Seattle Schools This Week

Tuesday, April 29th
Work Session: Board Self-Evaluation/Superintendent Evaluation, 4:30-6:00 pm; Executive Session, 6:00-6:30 pm.

Wednesday, April 30
Work Session: Special Education, 4:00-5:30 pm.  Agenda

Work Session: Capital Projects, 5:30-7:00 pm.  Agenda not yet available.

Friday, May 2nd
Kimball Elementary Art Walk from 3 pm to 6 pm.

Saturday, May 3rd
Community meeting with Director Blanford, Douglass-Truth Library from 10 am to noon.

To note:

The District is still soliciting input from Sped parents via a survey.  Last date for input is May 11th.


Charlie Mas said…
The Special Education work session is an update on the correction plan, not the regular board management oversight session.
Anonymous said…
SpEd may be gaining some ground in some buildings, but, they getting AMBUSHED in others.
Will this be discussed a the work session? Will Directors ask and demand equity of these kids? I hope they do. I hope they inform Mr. Banda NO MORE yanking SpEd students and families around.

Are they going to discuss the fact that SpEd kids were forcibly assigned to Pinehurst/AS1?? Against their will, in order to pad the AS1 enrollment numbers to make AS1 look viable? Families who have to drive past 5 K5 schools to get to Lincoln??

The AS1 principal specifically asked for more enrollment, and so these families are getting screwed and their children are going to have a sub-par experience. Shame on AS1. It is an option school. It should not be doing this to other families. Their program should stand on its own merits and attract families like every other option school.

Really, assigning 6 year olds to a high school with 850 students and no playground?

Of course, the opposite is happening at Jane Addams K8: they are booting out their SpEd students. They are telling district they have 'no room' for the rising 6 graders. Charming. Really. I can't believe that non-SpEd members of that community are standing by while this is happening, to their friends, to their neighbors. What other K8 kicks their Sped to the curb after 5th grade? Salmon Bay? TOPS? Orca? No.

-new low
Anonymous said…
How can the district just assign sped kids who spend time in gen-ed to Pinehurst if the IEP team is opposed to that decision? Isn't gen-ed at Pinehurst very different from gen-ed in attendance area schools? (This is a real question - I don't know much about Pinehurst.)

Anonymous said…
So they are saying they have no room for the rising sped kids? And only the sped kids? That is appalling! Jane Addams parents - what do you have to say about this? They are really forcing those kids to be assigned to AS1?

Anonymous said…
@new low: "SpEd may be gaining some ground in some buildings, but, they getting AMBUSHED in others." What buildings are on the upswing? Agree that the Banda administration is not doing enough to protect and promote these students and families in the buildings.

new low2
Ragweed said…
First, there has been some serious disinformation about the Pinehurst Principal's role in this. The decision to place an SM4 Autism and an SM2A Autism Access program at Pinehurst was a top-down decision from the JSCEE. The Pinehurst principal was told they were placing the program with us and we were not given the option of whether to accept it or not.

They are absolutely not forcing Jane Addams K-8 SPED kids to go to AS1. The SM4 and SM2A programs at AS1 are K-5 and currently have only Kindergarteners and grade 1 enrolled. It is, to my knowledge, a new program aimed largely at incoming students. I am not sure of the selection or assignment process - it may be that they are assigning eligible students to the program rather than closer locations.

More likely the issue is that Lincoln has some of the last unused space North of the Ship Canal, and as the capacity crisis in the North end gets worse, they are shoving SPED classes wherever they can.

But it was absolutely not some plan by the Pinehurst Principal to pad enrollment. We are happy to welcome a SPED program to our space, as we have with the SPED pre-school programs that were located at the Pinehurst building. We also are happy to share our success with differentiated classrooms, and our core values of treating every child as a treasured and valued member of our community. We have had a lot of kids who have slipped through the crack at a half-dozen other schools and come to thrive at Pinehurst. But this was a top-down decision, not a request of our Principal.

John Chapman
Pinehurst K-8 Site Council Chair
Anonymous said…
What is an "SM2A Autism Access" program???

Anonymous said…
Thanks for your perspective John. I have found AS1 folks to speak very reasonably and from my distant viewpoint you all come across as sincere. I cannot say the same of the JAK8 folks and it's really them whose side I want to hear.

Anonymous said…
Sorry John. You are misinformed. The principal DID ask for more SpEd. Fact. Another fact, some SpEd families got their k5 assignment revoked and then got forcibly assigned to AS1 and they are going to fight the inequity of assignment.

Also JAk-8 shedding some 6th grade SpEd dose not mean those kids are going to AS1. They are just not going to JAK-8. Not sure where they will land. Salmon Bay is full. Perhaps Jane Addams Or Eckstein middle school? I just object to the for bike boot-out. It's not fair to discriminate against kids that way, but of course SpEd kids are chronically tracking the brunt of capacity woes. Over and over again. I think if there is not enough room at Marshall, there should be a lottery doesn't get to go to grade 6 then. Not perfect, but also more fair. Share the pain.

-new low
kellie said…
While I agree that assigning an autism program to a building without a playground is a "new low," I would not hold Pinehurst accountable on this.

School communities seem to have very little influence in sped placements. As Pinehurst has a long history of being a welcoming community, I am confident they will make a great home for any students placed there.

The issue that is easy to over-look here is that sudden large movements for Sped are the canary in the coal mine for capacity issues. I first got involved in capacity issues about 10 years ago because of a local mom who had one child in school in Lake City and her autistic child was being bussed to West Seattle because that was the closest school. I was horrified that SPS would place an autistic child on a bus from literally one corner of Seattle to the other corner of Seattle. As my professional background was in capacity management, I immediately made the connection that there were capacity problems in the system. Despite the fact that "school closures" were all the talk at the time.

Moving THREE brand new homerooms of special education into an INTERIM building is a direct indication that there are NOT three homerooms anywhere else in North Seattle. That is what is shocking here. For these homerooms to be placed at a school, would mean that three NEW portables would need to be purchased and that there would need to be schools that were able to accept additional portables.

I understand that there were several students who had been initially assigned to Bagley and have been re-assigned to Pinehurst at Lincoln.

"The Pinehurst principal was told they were placing the program with us and we were not given the option of whether to accept it or not."

I need to verify this (I would assume it true given the history of Pinehurst). It does not make it right.
Anonymous said…
First, Pinehurst is a marvelous program for many families. More families should at least check it out.

Second, issues at JSCEE should not be placed on Pinehurst's head, even if the principal did ask for more kids to boost enrollment. Downtown has made it clear that they are in command and control of placement. The buck stops there.

Third, agreed that busing SPED students past all the closer schools seems extremely hard to justify, especially given the community-backed, board-and-staff approved newest iteration of provision of services. Any parent interested in SPED issues is no doubt waiting to hear the District's justification on the Pinehurst situation.

Fourth, and potentially key: Mandatory assignments to alternative schools are against board policy. Pinehurst is clearly an alternative school. Are the programs being placed at Pinehurst self-contained or some degree of Access? If they are self-contained the placement may not run afoul of assignment rules, but if these students are spending academic time in general education classrooms, parents need to point out the policy mismatch. SPED students are general ed students first and if participation in alternative curriculum is a choice for gen ed students, it should be the same for SPED students.

This is an ironic situation because the larger systemic SPS problem is alternative schools not offering SPED students true access to their classrooms.

Anonymous said…
And a final observation in conjunction with the above points: It can be very hard in this district to find communities welcoming of students needing special education services. Hard to find welcoming administrators. Hard to find welcoming and knowledgeable staff. Hard to find supportive parents (and sometimes peers) from the general education pool. If Pinehurst does both welcome and have the capability to serve the needs of an individual student, it may be a valuable option for a that outweighs the concern about distance at the end of the day. It is great to have options in a realm that often offers little to none.

HOWEVER, JSCEE is still on the hook to be following both the announced newest iteration of SPED services and to comply with board policy, and that may well mean offering services at a closer general ed neighborhood school.

I certainly hope and expect the district explains its thinking in the NW/NC SPED program placement yet this week

Meg said…
it seems fairly unusual that principals are allowed to say yes or no to having a program placed in their building. SPS administration does not have a shining history of treating SpEd students and families well.

I'm concerned about the capacity issues, as well. Kellie notes that the lack of even 3 classrooms should signal significant problems.

In addition, north end APP elementary will, for 2014-15, have a higher enrollment than the new elementary building at Wilson Pacific is meant to hold.

The design of both buildings at Wilson Pacific may be pleasing, but appear to lack the kind of flex (read: space for a lot of portables) that the north end desperately needs. I have deep concerns that the approx $120M SPS is spending on the Wilson Pacific campus will codify rather than relieve capacity issues. And since it represents a huge influx of new capacity, bungling Wilson Pacific will affect the entire north end.
Anonymous said…

I have not found communities to be unwelcoming to students who receive sped services. I have found communities to be unwelcoming to poorly conceived, unsupported programs.

Mama Bear
mirmac1 said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
mirmac1 said…
BINGO EdVoter.

I agree that this is not a Pinehurst initiated issue, so ranters should back off.

Personally, I would point the finger at Flip Herndon (enrollment) and Tolley (SPS god). Neither who know or give a whit for IDEA and equity for SpEd. My 2 cents.
Ragweed said…

My source is the Principal, Roy Merca, himself. I have worked with Roy for years, and I know his strengths and weaknesses pretty well, and I don't think he is lying about it. I asked him directly, and he said it was a top down decision. That said, he is a rule follower, and would not push back on a decision like that. Likewise, our community values acceptance and social justice, and we would not object unless we felt it was really disrupting our program. So it may be that we could have fought it, but we wouldn't.

New Low - I would be curious to know where you learned that. I spoke the with Principal himself. Roy is fine with program, and he may well have said the more the merrier, but I really don't think it was his idea.
If parents don't feel that the program at Pinehurst is the right fit, by all means fight it. One of my children is in special ed, and I agree that special ed kids should not be shoved around. We refused the Apraxia program at View-ridge because we felt it would be a poor fit for our child.

Ed Voter - The program that is being started at Pinehurst at Lincoln will contain 1 self contained classroom (SM4) and an access program where the kids will spend some of their day in the regular classroom and some in a self-contained, but we are not sure exactly what that will look like. They are currently interviewing for the teachers and aides. I do wonder how they are getting around (or ignoring) policy around placement in alternative school.

If there have been families assigned to Bagley and then reassigned to Pinehurst, I would imagine that part of the thinking is they would end up with us at Wilson Pacific.

Finally, if there are families who have been assigned to Pinehurst or who have a kid who would be eligible for the autism program, please consider calling the office at 206-252-4600 and come by and take a look at our program. Our kindergarten teacher, Paul Ogle, is absolutely one of the warmest, most caring teachers you will ever meet, and all of our staff are deeply committed teachers who are motivated by our vision of celebrating the uniqueness of every child and creating the compassionate leaders of tomorrow. And I think our new focus on Native American culture and experience is only going to strengthen the richness of our program. It isn't right for every kid, but for a lot of kids it really works. I have one child in special ed and another that is borderline for APP, and both are truly thriving here.

John Chapman
mirmac1 said…
John, thank you for clarifying this issue.

I have been a strong supporter of Pinehurst and was very pleased that it was, once again, saved from the chopping block despite the inimitable Ron English's machinations.

At the same time, some SpEd advocates want very much to ensure that SpEd programs are dispersed equitably in this district. To teach our children is not something that can nor should be left up to individual principals to nix. Furthermore, folks downtown need to quit moving our kids around like pawns to plug holes in capacity or supplant so their peers get their "guaranteed" assignment.

It's quite simple really. We refuse to let the hard-fought "Access" service delivery model go the way of other recent botched and dishonest schemes at "serving" and educating our students.
Anonymous said…
Here's my input: next year and the year after are indeed the canaries. So some K/1 Sped students are assigned to AS#1 in Lincoln ... yes, it's crowded, but it's all elementary.

But in 2017 AS#1 theoretically goes into the new WP middle school. 850 comprehensive middle school students, maybe (if people enroll?) 1 K and 1 first grade .... and 4 elem autism units?

What the HECK is that? Who thinks it's okay to put elem. Sped kids on that track into a huge comprehensive middle school when they're trying to navigate 1st grade or 2d grade or whatever?

or will the district just yanks the kids out and put them somewhere else? They're NOT going to fit in the WP Elem school b/c it already needs portables (and the district is only planning for 2 portables there!!!!)

So where do the Sped kids go in 2017? The K/1 kids starting AS#1 Sped will be in 3/4. Should they be in a comprehensive middle school setting, or should they have to move away from the regularly developing peers they have befriended and they know? And new kids to the program - b/c I'm assuming they intend to assign kids every year - so they'll have the kids who started K/1 in 2016 either going to WP Middle school in 2017 as autistic 1/2 graders? Or moving again? Oh, does anybody at JSCEE care? Or is it just "we'll see"? Jerk those kids around much? Makes me furious.

Look ahead people! Look ahead at the rest of the game! Stop the WP idiocy NOW by signing Kellie's petition on (it's the way to get the district's attention that the whole WP plan is for crap).

The only way I see out of this mess is a big old high school (2000 seats?) at Wilson Pacific, and make Lincoln into a big middle school (1400-1500 middle school - Eckstein's held that many before) (and Hamilton would get an auditorium and a lot more gyms if they moved!) and make Hamilton into a HUGE elementary school (850? 900?) with multiple programs in it. It's a net gain of a 200 elem. seats over the current WP plan, much better high school situation b/c it's new and with the fields and better for them to be on the rapid ride, etc, and the bigger middle school at Lincoln lets Hamilton absorb a bunch of growth for several years. Then when JAK8 is out of Marshall, the district can decide if it needs to bring that building on line permanently as a middle, an elem, or a K8 - with the numbers and plans it has at the time.

Signed: Change WP
Spruiter said…
JA K-8 currently has 3 SPED/autism classrooms (K-2, 3-5 and 6-8). The original plans for the new building did not have enough space for all three classrooms, but we pushed the district to make space in the building to keep our full SPED program and were relieved when the architects figured out a way to fit the extra classroom. All three autism classes will move with us to John Marshall next year, and to Pinehurst in 2016.

This thread is the first I have heard of this issue, and I got in touch with Principal Nelsen as soon as I read it this evening.

According to her, SPS assigned so many 6th graders to our middle school autism class this year, there will not be enough space for the rising 5th graders next year.

The school administration looked at every space available at John Marshall and would have loved to keep all of our SPED kids, but at 3 classes / grade (and 4 homerooms at 7th), and 3 SPED classrooms, we have maxed out the homerooms at Marshall. Her understanding is that another SPED class will be added at JAMS and those students will at least be able to stay in the building that is already familiar to them. I agree that this is a terrible thing to do to our most fragile students, but the blame lies with the district, not the school administration or community.
Anonymous said…

Not to be picky, but didn't the Growth Boundaries work project over 800 students at JAK-8@John Marshall? If I recall, there was enough space on site to add portables to accommodate that many kids. In fact, during the growth boundary discussions, I seem to remember JA K-8 parents suggesting that John Marshall house both W-P and JAMS as roll-ups, using portables for the overflow.

If JAK-8 is projected to be a 4 cores/grade for 7th grade next year (down by 2 cores, presumably due to the opening of JAMS), then wouldn't there be "room" at John Marshall (perhaps with the addition of portables) to accommodate the rising SpEd kids?

One of the primary reasons why families chose a K-8 is for the continuity over grades K-8. It seems this would be especially-valuable for SpEd kids.

Honestly, I would think this would be of higher priority than maintaining the super-sized 3 classes/grade K-8 structure, but I suppose that in this never-ending capacity crunch situation, SPS is eager to cram in kids where they can, even if they will eventually be sited on a traffic island piece of property (@ Pinehurst).

One thing I don't get is this...even once the current grade 6 bubble gets worked out, the program size for JAK-8 (or whatever it is re-named) will still be about 40+ kids over the stated building capacity of 680 for the new building at Pinehurst, assuming class sizes in the ballpark of current contract allowances. How will this be rectified, given the constraints for parking, etc... at the Pinehurst site? Will the school be allowed to have the higher enrollment (with "normal" class sizes), despite the lack of staff parking, etc..., or was the school placed at a too-small site under the wishful thinking that McCleary-sized classes would kick in by then, at least for incoming K classes, and all would be well (assuming that all the neighborhood schools - District-wide- are also treated to smaller class sizes)?

-just wondering
Lori said…
Spruiter wrote, "According to her, SPS assigned so many 6th graders to our middle school autism class this year, there will not be enough space for the rising 5th graders next year."

I hope my tone comes across the way I intend. I'm not intending to be argumentative or divisive. But the reality is that most of our schools in the north have this same problem right now with capacity. There wasn't enough room for the K kids the year we started at our neighborhood school. There wasn't enough room at Lowell for our rising kids a few years back. There isn't enough room at Hamilton for my rising 5th grader next year. The capacity problem is endemic up here. So there's nothing unusual about the district assigning too many kids to a building when we are literally out of buildings.

But here's a thought. Is it possible that the district was looking at attrition from JAK8 to JAMS and thinking that it would somehow work anyway? Maybe there isn't room for today's 5th graders to all rise within in the K8, but maybe they expect x% to choose JAMS. Maybe their hope is that the rising 5th graders will fit after you figure in attrition?

I guess to me, the *reality* of 850+ kids at Lincoln next year, without a sufficient cafeteria or playground is more dire than the *possibility* that JAK8 will be crowded in 2015. Cramming a special ed population into Lincoln next year to prevent a *potential* problem somewhere else a year later doesn't make sense to me in today's crisis environment. It would be nice to have a transparent explanation from the district about this decision.
Anonymous said…
Is the John Marshall building going to have an art room or music room or teacher break room or computer lab? Because these are all things our school has been made to give up to make room for more enrollment. We would be pilloried on here for dumping off SPed kids to keep any of that. Rightfully.

I don't blame JA for not wanting to give that stuff up- we didn't either. But I do blame whoever let them while pushing their problems off on another couple of schools who can afford it less than they can.

Crowded North
Anonymous said…

From what previous posters have written, the SpEd kids being assigned to AS-1 are elementary school kids, while those who have been told there is no room for them to continue at JA K-8 will be incoming 6th graders next year.

As pointed out previous posters, both cases do point to a critical lack of capacity, but the two SpEd populations are not one and the same.

I first heard about the JA K-8 SpEd situation in February. There had been a JAMS SpEd info meeting prior to a general JAMS info meeting, and my take on it was that there were several JA K-8 SpEd families who had been recently told that their child could not be served by the K-8 going forward(grades 6-8), and there was significant anxiety and confusion regarding how and where their children's needs would be met. Much of this anxiety was due to JAMS being a start-up school.

My understanding is that JA K-8 has predominately self-contained SpEd classrooms for grades K-5 and predominately inclusion-style SpEd for grades 6-8 (JA K-8 parents, feel free to correct me if I am wrong about this).

I didn't know it was a problem of there not being enough homerooms at John Marshall...I had thought it was a service-delivery issue, but I suppose it would be a space issue, as well, if there is no room for an additional middle school SpEd room at John Marshall. I was under the impression, though, that there was room for at least a few portables at John Marshall.

BTW, there has been lots of staff hiring taking place for JAMS including SpEd staff (see the JAMS Fusion Page,

- North-end Mom
Anonymous said…
I should add that the reason why there are so many inclusion SpEd kids assigned to JA K-8 for grades 6-8 was because, from what I understand, JA K-8 became the inclusion SpeEd assignment school for incoming 6th graders from certain north-end elementary schools a few years back, when there was "no room" for those kids at Eckstein.

- North-end Mom
Lori said…
So I guess I mis-read or misunderstood Spruiter's comment. Sorry if I caused any confusion.

Does this sound more accurate: now that enrollment numbers are available for Fall 2014, it turned out that there aren't enough rooms at Marshall for all who want to go/are assigned there, whether gen ed or special ed. Sort of like what happened at Lowell in spring 2011 when they realized they'd put too many kids into that building and someone would have to move. In this case, their solution was to move some elementary special ed students out. Correct?

Even so, I still have to wonder if putting more kids into Lincoln is the optimal solution? And, I'm curious about the answers to Crowded North's questions too. Is Marshall *really* completely out of space already? Will there be portables there in the fall?
Anonymous said…
Although it makes my blood boil that kids (current 5th graders sped at JAK8) should be kicked out of a program, what really matters is what those families affected think about it (I am just a curious bystander). Are the families that are being disallowed happy and willing to stay at JAMS? If not I feel it truely and utterly stinks that these, the most vulnerable kids, are being tossed out. The JAK8 community has proven to be a very effective lobby for their needs to JSCEE and with the board. Why aren't they going to bat for these kids?

Anonymous said…
They aren't (to my knowledge) moving any elementary SpEd students out of JA K-8.

The students who will no longer be served at JA K-8 are kids rising from 5th grade to 6th grade. As far as I know, this decision was made prior to open enrollment.

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said…
To reiterate the point above, how can SPS put access/inclusion SPED programs in any option school and force kids to go there?

If general ed kids aren't mandatorily assigned to alternative schools, how is it justifiable to mandatorily assign "access" SPED to alternative schools? The district is not providing the same gen ed opportunity to students with disabilities as it is to students without disabilities.

The model should be that all "access" kids are assigned to the comprehensive K-5 and 6-8 schools. Too crowded? Too bad. Portables or redraw the boundaries again.

Alternative schools absolutely should also have access programs. And alternative school principals should not be allowed to "opt out" of providing such services, as in many cases this would be a better fit for students needing access services. But those programs should be accessible by the same rules as for everyone else. Lottery, siblings and geozones.

Charlie Mas said…
A lot of this is confused by the District's current claim that they no longer have "programs", followed immediately by announcements of where the programs are sited.
Anonymous said…
The real issue is that "who decides" that there isn't room for Sped at a building. By default that decision is a decision that the needs of general educations take precedence. By default this is a decision to make room for general education by moving special education.

This is what Sped families have been trying to daylight for years now. It is not OK to squeeze in a classroom of general education by moving special education. Just because it is "simpler" to move 8-10 sped students, rather than re-drawing boundaries, portable placement or whatever else would need to happen, including moving general education students like happened this year.

Not to pick on JA K8 too much but ... since they are an option school, there could easily have been a decision to limit the incoming K class and preserve the sped students. That would have been the right thing to do. But instead sped students are not allowed to continue so that the K classes would be balanced.

Constantly moving sped around helps nobody. Pretending that everyone fits, is how we got geo-splits last year.

My guess is that the only reason, that nobody considered making K smaller so that sped wasn't "kicked out" was because there was no where to put another K class.

- sped family
Anonymous said…
Apparently one of the special ed ptsa members is publicly saying she is going to file an OSPI complaint about the sped situation. I don't know how OSPI handles complaints. Could it force the district to change placement plans for this coming year if they think the complaint has merit? Wondering because that would apparently mean a domino affect on the placement or classroom set up of sped AND gen ed kids in the north end.

mirmac1 said…
SavvyVoter, that would be me. Should the facts support a breach of IDEA, OSPI could require a corrective action to remedy the issue.

Parents are organizing to push back against using our kids as pawns in the capacity chess game. Our students are general education students first and should have the same "guaranteed" assignment as their typical peers.

From WrightsLaw:
Least restrictive environment means that, to the maximum extent appropriate, school districts must educate students with disabilities in the regular classroom with appropriate aids and supports, along with their nondisabled peers in the school they would attend if not disabled, unless a student's IEP requires some other arrangement."

No student's IEP is going to say move him around or ship him across town because SPS doesn't feel like paying for capacity solutions or has a space to plug.
Anonymous said…
The infuriating thing about the special education kick the can situation is that Supt Banda and his team have been asked so many times to make sure this doesn't happen again. Tracy Libros has said over and over "we don't do that any more" (use SPED for capacity management). Zakiyyah McWilliams has said it's one thing they're NOT going to let happen. But here it is, history repeating itself.

Furious reader
Charlie Mas said…
Of course they are going to use program placement as a capacity management tool. Not only have they specifically said tht they would, but they have been making that the primary role of program placement for three years now.

The District is keenly aware of which groups of students are geographic communities and which are not and they are keenly aware of the portability of non-geographic communities. They will move APP, Special Education, B.O.C., ELL, and option schools from any place with a capacity shortage to anyplace with a capacity surplus.

They cannot move neighborhood schools. There are huge fights when they even try to shift the boundaries a little bit. They can, however, direct the relocation of programs by fiat, so that's what they do to manage their capacity.

They may have some high-minded rhetoric about how they don't do that, but that's what they do. All of their high-minded rhetoric is just talk. They don't actually adhere to any of their stated values. They like to say that they support transparency or engagement, but don't expect them to be transparent or engaged when you need them to be, because they won't do it.
Ragweed said…
This conversation is raising another question for me about the program at Pinehurst, which I will bring back to our Principal. Is the Autism Access program conceived of as a K-5 program, and if so what happens when kids hit grade 6? I would hate to see them yanked out of the community they have been part of for 6 years because the access program is somewhere else for middle school. I will find out and report back.

Ragweed said…

I completely agree. Pinehurst is happy to welcome the Access programs and the families who want to be a part of them, but the district should prioritize the needs of special ed students and supply the services they need in the locations they need. Period.

Anonymous said…
It doesn't make systemic sense to argue against putting an access program at AS1 when there are many mandatorily vs. geographically assigned access programs in other alternative schools.

If the argument is made that it is not OK based on the alternativeness of Pinehurst to site a mandatory assignment program there, it is not OK to be running those other programs as mandatory assignments either.

Thinking places like Pathfinder and Thornton Creek. The rule needs to be the same across the board, with capacity chips falling wherever they fall or else the true capacity crisis, and it's beyond crisis at this point, will not dawn on top staff and the voting public.

A lot of those established programs are successful and loved by students and families. So some portion of the sped community is going to be upset here. The question is which ones? The ones made to go to Pinehurst when the legality is questionable or the ones in the other programs whose siting may not be valid if OSPI says it is not ok to assign SPED to alternative schools without first offering a geographic placement in a standard classroom. And then there are all the gen ed student spaces that may need to be reconfigured depending on what OSPI says.

It's a mess and it is Central's fault. Not individual school communities and certainly not the special educations families.

This is yet another capacity problem that has been well documented by parents for years and known by enough staff to have been addressed long before this blog discussion.

Capacity Wonk
mirmac1 said…
Capacity Wonk, what makes this particularly egregious is the fact that these programs will likely get kicked out to wander in the desert once Pinehurst is squeezed into W-P.

In fact those other option school program locations aren't okay either. If a sped family is happy there, they can "choose" just like every other gened family (who are not forcibly enrolled there).

This is not dissimilar to what will happen when those ridiculous NCLB requirements kick in, SpEd families should get "choice" just like everyone else to leave a "failing school".

"And then there are all the gen ed student spaces that may need to be reconfigured depending on what OSPI says." Yep. OSPI is responsible for enforcing the law. Then everyone can be pawns in the chess game.
kellie said…
I attended the Work Session on Capital Projects this evening. Short version. Everything is just perfect in the land of capital planning. All of the projects are on-time and on-budget with successful community engagement.

Everyone was very happy with the successful state of capital planning.

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