Highline's In-School Suspension Program

Good story from KOMO news about Highline's in-school suspension program.  Sounds to me like they have covered their bases well but to have this kind of in-school suspension program you need resources and space.  SPS would probably have the resources if they devoted some McCleary dollars but space?  Kind of at a premium.  Oh wait, maybe those City pre-K classrooms.

I note that Highline's superintendent is former Seattle Schools super Susan Enfield.  I went to Highline's home page and found this in her first-of-the-year message to parents:

To start off, we have a new web-based tool called ThoughtExchange that will allow you to share your ideas and feedback about anything you want us to know. You will be invited to go to our ThoughtExhange website and share your thoughts in early October.  

We will be engaging our families and community on two very important topics this year: ensuring that all our high school students have access to the challenging coursework they need to be prepared for success, and providing facilities that address our growing enrollment and meet our students’ learning needs. We will be hosting a year-long series of community meetings on both topics.

Year-long?  Like really doing authentic engagement and not some pro forma meetings?  Son of gun.  But on the other hand:

To ensure we have deep community participation in planning our future school facilities, we are convening a Capital Facilities Advisory Committee that will make recommendations for a long-term facilities plan and a future bond. Fifteen members will be appointed by outside organizations (our cities, employee associations, and community organizations) and the remaining 25 will be selected by lottery.

Forty people for a district Highline's size (19,000 students)?  


Anonymous said…
So Dr. Enfield wants to ensure that all have access to challenging course work. Perhaps the HD needs to focus on preparing students for challenging course work in high school.

Math MSP 2013
33% well below standard

2014 no testing

Math SBAC 2015
38% well below standard

-- Dan Dempsey
dan dempsey said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
Pretty snarky, Dan. Seems you have an axe to grind. I know there are plenty of things to gripe about, but how about a little credit where credit is due? I certainly wasn't a fan of everything Enfield did at SPS, but we moved our kid to highline (for Aviation HS) and I have to say it has been a breath of fresh air. Communication with the district is a snap. There is a great phone app that gives us all updates (in multiple languages!) for everything from snow days to calendar changes to asking for feedback. Engagement is real. Also, it is abundantly clear it is a different demographic - less money, no guaranteed levy passage. I think she's doing a great job with a poor situation (two failed levies and a capacity crisis). There is actual planning and engagement. Isn't that what this post is about? Before you deflected to poor graduation rates?

Rare Commenter
I deleted Dan's comment because I don't like overly long, chart-like comments (and this from readers who write to me). Please put a link next time.

Rare is right; I put this up as an example of how in-house suspensions can be handled well.
Sarah said…
I pulled my kids out of the Highline School District after my son attended one year in the small high schools on the Evergreen Campus. Rats roamed the halls at night, the students are assigned no books and no homework, and grade inflation is the norm. Students in AP classes fail at a 90% rate, and remedial classwork in college is at 60-75% for graduates from the small schools.

The Highline out-of-school suspension rate looks great on paper, but the overall suspension rate has not dropped a bit. I have attended Highline school board meetings where teachers have spoken in tears begging the District to help with out of control students. Enfield has stated she want teachers to ,"act like adults," and handle these kids. Parent has spoken of pulling their kids out of schools because class time gets derailed by wild kids who are sent back into the classroom.

Aviation is a gem of a school, but currently only 30% of Highline kids are admitted to the school. Highline has low income and minority kids, but more district kids need rigorous and fulfilling secondary educational opportunities.
Anonymous said…
A capacity committee made up of random people? Really? Not selected to represent a cross section of stakeholders who are both parents and experts? Just a lottery drawing? Silly.

Capacity drivers are complex and facilities programming is very technical. To pick random looky-lous who may bail after 3 meetings seems like the antithesis of good planning. It is just plain weird. Makes it like a spectator sport. Not sure how value add this exercise will be. Maybe it is just a stunt to showcase how dire the situation is and how critical passing the levy will be. Basically, all theater and political, but not real or productive.

Facilities Planning?
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
Reposting for Anonymous (you need to pick a name or get deleted):

Highline is implementing a new discipline policy but it comes with a cost. Keeping students in school is ideal but if they don't graduate, what is the difference? A 62.9% grad rate is unacceptable. I wish all of Highline schools are like Raisbeck Aviation, but they are not. RAHS is a applicant only school. The rest are open to all students. As Sarah said, only 30% of RAHS students come from Highline. Let Seattle take a lesson as to what we need to be successful with this new discipline policy. Here is what is needed

1. Small classes with highly experienced and skilled teachers. Highine is losing experienced teachers.

2. Safe and modern schools. Three out of four of our high schools need to be replaced.

3. Highly paid and trained reengagement specialists that are well staffed in each and every school. We are way understaffed.

4. Leadership that carries some sensitivity of this issue to the parents, staff and community. At a Regional Law Safety and Justice committee meeting in May 2015, our Superintendent explained her response to the reactions of the community. "Dr. Enfield believes that while there should be consequences, in some cases adults overreact and we must take a step back and realize that we’re grownups. " This is not helpful.

To properly tackle this problem, our schools need to be fully funded. It is the only way this will work.

-- feeling kind
Highline parent said…
Yes of course. Thank you "feeling kind".
Unknown said…
Today, Arne Duncan announced plans for interrupting the school to prison pipeline. It's a great speech, but I want to know what the plans are. I would like to see plans to fund positive supports as well as trauma-informed education. I woulld like to see greater recognition of the fact that 25%-40% of students who end up incarcerated are students with disabilities. http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/investing-teachers-instead-prisons

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