Director Peters And Interagency Issue

Director Peters sent me these updates and I thought I would pass them along:

At the Nov. 19 School Board meeting, noting that the John Hay community members in attendance did not have the opportunity to give public commentary (the roster was already full), I addressed the topic during my Director's Comments and acknowledged that the district needs to do a better job at communication. I also stated that the district has an obligation to meet the academic, emotional and safety needs of all 52,000 of our students.

(I note there that at the last Board meeting one director - I believe it was Peaslee - said she wished that people who came to testify (whether they did so or not) would stay for Board comments as often members DO weigh in on issues.)

Also , she will attending Wednesday community meeting on Interagency at John Hay Elementary.

Here's her letter to those who wrote to her on that topic:
Thank you for sharing your thoughts about the plan to place an Interagency program in the Old Queen Anne Gym.

I have forwarded the letters and concerns I have received onto Superintendent Nyland and staff. I have also been in touch with the John Hay PTA president. I, too, would like to see more communication from the district with both the John Hay and greater Queen Anne Community, and have requested this.

To that end, at the John Hay Elementary PTA meeting on Dec. 10, district staff and Interagency Principal Kaaren Andrews will be available to answer questions. I encourage you to attend. I will attend as well. This will also afford the community an opportunity to learn specific facts about the nature and goals of the Interagency program and the district’s plans.

In the meantime, district staff has prepared a FAQ, gathered from community questions on this topic. If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact Tom Redman, Capital and Facilities Communications, Seattle Public Schools

In terms of background, this is considered a program placement (there are multiple Interagency sites throughout the district), not the establishment of a new school, and therefore was decided by the (in this case, previous) superintendent and staff. That also means this decision did not come before the School Board.

However, I understand the potential concerns about the proximity of the program to an elementary school, and the community’s legitimate need for more information and assurances from the district regarding safety and supervision.

As I’m sure you know, the district has a responsibility to meet the academic, emotional and safety needs of all of our nearly 52,000 students, and that includes both the students of John Hay Elementary and the students served in the Interagency Program.

Hopefully these objectives are not incompatible.


Sue Peters

Seattle School Board Director - District IV


QA Rez said…
It boggles my mind that people think there's a safety issue. Why? Because these kids had alcohol or drug problems? That does not make them unsafe, violent, more likely to destroy property etc. In fact, them being in this program it makes them more likely to try and NOT get into/go anywhere near trouble.
Anonymous said…
The point is QA is part of Seattle and Hay students are part of a 52,000 student district. Things can't always be the way a parent wants them or even what is optimal for this or that aspect of a student's educational experience. The district has to consider the best outcome of everyone it serves both individually and collectively.

It's nice to see these QA parents getting involved and learning how the district works and it would be a shame to alienate them with derision.

Anonymous said…
Not exactly a bullhorn of support for the students who have what is considered a medical problem.

This is a tepid statement full of political-ese.

Quite shameful, really, Peters.

--enough already
Anonymous said…

I hate to weigh in here... but... here goes.

It is not about the rehab thing at all.

It is about the high school thing mixed cheek-by-jowl with the little kid thing.

Don't you remember the Garfield rape?

Or worse, don't you remember the Roosevelt high school rape?

REGISTERED SEX OFFENDERS GET TO GO TO SCHOOL AS STUDENTS, AS IS THEIR RIGHT, AND, THE COMMUNITY DOESN'T GET THE 'MEGAN'S LAW' TREATMENT. They may be rare, but, they exist. And, we parents, even if our children attend the same school with a registered sex offender, by law, don't get to know.

That is the only thing that gives me pause with this QA situation.

It absolutely doesn't matter to me if these were high school kids from the 'very best part of town', whatever that is. Criminal behavior cuts across all socio-economic strata. It is not about these particular kids. It is about kids that age. High school kids cannot necessarily be relied on for good judgment. I know of a case where a middle school kid showed porno on his cell phone to a very, very young elementary aged kid on the school bus.

Again, not saying or implying that these particular kids are bad or don't deserve a school or will cause problems or have a registered offender amongst them or any of the above!

I am concerned when mixing vastly different ages right beside each other. Critize me, attack me, call me names, say what you want, but, I don't want my kid to see high school kids 'getting busy' as they wait for their ride. But more than that, I am now aware of the fact that dangerous sex offenders are in our schools and have their identities protected. And, I am aware that in the case of the Roosevelt high school student who raped a 14 year old SpEd student at Roosevelt, he previously tried to attack a 10 year old little girl.

That is what makes me not keen on this arrangement. It is not the interagency aspect. It is not the rehab aspect. It is the age difference between high school kids and elementary children. BIG difference. Some bells, once they have been rung, can never be unrung.

You can say, well, in the real world, in malls and libraries and parks and churches, all ages mix. It is not dangerous to mix ages. And, that is true. But, the difference is that those random groupings, there is a big mix, and lots of older people present. In contrast, grouping lots of middle schoolers or high schoolers together in a school without the same ratio of adults and elders around does not necessarily support the adolescents to be their 'best selves'. Peer dynamics kick in, which would not be present in a truly mixed sample of lots of people. And, predetors can groom and pick their victims with relative ease under the cloak of the protections afforded to them by shielded criminal convictions from the community.

So, let me have it: tell me I am a horrible nimby, but, that is the heart of my concern. Mixing the ages between 5 year olds on one hand, and, 18 year olds on the other. I just don't like it anywhere for any community. High schools are for high schoolers, and, elementary schools are for little kids.

blue bus
Anonymous said…
In lots of smaller cities and towns, high schools, elementary schools and middle schools are located right next to each other. They are school campuses.

I just don't see the problem.

WQA and QA grad- there was no McClure when I attended!


Anonymous said…
When you choose to live in a city and send your children to public schools you don't just get to pick the parts of city life you like--culture, restaurants, diversity-at-a-safe-distance.

This is prejudice disguised--as fear for one's children and blame for lack of prior notification by the district. It makes about as much sense as any other phobia that cannot be reasoned with.

The fact is, these programs have always existed, but in someone else's neighborhood. If this program were being moved to another neighborbood next to another elementary school, would these same parents bat an eye for the well being of those children?

It seems clear--it's the fear of some kids who seem like the other side of the tracks coming in. Remember, plenty of QA parents and teens have diagnosed and undiagosed chemical dependency issues of their own, except they were likely treated in a confidential residential facility.

--enough already
Lynn said…
If you don't like this mixing of elementary and high school students for any community, what do you plan to do about it? Will you be demanding a justification from the district for every situation in which elementary students are located near high school students? You're going to be busy.

Lafayette is just one block from the 1,000 students at West Seattle High School.

Rainier Beach and South Lake high schools, South Shore PreK-8 and Dunlap Elementary are just a block or two apart.

Franklin and John Muir - two blocks.

Ballard and Salmon Bay K-8 - two blocks.

If that's not disturbing enough, what about our high school students themselves? When we segregate them in grade 9-12 schools, does the peer dynamic put most of them at risk? The logical conclusion of your argument is that all of our schools should be K-12 - to dilute the concentration of adolescents.

As the parent of teens, I am offended by your prejudiced assumptions about them.

Patrick said…
Lynn, that's a good list, and you could add when Jane Addams K-8 was across the street from Nathan Hale HS, nobody seemed to mind.
Anonymous said…
Blue bus, you've got more issues than the kids who will be attending interagency.
Perhaps you've forgotten about Summitt K-12, which was a highly successful school that MGJ destroyed. Thats right - K-12. Mixed ages. And as many posters have pointed out, there are numerous elementary schools situated close to, if not right next to, high schools, and it has been that way for decades. There are many high school volunteers in the elementary schools getting National Honor Society points and other service credits. Mixed ages. Many elementary kids have MS and HS age siblings. Mixed ages, OMG!
(And kids are more likely to be molested by a friend or relative than by a stranger, FYI.)
Sorry, but your argument falls flat, the violins are not playing. I wish the interagency kids well since they are entering such a hostile environment where judgments are made on them prior to them even arriving and hypocrisy abounds.


Anonymous said…
Blue Bus, your concern makes absolutely no sense to me. This small group of High School students will not be "mixing" with 5 year olds. They will be doing their own thing in a building across the street. Most High School students have no interest in mixing with young kids, and those who did would have to leave the place they were supposed to be and go hang out inside and elementary school where they would be quite conspicuous. How do you imagine it would be possible for one of these kids to spend enough time with your child to "groom" your child for sexual abuse? Yes, that happens. Usually with an adult that already knows a child and family well. Often a family member. Not often with a kid who attends high school across the street. Educate yourself and your family about realistic risk factors and how to recognize a sexual predator and stop worrying about false risks.

Gen Ed Mom
Anonymous said…
Please don't make assumptions and statements like "it seems clear" or "prejudice disguised" that are not true about many of us who are questioning the safety of locating IRS right across the street from John Hay Elementary.

My views are based on talking to a few formerly troubled teens (all from QA and Magnolia) who not only have been "in the trenches" but have known and been friends with kids who have struggled with drug and alcohol addiction and sobriety. The teens I have spoken with are all adamant that the IRS should not be right across the street from JH. Their biggest concern is the mental stability of teens, especially those who have struggled with chemical dependency. Combine the raging hormones/emotions of a teen and then the challenges of chemical dependency and you can have a potentially lethal combination.

This is not about bringing in kids "from the wrong side of the tracks". I am sure there are just as many teens who have struggled with this in QA, Magnolia, Ballard, etc. as anywhere else. And I believe that most of the Interagency schools are not located in single family neighborhoods anyways. I find it interesting that many commenters on this board feel that everyone should be up on all aspects of everything involved in the entire SPS district. I do my best to be involved but naturally I am most concerned with my own neighborhood because I live here. Our lives are busy and I think most people do what they can.

- QA Parent
Blue bus, just because it isn't the norm here, doesn't mean they don't do it elsewhere throughout the country. Drive thru any small town and you will often see the elementary, middle and then high school campus.

Those rapes you referenced happen between kids of the same age.

The question may be asked at the meeting but it is unlikely these students will be on any bus with little kids.
Anonymous said…
I haven't commented much on this issue, because it is not happening in my neighborhood, but as the mother of a teen, I, too was offended by the comments posted by "blue bus."

You can add John Rogers and Hale to the list of elementary and high schools in close proximity to each other. John Rogers is not across the street from Hale, but close enough that the Hale Ultimate Team uses the John Rogers lower field.

Perhaps the root of the problem is the lack of teens currently on Queen Anne...a consequence of there being no high school on Queen Anne. Teens are shipped off elsewhere now (to Ballard), and they have, evidently, become an unknown entity.

We tend to fear what we do not know.

The Interagency kids are making a HUGE effort to stay clean and finish high school. They have a higher than normal staff to student ratio, and more supervision and accountability than you will find at most comprehensive high school. They are kids who need the support of the community, not fear and hysteria.

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said…
QA Parent,

I am curious to know if any of these teens you have talked with have spelled out how the consequences of the location of the school could be potentially lethal specifically to elementary students? Teens trying to kick substance abuse problems are likely potentially lethal mostly to themselves. Protesting their school placement isn't going to help that at all.

Gen Ed Mom
Anonymous said…
I just wanted to add two points to what others are telling Blue Bus. My ex lives in a gated community in a wealthy New England suburb, and for a time my older kids went to school there. One elementary, the middle school and the high school were on the same grounds together. Kids of different ages rode the buses together. There were no rampant rapes or other mayhem.

I also have a child who attended Dunlap. She DID actually encounter high school students from Rainier Beach and Franklin regularly-when they came to do homework help after school. You're borrowing trouble that doesn't exist.

Not Robot
Tina Podlodowski said…
Hey all – I’ve been a part of the discussions since the neighborhood heard about the Recovery School.

Here’s what I’ve learned, and I think many questions have been answered – more to come at the December 10th meeting. My two cents is that the neighborhood need to come together to work with SPS to help make the Recovery School successful, and a welcomed part of the neighborhood. Here’s why:

1) The decision on location is final. Flip Herndon has explained that the standard operating procedure is not to do a community process when placing a program at a location and in hindsight perhaps they should have (ya think?) Nevertheless, that is "SOP". There is not another location for the recovery school among the meager options available. So this location is it. The Board will not reverse as it is an operational decision. The only appeal is to the Superintendent, and that is very, very, very unlikely.

Do know that it's the lower level that is being configured for the recovery school, and that the gym will remain intact. That does open up the site for after school and weekend use (the neighborhood should think about this) and for possible other future uses. Once construction is done, there will be landscaping to make the site look much better - that's a positive.

2) A risk mitigation plan and an emergency plan will be in place prior to opening in Feb 2015. All students and visitors will be greeted and signed in via a staffed front desk. Also, SPS will work with SPD to be sure that they are prepared to respond quickly should the need arise.

This is an area we can surely ask for more detail as needed- and, it would seem wise to make sure the emergency plans for John Hay and QAE are also up to date at the same time. But I believe that fair-minded folks can make sure safety is resolved – for all students.

3) The school will be operated as a “closed” campus, meaning students will not leave the site for lunch. Staff will be onsite from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm during the school week. Students will not be at the school without adult supervision. There will be random and non-random drug testing of all students. Students have self-selected to attend Interagency Recovery School and have committed to actively work toward their academic and personal goals while attending school in a clean and sober environment.

These are motivated and self-selected students in a closed campus. I do have some questions about what happens if a student is not successful and how to handle hours when Hay and QAE are in session if there are concerns. But I believe that fair-minded folks can make sure those are resolved – for all students.

4) Staffing - will have admin staff on site. The school will be staffed with two certificated teachers, one paraprofessional (CEA) and one Recovery Support Counselor (Chemical Dependency Professional). Trisha Bryant will serve as the Site Lead. If enrollment grows, a third teacher may be added.

I think it's worth it to ask how the day will actually run, and how engaged staff is in safety - also, if they get to planned enrollment (50-60) how does that impact the plan and the staffing?

OK - there is far more to ask and write but I don't have time right now. But, I do think it's far better for the parents of Queen Anne to spend our future energy figuring out how to make this work well for everyone going forward. We might even find some unexpected opportunities.

Finally, SPS has to change how they communicate (I know I’m preaching to the choir here). A lot of upset could have been avoided by just some notice and meeting up front.

Thanks for listening.
Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…
blue bus,
Why are you conflating the recovery school focused on supporting students in recovery from substance abuse with a completely unrelated viscerally upsetting issue?
RAPE! yes we can all type in caps, it adds nothing to the red herring you are presenting as a relevant issue.
We need to support students that have a tough road through recovery at a young age.

Happy to be here
QA_Lifer said…
QA Parent,
Did you speak with formerly troubled teens who were in a supportive recovery program where they were self-selected after deciding to turn their lives around and get/remain drug and alcohol-free? Or just kids who used to be troubled? Giant difference there.

Anonymous said…

I spoke with kids who knew/were friends with kids who had gone to rehab and were either in a SPS alternative school (Middle College) or trying to get back into the general school population. They were all from supportive families. But they struggled/are struggling. Since the IRS is a new program in Seattle, maybe they will try to get in there?

Anyhow, based on Tina's post, it sounds as if there are some good safety precautions in place so far. I like the idea of the closed campus, at least for starters. And I am also interested in the plans for the student if the student is not successful as well. I also hope there will be a plan in place for loitering as the school faces the JH playground.

I also agree that there may be some unexpected opportunities. If this in inevitable, I really hope this is a huge success.

-QA Parent
Anonymous said…
blue bus, I have to say that your comments are beyond offensive. I'm not going to call you names, but I am going to call out your comments as offensive. It is just this kind of fear-mongering that leads to tragedy and distrust among communities. You are entitled to your fear, unjustified as it may be, but you are not entitled to spew forth and have the rest of us simply accept it.

And just so you and others are aware, Seattle Children's Home, which includes McGraw Center, has co-existed for many decades four blocks from Coe Elementary without a single incident. McGraw Center is a residential treatment center for adolescents with severe histories of abuse, self-abuse, drug and alcohol dependency, and sexual abuse and offending. While these kids are in lockdown most of the time, they do get some independence (when earned) and nearly all participate in QA community activities.

You should better educate yourself and apologize for your comments.

--- swk
Anonymous said…
@QA Parent,

FWIW, my child, as a 4th grader, actually attended class at an alternative high school several afternoons a week. This was a small, continuation high school for kids at risk of dropping out, and many faced a lot of personal challenges. While we were initially a little nervous about putting our child with HS students who were dealing with some serious issues, we ultimately decided this was our best option--and it turned out great. We had zero problems with the other students--who were polite to my child in class, but otherwise pretty much just ignored him (as appropriate and expected). These kids were trying hard to succeed--that's why they were there, instead of dropping out--and the school itself seemed like a bit of a safe haven for them, with caring and supportive staff. I imagine the recovery school on QA would have a similar positive feel.

My young child was never exposed to inappropriate comments, behavior, images, etc. while at that continuation high school. I only wish I could say the same for the year spent at Coe Elementary in Queen Anne, where an overnight field trip provided unsupervised time for a fellow elementary student to subject his cabinmates to disturbing sexual stories for much of the night, to their great distress. The idea that keeping young kids away from teenagers prevents exposure to inappropriate material is an illusion. However, the proximity of the two schools might make it easier for parents of older elementary students to broach the subject of risky teen behaviors with their own kids--a great learning opportunity.

Anonymous said…
What I'd like to see is the community come together with respect and work together like, well, a community. With a civil discussion, and less passion.

It might look like this:

Our concerns are our kids' safety. How can we manage that concern? Then talk about issues, share information, discuss methods to mitigate any potential dangers: start times, closed campus, ways to monitor and respond to any problems the community observes, etc.

(SPS has provided that info, but wouldn't it be better to have been worked out together, rather than a defensive response after some members of the community's reacted so strongly? This is on SPS for poor communication, but IMHO, also on the writers of the initial, incendiary petition. The point is, how to do it better next time?)

On the other side, SPS or the school administration could state their concerns, such as the damage to the school and kids of being pariahs before they even open.

So much better if everyone had a civil discussion to get to a place where the neighborhood safety concerns are addressed, and mitigated, and the school's need for community support was also met.

This is an object lesson in how not to handle conflict.

Better Next Time
Anonymous said…
I agree it is a great learning opportunity for my kids. To know that these kids are having a hard time recovering from addiction, and have to work hard at it and need a special school just emphasizes the dangers of experimenting with drugs and alcohol at this young age.

Better Next Time
Anonymous said…
@HIMSmom, fantastic story! Thank you for sharing. I do believe that mixing age groups can be a boon for all. I support the K-8 system for this very reason. I know for a fact that 6-8th graders come out much more "innocent" than kids who have gone to a 6-8 grade Middle School. And maybe a takeaway from your experience (and from a couple others who have shared like stories) is that these kids are working hard to be MORE conscientious than "regular" HS students? Great conversation.

-QA Parent
Anonymous said…
I think John Rogers and Hale have benefited from their close proximity.

In the past, there have been students from Hale, who were interested in pursuing Elementary Education as a career, who have partnered with teachers at John Rogers, helping in the classroom. Also, Hale students seeking community service hours have volunteered at John Rogers school events and have helped with after school clubs (under adult supervision, of course).

This type of cooperation between grade levels doesn't necessarily have to happen in K-8 or K-12 school settings.

- North-end Mom
Anonymous said…
I don't actually see or hear many QA residents disturbed by Interagency school. The school itself is not the topic of conversation. The FUSS over it is. SPU is about to open its campus to Tent City 3 for 6 months. For almost a century, Seattle Children's Home on QA (started as an orphanage) was a residential facility for children's with severe mental health issues and disabilities. The Home was surrounded by million $ addresses. People living nearby were used to keeping an eye out for the occasional lost child from the facility. Old timers will tell you Olympic Way and the streets facing the Space Needle were full of flop houses and catered to those who like to rent by the hour as well.

It's far too easy to amplify the voices of the few disaffected and likewise to counter it in equal measure. Blogs and FB are good places for many to take a stand and network. Good to be on the righteous and get your name out there. Just adds to QA colorful history.

Anonymous said…
Would add for being the vanguard state to vote overwhelmingly to legalize pot drawing red and blue voters alike, this school (and others like it) is going to be needed more than ever. Gateway drug and all that. Sad, but true when you look at the statistics. Think of it as SPS planning ahead for a change.


Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…
I would encourage blue bus and others who have anxiety of the IRA placement to flesh out their fears. Are you worried about a kid going berserk and breaking in with an automatic weapon? Are you worried the high schooler are gong to walk to the other street looking for a lonely student to lure away? If you give your fear enough detail you may soon come to realize that recovery school doesn't present any danger to your children.

I hope that the high schoolers have some opportunity to work with the elementary school students as reading buddies or field day volunteers or something like that.

Former SPSParent
QA_Lifer said…
"Recovery School and Elementary School Children DO NOT MIX. Period."

and I assume you have even one iota of proof to back up this claim?
Anonymous said…
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Counterbalanced said…
Let's first of all be very clear: this is not a debate about the importance of the Interagency Program, its students, or of whether they belong in our "community". The program and its students are important and they both need the support of their communities. Indeed, these students are already in our community, whether we want to acknowledge that or not.

Rather, this debate is solely about the wisdom of CHOOSING to locate the school within a stone's throw of 500 young children while other, better locations exist, and doing so with an intentional lack of transparency and community involvement.

Are we to assume that NO additional risk for John Hay's students will exist once this school is opened a mere 25 feet from the playground? If not, the question for me then becomes, "How much additional risk will there be?". Those of you who prefer reasoned, thoughtful assessments to important questions may wish to take a moment to critically weigh this issue. It is important. Several concerned parents of John Hay students have tried, and the District's inability to provide any meaningful information around this has me more concerned than I was at the beginning. Their recent FAQ is an example of the lack of substance they have demonstrated throughout the process that brought us here.

The District has not provided statistics as to the success/failure rates of Interagency Students, how many of them have historically relapsed, how many students convicted of violent crimes will be enrolled from the start, and so on. Furthermore, there have been no assurances that this school will remain focused on recovering addicts and not change its mandate to serve more violent students. Perhaps most troublingly, people in the administration have admitted that no additional safety concerns are taken into account when choosing sites for these schools than there would be for any other proposed school. Does this seem reasonable to you? The Interagency's own website carries a link to an article from the Seattle Times that carries numerous references to violence and how it impacts the program, including where some students are located. Here is the link. Please read it:

To pretend that we have no basis for our concerns is an easy way out for some. But more importantly, many of is feel it is also to fail the children at John Hay in particular. We are unwilling to blindly trust a District that functions in this manner with the safety of our kids. Are you? Would you be if you had young kids at John Hay?

The safety of children requires something more than "It will be fine". It requires proof from the Distrcit that we as parents need not be concerned. Current efforts to date have had the opposite effect. As such, I will continue to advocate for another location.
Anonymous said…
@Anonymous @2:29pm

You have to sign with some sort of "name" for your comments to have them not be deleted. Excellent comments and I have copied your thread to re-post in case it IS deleted.

- QA Parent
Counterbalanced said…
Thanks for the tip. Just updated.
Anonymous said…
@ Anon/Counterbalanced

You mentioned that SPS has space - somewhere other than Queen Anne Gym, at "better locations" to house the Interagency Recovery Program. Where, exactly, would that space be?

John Hay is truly blessed, in that it is located in a quiet, residential neighborhood.

Years ago, weren't there high school students housed behind John Hay, at Queen Anne HS? Probably hundreds more than the 10-80 students in the Interagency program? Was it OK back then to have a high school across from an elementary school?

Queen Anne has sidewalks, yes? Did you know that there are some neighborhoods IN SEATTLE that lack sidewalks, yet SPS had the audacity to locate schools in these neighborhoods without sidewalks? Kids of all ages have to do without sidewalks on their commutes to and from school...except for along some of the main drags, like Lake City Way, with its pot shops, liquor stores, and strip clubs.

Would it be more appropriate, in your view, to locate the Interagency Recovery School out of a safe residential neighborhood, and closer to main drags with these "amenities?"

I applaud SPS for finding a safe location for this very deserving program.

- reality check
Rufus X said…
@Counterbalanced said "this debate is solely about the wisdom of CHOOSING to locate the school within a stone's throw of 500 young children while other, better locations exist,"

Where are these other, better locations? What makes them "better"?

The District has not provided statistics as to the success/failure rates of Interagency Students,"

What defines success/failure - graduated from high school (whether IA or other school), or another/other metric(s) that define success/failure? For any and all of IA locations, or just this one that doesn't exist yet?

As for "how many of them have historically relapsed, how many students convicted of violent crimes", Those answers may be filed under "none of our beeswax".
QA Parent said…
@ Better Next Time "I agree it is a great learning opportunity for my kids. To know that these kids are having a hard time recovering from addiction, and have to work hard at it and need a special school just emphasizes the dangers of experimenting with drugs and alcohol at this young age."

And I'm sure 4,5,6 year olds totally grasp this cause and affect relationship, right?
Yes, I'd like to know these "better locations." Because if you have nothing specific in mind, then, of course, somewhere in the world there might be a better place but we're talking about SPS.

I don't think anyone's concerns or unhappiness is unfounded. The level of it? I don't get. These are kids who WANT to be in school; they are not being forced to go. I think most of them know what it means. They will be supervised.

I think this will be one interesting meeting and again, people keep your cool.
Anonymous said…
Just for clarification: I am QA Parent and I DID NOT SAY THIS:
"QA Parent said...
@ Better Next Time "I agree it is a great learning opportunity for my kids. To know that these kids are having a hard time recovering from addiction, and have to work hard at it and need a special school just emphasizes the dangers of experimenting with drugs and alcohol at this young age."

And I'm sure 4,5,6 year olds totally grasp this cause and affect relationship, right?"
@BetterNextTime said the quote about opportunity.

-QA Parent
Counterbalanced said…
@Rufus: one criterion for "better" would be a safe distance from an elementary school. There are other locations owned by the District that meet this criterion. When I get a chance, I will post them.

Success: that is for the IA program to decide. If they haven't, that's a problem, particularly given national figures that put the incidence of relapse well above 50%.

It is most certainly my business as a parent whether known viloent criminals are voluntarily being sent to a school so close to where many of us send our children. I do not wish to violate anyone's privacy, just give me a vague but reasonably accurate answer. How can we assess safety without this? Also, given that the District has already disclosed that these students are chemically dependent by the very name of the school, what about a history of violence should not meet the same standard? Frankly, it may be more important.
Anonymous said…
I teach at Interagency-UDYC, where our classrooms are located in the same hallway as a Montessori preschool program. The only thing separating its space from our space is a rolling bulletin board. There are two other children's school programs located in the same building. In fourteen years of sharing a location, there has not been a single incident involving any of the programs or younger children. In fact, there are rarely any significant behavior issues at all in that hallway because our students respect the fact that there are younger children around.

Three Interagency students recently interviewed with the director of one of the programs, and will begin internships there in January. At least three of the current employees of the children's school are former Interagency students.

I have been a teacher with Interagency for over twenty years, and my first site was located in the old Crown Hill School building. We shared a hallway with a preschool and also Small Faces Child Development Center. During my four years at that site, there were no incidents between Interagency students and younger children.

The population of the Recovery School will be different from that of many of the other IA sites. Please keep this in mind as you gather information about Interagency -- each site has its own characteristics, agency partners, etc.

I understand the concerns of some of the parents, and would encourage everyone to try to come together to make it work for all of the kids -- Interagency, Hay, QA -- because I think it can be done.

IA Teacher
David said…
Counterbalanced - you just lost all credibility with me when you called these kids violent criminals.
Anonymous said…
For what its worth there are other SPS elementary schools with social service agencies nearby. An adult residential drug rehab facility is located next door to Broadview Thomson. These kinds of inpatient facilities are unlocked so clients are free to leave. There is only a fence between it and the schoolyard and Bitterlake Park.Would I prefer that the facility be located somewhere else? Yup, but kids and families walk by this rehab center every day without incident (me included) and it is far less secure than Interagency. So, Q.A. folks try to keep it in perspective. I get that SPS did not communicate the intent to place an Interagency High School but geeze this has blown-up so out of proportion that it boggles the mind.

Bitterlake Neighbor
Counterbalanced said…
@David: I neither value nor desire your endorsement of my credibility, particularly since you are willing to attribute to me words I did not use.

I am specific about convictions. Unless you consider our judicial system to be a sham, this generalizes no one. It is specific to individuals.
Anonymous said…

You are taking Counterbalanced's (CB) remarks out of context. Read the thread and you will see that CB originally asked the question if SPS will let us know if any of these kids have a violent criminal background. Another poster, Rufus X, said that "it's none of your beeswax". CB then responded that it IS our business if any kids who might be violent criminals would be going to school next to an elementary school.

Just wanting to make sure everyone has clarity.

- QA Parent
Counterbalanced said…
@David: I see Imdid use the words, so I stand corrected. But they remain valid.
Anonymous said…

Still waiting for that list of "better" locations within the SPS inventory.


-reality check
Rufus X said…
@QA Parent - I said it may be filed under none of OUR beeswax. Not "it's none of your" beeswax. As in there is confidential information about students that ALL of us do not have a right to know. You know, on account of it being confidential.
Anonymous said…
@Counterbalance, you wrote "Rather, this debate is solely about the wisdom of CHOOSING to locate the school within a stone's throw of 500 young children while other, better locations exist, and doing so with an intentional lack of transparency and community involvement."

The thing is the QAHS Gym is owned by SPS. There are few small locations in SPS's inventory. And to lease a space would take dollars from the General Fund. Dollars away from all other classrooms.

So perhaps there are sites that you can think of as alternatives. However, SPS has to consider far more than if there is a property with room? They have to consider cost, safety, transportation, and accessibility, among many other considerations.

I support IRS at QAHS Gym. In my opinion, it is not about drugs/alcohol, safety, or transparency. It is about inclusion, and professionalism. Having an alternative to a comprehensive HS, one where kids receive supports from trained, experienced staff for _all_ of their challenges and can connect with peers who have similar struggles, is a best practice for any school district.

Kids who struggle with dependency need to "specialized" instruction, and they benefit from being in an environment that knows how to support their sobriety and recovery.

Meg Ferris, QA mom and SEL co-chair for QAE
QA Rez said…
Not only are these kids not violent criminals, they are not criminals.
Webster said…
My daughter attended Summit K-12 and it was a wonderful opportunity for family atmosphere in a school.
My grandparents, and my mother ( before they moved to Seattle) attended schools that were also K-12 as it was a very rural community.
The Islamic school is very close to Garfield and to the Mann building that housed Nova.
Ballard high school used to have a preschool (Summit had a daycare)
i would love to see more cross age opportunities for Seattle students.
Webster said…
That was me Jet CityMom^^^^
Anonymous said…
Here is Windermere's listing for Broadmoor, Madison Park's nondiverse gated community.

I'm late to this discussion, but from my reading, I'm glad I didn't arrive earlier.

Last I checked Queen Anne is not a gated community. And thank the good lord for that. There is no zoning, no law, no policy, no covenant keeping Interagency from the proposed site.

These kids need, deserve and have a right to a home within the school system. The proposed location will work just fine. Get moving on the welcome (or move).

Longtime reader

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