Friday Open Thread

The Seattle Times is reporting that the district is using a $2M mitigation fund (from the $11M underspend of the budget found in the spring) to fund 17 new teachers.  That includes a new teacher at Loyal Heights and a half-time principal at Green Lake where they have 100 more students this year than last.  The article reports 11 teachers added to elementary schools, 1 middle school teacher and 5 high school teachers.  As well, there were several Sped positions filled as well as ELL.  The district enrollment is now over 53,000 students.

The Times also states that the district is moving rapidly towards meeting the state target for ratios for  K-3 in order to receive extra funding. 

It appears the Board and staff listened to parents when there was so much staffing upheaval at the start of the last school year.  Good for them.   Still, here's an article from Education Next on why it's not a great idea to hire after the school year starts.

Notice from the district about family communications via phone/e-mail - it's worth a read in case there is anything in there you aren't aware of or need to tweak.

Two of the Washington State Supreme Court justices running to retain their seats admit that the timing of last fall's charter school law was not good.  This from a story at KUOW.
But both she (Mary Yu) and Justice Charles Wiggins apologized for creating uncertainty for charter school students with the timing of their decision last September.
Wiggins: “I’m sorry that it came down on the eve of school beginning. You know, no one asked us to accelerate that case, and every case we have in front of us is important.”
One community meeting tomorrow with Director Burke at Greenwood Public Library from 3:30-5:00 pm.

What's on your mind?


Patrick said…
Thank you for posting the link to the family communications flyer.

I give my cell phone number to very few people, but they include the school so they can reach me if my daughter falls down the stairs and has to be taken to the hospital. That explains why the District used it instead to create an embarrassing interruption to my work to tell me that the early release day negotiated a year ago was actually going happen as announced half a dozen times already.
Anonymous said…
Once again I am confused, I was told that the Center Principal Briskova is leaving that gig and going to the Center School, in what capacity I do not know

Then we have the Center School and I cannot find Jon Greenberg on the staff list.

Then we have the issue at RBHS who is the Principal when was that decided and if not why not. I assume it has to do with IB funding that was "granted" for the last year of it.. year two.

The former Principal of RBHS is now in charge of the city Pre K program which seems to be a hot mess, am I wrong?

And why does the Garfield Principal have his own website? What is that about?

- Curious and Curiouser

Anonymous said…
Is the district trying to make a case for charters through complete mismanagement of capacity and C&I pathways? Kids forced out to running start or having to take waste of time classes (TA) is better than popping up 3-4 boutique charters by fall? I think not.

Experience Matters
Lynn said…
I don't know the answers to your other questions - but Jon Greenberg is still listed in the Center School staff directory:
Po3 said…
The Center School principal is being moved to the World School. Maybe is it so they can get somebody in who can address the declining enrollment and maybe even set the school on the path to expansion to help ease capacity issues. But maybe that is just wishful thinking on my part.

I don't think the current state of the city Prek program can solely be attributed to one person. If so, then I would place the blame at the mayor's doorstep.

The Principal Howard website is a strange one...

Anonymous said…
Is the city pre-k program run by the guy who used to be at LEV? Mr. Ordway? Is that a different early Ed program?

Many players
Anonymous said…
The Principal Howard website & podcast isn't a strange one if you have dealt with Ted Howard, but it does speak to how dysfunctional the engagement at Garfield is.

I listened to the first bit of his podcast - the part where he challenges every parent to get involved with Garfield - of the planning, establishing curriculum, showing up (his words not mine).

Ironically, Ted has refused PTSA requests to hold parent information sessions on HFA, and declined all requests by the PTSA presidents to meet with him. He cancelled a 9th grade parent orientation and has not rescheduled. Note that the parents/PTSA are paying for the supplemental instruction in HFA.

What Ted wants to do is talk to you about what he wants to talk about - give him a microphone and he'll go all day on highly tangential topics, mostly his view on culture. He made the announcement of HFA not to parents directly, but in a profile piece for the Seattle Times as an example.

It has been clear to me that he deeply cares about the school. At the same time, there has been disaster after disaster (unnecessarily so, IMHO).

1. The rape case, where the supervising teachers did not read or follow any of the district guidelines
2. The Carol Burton case - same thing
3. The rollout of Honors for All

What Ted does not want to talk about is accountability. Hence why the broadcast medium is a natural for him. Nobody to challenge him.

Cap Hill
Cap Hill, I think Howard truly believes he is large and in charge (and why not, no one at JSCEE would think to check him.) Now the PTSA could, if they wanted to, but apparently they won't either. I think your comments hit the nail on the head.
mirmac1 said…
City PreK seems to still be run by Aguirre. They are off-balance. They never figured that they actually had to serve ALL kids. Given the tax base, I am happy to work out a way with them so that no children are excluded, or short-changed. There are forces within the district to forestall this reform.
Watching said…

Dorn's lawsuit that would disallow school districts from using levy funding for teacher salaries has been put on hold until April. This is good news.
Watching said…
Education Next article stated: " As part of Bellwether’s recent publication outlining 16 education policy ideas for the next president, I propose a new federal investment to help districts in transforming their hiring and on-boarding processes."

Federal involvement, for me, raises red flags because Gates is usually involved. I did some research and found this:

Education Next is published by the conservative Hoover Institution at Stanford Univ, with support from Chester Finn's conservative Fordham Institute

Author Aldeman's enterprise, Bellwether Education Partners, is funded by Gates:

$5M-$6M within the past 5 years.
Watching said…
Awarded Grants
Grantee Year Issue Program Amount Bellwether Education Partners, Inc. 2016 K-12 US Program $50,000 Bellwether Education Partners, Inc. 2016 K-12 US Program $19,000 Bellwether Education Partners, Inc. 2015 K-12 US Program $778,188 Bellwether Education Partners, Inc. 2015 Research & Development US Program $596,749 Bellwether Education Partners, Inc. 2013 College Ready US Program $1,981,978 Bellwether Education Partners, Inc. 2013 Global Policy & Advocacy US Program $500,000 Bellwether Education Partners, Inc. 2013 Global Policy & Advocacy US Program $565,355 Bellwether Education Partners, Inc. 2012 K-12 Education US Program $53,763 Bellwether Education Partners, Inc. 2012 K-12 Education US Program $751,872 Bellwether Education Partners, Inc. 2011 Global Policy & Advocacy US Program $255,000 Bellwether Education Partners, Inc. 2011 Global Policy & Advocacy US Program $696,800 Bellwether Education Partners, Inc. 2010 K-12 Education US Program

The enterprise he references in his article, TNTP = The New Teacher Project, is also heavily underwritten by Gates: $16 mil+

he New Teacher Project, Inc. 2015 K-12 US Program $445,531 The New Teacher Project, Inc. 2015 College Ready US Program $3,525,883 The New Teacher Project, Inc. 2015 K-12 US Program $12,000,000

Time will tell what The New Teacher Project will bring us.
Anonymous said…
The Q&A and Meeting portions of Curriculum Night at Garfield have been cancelled. And the front page of the school website has a link to Ted Howard's personal website. Why? So he doesn't have to talk to anyone?

Teflon Ted
Anonymous said…
Thanks Lynn I see that Greenberg is still there but I was told he is now tucked away in a corner on the third floor not from his once prominent place right in the front door. But it appears that school is being closed sooner vs later

As for the Principal there she speaks Russian, they are probably in need of more diverse language speakers at the World School but is this going to be a co-principal thing that they did that at RBHS a few years ago which failed, pushed him to Madison as Principal (Dr. Gary) and then she went I have no idea.

The World School from my experience is now located in a great building of a former elementary school that will have to convert back with current pop issues in a highly gentrifying area so I don't see it lasting.. maybe they could put it in the Center School. Ah the circle of life in SPS

As for the former Principal of RBHS I recall he was going to work in the new Mayor's dept of Ed focused on Pre K... so now he is doing what exactly... I love that he left before the end of the school year.. Classy.

As for the Garfield once again that is a fiefdom.. wow just wow. Who is listening to these Podcasts? Having experienced him only once I can say once was enough.

This just gets.

_ Curious and Curiouser
Anonymous said…
Confirmed that Garfield cancelled the meeting and Q&A portions of curriculum night.

Melissa, to your point about the PTSA challenging him, that is a bit of a Rubicon. I believe the current leadership has gone way out of their way to try and help, including paying for all of the supplemental staff supporting HFA.

Says a ton about the accountability model in SPS if a school can just decide it doesn't need to meet with families.

Cap Hill
Anonymous said…
Teflon Ted is very good at asking the PTSA for money for his pet causes and smart like a fox at avoiding interacting with the same PTSA. The names and faces on GHS PTSA change year after year, but TT's behavior remains the same.

Anonymous said…
The Center School should not be shut down. We were there in the early years and it was a very nurturing place. The teachers were great and arts organizations at Seattle Center were highly supportive of the students.

The new SPS team gave the school a cold shoulder. Arts funding was severed, principals were moved around for no reason and a school that could have been an option for kids everywhere in the city was undercut by administrative neglect.

If Nyland was smart he would expand the school into a bigger space at Memorial Stadium, keep the arts and humanities focus, introduce more sports and promote the school. Give them a decent principal and ease overcrowding at all north end high schools. It is such an obvious move.

Anonymous said…
My post above was by S parent
Cap Hill, I apologize if it sounded like I meant the Garfield PTSA isn't doing anything. I know they are and are an asset to the school.

What I meant is that the PTSA might want to pull back on that help and explain to Mr. Howard that a school is a partnership. If no one challenges him, he is not going to change. I think PW is saying the same thing. Don't let him get comfortable with the PTSA support. It's your dollars, not his.

One thing - I did go to the Board work session on Ex Directors and how they are so important. I would suggest parents ask for a meeting with the Ex Director and explain the issues. Then you are on record AND you get to see how much "help" an Ex Director can be.

S Parent, if something doesn't change, Center School will get shut down. And, any new space at Memorial Stadium will be taken by a comprehensive high school; I doubt if there will be room.
kellie said…
Several people had posted that there was conflicting information at the Hamilton meeting regarding HCC and Eaglestaff. I took a look at the official projections on the website and the projections show that Eaglestaff will open with 709 students and that 343 of them will be HCC.

In other the projections are based on HCC being roughly half of the Eaglestaff cohort.
Anonymous said…
Melissa, a comprehensive high school at Seattle Center could still benefit from an arts and humanities focus. The excellent teachers from Center could easily work a few blocks away. More students could benefit from the arts organizations at the Center and use Memorial Field for sports.

Whatever they do there, a good principal is essential. SPS needs to stop rotating them in a random way.

S parent
Anonymous said…
Judging from the way things are going at my school, the Howard dictatorship, the limiting of choice at Center School and treatment of Greenberg, and Nyland's authoritarian handling of teachers during the negotiations last year, I'd say principals and ed directors have been given the go sign for authoritarian rule.

occasional reader
Anonymous said…
What the Center School WAS is just that WAS. I recall when it had a partnership with the Theater company, Intiman, then it went bankrupt and that led to the program shutting down. They never had any relationship with the Symphony that was still there, the Ballet or the Rep. All arts oriented.

Then it became the fiefdom of Greenberg as he was the "charter" founder he had a voice with Social Justice then we all know that story and he shoved in a quandrant upstairs.

The many schools of SPS, from Orca to Madrona to Salmon Bay and Tops were all started on that same wave of support. Once the strong voice is removed or leaves the school begins to falter. We saw that with Summit K-12 and then Pinehurst. They dillute it, they move it and then the finally close it.. oh yeah the African American Academy another casualty. The American Indian Heritage school is now being brought back but like the World School watch when space and needs and again support begins to wan.

Seattle starts off on many good causes and then the cat herding becomes impossible as look at Murray now.. people loathe him as he is doing his "thing" much like former Mayors did and we don't like strong hands, we like soft palms, soothing voices and hours and hours of circle jerking/talking until consensus is reached and then rinse lather repeat.

Center School bye bye. I see a few others on the chopping block..IB at RBHS.. the ebb and flow of education, funding and reality of serving many with little money to do so.

It always gets

Curious and Curiouser
Anonymous said…
Closing Center does not solve the problem of too many high school students in SPS. Unless they want to overload Ballard and Roosevelt even more, they need additional seats in high school. The center of the city is a good place to expand.

I agree with Curious that when the originators move on, many schools lose support. SPS does not know what to do with alternative, interesting schools like Center or Nova. They do not seem to realize that large high schools are not for every student.

One size fits all in SPS.

S parent
Anonymous said…
Schools live and die by their enrollment, particularly option schools. They also need to have a defined mission and identifiable educational ethos. Small size without urgency of purpose is not enough. At high school level students are very discerning and don't like being pigeon-holed easily. The fact that the Center School has declining enrollment is testament to students finding their needs better met at their reference assignment. This is a sign of success for SPS. All students should be able to have their needs met locally, without having to traverse the city. Overall schools are becoming more progressive and the cadre of new young teachers are often more sophisticated than previous recruits. Continuing to fund and run boutique schools is a misallocation of funding and has little benefit for the district at large.

Anonymous said…

There is also problem with JSCEE intentionally limiting the enrollment of certain schools. It is a problem when students wanting to transfer to a particular school are told that they cannot do so, even if there is room and the school does want those students. So, if the school is an option school or deemed a "boutique" school, creating a low enrollment problem can help lead to the demise of said school.

--Seattle Creativity
Anonymous said…
The Center school is under its enrollment targets. It is simply not being selected by students. It's a myth that district policy has destabilized the enrollment and appeal of such schools. Students are deciding to stay local instead. The Center School and Nova could combine however and their combined numbers might sustain them and give them renewed energy. But even with that the Center School numbers would decline as there are students who will travel to lower Queen Anne but not the cd. Renting a campus at Seattle Center for a small student body is no longer necessary and the monies could be better applied elsewhere,e.g. A funded Arts initiative at our comprehensive high schools, which would be a benefit to all.

Anonymous said…
Of course the administration destabilized this school. The removal and unneccessary punishment of teacher Jon Greenberg was just one example of executive mismanagement. Add rotating principals, cutting arts funding and lack of promotion of Center as an all city option, and you get less interest from students.

Good luck at a funded Arts Initiative anywhere. Arts is at the bottom of their priorities, even though it is what keeps many students interested in a school.

S parent
"The fact that the Center School has declining enrollment is testament to students finding their needs better met at their reference assignment."

Not necessarily. When they took the arts focus away, many students lost interest.

I think if you had strong arts programs at every high school, it would be better than athletics. I wish they took the money they spend on that and spent it on arts.
Anonymous said…
The updated projections don't make any sense to me.

They show Lincoln HS opening with 880 students in 2019/20, then increasing to 991 the following year. Huh? Assuming they won't start with all four grades the first year, don't they expect to have a whole extra grade level in year 2 (e.g., increase from just 9th and 10th in year 1 to grades 9-11 in year 2, or increase from 9-11 up to a full 9-12). BEX says they're building if for about 1600 seats, so I assume about 400 per grade. If they are starting with 880 (9th and 10th only?), then it seems like it should be more like 1200-1300 in year 2.

Anonymous said…
The district responded to a complaint against Mr. Greenberg. They did not initiate a vendetta against him but perhaps they had concerns about some of his methodologies. Also had the Center School been less of a monocultural, mono-ethnic institution then the students might have been better able to live the everyday reality of an integrated, socially and academically equal environment rather than having it be an academic exercise, a la Mr. Greenberg.

There is nothing unique to changing of principals. All schools have to deal with that. Also the Center School was never designed as an arts school. It was intended to draw on the resources of Seattle Center, including the Science center. It didn't happen. Many students attending there went to avoid a neighborhood assignment. The district has been successful in having people gain local confidence. If the Center School can't draw students because they prefer local attendance, it needs to close. The propaganda about lack of district support is tiresome.

kellie said…
@ HF,

The projections for Lincoln are simply the same 4 year projections that they were using for Ballard and Roosevelt. They are simply subtracting the students who live in the "historic" Lincoln boundaries to estimate enrollment.

That is why Ballard's enrollment dips some and Roosevelt's drops like a rock to 1200.

It is a very odd way to make projections as Lincoln and Queen Anne High School were both open at the same time. With QAHS gone, Lincoln's natural boundaries would include almost all of the QAHS historic boundaries.
Po3 said…
If they close Center School a charter school will grab that space in a New York second.
Anonymous said…
Optimistic, you sure dismiss schools like Center. Perhaps the neighborhood is too upscale to suit your cultural sensibilities.

The nasty fight against Greenberg became an expensive distraction for the District. They lost their case (which had to do with one student who complained) and paid lots of legal bills. The toll it took on Jon Greenberg and the school itself is beyond description here. I would just say my son took his class and thought it was one of his best experiences in high school. It could have been a curriculum duplicated in many schools to discuss a timely, important topic.

Center was absolutely designed as an arts focused school. We were in the first graduating class and the arts was a primary draw. The late Andrea Allen of Seattle Rep was an inspired leader who led student productions. Acting classes there were fantastic and kept the students engaged.

The changing around of principals may not matter as much in a large high school. But in smaller schools the leaders are very important and visible. Making lots of changes results in less stability and really rocks a smaller community.
S parent
kellie said…

The problem at Center School was a direct result of Superintendent Banda being NOT qualified for the job.

Banda had been superintendent of an elementary only school district and he handled problems at high school as if they were little kids, not students on the verge of being legal adults.

Banda made significant missteps at nearly every high school and the impact at Center was the most egregious.
Anonymous said…
Center has also been a refuge for families whose students have underperformed - read been a number vs a name and face - at Ballard Roosevelt Garfield. Especially Ballard. It has been a refuge for arty students. The mediocre at best principal and the district's complete lack of support for the school at enrollment time, then taking away the ability to focus on the arts IN THE MIDDLE OF PERHAPS THE MOST WELL FUNDED ARTS DISTRICT IN THE CITY is what is killing it. It should be great and could be again if SPS managers would get out of the way.

Seen It
Anonymous said…
@kellie, this version doesn't have Roosevelt dropping that low--it has it at 1418 when Lincoln opens, then 1487 the next year. Ballard loses about 300 when LHS opens. Regardless of whether using those historic boundaries makes sense or not, I was mostly wondering about the Year 2 projections. This is the first time I've seen 2020-21 projections included, but it doesn't make any sense for the LHS numbers not to increase dramatically that year, does it?

Optimistic, we'll just have to agree to disagree. I can dig up Don Nielsen, the prime architect of Center School, who said it was an arts school. And, yes, the lack of district support has hurt it.
kellie said…
@ HF

Yikes. I was using the projections from the capacity page. This one explains how they calculate Lincoln.

Some of the changes are shocking. Whitman goes down to 485 and Hamilton is still over-crowded!!!
Anonymous said…
@ kellie, yes, but it shows Lincoln was originally calculated based on three-year residents at those neighboring schools. I interpret that to mean they are assuming, at least for the projections, that it will open with three grades (e.g., 9th through 11th). But then shouldn't the projection for the following year include a fourth grade, since the juniors would become seniors? It seems like they forgot how they originally calculated Lincoln and thus screwed up the Year 2 projection, no?

These projections highlight a lot of problems. I'm not positive, but I think the middle school problems are partly because there's a hesitancy to put "too many" HCC students into Eagle Staff. If they were to pull half of HCC from Hamilton and move them to RESMS, the HCC programs at JAMS, HIMS and RESMS would be somewhat similar in size. They seem to really want HCC at RESMS to be small though, maybe at the expense of leaving it the dominant program at an overcrowded Hamilton? It doesn't make sense to me.

Anonymous said…
I suspect that the Nova School will become the defacto "arts" school as it has a magnificent space, has room and could easily incorporate those who want arts as a focus. And yes Center School was to be an "arts" school with relationships with the partners at the Seattle Center.. true that faded quickly as the one individual with the connections left/retired/died/forced out.. pick something as I can't recall exactly and then a Principal who has never had support by the staff and well doesn't care so she will fit in a World School another "alternative" that has its own issues.

The cycle of life of "boutique" "alt" or "charter like" schools are flash in pans with dynamic leaders.. remember Seahawk Academy? OMG... she retired and the school quickly folded.. not a loss however.

Then we have African American Academy, the Indian Heritage, Summit and I am sure I am missing some. Man there have been a lot over the years.

I do think the Greenberg thing was a debacle that started the slow death knell.. talk to the people at Hamilton who worked with him.. they felt bad but he did not even try to make that work.. so the kids suffered for what point? That was badly handled by the district but he also alienated people. Then there was the whole debacle at Garfield with the Choir Teacher.

SPS often holds up people as stars, they are acclaimed and then shot down. Many of them are in fact lousy Teachers unless you think otherwise (and everyone always does, this is Seattle we all play nice till we don't) but many are and then when exposed the people turn on them. That goes for the Principals. Exception Ted Howard.

But is this exclusive to Seattle? LA has had massive issues with Teachers in the Arts of late being forced out, accused of bizarre stuff. It is the push to STEM STEM AND MORE STEM that seems to have the focus, the money and the interests

I wonder how long South Lake and Interagecy will stand up. Let's not forget Middle Colleges all three of them, there used to be four. More ugliness about alternative options.

It never gets old it just gets

Curious and Curiouser
Anonymous said…
Jon Greenberg was not a lousy teacher. He was not some star held up and then shot down by the District. He was an inspirational teacher who had a great class, served as a mentor for many students and also contributed to the PE program at Center School.

If the arts connection with the Seattle Center is not as strong as it used to be then it should be fixed. A good principal at Center can grow relationships with the many unique organizations on the campus there. It will take some time and funding, which cannot happen if the District slashes the arts budget and moves the principals around constantly.

Curious thinks these alternative schools are not a loss. I would argue that they have an important place at SPS if the District was only smart enough to support them.

S parent
Anonymous said…
Do you have positive experiences with an elementary program successfully differentiating for your student's above average strengths within a heterogeneous group? I am currently in an administrative program at Seattle U looking for some bright spots in the district for a project related to my administrative internship. Your responses would simply help in pointing me at some schools/approaches to check into--not be part of the project itself. The strength could in arts, problem solving, math, ELA, languages, etc. (Spectrum or HCC qualification/participation not necessarily needed as an identifier for student strengths). You can respond here or respond directly to me at I appreciate your help to learn more about what is working in our schools.

Kim Sciarrone
TechyMom said…
McGilvra does a pretty good job with its ALO. Or, at least it did a couple years ago. I've heard that TOPS does this well, and that seemed to be the case on tours.
Anonymous said…
Nova will not be an arts school. These schools are not interchangeable no matter what the out of touch district managers may think. Nova boasts one of the strongest principals in the district and graduates some of the most well spoken, creative, thoughtful students in the district. Why? Because of its approach. It is student-focused and student-driven, not "success matrix" driven as defined by the latest ed fad or district pet curriculum. All that said, the arts are not nor will they be the center of the school. Wish commenters would get out from their keyboards and actually visit the schools which they casually praise or casually write off. Wish that double no triple for district staff. The on the ground truth lies within the walls of the school.

Seen it
Seattle Resident said…
For teachers interested in the SPI race, you might want to note Erin Jones's comments:

“I am not the labor lady. I have never been in the Legislature to advocate for labor,” Jones adds.

I remember when WEA endorsed Reykdal. Jones truly BELIEVED she deserved WEA's endorsement and she was offended she wasn't given the endorsement. I do find Jones has a tendency talk out of both sides of her mouth.
Anonymous said…
HF-- You hit the nail on the head regarding HCC and HIMS & Eaglestaff. Parents were told at an Eaglestaff meeting that they intended to make Eaglestaff a comprehensive middle school. When a parents pointed out that the 5 year projections had Eaglestaff opening with 343 out of 700 students HCC, the district representative replied" no one program will predominate and they will redraw boundaries to draw in more neighborhood kids if needed". This I believe has resulted in a revised boundary proposal Fall 2016 that now includes more feeder schools and larger boundaries for Eaglestaff plus Licton Springs. It also leaves Whitman with 485 kids and Hamilton still very over capacity and growing each year. District is planning on not including HCC program placement recs in the boundary vote in NOV. It will leave Whitman as the only place with room for HCC kids next year and no time to plan. Thus likely a small cohort of HCC at Whitman, Eaglestaff, and eventually HIMS & JAMS. Parents need to write the board to ask they the consider HCC program placement simultaneous to considering boundary changes as there are so many kids.
-NW HCC parent
Anonymous said…
S Parent

Never said Greenberg was a "lousy teacher" Do you have me directly saying that quote but I know he was set up to fail as a Teacher at Hamilton and should NOT have been teaching Middle School.

And that goes the same for another Teacher whom I know did the same to a high school Teacher, he went fist to an ALE then to a middle school which was not the area of expertise nor what he wanted. But in the long run left on first sick leave and then left, retired or wherever. They have done this in the past.

And many many TEachers who do well in one school with the appropriate support are good then they are suddenly held up as role models and sometimes that does not transfer well A Jack of all trades is a master of none.

I could name several Teachers who have been held up as icons and know personally first hand from direct experience they are not good at their jobs but they are highly political. And again not all tides rise all boats. What is good for you may not be good for everyone.

So again, Greenberg was a fascinating Teacher when I worked at the Center School but that was long ago before Politics and gamesmanship now dominate. I saw it at the AAA and Orca and I think Salmon Bay is another going to fall. Once a fascinating school on its third Principal is as many years.. I suspect it will become something akin to Pathfinder, a rebranding of sorts. If you think Licton Springs is Pathfinder think again. Been there done that have the T shirt.

- Curious and Curioser
kellie said…
@ HF, the projections you posted are a DRAFT but ... they don't note what is the same or different from the official ones.

For starters, they are dated 9/8 which was the second day of school. What basis number were they using for the 2016 enrollment. It couldn't be the Day 4 count because it was only Day 2.

I think it is reasonable to assume that this Draft was a very quickly drawn update to show what the expected Day 1 enrollment would be and the future impact.

Since the 2015 projections explicitly state that they did not try to predict anything about Lincoln and that they simply made an estimate of three years based on the old boundaries as a placeholder, my bet is that you are correct and both numbers only represent three years of enrollment.

Anonymous said…
It makes no sense to not include HCC or other delivery programs in the boundary vote.

Count Everyone
kellie said…
What this updated projections do make clear is that NONE of the proposed boundary changes or middle school feeder patterns north of the ship canal are based on current data.

The changes in West Seattle and around Mercer make sense based on the data but the north end needs to be revisited from scratch.
Anonymous said…
@kellie--what would that mean from a timeline and logistics standpoint? If they start from scratch, which I agree they should, I would guess that would take another 12-18 months to figure out. It seems with schools bursting at the seems, there is a sense of urgency (emergency) to fill seats at CP and Decatur, so they are making hasty decision that are short sighted. I can't believe they would put on the brakes and leave those seats empty while they figure out a better solution for north of the ship canal. What to do next year with bad data and less than optimal choices for HCC and CP neighbors?

Against Wall
Anonymous said…
Count Everyone- "It makes no sense to not include HCC or other delivery programs in the boundary vote."

Yes I agree and so do other parents. It makes no sense as HCC program placement is supposed to be voted on by the board and there are so many kids that this obviously affects capacity and boundary decisions. Makes one wonder what the ulterior goal is of SPS. They are deliberately planning a scenario so those 343 HCC won't fit in Eaglestaff. I was told the ballpark number would be somewhere around 250 or so HCC, a "small" cohort. Will it be a quick we have to place those kids somewhere else scenario, like what is currently happening with Cascadia.
-NW HCC parent
Anonymous said…
Looks like next year the NE HCC kids get the shaft in elementary and the NW HCC get the shaft in middle school. Backs supposedly...

Against the Wall
kellie said…
@ against wall

A sense of urgency and an actual problem that can be solved are not the same thing. The most expensive thing you can do is to spend your resources solving the wrong problem and that is what is happening here.

The current plan was designed in 2013 to solve over-crowding in the NW by moving students from NW Seattle to NE Seattle, where the new buildings were coming on line. The data just does not support that as the NW is almost 300 student Under what was projected when this plan was made and BF Day is 250 students under their original projections.

Those of us who did this during the closures were constantly being met with the "sense of urgency." We have to do this NOW, because we have to do this NOW. We can't look at your data about how Seattle is the fastest growing City in the US or how Kindergartens are full, because we have to close schools NOW.

And then 12 months later, schools reopened and three years after the closures ended. 20% more capacity had been brought back online (via portables and interim buildings) than was ever closed. That urgency was incredibly expensive both to the district and to families.

We are once again in the same situation of .... we have to do this but really do we???

kellie said…
The current plan calls for geo-splitting over 800 elementary kids and another 800 middle school kids for a total of over 1600 students moved from one school to another. What is the benefit that we as a district and community get from this level of disruption?

Do any of the over-crowded schools get relief ... not really. The most severely over-crowded schools will be as over-crowded or more crowded. Hamilton, Bryant, Wedgwood, Greenlake, etc get more crowded and BF Day which has space just gets smaller.

Does Eaglestaff get a viable cohort? Nobody could answer that at the District meeting. Maybe, maybe not. But whitman will go to under 500 students and Hamilton will be just as full (with the smallest building). Geo-splitting middle school students is a big deal. These students and families deserve a truly thoughtful process, not a "we're desperate"process.

We are not desperate. One "benefit" of the 600 student enrollment shortfall last year is that total enrollment is less than what was projected in 2012. This means we actually have a minute or two to re-evaluate the data and make a plan that fits the enrollment patterns of TODAY, rather than the potential-possible-future-enrollment-of-2012.

There are only a few things that have to happen in 2017.

- New buildings that are ready, need to open and be used well - Eaglestaff, Olympic Hills, Meany and Cascadia - the 4 new buildings that are ready need to be brought online and students assigned to those schools.

Everything else, can wait a few weeks. IMHO, if done properly, this should not take more than few weeks to sort out.
kellie said…
Remember the original plan for Cedar Park was that it was going to be an "interim" building and we would decide what to do with it, once OH was done.

There was never the same type of money that was put into other re-opened buildings like Fairmont Park. Only the minimum was done because the plan was to only use it for an interim location while schools with 300 students were being rebuilt.

Sometimes you have to go back to first principles to do something right and the first principle here is that we are supposed to be proving an education.
Anonymous said…
@Kellie--what do you mean a few weeks to sort out? Are you suggesting CP and Decatur stay empty in the fall of 2017, and Cascadia open with 4-5 portables for the first year? When you say a few weeks, that could also mean move kids after the school year starts in 2017, when you have real data. That is tough on families. Plz clarify what you are recommending for CP, Decatur, Cascadia, and the few weeks you refer to.

Confused/Against Wall
kellie said…
@ against wall,

The vote is scheduled for Nov 2nd. That is a really tight timeline to make big decisions with data that is know to be out of date. In the past Traci Libros has several of these decisions lined up in January or February along with the Student Assignment Plan so that it was done before open enrollment.

That is the few weeks. You had suggested it would take 12-18 months to sort out.

IMHO, it is much more important that Decatur and/or Cedar Park open in a way that actually helps over-crowding rather than the open to fit a plan that is outdated.

And a few portables on a brand new building is not even close to the worst capacity problem in the north end.

Anonymous said…
@Kellie--so why all the focus of the capacity Taskforce on the split of Cascadia, when neighborhood boundaries are screwing 850 students/families and middle school pathways are at stake?

Total Chaos
kellie said…
@ Total Chaos,

And that is a great question! I have been quite surprised by the significant focus on splitting Cascadia over doing a full review of the data.

Anonymous said…
@Kellie...especially when the option on the table "splits" Cascadia so the NE HCC students go from a 660 student facility +overflow in portables, to a 660 student faculty + overflow in a little old building w/out a known leader or teaching team understanding their needs.

Not Okay
OV Parent said…

Have you heard anything about the middle school service area for Olympic View Elementary? As part of the growth boundary changes, it is slated to be part of the Eagle Staff Attendance Area in 2017. But in the projections link you posted, Olympic View is listed as part of the Eckstein Service Area through 2020.

That's 500 students showing up under the wrong middle school in the projections, which would seem rather significant.

OV Parent

kellie said…
@ OV Parent,

That is a great catch.

So Eaglestaff has been promised to way too many schools and programs. Whitman's enrollment drops like a rock to under 500 and Eckstein's enrollment depends on OV staying at Eckstein. If OV does go to Eaglestaff than Eckstein drops well under 900 and stays there.

So you wind up with Eckstein and Whitman under enrolled with Hamilton, Eaglestaff and JAMS overenrolled.

It seems like a pretty straightforward and critical job adjust the north end middle school feeder patterns appropriately.

StatsMom said…

I want to ask other SPS parents regarding their experience on Math. I am worried the district is still NOT implementing a comprehensive math curriculum, in detriment of our kids education.

At Curriculum Night at my child's elementary the teacher stated he is using 'Common Core as the curriculum [never mind that is a set of standards, not a curriculum] supplemented by Math in Focus'. So that some sections of Math in Focus texts are used and not in order.

I was told by the Principal that:

- SPS Curriculum and Instruction (CI) guidance is that teachers have to use the scope developed by CI in 2005 (in the website under

- Math in Focus is optional, they can choose whatever materials/text they want to supplement the Scope.

This is the same scope that CI developed to replace the Math in Focus at the beginning of the last academic year without parent input, after the more than a year long process to select Math in Focus as Curriculum.
I thought at a board meeting and the end of last school year CI had stepped back from the Scope?

As when Everyday Math was used, I am worried that our children are being shortchanged using an uproven, untested 'Scope' replacing a tested, board- and parent- selected text. All in the name of getting better test scores in the SBAC.

What are you being told about Math in your school?
Anonymous said…
Sigh...this is not just a problem with SPS math. It's how SPS operates. You are right, Common Core is a set of standards, not a curriculum. Yet ask what the curriculum is for middle school LA, for example, and you'd be told "Common Core."
Express concern that the teacher is not using the newly approved middle school history texts - that the teacher is supplanting, rather than supplementing, with another unapproved text, and ? Crickets. There is no process for even filing a formal complaint, as the procedure addresses approved materials (but they aren't being used!).

-go private
Math Dad said…
The math department has listened and they have put together updated Scope and Sequence documents for 2016-2017 that specify exactly what Math in Focus chapters are to be covered, in what order, for what length of time, and for what dates. Following these can only be enforced by a school’s principal; if your principal doesn’t enforce it, then ask the principal’s executive director why not.

If both the principal and the executive director come back and say that the teacher is only required to teach the Common Core standards and that they won’t enforce use of Math In Focus, start asking the principal to forward you the teacher’s detailed math lesson plans each month, including the detailed Common Core correlations, as well as a summary matrix showing how all of the Common Core standards are being covered for the year. Then forward the lesson plans to the district math department and ask them to kindly verify the require Common Core standards are being covered, since the school has chosen not to follow the district curriculum, and cc the principal and executive director.

When our oldest child got to fifth grade, she finally had a teacher that used Math in Focus, with corresponding homework from the extra practice book, and it was fantastic. Unfortunately many of the problems where unnecessarily difficult because her third and fourth grade math teachers hadn’t used the Math in Focus books. I don’t plan to make the same mistake with our younger child. I’ve been vocal and I’ve tried to be nice about it, and I’ve seen change.

The updated scope and sequence documents can be found here (on the right side - "2016-17 SPS Scope and Sequence Year at a Glance")
Anonymous said…
@OV Parent

There are students at JAMS who are caught in the Olympic View Eckstein/Eagle Staff middle school feeder pattern mess, too. They live in change areas from JAMS and Eckstein that are going to Eagle Staff (HCC kids from both the JAMS and Eckstein attendance areas are assigned to JAMS). There are some JAMS HCC students who will be reassigned to Hamilton if the current recs are approved. I can't believe that ANY middle schools are being reassigned to over-crowded Hamilton. It makes no sense.

-North-end Mom
Anonymous said…
The assignment of Green Lake to Hamilton (from Eckstein), makes for a lot of craziness. Why, when Hamilton is so full, would they not assign Green Lake to Eckstein? Some of those families were assigned to JAMS from HIMS HCC (assignment school Eckstein), and now they will be reassigned to HIMS.

Lynn said…
They cannot be considering geo-splitting the same kids in both sixth and eighth grades. That's ridiculous.
Anonymous said…
@Lynn--I have seen no indication that they are paying attention to the experience they are creating for students through all of this change.

Total Chaos
Anonymous said…
A proposal for some of the elementary schools is to grandfather a grade or two at the school (such as 4th/5th), but then to geo-split the other grades at the school.

In this scenario a family could easily have a child that is grandfathered, with another child geo-split. Likely, both schools will have the same start and end time, and it is also more likely than not that neither child will have transportation.

A very painful and problematic split for these families.

Anonymous said…
Kim Sciarrone: please check out Olympic Hills. Lab school model has allowed for great differentiation in reading and writing, and math is differentiated really well with math specialists and a workshop model. Science, not so much, but coming along. Kids score super well on standardized tests but more importantly seem to be having fun.

Anonymous said…
In the enrollment planning projections PDF that Kellie references above, its says:

“All new buildings opening (2017 for Cedar Park Elementary, Meany and Eagle Staff Middle Schools and 2019 for Lincoln High School), were assumed to be filled by residents currently attending their attendance area school, across all grades, on the year the building comes online.”

For the projection for Lincoln’s enrollment numbers, isn’t it a huge problem to only assume Lincoln will be filled by residents currently attending their attendance area school, and not consider also McDonald International and John Stanford International elementary “option” schools, both about 1-2 miles from Lincoln?

The Language Immersion Task Force just recommended that Lincoln become a pathway school for the language immersion students at these elementary schools (via Hamilton International Middle School). There is already going to be a big draw from these populations into Lincoln anyway due to sheer geographic proximity -- if Lincoln becomes an International school and/or offers a robust language immersion program, then the draw from these elementary schools (and elsewhere) will become even bigger.

Could this mean at least an additional 100-200 or so students into Lincoln every year?

Anonymous said…
Would Ingraham continue to be an "International" school with a pathway for the language immersion? Is the Language Immersion Task Force proposing two high schools be pathways, or just one? I doubt two schools could support that level of language offerings. Another example of why program decisions need to be made concurrently with capacity planning.

-more craziness
Anonymous said…
I actually wonder if they have a clue what they are doing with any of the enrollment planning stuff. Sometimes it just seems like darts thrown at a board, without regard to the human beings represented by those darts....

Keep letting the Board know what your concerns are - eventually, the squeaky wheel becomes so loud that even the extremely dense SPS gang will hear hopes, sigh

Anonymous said…
If Lincoln becomes the LI high school (via HIMS), which makes a lot of sense, what happens to IB at Ingraham? Is IB considered intertwined with LI (both having an international component), such that it might move to Lincoln too? Just curious, as I was thinking an HCC kid who gets into Ingraham (IBX) is safe from being reassigned to Lincoln when it opens, but maybe not. On the other hand, you can't take both LI and IB out of Ingraham, or the enrollment will drop dramatically, and Lincoln will be overenrolled from the beginning. Kellie or anyone else want to comment? Thanks!
Anonymous said…
Oops -
Last post from HCC curious.

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