSTED at the conclusions you have jumped to about my motivations.

Here is what Carol Simmons said in the post you referenced: The Indian Heritage School/Program and administrative offices are currently housed at Lincoln High School after the District closed the Indian Heritage School/Program.

From a July 2013 Real Change article: SPS Superintendent José Banda had twice postponed plans to move Indian Heritage to Northgate Middle College based on strong opposition from community members, some of whom rallied and testified at a May 15 school board meeting.

They demanded that Indian Heritage be temporarily relocated to its own distinct site, so it could be rejuvinated as a stand-alone program. After meetings with district officials, many were feeling hopeful.

Since then, the district has arranged for Lincoln High School, which has two gymnasiums, to serve as a temporary community gathering space, and Banda has reached an agreement with Morrison to preserve the murals.

The murals and the community events, however, will live on without Indian Heritage for the time being.

Feel free to contact the ACLU if you feel it's necessary.
Anonymous said…
Of course we are all free to do what we want. As long as we are not WWB, walking-while-black; WWP, walking-while-poor; WWNASWCJMYSD walking-while-Native-American-so-we-can-just-make-your-school-disappear; or, according to previous poster who sits outside Lincoln ALL the time, and KNOWS, WWDABNIWCATCJGTSIACC, walking-while-differently-abled-but-not-in-WHEELCHAIRS-and-thus-can-just-go-to-school-in-a-community-center. FREEDOM!

To paraphase Aasif Mandvi, "You know we can read what you all posted, right?" Or does posting anonymously make it not matter?

Well, I'm done here. We are going to go hang with some "differently abled" kids who might or might not be in wheelchairs, and build some bird nests for overwintering birds; THEIR idea! They might not be "ENTITLED" to a COMPREHENSIVE SCHOOL EXPERIENCE in SPS, but they're lovely to be with.

Anonymous said…
About Lincoln replying To CCA:

I thought my post was a factual description, and I clearly said please don't jump on me, I'm only describing who goes in/out b/c it's 100% clear everyone believes something different b/c of rumors on the internet.

I never denied there are students in the south wing of Lincoln. There are. I described them. I did not attack them in any way, but you attacked me.

I'm saying there are lots of definitions of levels of disability needs and services. The students in Lincoln appear, from an observer's point of view, to NOT be the same level of physical need or "fragile"as the students who were at Lowell. Of course I could be wrong - but the building is not set up for handicapped, and all these kids go up and down steps.

The current Lincoln SpEd students are older, and appear to be receiving transition services that help them manage their life skills - not all day services for elem. age fragile kids, like at Lowell.

I was not saying they should not be at Lincoln.

I was saying that b/c of the difference, it would probably be fairly easy to keep that group at Lincoln alongside the Hamilton student overflow or, if the group would be better served, somewhere that works better for them.

Is it possible that in fact kids who are 19, 20 etc might be helped more by having their transition experience more mimic real life? Be less isolated than Lincoln, such as a space in an office building where they could interact more with the world?

I don't know what their program is, exactly, but that's an interesting discussion I think for their program service deliverers and parents to have: what do THEY want for the kids? How does location help or hurt that goal?

Is Lincoln what they want, or in a perfect world would they like their program to be in or closer to a community center where the kids could also access some long term services and develop patterns that will continue past age 21? Are these kids learning how to navigate transportation, money, and social interactions or what skills, and how can location help that? Are these kids receiving group or individual services when at Lincoln, and what kind of spaces do they need?

It's not at all like Lowell, where they use a cafeteria and music and art - it's very obvious this isn't "school" with several periods of classes. I think it's a transition service, not a school day, and thus it's a different model of delivery.

I thought I was very factual, not attacking the students. I never said they HAD to leave - I said "they could probably continue" in the building - I just don't know whether that would even be their first choice, frankly.

signed: About Lincoln

kellie said…
Wow! Thank you everyone for the comments and attention to my (not-so-little) letter.

I never expected my personal stand to get such wide viewership but I am very pleased that it has given folks some good food for thought, regardless of where you land on the issue of passing this or not passing this.

Personally, my bottom line is that capacity is too tight for us to spend all of this time drawing elementary school boundaries for 2020. I believe drawing boundaries with the expectation that they will last until 2020 is a waste of precious staff time and creates more pain and confusion for families.

I don't advocating "pausing" I do advocate for the careful and thoughtful allocation of very limited resources. I think everyone wins if we get 2014 "as close to right as possible." We won't get it right, there are just too many variables. But we are much more likely to get 2014 right if we are not trying to get 2020 right.

kellie said…
I have to say how tickled I am by "seen it" and the other commenters that are worried that I am not pragmatic enough.

I have been going to meetings on this topic for over 10 years. By and large, I have been called a cynic, a crumedgeon, too skeptical. So it is with great amusement that my rubber-meets-the-road, what-is-really-happening style is suddenly too Pollyanna to be trusted.

The reason I think that this process can't be fixed or improved by amendments is because of the size and scope of the amendments under consideration.

These amendments are not small changes. Effectively, the board directors are engineering via amendment an entire 4.0 plan. And the voices being heard are the ones that know how to "get 4 votes" as seen it describes.

I care about the folks that don't know how to get 4 votes and don't even know it is coming.
mirmac1 said…

AGREED! My child has one of the "invisible" disabilities that someone sitting in their car really could not detect, let alone understand.

Sorry, About Lincoln. What you write is emblematic of the lack of understanding surrounding students who have been long-denied their civil right to be a First-Class Citizen in our public schools.

Parents of these kids have been having those discussions with their "service providers", at length and with fed and state regulators. In th last couple of years they were kicked out of Ballard to an "office space" at the Northgate Food Court. Finally, they were punted to Lincoln.

I would say that, before just sayin' punt them again or "Is it possible that in fact kids who are 19, 20 etc might be helped more by having their transition experience more mimic real life?" because I saw this, that or the other, maybe find out a little more about these young people.

I need a nap.
Anonymous said…
I see the medical fragile community at pick up time as well. Interestingly, they're most visible after all Lincoln has started the day and before the day ends. I don't know what the definition if medically fragile is but the individuals I've seen are in wheelchairs and have to have a lot of assistance. Some of then have respirators and of the few I've seen, definitely have speech and physical diabilities. They will need assistance for the rest of their lives. Maybe there's a range of needs within the group.

kellie said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
kellie said…
What is really interesting to me about reading all of these comments about Lincoln, is that all of the comments lead to the same place.

There is not enough space for everyone. One of the things I tried to highlight in my letter is that they are pushing full speed ahead on the current plan because the current plan "has a place for everyone to land." However, the feedback from people over and over again is that they are not seeing a landing place.

Two years, I wrote another memo like this regarding BEX. In that memo, I explained that SPS did not have sufficient "bridging capacity" to get to BEX because of portable saturation.

Typically, districts employ a lot of portables to add supplemental capacity while they are building long term capacity. However, we have maxed out portables at many locations. Therefore the only possible conclusion was going to be that the district would need to "beg, borrow, or steal" some additional interim space.

It seems we are there. There are so many groups of various sizes competing for a few scraps of Lincoln. When it seems a much better answer would be to work with the City, Parks Department and the State to see if there is any way to secure some excess space for a few years. There has to be some extra space somewhere in the City of Seattle?

Maybe there is a way for Indian Heritage to work with Daybreak Star center for some interim space? Maybe Parks has some space for Pinehurst? Maybe we can get something somewhere? How long until we start putting students at the Stanford Center?

So I hate the whole us-them, this program-that program debates, because it detracts from the fundamental problem of we just need more space for everyone.
mirmac1 said…

Any idea why the district does not invoke its power to condemn property (re: MLK, U Heights, others) in the the very real name of urgent public needs?
kellie said…
On paper, there is extra capacity. Therefore, there is no need to go looking for any new space.
Anonymous said…
The Board action item is a mess. It is insane and pointless; a gigantic time suck that won't solve the fundemental problem: a lack of capacity (unless it drives families away from Seattle Public Schools).

Directors are now touring buildings and talking to principals in order to 'engineer' a solution. Talk about micro-managing! Frightening to contemplate how badly this is devolving and how much damage Mr. Banda and the Board are about to do.

The true priorities of the District are being ignored. Just lots and lots of useless lip service and endless committees and task forces. What about the achievement gap? What about Special Ed? What about disciplin disproportionality? What is being DONE about any of that? Instead, damaging and non-operational capacity plans through to 2020 are being debated and rammed through.

Director DeBell was someone I had admiration for. In fact, I have an appreciation for all 7 Directors for their contributions and differing strengths. But, it appears that because he only has a few days left, Director DeBell is determined to nail down everything according to his vision before he exits. I appreciate his 8 years of service, but, this 'last gasp' is very, very troubling and overshadows his 8 years of dedication.


Kellie has nailed the most salient points of this whole charade. This really has devolved into a charade.

-scared & scarred
Anonymous said…
It appears one of the dates pushing this ill-advised 4.0 via amendment is school sign-up. Despite requests, I've not heard anyone tell me why the enrollment date can't be pushed back to seek shorter term, non 2020 solutions. And as to Mr. DeBell, enough already - he of the hypocritical no micro-managing, speak w/ one board voice while at the same time, sliming his fellow members, indeed the board president in the Weekly - needs to STOP. Enough already. Enough with the travel - to Singapore to visit schools w Banda last month - to what possible aim? On whose dime?

Cannot wait until we do not have to listen to his droning self-important "I've been on the board 8 years..... We need more money from Olympia excuse". 6 years too long. Just stop. Your time is past.

Disappointed in a good man gone tone deaf
I will remind readers - a two-name moniker or your comments will be deleted. I let a couple go but no more.
kellie said…
To answer all the folks with questions about why Nov 20th. There is a good reason for this.

To be fair, there is enormous complexity in the enrollment process. Enrollment is not just about signing students up for a school. It is the operational process by which all of the infrastructure supporting students at a school gets managed.

Enrollment rules need to be nailed down so that the equally important work of transportation and school building budgets gets handled in a timely fashion. It is because of this, that it took me so long to get to the point of "I don't think this plan can be saved."

To have everything that is really needed in place for the following September, enrollment information should be done in November or at the very very latest mid-December. The few years that it has dragged into January or later, open enrollment was moved to as late as May and that had serious consequences for supporting services.

November 20th is the date by which enrollment boundaries and process for 2014 should be complete so that all the rest of the work around open enrollment can proceed in healthy way. It was only when I was absolutely convinced that this plan was actively hurting students that I was willing to upset this timeline and to be very clear, I am still doing that with a full awareness of the consequences of delaying any part of this.

If I had it all my way, there would have been two separate action items. One for the 2014 annual plan and the other for the 2020 vision. This would have enabled everyone to protect the 2014 enrollment timeline.
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