Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Tuesday Open Thread

From Bob Westgard of SPS Logistics/Transportation about what might happen if the Transportation measure does not pass:

That’s a very good question. We’ve been in contact with Metro about the possibility of reductions in service. We expect that if the measure does not pass, there will be reductions in service, but at this point, Metro is not really prepared to give the District specifics. Metro has committed to working with the District after the results of the vote are known.

Good article at Edutopia on high school students and financial literacy.  

Hey, it's free cone day at Ben & Jerry's from noon to 8 pm.


Anonymous said...

There's a great Wilson Pacific Middle School auditorium petition at change.org ... sign and pass along.

Here's the link (hope it works):


Voices were heard on lockers (I know, silly that people had to organize to get lockers ... ) and maybe we can be heard on this too. But it has to happen ASAP. Whether you're going to WP or not, it's about better planning - and this is the big project for this round of BEX.

Thanks -- Anna

Anonymous said...

Oops - missed that Melissa had already posted the link yesterday. Same WP auditorium petition ... second chance.

And if you don't think it matters b/c your kids won't be heading there --- they'll build more schools and say this is the new "standard" just like they're saying it now b/c Hamilton MS doesn't have one ... but Hamilton uses Lincoln HS auditorium a block away and really is unhappy about not having its own.

Eckstein, Whitman etc have auditoriums, but SPS seems to be doing a little cherry picking over which examples they're using. Everyone should care regardless of residence, b/c they'll start to use the WP project as the baseline for other decisions.

Thanks -- Anna

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering about the impact of school overcrowding on kids who don't have access to computers at home. My HIMS student commented recently that the school library is closed at lunch nearly every other day, as teachers use it for their classes since the computer lab had to be turned into a regular classroom and there are limited laptops available. Many middle school assignments are required to be word processed, and students without home computers are expected to complete their assignments before/after school or at lunch. If you take the bus, that really only leaves lunchtime. And then when we get into testing season(s) the library is closed for weeks at a time. How are these kids supposed to manage?

Are other schools having this problem? I imagine the total number of kids impacted by this is fairly small, but the impact for them would be huge. And I suspect their advocacy voice might also be small... I'm finding myself very upset by this, but doubt the principal really wants to hear from me, especially since my kids aren't directly impacted.

Any thoughts?


Anonymous said...

Did anyone go to the Seattle PTSA meeting last night and have an update?
Elementary PTA

Anonymous said...

Crosscut has an article about the class size initiative:


The 72 bus will be cut. A lot of high school kids take that bus. The Seattle Youth Commission is pushing hard for the transit bill to pass.


Anonymous said...

My middle school has a gorgeous auditorium and it's my belief that it goes a long way toward elevating the school atmosphere. Elementary schools, like Bagley and Greenwood, have Cafetoriums. When you put one in a middle school, like Hamilton, you're sending a pretty strong message that it's not time to act like adults yet, as performers or as an audience, and that's a lost opportunity. It's worth the space and cost to put real auditoriums into middle and high schools.


mirmac1 said...

Madison has a CafeCommonstorium with bleachers that pull-out. It also has a great music room. Finally, it uses the WSHS auditorium. Madison is a lovely building and should be the standard for MS.

Anonymous said...

It's a big hit up front and regressive to boot. High schooler has a bike and it's faster than bus. In any case, see too much triplication DT with streetcars, light rail, and bus routes. Time to combine and save $ and offset traffic detours with all the road projects. Have voted YES in the past, but have also seen route cuts, services reduced, and actual transit time to/from work increased. E-W Seattle commute by bus or car much worse. Not confident anymore. We used to go by car or buses to shop, dine, and play all over the city just for the heck of it. Now, not so much as it takes too much time.


maureen said...

(Hope it's ok to repost this since it fell towards the end of Friday's Open Thread.)

Do you know a High School age actor or musician who is looking for a meaningful, FREE activity to participate in this summer? Have them check out Black Tie Production's original musical, Emerald City: A new musical about Seattle, a young man, and what it means to belong.

It is being produced, written and composed by two Ingraham High School students. Performances are scheduled for the end of July at Ballard High School. Actors and musicians are being sought from all and any schools. Auditions begin April 28th. The composer has produced two other original musicals at Ingraham to great acclaim!

This one has a Greek Chorus made up of Hipsters.

Here's a peek into the author's mind (as posted to Facebook):

Things you might see more of if you audition for Emerald City:

Zane: It’s a time honored Seattle tradition to throw a locally caught king salmon at a new neighbor.
Jon: ...Really?!
Zane: Nah, I’m just unique.

— - - - - - -
(feeling like we're gonna want a fake fish for this scene. 'Cause real fish are gross.)

kellie said...


You are completely missing the point on this and in fact the example you keep pushing, really only confirms the need for better core facilities at Wilson Pacific.

The only reason this works at Madison is because Madison is not yet, dramatically over capacity and WSHS is not over capacity but they will be soon enough and the limitations of that set up will become painfully obvious.

Every single school in the north end is at or over capacity or crazy over capacity. By intentionally adding a new building with sub standard core facilities, this pushes the need for those services onto adjoining schools and guess what, there isn't any capacity at those schools.

SPS tried this argument and stated the WP can just use the auditorium at Roosevelt. Parents checked and Roosevelt has 100 more students than Garfield and their auditorium is in constant use. Roosevelt does not have extra auditorium capacity to pass around and neither will any of the other high schools.

This standard was applied at Hamilton and Hamilton was designed for 800 students and when Hamilton had 800 students, the set up worked but Hamilton is never going to have 800 students again.

This is just one of those places where theory and reality have nothing in common.

Maje said...

On a different note, I was in my kid's classroom last Friday and all the computers were running Windows XP. Any one know if SPS has plans to upgrade classroom computers to a supported OS?

mirmac1 said...


I think I am probably the least pushy one on this particular issue. I'm expressing my opinion on how our school works. I'm not sure why the WSHS auditorium is available while Roosevelt's is not. Both were remodeled and I expect both have music facilities. In any case, it works. By the way, Madison's music program is so large that we hold our winter concert in the gym. Yeah, the acoustics suck by I'm not expecting Benaroya.

If there is space and budget to build a big space that is infrequently used, then by all means. I believe that the wisest use of dollars is to build multi-functional flex spaces.

: )

Robyn said...


WSHS is two blocks from Madison. WilPac does not have any auditoriums in close proximity. The north-end also does not have any auditoriums that aren't fully-utilized already.

Madison and WSHS have a good arrangement since they are not currently schools with severe capacity issues. And, WilPac is 3 schools not 1 like Madison. Lincoln (1600 kids) is also slated to come use the WilPac facilities when it comes online as a HS.

I am truly happy that Madison works well and you think it is the model building. However, it should only be the model under similar circumstances. WilPac has VERY different circumstances.

robyn said...


Also, parents reached out to north-end middle and high schools to address the rumor that auditoriums are frequently empty therefore wasted money. It is 100% untrue that they aren't in constant use. Classes will meet in auditoriums due to lack of other space. Teachers use the auditorium when more than one class is being taught the same lesson. Music, band and PE meet in auditoriums due to lack of space.

Again, Wilson Pacific will be 3 schools on one property. The K-8 and MS will be "fighting" over scheduling the gym, lunch room, music room, library and science labs. The auditorium would be a much needed outlet for scheduling issues due to locating two schools in one building.

Anonymous said...

Let's be honest: within 5 years of opening, the WP campus will be 1800 kids. Because it can hold PORTABLES and a heck of a lot of other places can't.

1800 kids need an auditorium.

The elem. will be over 600 kids on the very first day - b/c that's how many kids are in APP elem. and that's the school that's going to fill the elem. building as currently envisioned. I think they'll have portables in the elem. from the second year, b/c they won't have a PCP space left year one if they don't either build the elem. bigger than current plan OR just flip and leave the elem at Lincoln (with the K8?) and put a HS at WP instead.

My perfect world:

1) MS and HS campus at WP. Putting the most kids on the biggest lot makes sense. It also maximizes the very expensive amenity of fields, by locating the field users with the fields, rather than putting the only group who doesn't use fields officially through SPS - little kids - at big regulation fields. Bigger buildings on the bigger lot. Also maximizes equity between HS facilities (b/c Lincoln isn't going to be as nice as Ballard or Roosevelt no matter how you cut it), and makes more sense from a boundary standpoint - who wants to draw lines b/w Ballard, Lincoln and Roosevelt? Contentious? You bet.

2) APP elem. and K8 at Lincoln. They're out of the way there. Elem. kids don't need actual fields - and if the school was given permission, they'd install a playground, but they're not allowed b/c of the pending change to HS.

3) Native heritage center - a small dedicated building using community resources, not SPS - at the north end of the WP property closer to the springs. That could serve all heritage students, regardless of where they enroll - because it's obvious that a lot of students w/native heritage choose to go to their neighborhood schools, and I doubt that's going to change that much, so serve them with a community building.

My other idea, which no one will like, is to put the HS and the ELEM at WP and make Lincoln and Hamilton a GIANT MS campus. All the MS bus pickups for the attendance area school and the APP MS routes can be together on the same bus at the same time! drop off at the corner, go to your school. So it's elegant and cheap from a transportation sense, and I think you can get a lot of foreign language depth when you have that many kids. Still two campuses, but they could have joint after school activities and band etc.

The part I think people would hesitate is putting the elem. and HS on the same lot - but they wouldn't see each other, and it's not big deal. They'd be fine.

Putting the HS at WP is just so key.

signed - Friend of WP

kellie said...

@ mirmac,

I am not saying you are pushy, I am saying the point that you keep "pushing" on various threads is simply ill founded in the facts on the ground.

Yes, your situation at Madison might work great. Wonderful. I love it when things work.

I am simply saying that is bad logic to say that because this example works that this example should now be the "standard." As you well know that type of standard is how the minimum quickly becomes the maximum.

Planning for "ideal" conditions is not the same thing as planning for "real-world" conditions. In ideal circumstances, flex space work. But flex spaces do not work when the entire system is under great strain. The system is under great strain and much is going to be expected of this building.

It is time for real world planning. The theoretical timeline for this building is 50 years but it is much more typical for buildings to get 75+ years of service. Flex spaces make one particular room flexible, they do NOT make a building flexible for decades of programming.

In the same way I thought giving away Boren when it was really likely that building was going to be needed was short-sighted, it is even more short sighted to push new buildings into service that are not optimized to provide robust capacity for at least a few decades.

mirmac1 said...

kellie, I don't think WP is really about "real-world" conditions. This is a school(s) brought about to serve specific populations. In an environment of capacity strains. In 50 years, no one knows where we'll be - let alone 75 years. Heck, we may all be enrolled in University of Pheonix K-12.

In talking about a building "standard", I can totally buy into preserving auditoriums in comprehensive high schools, but having multi-function flex spaces in MS and ES, no matter the population.