Seattle Schools Statement on the Legislative Session and Capacity Needs

The District issued a statement today about the growing capacity needs in SPS and how the Seattle Legislative delegation worked to secure funding to help meet those needs.

I'll post the entire statement but one caveat - for some reason they changed Rep. Reuven Carlyle's statement but I'll post the first one in red and the updated one in black.  I do not know why this change occurred.

One thing I learned is that state money went to accelerating the timeline for Arbor Heights.  
Press Release

SEATTLE – Enrollment projections in Seattle Public Schools are showing an increase of 7,000 more students over the next seven years, making it necessary for the district to upgrade and open more schools to address its capacity needs.

Thanks to the budget request and support from the state legislators who represent Seattle Public Schools' citizens, $25 million has been allocated for SPS construction in the recently passed Capital Budget. Specifically:

·         $10M to modernize and repair distressed schools
·         $15M to help modernize and re-open the Magnolia and E.C. Hughes schools. 

Dr. Nyland specifically pointed to the efforts of Senators Jamie Pedersen and David Frockt and Representatives Reuven Carlyle and Gerry Pollet who led the Seattle Delegation effort.  "These legislators led the effort to ensure that these critical budget requests were supported by the entire Seattle delegation and they would not have been secured without their unified support,” Dr. Nyland said.

"We are grateful to our state legislators: they led the drive to help us with our urgent needs to ease address overcrowding," Superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland said. "Our students and staff need safe, clean buildings for an optimum teaching and learning environment and these funds are critical to addressing our growing enrollment."

Thanks to the Seattle delegation, these funds can be leveraged by the voters in the next BTA to re-open Magnolia Elementary School at least two years earlier.  This level of state investment in a single building will help alleviate capacity in other neighboring elementary schools.

$9.4 million was awarded in June 2012 during the 2011-13 biennium to repair and modernize the John Marshall, Louisa Boren and (old) Van Asselt School buildings. Additionally, $10 million was awarded in July 2013 during the 2013-15 biennium to repair and modernize the Cedar Park School building and for the accelerated new replacement of the Arbor Heights Elementary School building.

"Seattle has some of the most overcrowded schools in the state," said Senator Frockt. "With enrollment increasing and the need to lower sizes to comply with the Supreme Court's McCleary ruling, the entire Seattle legislative delegation is working together to get more state funding for school construction, repair and renovation. The Distressed Schools Grant money that Seattle Public Schools received this year and in 2011, will help address the district's capacity needs."

“As a parent with four kids making their way through the Seattle Public Schools, I’m excited about the future of our city, and quality buildings with supported teachers are part of the foundation of becoming one of the best urban districts nationally,” said Rep. Carlyle, a Queen Anne resident who chairs the House Finance Committee.  “The Magnolia school is more than proverbial bricks and mortar, it’s a community building with spirit and soul and one of my personal and professional dreams is to see  hundreds of kids on the playgrounds again.”  

"Seattle's school children face severe overcrowding,” Representative Carlyle added. “It's hard to learn out in the hallway or on a lunchroom stage. The funds mean a lot to our children. This is just the first step to provide safe, healthy schools that aren't overflowing."

In addition, funds were secured to continue the expiring and successful Urban School Turnaround Initiatives Grant for Rainer Beach High School and Aki Kurose Middle School, thanks to the leadership of Rep. Eric Pettigrew. The grant totaled $600,000 ($400,000 year one and $200,000 year two) split evenly between the two schools.

The funds are allocated out of the 2015-2016 state biennium budget and will need to be used in conjunction with district approved BTA levy funds to undertake these projects which will help address urgent capacity issues.


Anonymous said…
I am a bit skeptical.

In addition, funds were secured to continue the expiring and successful Urban School Turnaround Initiatives Grant for Rainer Beach High School and Aki Kurose Middle School, thanks to the leadership of Rep. Eric Pettigrew. The grant totaled $600,000 ($400,000 year one and $200,000 year two) split evenly between the two schools.

Vocabulary question:
successful Urban School Turnaround Initiatives Grant

Was the successful part that a grant was secured?

Or did the grant actually produce some success?

If so what was the success and how was it measured.

Most of the RttT turnaround strategies did not produce measurable improvement.

It is really hard to attribute success to a particular action but it should be easier to find some measure of success. Aki and RBHS seem to be doing better. If so what part did the grant play.

-- Dan Dempsey
Anonymous said…
Some background on the RBHS & Aki Kurose Grant

House OKs continuation of the Urban School Turnaround Initiative
Posted on March 4, 2013
Rep. Eric Pettigrew

In last year’s supplemental budget, the legislature allocated funds to accelerate student learning and target the achievement gap through research-based techniques in two Seattle schools.

Aki Kurose Middle School Academy and Rainier Beach High School, both located in Seattle, received $1 million grants to be spent in the 2012-2013 school year. Each school was required to submit a spending plan for the grant funds, and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction was charged with monitoring the activities of both schools.

(and more follows)

-- Dan Dempsey
Anonymous said…
In looking at the 2014 Letter Grades for schools HERE. I am confused.


A letter grading system gives parents and taxpayers a clear, understandable measure of each school’s performance in serving the learning needs of children. Educators give letter grades to students every day to assess academic progress through the year. In the same way, letter grades for schools would show policymakers and the public how well schools are performing.

But does it?

Rainier Beach HS received an " F- " grade for lowest 5% in state

but look at RBHS performance over the last four years
in the academic performance index.

select ESD 123 - Seattle - Rainier Beach

I see dramatic improvement at RBHS over the last four years.
Does that " F- " really tell policymakers and the public how well RBHS is performing?

RBHS proficiency by year
2011 => 3.94
2012 => 4.69
2013 => 6.75
2014 => 6.54

Aki Kurose got a " C "
2011 => 5.25
2012 => 4.94
2013 => 5.73
2014 => 5.98

Why the Governor and legislators thought a single letter grade would tell anything of value about a school beats me. I guess the "Reform Ed lobby" folks told them to do it. So they did.

-- Dan Dempsey
Anonymous said…
RBHS seems to be caught in a "Catch 22" situation.

Oh My -- read the following
as it explains that RBHS stays at " F- " for a while.

c. A Continuing Priority school is placed into the Lowest 5% tier until a Turnaround Plan has been implemented for three years and the school meets the predetermined exit criteria. These Priority Schools could be showing blue and green cells for the current year and have a good index rating but are placed into the Lowest 5% tier regardless of other performance because the school did not meet exit criteria.

4. What happens now that my school is in the Lowest 5% tier?
Schools placed into the Lowest 5% tier are designated as Priority Schools based on the low academic performance of the All Students group using multiple years of data. The school will work with the OSPI to identify areas in need of improvement and create a school improvement plan aligned with a federal school Turnaround Model or the Washington Synergy Model. Priority Schools are required to implement a Turnaround Model for three years and meet predetermined performance criteria to exit Priority School status.

Bulletin - The Federal School Turnaround Models have produced inconsistent results.

Here is a Turnaround model example =>
Check Totem Middle School in Marysville received a $2.3 million SIG award.

check results - HERE for 8th grade math.

This school's math program was praised by LEV in December 2011 =>

Totem Middle School has solution for Math Success

Earlier this week, LEV staff members visited Totem Middle School, and it’s safe to say we were blown away. With half of the students receiving free or reduced lunch, Totem has been able to do something remarkable – turn around their math scores dramatically in just three years.

Just take a look at these statistics:

- 2009-2010: 12% of their students took Algebra I in 8th grade

- 2010-2011: 45% of their students took Algebra I in 8th grade

- 2011-2012: 83% of their students are taking Algebra I in 8th grade.

Does placing 8th grade students into an Algebra I class indicate accomplishment?
The LEV article fails to reference any math scores.

The student pass rates for 8th grade math MSP have never exceeded 40% and in 2014 dropped to 28%.

EoC algebra I pass rates for grade 8 students

-- Dan Dempsey

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