Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Seattle Schools SAP Eckstein Community Meeting

Update: I neglected to say that Director Rick Burke was in attendance as were school board candidates Eden Mack and Omar Vasquez.

end of update

I'll be brief on the SAP/Boundaries Community Meeting last night at Eckstein.  I thought it stank.  I walked into a room with several tables of staff from different departments.  There were balloons and candy, wee!  What you are to do is wander from table to table and ask questions.  Oh, and leave comment cards.

I think the only comment you need to make is this:

This process is silly, unhelpful and a dog-and-pony show so staff can say to the Board, "We did community outreach." 

This process - once again - is being rushed and a topic of vital importance to every single student and parent/guardian in the district should not be rushed. 

What did other parents say about the meeting?

Kellie LaRue
Staff closed Middle College in West Seattle as part of program placement. It looked like a school closure. It felt like a school closure. For the staff and students at that school, there was really no distinction between closing their school and "a shift in program placement." However, none of the legally required processes for closing a school were followed and Middle College's doors were shut.

If this plan is approved, the process becomes even more opaque. Enrollment planning could simply plan for ZERO staff at a school and Viola! The school is gone. No process. No oversight. No recourse.

While that might seem a touch extreme, for the families at both Stevens and Whitman (and likely other schools) this is their reality. Stevens' has had a wait list every year for the last three years. Despite this, the school is shrinking by one homeroom each year. Steven's families testified that they feared this process could result in the eventual closure of their school. 
I'll interject here to say that if you wanted to both save money, streamline your operations AND give a boost to charter schools, it looks like that is the direction the district is going.  But they will sacrifice much when they do that, not the least of which is the goodwill and trust of parents.
Every table was a silo on work that is deeply interconnected.
Staff is only presenting one side of the story and the side they are presenting is both more expensive in operation costs and backs the board into a corner. 
This anti-choice stance on the part of enrollment planning is very distressing. Nationwide there is an obsessive focus on vouchers and charter schools as the ONLY way to give families a choice. In many ways, Seattle has been a leader in promoting an alternative and a middle route.

Seattle's limited choice model is really different from the national conversation, because the choice model, gives families some flexibility while still ensuring that schools are staffed by trained professionals with access to a union and collective bargaining. In many ways, Seattle could be a model for other districts to adopt.

But instead, we are swiftly moving in this very rigid anti-choice direction, which will ultimately mean that families will start to push for charters and vouchers as the only way to get some choice. I have been pretty staunchly anti-charter, but I will likely soften that stance if all choice options are really removed.
Good Fit
We need transparency for everyone to minimize disruption in 2019. 

If they are making 2019/20 high school boundary decisions now, then they should also be approving a 2-year SAP transition plan, laying out what happens next year and then what changes happen the following year. As it stands, the current draft SAP for next year is CONTRARY TO assumptions underlying the proposed HS boundaries.
 Beyond Frustrated
Staff answering questions in front of an audience, even if they are selectively answering based on comment cards submitted at the beginning, might help bring those silos together. As a parent, I want to hear other concerns as well. When the crowd around the table grew, it was next to impossible to hear. My guess is that many parents had similar questions that could have been answered more effectively with staff on a stage with a microphone. I'm not sure what was worse - the Lincoln meeting where parents were asked to sit around tables and accomplish nothing, or this past meeting where it was a noisy free for all.
They also need to provide draft SAP language for 2019/20 at this time.

If they are making 2019/20 high school boundary decisions now, then they should also be approving a 2-year SAP transition plan, laying out what happens next year and then what changes happen the following year. As it stands, the current draft SAP for next year is CONTRARY TO assumptions underlying the proposed HS boundaries.
Eric B
DisAPP, you are not alone there. The boundaries proposed make big assumptions and are based on very thin data. The boundaries approved in a few months will drive many program placement decisions, in particular one that may not be named in this thread.


So, what's weird about this SAP is that as far as I can tell it's an elaborate, shady attempt populate schools by self-fulfilling "staffing" predictions instead of populating schools by running good schools that people want to send their kids to. That's as nuts as trying to close the achievement gap by holding down the top instead of raising up the bottom. I think the commenters who say a surprising number of families don't like being treated this way and just leave the district. So their solution perpetuates the problem they're trying to fix.

Anonymous CascadiaMom said...
I went to the Eckstein meeting tonight. I felt like a pingpong ball. All the issues covered at the meeting are connected (area maps, SAP, advanced learning, SPED, 24 credit schedule, transportation) and each had their own table. But at every table, if you asked a complicated question, staff would say "that's not me, you have to ask that person over there" and would point you to another table. I felt as though every person at the meeting was in a silo and was refusing to engage in the cross-cutting questions. It felt like a giant bureaucracy where everyone was monitoring their cog in the system, but no one was running the actual machine itself. It's going to take real leadership to take these disparate units and issues and figure out a plan that can pull this together. I didn't meet anyone at this meeting who seemed up to that task.

I will say that everyone I spoke to seemed interested in the feedback, and I was glad that I went and gave them some. I encourage people to keep attending these meetings.
Didn't SPS staff try to do this last year too? Present their transition plan as the SAP? They need to go back to the SAP and red-line it compared to their proposed SAP.
Crazy Making
Staff were not only asserting that the the decision to eliminate pathways has not been made, they were actively asserting that there would still be pathways in 2019, despite the exclusion of pathways in the proposed boundary maps. Either staff are lying and they know there likely won't be but don't have the courage to admit it, or they really think there will still be pathways, in which case they need to get their act together and work with their colleagues in other departments who seem to be convinced otherwise. Regardless, they need to all get on the same page soon. The board can't vote on any of this until there's a comprehensive proposal that's internally consistent.
Or Not
The next *2* years seem like they could be especially bad. This coming year, families will make unpredictable changes to try to buffer themselves from the yet to be decided assignments, while schools continue to struggle with overcrowding, then an unprecedented amount of disruption will occur with the new boundaries and opening of Lincoln in 2019. Enrollment will limit choice with their shenanigans around "space available" creating budget issues for schools, while teaching staff will be moved and displaced, wreaking havoc with course options and scheduling.
So sure, go to the other community meeting if you like standing around, straining to hear questions and answers,  and, if you can hear, you listen to vague answers or ones that contradict each other.  


Anonymous said...

Jon Halfaker reported to the high school boundaries task force meeting today, that parents were thrilled with the format.

I was shocked. Every parent I spoke with last night was extremely upset by the disorienting open house format with no real information. Melissa's report is much more accurate.

- grumpy parent

NESeattleMom said...

Why would SPS want to get rid of Stevens? Thanks

Melissa Westbrook said...

I just updated this thread to state that Director Burke was there. I think parents tell every director who attends one of these community meetings what they think of this format. I'll bet the answer is not "thrilled."

Anonymous said...

Pfft...voiced frustration to SPS staff directly at the Eckstein meeting. If you find the format troublesome, please say something as well (and put it on a comment card!).


Anonymous said...

If you don't like the format of the meetings or the content of the plans, don't waste your time on a comment card. TELL THE BOARD. The school board's job is to call a halt to this flawed, ridiculous, damaging process. They must step up and fix this. The SPS staff don't care. The board should. Make the board act. Force them to act. Accept no excuses until the board acts to not just fix the meeting content but to protect, preserve, and expand true public school choice (not charters or vouchers) and option schools.

Save Options

kellie said...

@ NESeattleMom,

That is a good question. Why would the district cause declining enrollment at any school? Is there a crazy conspiracy theory or is the declining enrollment simply the unintended consequence of another decision made with good motivation?

It is most likely the second option. However, my point is that the proposed changes completely removes any authority the board has for the creation or closure of schools out of the board authority and over to the mysterious "Enrollment planning" department. This has the unintended consequence of moving this "conversation" away from the accountability the board has for public conversation to a mysterious internal department.

Last year, Stevens and Whitman families testified to the school board about their concerns and this current board heard those concerns and took board action. These changes would mean that families could still testify about their concerns but there is no action the board can take.

Anonymous said...

I'm probably not going to attend one of these meetings, but it sounds like people don't like the format. What would happen if at the next one, after a short bit of trying their table silo format, someone (attendee) goes to the microphone and asks the crowd, "how many of you think this table silo format for community engagement is working? (raise your hands)" and "how many of you don't think this is at all effective?" Maybe a format could be to crowd source the 5 biggest questions, and ask SPS staff to address them in front of the whole crowd?

Anonymous said...

Microphone? What microphone? I don't think there was even an introduction of SPS staff (which would have been helpful) - just people standing at their respective tables, with some other staff wandering the room.


Anonymous said...

Ha, well, then maybe just use a loud voice and ask people if it's working for them, and if not, change the format? Take control to get attendees' needs met?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Curious, I have tried that at other meetings but most parents are too well-mannered to do anything.

kellie said...

@ Curious,

To staff's credit, staff did an excellent job at the mission of INFORM. Their plan was to inform families of changes. This format did a truly great job of providing access to many departments so that individual parents could ask their individual question and leave with specific information.

The format was also designed so that there was no meaningful community aspect.

Staff really seems to believe these are just "minor" changes and they seem to be genuinely confused at the depth of family upset.

Anonymous said...

I've seen those same staff confused looks when asked directly why they are attempting to dismantle APP/HCC. Yet every move is just that, including now with no pathways for increased access. Funny that one. It is like water in Porto Rico. Everyone has access to water now, it is their living rooms and in their cars. But can they drink it? Or can we expect every HS to offer comprehensive HCC services. Nope.


observer said...

Appalled, your angst is based on a misapprehension regarding the forthcoming staff proposal for new HCC high school pathways. They will not propose "no pathways for increased access." Nor need "we expect every HS to offer comprehensive HCC services. Nope," because you can rest assured there will be no staff proposal to assign all high school HCC students to their neighborhood school.

I attended the Eckstein open house meeting which is the subject of this thread. Wyeth Jesse said that after listening to parents at these meetings and after fully collating their recent survey responses, staff will make their HCC pathways proposal for 2019-20 in a few weeks, before the School Board votes on new SAP maps. This forthcoming staff proposal will not continue Garfield as the HCC pathway for North End students. Wyeth Jesse clearly promised that Current Garfield HCC students including 2018 freshmen will be grandfathered at Garfield for all four years, but they would be the last such class.

Wyeth Jesse said that after processing our parent input the staff proposal for North End HCC students will be to create MORE than one new HCC high school pathway. On the other hand, Wyeth repeatedly said the staff proposal will NOT be to assign every HCC students to their neighborhood school, in other words not all high schools will become HCC pathways. North of the ship canal, if Lincoln and Nathan Hale, for example, are not proposed as high school HCC pathways, this would suggest that Roosevelt and Ballard would join Ingraham as likely HCC pathway contenders.

While indicating that there will be more than one north end HCC high school pathway, Wyeth did NOT say that Ingraham will become a HCC pathway (the Ingraham IB/IBX option for HCC students does not currently make Ingraham an alternative HCC pathway to Garfield). He spoke emphatically about the need for HCC to offer both AP and IB opportunities, and Ingraham already does offer HCC IB opportunites to which the staff are committed. So while the staff might recommend Ingraham as a HCC high school pathway, it also may not be proposed as another pathway. For example, Roosevelt and Ballard might be proposed as new HCC pathways together with Ingraham, or even instead of Ingraham.

Curiously, Wyeth Jesse did not indicate that the new north end HCC pathways would be simple geosplits. He used the word "choice" a few times and said that HCC students would not be forced to go to just one HCC pathway school but could rather choose among them. While this sounds appealing, I wonder how the district could guarantee seats in schools for HCC kids and not make it a random lottery for some schools. At other open houses he should be asked that question.

Wyeth Jesse also said that staff are aware of the need for HCC classroom rigor, for choices for AP and honors including multiple sections, for IB students, for the need to establish certain shared core offerings in all HCC pathway high schools with room for variation between schools beyond that. For what its worth, I was impressed by his enthusiasm, knowledge and eagerness to listen to parent concerns.

Wyeth Jesse surprised me by saying that the recommended H2 map boundaries did not constrain the forthcoming recommendation by his staff on the redrawing of HCC pathways. The Eckstein open house event was organized like a school science fair with various SPS staff members manning different tables with posters and comment boxes. I asked Ashley Davies of Enrollment Planning the same question about new boundary maps reflecting the staff HCC pathways proposal. She agreed, saying that the proposed map will be revised several times before final Board approval and these revisions will indeed include the forthcoming proposed new HCC high school pathways as needed.

Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

Well said about the current lay of the land Observer. But that wasn't what they were talking about originally. And that halfbacked thoughtexchange on AL proves how misguidednaive they are. I have been doing this for a long time Observer and have fought for APP through thick and thin. This is just more of the same attempt to sneak the camel's nose under the tent. They give no credence to HCC in SPS and only support it because it is now law and the Board makes them but it is only a consideration when they need to fill unwanted or new schools and otherwise it is despised by all at JSCEE.


Anonymous said...

@ APPalled and observer, it's all so interesting. Observer obviously feels very confident in what he/she heard, but unfortunately others left with different impressions on various issues. There's not 100% agreement by staff re: what's going to happen, so it seems premature to be making matter-of-fact statements. Plus, it's ultimately up to the board, not Wyeth Jesse re: things like Garfield grandfathering, right? (The letter to Garfield parents said they will recommend this to the board.)

Others will told the absolutely will not be redrawing boundary maps, but observer says they plan to. Nobody else seems to have heard that they will create multiple new north end HCC pathways, but again, observer seems sure. I have no idea who is right--it seems to be a matter of who talked to whom, what that person knew of thought they knew, and then penultimately, whose ideas make it into the final recommendations, and then how the board votes.

It's great to hear that Wyeth Jesse supports a limited number of HCC north end pathways. I'm not going to count on it yet, but I'll keep my

fingers crossed

observer said...

fingers crossed,

agree with everything you say regarding ambiguous format with staff answering rounds of scattered and often inaudible parent questions. And of course the Board will have the last say over the forthcoming staff proposal.

As for whether "they will create multiple new north end HCC pathways," I certainly heard Wyeth Jesse talking about creating (or "having") new high school HCC "pathways;" my understanding was that more than one north end high school is currently under consideration. One other detail I did not mention earlier, in response to a question whether Lincoln might be "the" north end HCC pathway, Wyeth Jesse said there definitely will not be a proposal to move 300 HCC kids from Garfield to Lincoln.

Another factoid, he remarked at one point in support of new pathways that already 40% of HCC high schoolers do not attend their pathway school Garfield (not sure if he also meant that those students also do not attend Ingraham).

observer said...

fingers crossed,

As for the overall timeline and whether boundary maps will be redrawn again so as to reflect forthcoming proposed new HCC high school pathways before the projected January 17 School Board vote on high school boundaries, I looked more carefully at the two single-sheet handouts we received at the meeting. It is important to understand the pending School Board vote on 2019-20 high school boundaries (after Lincoln's reopening) will take place two months AFTER the pending School Board vote on the 2018-19 Transitional SAP. They certainly do have time to update the boundary maps to reflect new high school HCC pathways, which is what enrollment planner Ashley Davies said to me in response to my direct question. This is what the open house handouts say:

From the handout Frequently Asked Questions--High School Boundary Changes:
"How will you use the feedback you get from the open houses, the survey and from other sources?
We will be sharing all feedback with the High School Boundary Task Force and the Seattle School Board. Enrollment Planning staff and task force members will evaluate the feedback and determine what adjustments need to be made before developing a scenario to recommend to the Seattle School Board."

From the handout Student Assignment Plan, Advanced Learning, and High School Boundary Open House Meetings:
"Welcome! We are glad you could join us to learn about and share your feedback on:
Student Assignment Plan changes for the *2018-19* school year
High school boundary changes for the *2019-20* school year, and
Potential advanced learning changes for the *2019-20* school year"

Student Assignment Plan Changes for 2018-19 School Year
. . . .
* Oct. 25, 2017: Proposed changes to Student Assignment Plan presented to the Operations Committee as a Whole. This committee will determine whether or not the Student Assignment Plan is ready to go the full School Board.
* Oct. 23-30, 2017: Community feedback reviewed and considered so any revisions can be made before School Board introduction.
* Nov. 1, 2017: Expected date that recommended changes to Student Assignment Plan will be presented to the full School Board.
* Nov. 1-15, 2017: Additional community feedback reviewed and considered.
* Nov. 15, 2017: Expected date that the School Board will vote on the Student Assignment Plan for 2018-19.
. . . ."

"High School boundary Changes for 2019-20 School Year
. . . .
* April-October 2017: Task force works on recommendations. Preferred scenarios posted at www.seattleschools.org/high_school_boundary_changes
* October and November 2017: Community feedback collected through email, survey and community open houses on Oct. 23, 26 and 30, and Nov. 8 and 9.
* Week of Oct. 30 2017: Online survey available.
* November 2017: Task force members and Enrollment Planning team review and consider feedback to determine what adjustments should be made to scenarios.
* End of November: Enrollment Planning staff prepares recommended high school boundary change scenario to present to School Board.
* Dec. 7, 2017 High school boundary change options and recommendations presented to Seattle School Board Operations Committee. This committee decides if the options are ready to present to the full School Board.
* December 2017: Community meeting at John Stanford Center to share the recommendation presented to the Board Operations Committee on Dec. 7.
* Jan. 3, 2018: Expected date that recommendations will be presented to full School Board at Board Meeting.
* Jan. 17, 2018: Expected date Seattle School Board will vote on the high school boundaries at the School Board meeting.
. . . ."

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the additional info, observer.

I hope they do reconsider the boundaries in light of whatever they decision they make re: HCC pathways. If, for example, they decide to make Ballard, Roosevelt and Ingraham all three HCC pathway schools, they might need to revisit the Lincoln boundary and increase its size a bit. The currently recommended map Hv2 has about 190 HCC eligible students in the Lincoln boundary, but if there were north end pathways available I suspect a strong majority would choose a pathway. While we may see that about 40% haven't been choosing Garfield or Ingraham in the past, that may be because access to AP classes at the RHS and BHS has been pretty good--and has been improving, whereas it's been decreasing at GHS. Given what we know about Lincoln thus far, I think a lot more HCC families would be unwilling to take their chances if they have a good option next door.

fingers crossed

observer said...

Agree with everything you say, fingers crossed. From the Work Planning thread above, we learn this from Eric B, a parent who attended the Ballard open house:

"The HCC rep said that they were going to have 2019-20 plans for HCC in place by December 6. Michael Tolley said that they were planning to have a proposal by then, so a little more hedging. There is a lot of talk about linked schools for HCC, so I would expect that is the direction things will go. The talk is all amorphous right now, so there is not a clear plan to look at."

Based on their announced Decision Timeline for High School Boundary Changes for 2019-20 School Year, this projected December 6 date for proposed new HCC high school pathways will give them only 24 hours of turnaround time before presentation to the Board Operations Committee -- so they had better accompany that staff HCC pathways proposal with any necessary revisions to the favored H2 map:

"* End of November: Enrollment Planning staff prepares recommended high school boundary change scenario to present to School Board.
* Dec. 7, 2017 High school boundary change options and recommendations presented to Seattle School Board Operations Committee. This committee decides if the options are ready to present to the full School Board."

So let's hope that through the end of November and early December, the Enrollment Planning staff will be working very closely with the HCC pathways team to prepare that proposal so that it really is viable.

Anonymous said...

Sunshine on my shoulder makes me happy. Sunshine blown south to north does not.

"with the HCC pathways team" WHO IS ON THIS TEAM. Put the Koolaid down kids. They are trying to make this a non-HCC friendly district. They started with NO PATHWAYS. "Now let's talk" they say. There has been no HCC input on these plans. ZERO ZILCH NADA. Surprised they didn't sneak it through at the dead of night in June before anyone could make changes. They have done that before, several times. Observer, sorry I will call you short timer as you haven't seen the trouble I've seen. And Tolley is by far the most deceptive. He wants HCC gone or there would have been a HCC pathways team! There would have also been real indication that they wanted to disband pathways. Or Wyeth wouldn't have sent out a misleading - it's already taken care of- survey and calling HCC AL. Toley was hoping we would divide and be conquered. We didn't and we shouldn't. I call for an immediate action item for a HCC pathways team. That will get crickets.

Wake up and please list for me the last six things Michael Tolley has done to support HCC...

Here are five I can come up with that prove that he is working to get rid of HCC:

Allow principals to define what HCC means even though we have a fully staffed HCC/AL team. (See honors for none, social experiment social studies, No 9th AP world history, limiting AP classes at GHS and finally JAMS in its entirety).

Or just go around and see the APPartheid stickers that come about when folks buy the narrative that this is about race. The new race and equity team for HCC. It is not and has never been about race. It is about equity and that is giving everyone equal access to programs which SPS does do for HCC but does for options schools. I have spent real time with dozens of HCC kids. They are different and need to be educated differently. Just like a kid in transition housing or a kid with an IEP or an ELL student. They require sensitivities and support to thrive that most kids DON'T NEED.

Put North 1-5 in a building with no playground, that is dilapidated and poor suited for small kids as it is a HS! When other options were available.

Start a small cohort at Madison MS that will never amount to a comprehensive HCC Pathway as they are way to SMALL.

Cap IBx north. See you don't need to you just decided to. Bonus, I don't think the Board even voted on that.

Finally all of this is a pure onslaught on the HCC Program. And again MT thought he could sneak it through. Keep fighting comrades.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Observer, great input. I'm glad you put it in writing what you believe you heard. I mean, I do believe you but I'll bet that if something changes, Jesse will say you heard it wrongly. He is a very good speaker but I'd take what he says with a grain of salt.

Sunshine on my shoulder makes me happy. Sunshine blown south to north does not."


APPalled, yes, I'm very wary of whatever is going on. But to note, the Legislature did pass new rules that districts MUST do better with highly capable (which is the state term) and even gave them more money to do it. The Times has had a story and editorial about this. I absolutely agree that there should be more equity in the program but a program that has no real curriculum or PD for teachers is pretty hollow even if you have more diversity.

Anonymous said...

[Wyethe Jesse] remarked at one point in support of new pathways that already 40% of HCC high schoolers do not attend their pathway school Garfield

Um...that's because there was no more room! Remember? They began IBX at Ingraham as a means of preserving an HCC pathway at Garfield. The hope was that enough students would choose Ingraham that they could still guarantee a pathway to Garfield. It worked for a few years. What's changed is what Garfield provides in terms of advanced learning. First they eliminated the AP World History for freshman (preceded by elimination of APP/HCC middle school curriculum), then they instituted an Honors for All change after open enrollment. There have been some additional complaints about not getting needed math classes (not sure how that was resolved). Add to that the animosity directed at HCC as some kind of interloper, and the change in Metro routes combined with the later release, and the commute seems less and less worth it. Ballard and Roosevelt have enough students to fill a base level of AP offerings, and have strong music programs to boost. Oh, and they capped IB enrollment last year for the first time ever.

SPS suggesting families are now just peachy keen with the dissolution of HC pathways seems specious in light of what's transpired over the last few years.

institutional amnesia?

Anonymous said...

Yep. If they have a few more HCC pathways in the north-end, not only will most HCC-eligible students in the new Lincoln boundary opt for an HCC pathway school instead, but many of those who currently stay at Roosevelt and Ballard may enroll there as HCC rather than just a regular HCC-eligible student not enrolling in the pathway. That's because (a) there's the possibility that the pathways won't be tied to address, so a Roosevelt area HCC student might be able to choose Ballard's HCC if it's a better fit; (b) as an HCC student you should have more legal protections for getting the classes/services you need; and (c) it might give you more protection if they start revising neighborhood boundaries to address any problems that crop up once they implement the new boundaries.

I hope they are accounting for all this in their last-minute HCC pathway planning.

fingers crossed

Anonymous said...

HCC pathway planning?!?! There is no HCC pathway planning people. Geez. It was get rid of the pathways and then Jesse realized wow those people are not happy about that. Let's float another plan. Let them think they will get less than all schools as pathway... And then we will do what we please down the road. They started Madison without a cohort and got away with it. I am not sure they even got Board approval to do that. What will stop them from doing that down the road at the HS level once they break the pathway promise. The problem with all of this is that the cohort and rigor combine to make a program for these special need kids. Without both these kids would languish. Six kids in Beach would most likely give up on SPS. Same with the handful at Hale especially if they are forced to repeat classes.


observer said...

APPalled, we don't disagree, all I am trying to convey here is that NOW is the time for all HCC families to communicate very loudly and clearly to *SPS staff and the School Board* what future new pathway or pathways they do want to see -- because from now through November and early December, based on that input, SPS staff are indeed preparing their HCC pathways proposal for inclusion in the new high school boundaries which will be voted on by the School Board on January 17.

The inalterable fact is that for capacity reasons Garfield High School will no longer be the HCC pathway for north end students after Lincoln reopens in 2019 (current Garfield HCC students will be grandfathered). That north end HC high school cohort will not be disbanded (ie, all sent back to their neighborhood schools). Instead those north end HCC high school students will be assigned to at least one new school and more likely more as has already happened with the elementary and middle school HCC. So what new high school HCC pathway or pathways would you propose?

More clues as to the staff process and timeline for proposing new north end and perhaps also south end HCC high school pathways were contained in the written answers they prepared for their meeting with the Garfield PTSA. I have just read those answers in full and because they are revealing (and mostly but not entirely consistent with the open house handouts), I now reproduce them in the following post.

observer said...

from the Garfield PTSA web page:

October 20, 2017 – District Representatives attended the October Garfield Community PTSA Board meeting and presented information regarding the high school boundary changes in 2019 and the possible impacts on Garfield. This meeting was one of many taking place across the district, including the five community open houses planned in the different school regions, where the District is providing the same information to all parents.

After the meeting, the District took the questions we had asked and sent back answers to share with our families. We will update this page with more information as it is provided.

"SPS Proposal for HCC HS Assignment Plan
October 19, 2017
Dear Garfield High School Families,
The district is in the process of updating the 2017-18 Student Assignment Plan (SAP) and developing new high school boundaries for implementation in 2019-20.

One area of this work under review is how we serve our high school advanced learners. Given the opening of Lincoln High School in 2019, development of new boundaries, and the upward trend in the number of students who are eligible for Advanced Learning services, we have been seeking input on how to improve access to high school Advanced Learning programs and courses across the district.

Additionally, as part of this review we have been examining the projected Highly Capable (HC) enrollment at Garfield High School. Currently, HC seats at Garfield are reserved for any student who has participated in the Highly Capable Cohort (HCC) in eighth grade. Within a few years, the majority of Garfield’s student body will be students who have participated in the HCC program, limiting neighborhood student enrollment and access. Garfield will struggle to meet HC capacity needs while also maintaining strong neighborhood student enrollment.

Over the past month, the Student Supports Division has been actively engaging families about possible solutions and supports needed if changes to HC pathway(s) are approved. Initial recommendations will be introduced to the School Board on October 25.  Any changes made would not go into effect until the 2019-20 school year when the new high school boundaries are implemented."

The district's staff responses to questions provided by Garfield families follow:

observer said...

Garfield families' Questions and district staff's Answers:

"Q: How could the proposed changes in the student assignment plan influence enrichment course offerings at Garfield?
A: Garfield will continue to offer a full range of Advanced Placement classes to meet the needs of all students prepared to take them.
A: Courses such as band, choir, orchestra and other core academic courses will continue. The district may look at new models for serving accelerated musicians etc. and would do so in partnership with teachers and families."

"Q: Will there be a grandfathering of students identified as Highly Capable currently attending Garfield? 
A: If changes are made, we will recommend to the Board that all HC students attending Garfield during the 2018-19 school year be grandfathered. Incoming HC freshmen in the 2019-20 school year will not be guaranteed a seat at Garfield unless they live in the neighborhood boundary. Students not in the GHS attendance area may be assigned to other pathway schools yet to be determined."

"Q: What proposed changes in access to advanced learning courses will be provided to all students at Garfield and other high schools?
A: Courses for advanced students (Honors, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate) are open to all students. There is no eligibility requirement to participate in these courses and this practice would continue.
A: Over the last few weeks, the Student Support Services Division has been engaging families. The data analysis of family feedback is close to complete and will be presented to the School Board on October 25. High-level themes from the community will be shared with the Board and public. If any changes are made to the SAP regarding HC pathway(s) they won’t be implemented until 2019-20, providing time to build an implementation plan with more specificity."

"Q: In the proposed expansion of a list of advanced learning courses at the comprehensive high schools, what is the district doing to ensure rigor and quality courses?
A: Newly assigned AP teachers are provided the opportunity to participate in training offered by the College Board each spring and fall."

"Q: How will families comprised of limited English speakers be allowed to provide input on this process and get updated information?
A: Information sessions have been conducted in the Chinese, Somali, Vietnamese, and Spanish speaking communities. In addition, updated information will be posted on the Advanced Learning and Enrollment Planning websites. The district has and will continue to provide translation services to families who require them, and will work with our school based Instructional Assistants and community partners to get information out to families. Invitations to the SAP and High School Boundary meetings have also been provided in home language."

"Q: What is the timeline for the proposed changes to the Student Assignment Plan?
A: If changes are made to the HC pathway(s) they will be reflected in the 2017-18 Student Assignment plan but won’t be implemented until 2019-20."

Anonymous said...

Over the past month, the Student Supports Division has been actively engaging families about possible solutions and supports needed if changes to HC pathway(s) are approved. Initial recommendations will be introduced to the School Board on October 25.

Or not.


observer said...

"HCC pathway planning?!?! There is no HCC pathway planning people. Geez."

APPalling, like it or not, the HCC pathway planning people ARE the Student Support Division, headed by Wyeth Jesse. Like you, I had never heard of this unit before the current swirl, and it is obviously not the more obvious Advanced Learning division. Nonetheless, you must now ask what will be your own contribution to the specific new HCC pathway planning proposal that this division, together with Enrollment Planning, will present for School Board approval in just over ONE MONTH'S TIME?

Anonymous said...

"More clues as to the staff process and timeline for proposing new north end and perhaps also south end HCC high school pathways were contained in the written answers they prepared for their meeting with the Garfield PTSA."

Observer we do not see I 2 I. This is a full contact game. You might think OK things are fine we are up by 5 no problem here but then they lied to you and you were really down by 15. They SHOWED up thinking it was a forfeit. Not so much.

Jesse screwed spec-ed. He has the screw them gene. Tolley has been screwing SPS with failed closers to dismantle spectrum and HCC since day1. There should be no trust here. Look they have taken the limited choice out of the plan to make it easier on enrollment staff. Perhaps the laziest people I have ever seen in action over the last two years. Or in inaction I should say. I send my kids to them everyday. OUCH.

By low sell high but don't buy whatever Tolley or Jesse are selling.

Sorry you are putzing this whole thing but we all start somewhere. Keep it up.


Anonymous said...

If you don't share APPalled's skepticism, methinks you haven't been in this district long enough. Come on, folks. Fool me once and such.

High-level themes from the community [survey?] will be shared with the Board and public.

The Board and families should have access to a document showing ALL survey feedback, by school.

SPS skeptic

Anonymous said...

@observer, I think the issue here is that it's hard to take your earnest proclamations about what will happen as statements of fact. You may have heard what you said you heard, and surely you read what you said you read. We believe that you believe what you say...but many of us who've been around the block with SPS are not so quick to buy what they're selling. Experience has taught us to be more careful. And cynical. Your optimism and trust are refreshing at some level, yet feel dangerous on another, as you continue to try to convince people that all is well...when that may not be the case.

A review of the Garfield Q&A should give you pause--and these are the written responses; it's much harder to hold them to slippery in-person statements.

Re: their response that "Garfield will continue to offer a full range of AP classes," do you really buy that? They mention only allowing HC from within the school boundary, not even the whole south end (although we know that's still TBD). Maybe in 2019 things will be the same (due to three grades of grandfathered HC students), but check back a couple years later and I seriously doubt you'll see the same AP availability. Then again, they claim they'll offer "a full range"-- not necessarily the same range. I wonder how they define a full range?

Re: the statement that if any changes are made to the SAP re: HC pathways they wouldn't be implemented until 2019/20 so that gives lots of time for a detailed implementation plan, that sounds good on the surface but doesn't hold up. The draft SAP is only covering 2018/19, so HCC pathway changes aren't being address d in it. Presumably these would get addressed in another SAP revision a year from now, meaning a vote in early 2019. Not so much time for implementation at that point.

Re: the quality and rigor of any new AP classes, the "opportunity" to participate in Colkege Board training seems weak. Why is it not required? And if the trainings are in the spring and fall, will that align with that early 2019 decision making re: HC pathways in the the 2019/20 SAP? It's not a lot of time to move from district policy to school-specific implementation plans and then identification of which teachers will take on these new AP classes, hopefully in time to register for and attend the trainings.

The final statement in that Q&A was the kicker-- that if HC pathway changes were going to be made, they'd be in a he 2017/18 (I assume they meant 18/19) SAP but not implemented until 2019/20. Oh really? What years does the draft SAP cover? Conveniently, only one. So hey, no need to address these impending pathway changes! The draft SAP they presented for the board clearly states Garfield is THE HCC pathway for all. There was no notation that they were still busy working on 2019/20 modifications and would be editing that language in a corrected draft any day now. Nope, it looks like pathway decisions for 2019 won't be finalized until the 2019 SAP is done a year from now--and waaaay after the "closely intertwined" HS boundaries decision.

I don't share your optimism because I've too often been


Anonymous said...

No school wants to be an HCC pathway. Ballard doesn't want it, the principal is on record against the cohort in general.

Hale would go on strike if the cohort was placed there.

Ingraham is already dealing with "school within a school" problems and will resist the HCC.

Roosevelt or Lincoln?

Good luck. The HCC pathway is not wanted by anyone. It disrupts the school, plain and simple.

The district needs a real gifted program for outliers and that's it.

But, the district saves so much money warehousing the HCC kids and then pumping the money to needy schools, they continue with this scandalous "charter school" for the connected.

A Faustian bargain.


N by NW said...

I can't remember the exact numbers (sorry) but at Director Burke's meeting yesterday, he said that Garfield has 80-85 sections of AP classes and that Roosevelt was around 80 ... Ballard trailed with 40something.

Makes me wonder if Roosevelt will be the HCC site as they already are delivering that many classes? And ... how many current RHS would lose access to those classes?

N by NW

Anonymous said...

@ N by NW, why would Roosevelt students have to lose access to those classes? If they add a few hundred additional students who want such classes, wouldn't they just add additional sections of AP classes--and even potentially expand the range of AP offerings for all? More students come with more money. If they can provide a good number of AP classes without a big HC cohort, they should be able to provide even more with.


Anonymous said...

Roosevelt requires all students to take two AP courses - AP Human Geography and AP Language and Composition. It follows that they'd have more sections of AP courses. If half the school is taking one of those required courses in a given year, that's some 30 sections right there. The question is not just how many sections are offered, but how many unique AP courses are offered at each high school and what are they?

Roosevelt essentially has a HC cohort. They have enough students either identified as HC or working at an advanced enough level to offer a range of AP courses. Roosevelt's advanced science offerings seem limited (Ingraham's science offerings are limited as well, and they are an option pathway for HC), but they otherwise can serve most HC qualified students. It doesn't mean they will make Roosevelt an official pathway. The split to Lincoln will also impact the number of courses they can continue offering.

"Charter school" for the connected? Okay, so have we acknowledged HCC is not like a private school? 'Cause it's not. Now it's like a charter school?? For the connected??

good grief

observer said...

So now the SPS staff have finally published their proposal (beginning page 38 to end of bulky 116 page file) for four (4) new HCC high school regional pathways (Roosevelt, Ballard, Franklin, West Seattle) in addition to the existing Garfield HCC pathway and the Ingraham IBX option (5 pathways + 1 option = 6 total):


These staff-proposed SAP and high school boundary change revisions do not propose any HCC (or DLI) high school pathway to Lincoln (Lincoln HCC kids would continue to bus to Garfield pathway). But in contrast, while not explicitly named, reopened Lincoln will probably be the only high school that could hold the HCC advisory committee's alternative proposal for a single (1) new HCC high school north end pathway and no new south end pathway just Garfield.

I told you so.