Sunday, November 01, 2015

Dear Directors - Say No to the Assignment Plan Overhaul

Suggested e-mail to the Board on this issue with key points; edit at will.

If you want the Board AND senior staff to see your e-mail, write to :

If you want ONLY the Board to see your e-mail, write to:

If you want to sign up to speak at the Board meeting, call at 8 am Monday morning, 252-0040 and follow the prompts or send your email on or after 8am Monday morning to boardagenda@seattleschools.org

E-mail suggestion

Dear Directors,
I am a parent at X School.  I have read the red-lined version of the Student Assignment Plan and here's why you should NOT vote for this plan:

1) There has been little public notification about it. 

The meetings earlier in the fall were advertised as "Growth Boundaries Community Meetings" and not assignment plan meetings.  The notice talked about boundary changes in West Seattle and nowhere else.

Three community meetings are scheduled in October to discuss the changes to school boundaries and the student assignment plan for the 2016-17 year.

It does NOT say "changes TO the student assignment plan."  What it said was:

Additionally, the district is proposing minor revisions to the Student Assignment Plan to streamline and clarify questions that have been raised over the past several years. Revisions include elimination of the distance tiebreaker and other conflicting statements.

These are NOT minor revisions.

2) Not enough time to read and disseminate the red-lined version.  This version was not available the week after the October 21 Board meeting.  In fact, it did not come on-line for the public until Friday, October 30th sometime between 4:15-4:55 pm.  That's not enough time for public review and comment on an issue as huge as this one.


1) Waitlist dissolution - Changing the date may be needed but there is NO plan on what happens at schools that DO have space and what parents who want to access that space should do. 

2) Program Pathways - This is HUGE and yet downplayed by staff.  You cannot take what has been fundamentally understood for at least 15 years - the pathways for programs - and just dump it without fully explaining what happens next and why.  That's APP, that's Spectrum, that's international schools, etc.

In addition, approving this section means the Board ceding more power over the student assignment plan to the Superintendent.  A big red flag.

3) Grandfathering.  Staff admits that there will be coming boundary changes with enrollment growth and new buildings coming online.  And yet, they strictly curtail any grandfathering with two little words - "if available."  Any principal could decide that they want to keep their size down and use programming and/or new students who move to the area as a way to not allow in students.  There is NO explanation of how grandfathering will work. 

This is an equity issue that will disproportionally hurt poor students or those who parents do not understand/speak English well. 

Other issues

1) Choice seats.  Ms. Davies, not once but twice, referenced these in her dialog with you but if you take the red-lined document and look for the word "choice," you find it red-lined everywhere but under "siblings."  There are effectively NO choice seats to be had and again, that's an equity issue.  We have many specialty programs in high school and to cut them off to students outside that region is wrong.

2) I find Ms. Davies concern for parents getting information after the vote to be disingenuous.  Why isn't the concern to get this info out to parent communities before it is voted on?

3) Page 8 of the red-lined version - It would appear that families will no longer get a letter about their continuing assignments or new assignments.

Also, K-8 NO longer have an assignment to their attendance area middle school.

4) How you get on a waitlist.

If there are multiple students added to the same school/grade/program waiting waitlist on the same day, those students only will only be sequenced by lottery. (They will not move ahead of students already on the waiting list from Open Enrollment or from a previous day.) 

This would seem to indicate that you should enroll early because they will NOT be taking all the names on the waitlist into a lottery.  If someone enrolls days ahead of you, they'll be on the waitlist before you will.

Appendix A of Attendance Areas and Feeder Patterns - All feeder patterns appear to be gone.

This is a massive overhaul and school communities deserved the chance to read about it, ponder it and give you input.  They did not.

Please consider a NO vote on this plan.


JvA said...

Thanks, Melissa. I just posted about this on the HCC blog as well: http://discussapp.blogspot.com/2015/11/student-assignment-plan-proposal.html

Watching said...

Melissa, Thanks so much for your work.

Program pathways must be explored.

SPS Mom said...

I'm reading the non-redlined plan that was attached to the 10/21/15 agenda. It does look to be the same as the red-lined version of the document released on Friday. What this means is that the board could say that they've had 2 weeks to review the new policy (although they'd have a hard time saying that the changes were minor.)

What this means is that we should be careful about saying that the materials haven't been out to the board in a timely manner. We should emphasize that the changes are NOT minor clarifications, that the document notes an earlier waitlist dissolution, but doesn't give a date (although I think the date was mentioned during the board meeting), and that, until the red-lined document was released, it was challenging to see what the policy changes meant in action.

I'm just glad someone asked for a red-line version of the policy (and are red-line versions of changing policies a requirement as part of putting a revision forth?) If so, we might be able to get some traction there.

Eric B said...

It's worse than that. Really. The new policy puts all authority to assign students to any special service (SpEd, ELL, HCC, etc.) entirely within the Superintendent Procedure for Student Assignment (here: https://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/Migration/Families&Communities/3130SP.pdf). What do you find when you go look at that procedure? A whole lotta nothing that hasn't been updated since 2014. Nothing about what schools are designated for what services, what pathways for HCC and the like are, just... nothing. That is the right thing to do when the board policy sets the assignments, but it can't stand when the board policy is cut away.

Oh, and the superintendent procedure includes this little gem in the "Tips for Readers" section: The information in this manual is as accurate as possible at the time of publication. However, it is possible that some programs could be moved, eliminated, reduced, or modified; policies and guidelines may require periodic revisions. Major changes will be publicized as soon as they are known.

Translated: We can do whatever we like, and if you refer to this document, we'll tell you that some stuff changed and we don't have to follow it. Oy.

The Board can't approve this change in policy until they see the Superintendent Procedure. Even then, they're signing a blank check.

Outsider said...

Regarding the wait list issue -- the document states that very little movement happens over the summer anyway (an assertion of fact that could be checked; but sounds plausible) and moving the date to May 31 would not affect many people. It seems that:
1) if a school is popular and over-subscribed, it will stay that way and if you aren't in by the end of May, give it up.
2) the staff don't want any discretionary moves in September, even if the destination school has space, because they get screamed at if the school you want to leave would end up under-enrolled as a result, and would need to lose a teacher.
3) it's a boon to true newcomers to Seattle. Up to now, they had no access to plum assignments because they weren't around to enter the lottery the previous spring. But under the new plan, if a rare seat did open up over the summer at a popular school, it would be available only to newcomers.

It seems like they could, however, offer a very limited option to seek reassignment in September, if the move would not affect staffing in either the school you are leaving or the one you are going to.

Robert Cruickshank said...

It would be highly inappropriate for the outgoing board to take action on this, especially after the election. Ideally there would be no board meetings held between the election and the time that the election results have been certified and new members sworn in. If that's not possible for whatever reason, then the 4 outgoing members need to either resign, or recuse themselves from voting on policy changes.

It is appalling and offensive that the staff believe they can just spring a huge change like this on the board and the public without warning or public hearings and discussion. Those staff who decided to propose this should do the honorable thing and resign. If they won't, they need to be fired.

The last few weeks have seen a series of colossal failures on the part of SPS - the strike, the October teacher reshuffle, now this. And that's just some of the recent controversies. Four new people will be on the SPS board after the election. It is time for the board to clean house, starting at the top if necessary.

Watching said...

All changes should be red-lined. Directors receive hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of pages of information to decipher.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Watching, I believe that was Peaslee's point as well. To give them a document that does not clearly show the changes is wrong. They should not have to ask for a red-lined version.

Anonymous said...

TOPS parent alum here. During my students time central administration decided our school was actually a program and tried to displace our hundreds of kids out of Seward and move the school lock stock and barrel into Thurgood Marshall. Melissa will remember this. This was before the new student assignment plan, but not that far back in history. It took dozens of families hundreds of hours to keep our community from being displaced/decimated. It sidelined a year of learning for our students.

Then as now central administration did not want parents meddling in their brilliant plans. Then as now we and the school board are just no-nothings and know-nothings who get in the way of their professional expertise.

Then as now there is an essential disconnect. They are here to serve students and families. They are here to answer to the school board. It is not the other way around.

This document and underlying intent give far too much authority to central administration. It cannot be passed. If the current board does so, I will expect the board entering a few weeks later to do the right thing, upend that decision, and keep central administration in check.

SPS veteran

Anonymous said...

Wow, Nov has only just started and already this school year SPS admin has managed to:
1. Disrupt all families by presiding over the first teachers strike in decades (largely as a result their failure to properly engage the teachers union and negotiate the terms/conditions over summer and the introduction of last minute introduction of controversial conditions)
2. Outrage many parents with the new math scope in sequence debacle. The newly adopted math curriculum MIF is essentially now just an optional resource that teachers many use, while they follow the new, still in development, district math department scope and sequence. No public consultation or notification. No board input. Huge concern to anyone interested in good, equitable math instruction - (which we finally looked to be getting with MIF).
3. Outrage parents at multiple schools with October staff cuts - district gets enrollment predictions wrong, students suffer.
4. Outrage QAE parents by firing their longstanding principal in late October and disrupt another school by transferring their assistant principal to QAE. Arguably a justified dismissal but why 2 months into the school year and not over summer? 2 communities impacted.
5. Outrage anyone thats paying attention with this proposed student assignment plan. So many implications. It has potential to affect all students and will basically removed any checks and balances that may have been in place to hold this run-away administration in check. HCC, SpED, International schools, K-8s, families who move house, families who want choice...... all are at whim of district without any board input/oversight (the board represents interests of community). They are either incredibly stupid and tone death to what the community thinks of them or incredibly sure of themselves to try and push this through at the last minute. I guess never being challenged by the board might have given this sense of being untouchable.

There may be other examples that have really raised public/parent ire in the past couple of months - I am not abreast with all issues, esp involving SpED, ELL so the list might be longer.
But the fact is there have been at least 5 major public/parent- relation debacles, 5 things the district has done that clearly adversely affects students and their education, that parents are very upset about, so far this year and yet the district seems oblivious to public sentiment and impervious to it. There really is no stopping them.
It's time to say enough is enough. I've said it in regard to the staff cuts and in regard to the math scope/sequence issue, and I'll say it again now....

Time for a revolution

Anonymous said...

Pathways exist for educational reasons--to ensure access to appropriate classes based on prior academic programs/services received. Elimination of pathways is clear evidence that academics are not a primary concern. Or really, any concern at all.

District management are showing they can't handle the complexity of thinking and planning required to make things work without standardizing everything into a steaming pile of homogeneous mediocrity. They want one-size-fits-all, everywhere. It's all they can wrap their brains around, and it will make their jobs so much easier.

Streamline My@$$

Anonymous said...

Dear Directors,

I call on you to represent the best interests of students and families throughout Seattle and reject the proposed revisions to the Student Assignment Plan..

1. The proposed revisions do NOT make things any clearer for parents, nor do they reduce the need for collaboration across JSCEE departments. A wide range of departments--including Facilities and Operations, Enrollment Planning, Curriculum and Instruction, Advanced Learning, Special Education, and International Education--will still need to work together in developing the Superintendent's Procedures for Student Assignment, which will need to address all the details originally included in the Student Assignment Plan. The only thing this new plan "streamlines" is the need for Board oversight--by completely removing it from the process.

2. The current draft is a complete overhaul of the student assignment plan, and will have far-reaching impacts that have not been adequately analyzed. For example, if the HCC pathway to Garfield is eliminated, how will north-end high school capacity be managed prior to the reopening of Lincoln HS? Or how can the district maintain access to appropriate world language classes in high school if the international schools pathways are eliminated? This proposal goes far beyond simply cleaning up the current assignment plan or finalizing details associated with implementation of the 2009 plan.

3. There has not been sufficient community engagement. The public meetings referenced in the BAR were presented to the community as focused on minor boundary adjustments only, NOT a complete overhaul of the longstanding pathway approach included in the current Student Assignment Plan.


Anonymous said...


4. The plan is out of alignment with some district policies. For example, Policy 2190, "Highly Capable Services and Advanced Learning Programs" states that "the variety of instructional programs or services for students identified as Highly Capable will include pathways to sites with adequate cohorts of Highly Capable students in order to provide peer learning and social/emotional opportunities for these students, teachers with experience and/or professional development on the academic and social/emotional needs of these students, appropriate curriculum, appropriately differentiated instruction, deeper learning opportunities, and accelerated pacing." Any further changes to the district's required Highly Capable services could jeopardize compliance with state law.

5. The proposed plan leaves some important issues unresolved. For example, it does not address the process for determining, or appealing, the determination of whether appropriate services are available at one's neighborhood school. The draft plan reads: "It is the policy of the Seattle School Board that students shall have the opportunity to attend an elementary, middle, or high school in a designated attendance area based upon home address, unless the school designated by a student’s home address does not have the appropriate services for the student’s needs, as determined by the school district. In such instances, the student shall be assigned to a school that has the appropriate services. It is expected that most students will have the opportunity to attend their attendance area school." Does JSCEE have the capacity to undertake these assessments on a case-by-case basis, or will these determinations of appropriateness be done by group, disregarding individual students' needs? For example, if a student takes Algebra 2 in 8th grade and is thus on track to complete both 2nd year Calculus and AP Statistics, will the student have the option of attending a high school that offers these if their neighborhood school does not, and will this be automatic or require an appeal?

6. The proposed Student Assignment Plan puts the focus on operations, not education. The focus is on capacity management and enrollment planning, NOT what is best for student learning and outcomes. The Board has previously established school pathways for specific programs and services in order to ensure continuity of academic programming--by providing sufficient cohort sizes that allow for appropriate course availability. Eliminating these pathways will likely limit the educational trajectory of students participating in specific programs and services.


StringCheese said...

HF, may I use large portions of your letter in my own? Between what you and Melissa have written, I feel the wheel has been invented. Adding in a few comments of my own, I feel I could Frankenstein together a decent letter. Permission to plagiarize?

Anonymous said...

This morning at 8:00 I emailed my request to give public testimony about this.

I received an auto-reply saying that I had emailed too early, even though the auto-reply itself reiterated my message and displayed a receipt timestamp of 8:00!

My gmail says 8:00, and their autoreply says 8:00. I asked for confirmation that the autoreply was sent in error but have yet to hear back.

Has this ever happened to anyone else before?


SPS Mom said...

JvA - It happened to me this morning as well. I just replied to the autoreply, asking them to note the timestamp on my email. My guess is that they just hadn't taken off the autoreply, but it wouldn't prevent them from taking the emails that arrived at 8am before the autoreply was removed. The system wasn't blocking the emails from going through.

It'd be nice if they'd reply back saying they were accepting our emails, but my guess is that they will (or will face a backlash, since we have documentation that the emails arrived on time), so I'm not too worried about it.

Melissa Westbrook said...

HF does an excellent job in pointing out what is probably the biggest glaring issue - this is a document for parents to access to understand how to enroll their children in SPS and it lacks clarity and, in this form, adds vagueness. We can all understand that some programs are fluid and not all details can be in there but this "plan" is too vague for the purpose it supposedly is being written for.

I rarely send e-mail to get on the speaker's list because I have heard that story before, JvA. I phoned and I'm on the speaker list.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Or rather, I called right at 8 and I HOPE to be on the list. Who knows how many people called at the exact same time?

Anonymous said...

I watched the time.gov clock and pressed Send at 8:00:00. My Gmail sent timestamp indicates a sent time of 8:00.

The reply I got from my public record request says:

"We are in receipt of your request. I have attached the requested email indicating a sent date to this email. Please note, however, that when we look in our internal email retention system the timestamp is slightly different. I have copied a screenshot below:"

[screenshot shows receipt at 7:59:15]"

There is NO way that they received my email before 8:00:00. And I think they're admitting they have at least two different timestamps.

Does anyone have any advice on next steps? It's unfair that they say they accept requests at 8:00 if they don't really accept them until 45 seconds later.


Anonymous said...

Yes, use anything you like!


Eric B said...

I'm in the group that called. Actually, I usually both call and email and mention in both that I sent the other. Seems to work so far...

Anonymous said...

I used to also call but worried that it took so long to get through the recorded message menu that I wouldn't make it

I wonder what Chris Jackins's trick is. :)


Anonymous said...

Add me to the list of people who sent in a request for public testimony at 8:00 am (and the time stamp reflects this), only to receive a notice at 8:13 that my request was not sent after 8:00.

I've been successful using email before. Guess I will be calling in from now on.

-North-end Mom

kellie said...

Enrollment in a public school is the ultimate place of accountability in a public system. Enrollment is the place where the lines between taxpayer dollars (from everyone) and the public services are provided (to a few, those enrolled).

As such, enrollment is effectively what defines a common school from a charter school. There are many complaints in the charter system about access, about where and how a family (taxpayer) can then enroll their student (for public services paid with taxes). These complaints are beyond legitimate precisely because enrollment is where services are either given or denied in a charter system.

A public school system by contrast is obligated to provide those services to ALL who enroll. That is the beginning, middle and end of the story. A public school system has to serve ALL.

Therefore, a transparent assignment system, overseen by an elected board, is one of the foundations of a "common school." When you remove all of the details of the assignment process and move it out of the accountably of the elected board and into an internal procedure ... what do you have? I honestly don't know at that point.

I truly understand why staff is proposing this. They are doing this because it is very challenging to manage an enrollment and assignment process when the district is operating at well over 100% capacity. Therefore, they want to have more control over the details, so that the can ensure that a seat is provided for all who apply.

However, this will remove all the accountability for the details of assignment out of the hands of the public. Those details matter. Who approves those details matters.

Last year, when Middle College was closed, the board said they couldn't do anything, because it was an internal procedure. By my reading this of this new plan. Any detail can then fall into this same category.

It removes the right of our elected officials to vote on the details that matter most to their constituents.

Anonymous said...


I also just received an email with the screen shot showing that my email (which was sent at 8:00 from my computer) arrived at JSCEE at 7:59:15 am.

-North-end Mom

Lynn said...

I think this a good time for the board to take back oversight over program placement. I simply don't trust the senior staff.

Anonymous said...

Charter schools will exist and thrive so long as there is an ample supply of poor and disadvantaged kids. Hedge fund managers who invest in charters not only know this, but depend on it for their future profits.

Reduce or eliminate poverty and you take away the bread and butter of the charter movement, and hurt their profits.

So, do a lot of people have a financial interest in keeping people poor, while selling the notion that it's their own fault because they aren't educated enough? Gee. I wonder.

And that is the truth behind the charter movement and Ed Reform in general. Unfair taxation, off-shoring of decent jobs, and constant downward pressure on the middle class guarantees future riches for the wealthiest among us, and nobody is doing anything about those problems. Instead we kick struggling people in the teeth, imploring them to educate themselves out of their bad situation.

And thoughtless sycophants call it "The Greatest Civil Rights Movement of our Time."

Jesus, I pray for my country.

Okay. Rant over. WSDWG

SPS Mom said...

After receiving the message that my email was received at 7:59:13, I resent my email about 8:36 and asked if I could be put on the list at this point. I recently got the following reply:

"I did receive and note your second request, and is included on the list currently. Per Board Policy 1430BP, we arrange the public testimony in the following order:

Public testimony will be taken in the following order:
1. Action items on the agenda
2. Introduction items on the agenda
3. Comments of a general nature, on a first-come, first-served basis

We have not yet put the order together. That will be posted on the Agenda after 5pm on Tuesday, November 3, 2015.

Thank you,"

Anonymous said...

I received this reply after suggesting that their clock might be running slow:

"Thank you for your response. Unfortunately, I cannot utilize other email servers/clocks to determine the chronological order for the public testimony list. To be equitable, we have to utilize our own servers and subsequent time stamps for the process."

So, next time I want to try to get on the speakers list I guess I will send an email when my computer (and cell phone and cable box) clock says 8:00, then send another request about 45 seconds later? I checked my clock vs internet time of day clocks, and mine was in sync...definitely not 45 sec fast.

-North-end Mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

I would write to:

Carmen Rahm, Chief Information Officer - carahm@seattleschools.org

and ask for an explanation.

SPS Mom said...

The district will be accepting time stamps after 7:59:12, since their system was .48 minutes late:

"I am writing to provide an update to the situation regarding your request to provide testimony at Wednesday’s Board meeting. Staff within our Technology Services department confirmed that in comparison to official time source on the internet, such as www.time.gov, the district time system is about 48 seconds slower. Because of this, we will be honoring those requests that show receipt in our system at or after 7:59:12 as having been received at 8:00 am, and therefore at the appropriate time to be included in our testimony requests, in the order they were received.

I appreciate your understanding as we worked to resolve this issue, and hope you can accept our apologies for any confusion this might have caused.

Thank you,

Lauren Fode"

Anonymous said...

@North End Mom: The scariest part of that reply is that someone actually believes it's acceptable and "equitable."

So, in order to be equitable, we need to be universally incompetent, broken, wrong and sub-standard. That's SPS's definition of fairness and equity, all right.


Anonymous said...

Hey, they fixed it. Can they now tell us the actual time they posted the Friday Board Agenda? It was off by at least 40 minutes. WSDWG

Anonymous said...

Here's a short, one-paragraph email I sent to the Board:

I ask you to vote against the revisions to the Student Assignment Plan. The assignment plan has a huge impact on the families in the District - no decision is more fundamental than the decision about WHICH school your child will attend. And yet it seems the District is proposing major, substantive changes to the assignment plan without any public explanation or discussion. Some of these changes are a good idea - like dissolving the waitlist earlier in the year - but there hasn't been public discussion about how it would actually work. Please vote against the revisions, or postpone the vote until families (and the Board) have a chance to understand the changes and provide feedback.



Anonymous said...

Counting down to usual staff argument to board: We understand there are community concerns but trust us to fix it. In any case you must vote tonight otherwise we won't have enough time to prepare for enrollment period.

Seen it

Anonymous said...

@ Seen it, you're probably spot on. In which case the Board should ask them for documentation that every department to which parents will be referred for answers about assignments for specific programs and services (e.g., ELL, SpEd, HCC, Spectrum, International Ed, Montessori, etc.) actually has the answers parents need. If they do, then include them. If they don't--because things change so frequently--they they can't prepare for the enrollment period anyway. Since they have to figure things out one way or another, they should be able to include the details in the assignment plan.

Eric B said...

@Seen It, there's an easy response to that. The Superintendent Procedure needs to be completely re-written to allow it to be used for actual assignments, and that needs to happen before Open Enrollment. Until a near-final draft of the procedure is done, there is no need to change the board policy. Coincidentally, knowing what is in the final draft procedure is critical to knowing how one should vote on the policy change.

Anonymous said...

Reposting for an anonymous answer to my rumination. Anonymous: you have to sign your posts per blog rules.

Seen it

Anonymous said...
@ Seen it, you're probably spot on. In which case the Board should ask them for documentation that every department to which parents will be referred for answers about assignments for specific programs and services (e.g., ELL, SpEd, HCC, Spectrum, International Ed, Montessori, etc.) actually has the answers parents need. If they do, then include them. If they don't--because things change so frequently--they they can't prepare for the enrollment period anyway. Since they have to figure things out one way or another, they should be able to include the details in the assignment plan.

Anonymous said...

@Eric B Coincidentally, knowing what is in the final draft procedure is critical to knowing how one should vote on the policy change.

Sorry - lacking in adequate sleep today, but not understanding this sentence. Do you think "someone" already KNOWS what's in the Supt. procedure?

Love that even SPS's internal clocks are wrong - is there a better metaphor for what's wrong with that blasted place?


GarfieldMom said...

Trying to understand this, bit of a learning curve for me. The way I read this, almost all of the "nitty gritty" about assignments is being stripped out of the Student Assignment Plan (something that is under the board's oversight, requires community input and board approval) in favor of simply referring to the Superintendent's Procedures for Student Assignment (something not under board oversight -- the Supe decides what is in this procedure and it requires no community input or board approval). Do I have that right?

Here is what appears to be the current Superintendent's Procedures for Student Assignment, 3130 SP, dated December 2014, a 63-page document that at times had me feeling like my head was spinning while trying to understand it. Staff loves a good Powerpoint, is there no one who could make flowcharts or infographics out of this stuff so people can understand it more easily?

Anyway, if this new SAP passes as staff has proposed, it would describe the specifics of school assignment only by reference to the December 2014 document, which contains all that nitty gritty about pathways, special ed, ELL, HCC, "choice," waitlists, option schools, grandfathering, growth boundaries, etc. etc. Staff might argue that what they are doing is simply eliminating duplication, by having all the nitty gritty in one place instead of in multiple documents (and they have suggested that is part of the impetus for this change, citing the existence of multiple conflicting documents on student assignment). They may make the argument on Wednesday that "nothing has really changed, because what's redlined out of the SAP is still over here in 3130 SP."

You've probably already made the leap with me, and I think I'm really just restating what Melissa and others have already said, I just want to know if I'm understanding it correctly.

Bottom line: Once the nitty gritty is out of the SAP and only in 3130, the board has lost oversight on it. Now the Superintendent has it in his power to change the Super's procedure at will without having to take input from the community or have it approved by the board.

If that's what's really at stake, that's the real danger here.

Anonymous said...

Garfield Mom.

Yes that sums it up.

Thus my outrage.

Get the word out. Fast.


Anonymous said...

Yep. That's the gist Garfield Mom. As I said on another thread, this, to me, is nothing but a clear power grab by SPS Admin who are tired of dealing with us pesky public.

Disguised as process improvement, but if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck it's a duck ;)


Eric B said...

Reader47, I actually don't believe that there is anyone, staff or Board, that knows what the superintendent procedure is going to look like. There are some lines on the road: it'll have all the stuff that is needed to administer a program, but got cut out of the board policy. But I am 100% sure that as they "go through the process" and "see where the data leads them" and "implement best practices" and "streamline the system" there will be wholesale changes that nobody has even thought of right now. And since those wholesale changes have no public oversight, they can be dropped on the public any time from the day before Open Enrollment (best case) to June 1. They can be hacked together at the last minute, causing untold disruption and unintended consequences as people try to meet a deadline.

It's a train wreck waiting to happen.

GarfieldMom said...

Thanks DW and reader47 for confirming.

I hope people understand this isn't just an issue for particular groups. This is not an HCC issue, a SPED issue, an ELL issue, a K-8 issue, an option schools issue, etc. This can affect any family, even if you don't move, even if you don't need services of any kind, even if you are already in the school you want to be in. If (when) they change boundaries to deal with the impending capacity crisis, and you end up redrawn out of your kid's current school, they can only stay (be grandfathered) IF there is space available. There won't be space, because the whole point of redrawing the boundaries is to limit capacity.

Melissa Westbrook said...

WSDWG, great point. And I can use that if I get on the speaker list.

Garfield Mom, good analysis and,in fact, Ms. Davies DID say that they were trying to streamline and consolidate. Her error, their error is that parents should have one document to guide enrollment. Any document that is subject to change at the will of the Superintendent is really not so helpful.

The Board will lose its power over this very important duty with this change.

What appears to be happening - one of many things - is that the district is trying to make things as school-based and generic as possible. That may make life easier for them as they struggle with space and money woes but what does it mean for students and their schools?

Again, we are all in this together. Why doesn't the district have that attitude and come clean about what is happening?

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'd like to think that as one final act of grace for this Board, that a majority votes down the student assignment plan. I'd venture that Patu and Peters will and likely McLaren and possibly Peaslee. Carr? probably not as Board president and naturally, Blanford and Martin-Morris can never find any fault with staff.

Anonymous said...

@Garfield, picture this in mid-70s cartoon color tv mode...............................

Fade in: Panicked and-or livid and-or depressed staff stomping the stairwells of JSCEE. Close up shot of sweating faces.

Voice over: And staff would have gotten away with it too! If it weren't for those meddling parents!

(Tip of the hat to vintage Scooby Doo.)

Have to find ways to poke fun at the situation because the reality of either epic tone-deafness, epic bumbling or epic behind-the-scenes crafty political maneuvering......choose one or all......is simply too depressing.

How is it that Nyland is skating under the radar on responsibility when we're on our 4th or 5th debacle before we're even two months into school?


Anonymous said...

"If (when) they change boundaries to deal with the impending capacity crisis, and you end up redrawn out of your kid's current school,"

That's what it's going to take, changing boundaries and having kids change schools. That happens anyways as new schools open or the population demographics change. I'd almost rather have it out of board oversight as they are much more influenced by pressure from powerful and/or loud groups.

Agent Orange

Melissa Westbrook said...

I worry more about the few but "powerful" people in Seattle that have the ear of Nyland, Wright, etc.

I'd rather see organized parents over organized up-the-food-chain types any day.

Anonymous said...

From Kyle Stokes at KPLU: (District)"response as sent to @KPLU:

SPS makes the claim that there only two itty bitty changes in the proposed SAP.


Anonymous said...

OMG. Can someone with more time than me tonight redline that district pile of PR poo, add comments, and repost? There are truth stretches and outright lies in the response.

Check this out. Bold mine. Italics mine.

Enrollment Planning is not proposing any changes to programs, services, or pathways at this time.  and when it's time to change them we'll make it a superintendent procedure, so go jump off the pier, public.

Enrollment Planning hosted four public meetings to discuss the proposed changes to the Student 
Assignment Plan (and growth boundary changes). All meetings were 6:30 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.  At these 
meetings, we presented information (with interpreters present), conducted question and answer 
sessions, and collected comment cards.  We also collected feedback to the proposed changes via email.  And the extent of the changes now seen in the redlined document was never made clear. Never. Community involvement my a$$.

 Grandfathered assignments have 
always been contingent on the capacity of a given school.Wrong. False. Grandfathering was allowed in certain situations, OVERRIDING CAPACITY CONCERNS, in the transition to the current assignment plan. Some veterans like StepJ and Mom of 3 used to advocate on this very subject.

The content of these changes have been publicly available since September 10.  Baloney in purest form. A discussion in a back corner and a not-redlined version posted in the middle of a holiday weekend are nobody's idea of publicly available.

Carry on bloggers. This is spin that hasn't been seen since I don't know when. Goodloe-Johnson never bothered to spin. She just ran roughshod. So this kind of BS is epic.


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