Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Tuesday Open Thread

There's a petition going around from "North Ballard Parents"about the boundaries for Ballard High and Ingraham.  And so the lines among parents are starting to be drawn. (red mine)

Currently students north of 85th street are assigned to Ingraham High School. Seattle Public schools is proposing to redraw the high school boundaries and allow students north of 85th to attend Ballard High School again (thanks to the opening of a new high school in Wallingford for Magnolia & QA students) but families in Magnolia are trying to fight this change.

Crown Hill & North Beach support the community around BHS, but our children are forced to a school further north because of students from Queen Anne & Magnolia.
Well, first of all Lincoln is not being reopened just for students from Magnolia and QA.  That's just not true given the numbers at Roosevelt.

"Forced" "because of students from QA and Magnolia?"  You lost me for your cause right there.  Are they questioning the existence of these students or just their right to go somewhere for high school?  At least most of Ballard HAS a high school; QA and Magnolia do not.

I'm all for parent power but this is where it gets ugly.  And understand - please - that every kid is NOT going to be able to go to thru K-12 with all the same friends.  What do you think will happen when they go to college and have never made a new friend? Parents, don't think like this or act like this.  At the very least, please watch your wording.

I note that an item that had been Intro'ed to the Board and was scheduled for Action at tomorrow night's Board meeting is not there.  That would be the approval of the purchase of Naviance software  as a tool to help high school students with career/college counseling needs.

I will have a separate, lengthy explanation about the pros and cons of this software but I'll point out a couple of things right up front.

-This allegedly will cost over $600K over three  years but embedded in the BAR is the fact that they want a FTE at JSCEE to oversee this work as well as someone designated at each school to oversee the work there (probably some teacher or counselor who will have to take on this work).

- Additionally, for options, there is not one that says "hire more counselors."  Not even a consideration of that.

Just noting that Seattle Weekly has put out their endorsements for Seattle School Board - Mack, DeWolf and Patu.

Anyone attending the community meetings on boundaries this week?  If so, give us some feedback on what you heard.

Has much changed since the testing opt-out movement has grown? Answer: nope.

A new film coming out features the first deaf actress in a major role in years and she's a kid.

Tomorrow sees a regional community meeting for Sped parents at Garfield High School from 6-7:30 pm.

Tonight is the regular Board meeting and I see the Board has a resolution on CTE (Career and Technical Education) partnerships.  Great move and I note the leadership of Director Burke on this issue.  Oh, and look - a raise for the Superintendent of over $6,000.
The COLA requested is below the regional inflation factor and the Board and Superintendent recognize that, given current budget challenges, a more significant raise is not appropriate at this time.
But his contract was not renewed and the state is not fully funding education but sure, give him a raise.  (I'm supposing this is to show future candidates that the Board keeps up with COLAs/raises for superintendent.)

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

I'm confused about the CTE resolution. To me it basically says "yes, we support CTE in theory, but we don't have the money or expertise to run good CTE programs so we need the community to step in and support this, even though CTE is a graduation requirement."


Anonymous said...

Very frustrating that they are spending money *again* on software and staff at central offices rather than investing that money in the schools. That money could add about a 0.5 FTE counselor at every high school in Seattle. I wonder, if you asked existing staff, which expenditure they would prefer.

-NW Mom

Anonymous said...

A little insight into why this is "getting ugly"...

from PublicPrivate from Friday Open Thread:

"The tools work because they have complete data on the schools from which students graduate. No you can’t get THAT information from the government website. How do colleges evaluate Nathan Hale (as an example) graduates? What scores from Nathan Hale required for admission to your college choice? What GPA is necessary from Nathan Hale given your kid’s ACT score? Does your college even care about test scores and GPA?"

Ballard, like Roosevelt, is a first-tier school, not a "second-tier" school (to requote myself). SPS has a blatant hierarachy of school quality, tied almost exclusively to housing costs. With the SAP in SPS, you are held hostage by your address (which equals income). Lincoln, while it may become a first-tier high school, is still an unknown quantity.

When that reality comes to your door, especially for families that are "driven for success," Social Darwinism--Seattle-steroid-style--results in this sh** show. These parents know that the high school name matters. HCC parents have had no problem sending their kids to these schools, and actually have begun to show preference for them over Garfield and Ingraham. No accident.

About Time

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Melissa, for pointing out the neighborhood-against-neighborhood ugliness that is coming out in the High School Boundary debate. What the North Seattle Parents aren’t acknowledging is that it’s not just Queen Anne and Magnolia families that are being pushed out of Ballard High School in the District’s preferred boundary option (Hv2). A large number of Phinney Ridge and Greenwood-area families will be moved to Ingraham in this scenario—and we live less than a mile from Ballard High and more than four miles from Ingraham. In fact, we live closer to Ballard High than the North Seattle families that would take our place.

What we should be focusing on is that the High School Task Force failed to include walkability, proximity and transportation as part of their key criteria for establishing High School Boundaries. Ashley Davies admitted this at the first boundary meeting. Keeping kids in their neighborhood where they can walk to and from school should be a top priority for the District. This argument could benefit the North Seattle Parents, as well, without pitting one neighborhood against another. Regardless, kids shouldn’t have to make an hour-long commute to school when one is an easy neighborhood walk away.


Anonymous said...

@About Time- "Ballard, like Roosevelt, is a first-tier school, not a "second-tier" school (to requote myself). SPS has a blatant hierarachy of school quality, tied almost exclusively to housing costs".

Ummm.... so there are lots of families like ours in Ballard who bought houses a long time ago and who would never be able to afford what a house costs NOW in this neighborhood. But the same is true for EVERYWHERE ELSE in this city, including the central district where many of my friends of color have lived for years.

Ballard historically was not affluent, it was middle and working class and (way too) white. The residents are also self conscious about that last one and one neighbor commented that they are glad they are seeing some East Asian people moving into the neighborhood. There are now also many more millenials who work at Amazon, but not so many have kids.There are also lots of residents on my block who have lived here for 30 years or more. The housing stock and income level in Ballard is not the same as Laurelhurst or N Capitol Hill or Queen Anne.
-old Ballardite

Melissa Westbrook said...

"What we should be focusing on is that the High School Task Force failed to include walkability, proximity and transportation as part of their key criteria for establishing High School Boundaries."

And I note that the Transition Plan that staff wanted to become the SAP did not mention these things as the current SAP does. Let's keep that in mind for development of a new SAP.

Old Ballardite, in today's reality if you are white and live in the north end, you're rich. No one wants to hear that there are actually poor white people or regular middle-class people working to keep their heads above water.

And again, just as we don't pit school against school against each other, let's not play the game doing that to neighborhoods.

We are all in this together, whether it's the city or the district.

Anonymous said...

The HCC advisory sent an email to the board and superintendent 10/30 with recommendations for new additional HCC pathway http://discussapp.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

The plan north Seattle parents are supporting (Hv2) is being touted as the Whitman to Ballard HS plan. Except ... it only sends 4/5 of Whitman's feeder schools to BHS

Adams, Loyal Heights, Whittier & North Beach would go to BHS.

I guess Viewlands students don't need to be with their middle school cohort ... they would be sent to IHS.

N by NW

Melissa Westbrook said...

And isn't Viewlands have the highest F/RL number of all those schools? I'd bet the answer is yes. What happened to that equity tool?

N by NW said...

Seattle School Board,

Please advise district staff that the Hv2 plan violates the approved Student Assignment Plan.

From page 7:

"There are not feeder patterns from middle school to high school. Each attendance area high school has its own geographic attendance area”.

Plan Hv2 is based on feeder patterns and violates approved policy. Plan Hv2 further violates approved policy by not following the guiding principals for boundary development as feeder patterns are not one of the listed factors to consider.

From page 10:

Development of Attendance Area Boundaries

The process of developing attendance area boundaries requires balancing various factors. Factors to be taken into account in the development of attendance area boundaries include those shown below. Data on factors such as these contribute to the determination of where attendance area boundary lines are located. These factors are not weighted, since multiple factors must be balanced.

*Proximity of students to schools

*Safe walk zones

*Efficiency of school bus routing (elementary and middle school boundaries)

*Metro transportation routes (high school boundaries)

*Demographics, including anticipated changes in enrollment

*Opportunities for creating diversity within boundaries

*Physical barriers (water, etc.)

Thanks for your time and all of the hard work you do.

Anonymous said...

It is ridiculous to suddenly use the current middle school boundaries to draw high school boundaries. The middle school boundaries were not thought out or created in a manner that would translate through high school. This was stated time and time again by the District last year when the district reset the middle school boundaries.

Case in point: last year, Greenwood-area parents south of 85th and west of Greenwood Ave. were concerned that being rolled into the Eagle Staff attendance area would be problematic when the District reset high school boundaries. Multiple people in the District, including enrollment, said not to worry because high school boundaries are always set independent of elementary and middle school boundaries.

Now, our neighborhood is routed to Eagle Staff, even though we live closer to Whitman. And we're facing having to attend Ingraham, our fourth closest high school, even though we live blocks from Ballard, our current designated high school. All to keep us with the "Eagle Staff Cohort". My kids don't care about that. They're angry about the potential hour-long each way commute on Metro if our assignment changes from Ballard to Ingraham.

This is a terrible revision of policy. It just doesn't work without adversely affecting a large groups of families.

--Greenwood Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'm with N by NW - these boundaries are violating the current SAP.

Anonymous said...

Naviance is a waste of money. My district uses it and the kids don't use it because it's just one more thing (they can't manage a calendar in their phone, much less another website to go to), the databases it has are woefully incomplete, it's a nightmare to organize, and really doesn't add anything but a check-the-box high school and beyond plan that's all electronically stored. It does let teachers upload letters of recommendation, but I feel like generally I get a specific form instead of a generic letter request.


Disgusted said...

I just can't stomach the thought of Nyland getting a $6000 raise. It is only a matter of time before more district administrators want raises. I don't want to hear Nyland complain about lack of state funding- not while he is lining his pockets with dollars that should go to students.

Anonymous said...

Neighborhood vs. neighborhood is bad, but I fear it's about to get worse--neighborhood vs. HCC community. The proposed high school boundary maps for the north-end lead HC students right back to their neighborhood schools. If the board forces SPS to rework these maps to create room for HC cohort(s), neighborhood attendance area(s) will shrink because, against all logic, SPS says Lincoln will not house HCC. SPS would rather maximize drama by pushing neighborhood kids out. The impacted neighborhood(s) will rally against HCC giving SPS strong allies in its anti-HCC cause.

SPS is trying to divide and conquer. Let's not fall into this trap.


Anonymous said...

"Divide and conquer" is what the oppressors have historically done to the oppressed.

To co-opt this language for a group (HCC) who has an almost exclusively highly educated parent group is beyond the pale.

You aren't doing yourselves any favors in the P.R. department, and appear like you are living in a self-absorbed bubble every time you use this language or present yourselves as victims of the system.

Don't forget: The state of WA has put districts (a.k.a. SPS) on notice for not identifying historically underserved students in HC. (Where's the outrage here?)

Your attempt to play the victim from a position of societal privilege (highly advanced education), while co-opting the language you honed in your liberal arts classes about truly oppressed populations--self-referentially, continues to be disgraceful.

About Time

Anonymous said...

@United--agree totally.

Also agree with those who say distance, metro routes, walkability should all take priority over keeping MS cohorts together. It's like SPS really doesn't care about the impact of their decisions on families, or, obviously, on students. I don't mind having a difficult commute to HS, if it came about through a rational and fair process. But I do not see the rationality of the recommended option.


Anonymous said...

United, neighborhood vs. neighborhood is bad for all of us. We need to fight for every kid's right to get what they need from SPS. My real concern is that kids from SPS will not have the math or writing chops they need for college. I can imagine lots of kids finding careers that they would like to be closed off to them because of an inadequate math foundation. I came through the public schools and attended a public university. My single mom raising six kids alone couldn't afford much, but our public education was solid and we all did well in college and found meaningful careers that we enjoy and that provide for our families. But with my kids, I don't see a strong foundation being built in SPS. So we tightened our belts and went private. Never thought I'd do that, but I want our kids to have what I had...a chance to find meaningful work that keeps a family afloat.

Private Now

Anonymous said...

That petition lost me at "North Ballard." Re-naming your neighborhood to match the name of the high school doesn't fool anyone. It doesn't mean they don't have an argument that shouldn't be considered. But inventing a new name for your neighborhood doesn't help your case. Ballard doesn't go north of 85th. Or perhaps we should start calling neighborhoods like Greenwood "West Roosevelt."


Melissa Westbrook said...

United, I think I may put up your comments as a single thread - you are right.

Divide and conquer:
"Traiano Boccalini cites "divide et impera" in La bilancia politica[2] as a common principle in politics. The use of this technique is meant to empower the sovereign to control subjects, populations, or factions of different interests, who collectively might be able to oppose his rule. Machiavelli identifies a similar application to military strategy, advising in Book VI of The Art of War[3] (Dell'arte della guerra),[4] that a Captain should endeavor with every art to divide the forces of the enemy, either by making him suspicious of his men in whom he trusted, or by giving him cause that he has to separate his forces, and, because of this, become weaker.

The maxim divide et impera has been attributed to Philip II of Macedon, and together with the maxim divide ut regnes was utilised by the Roman ruler Caesar and the French emperor Napoleon."

That phrase - used apparently for centuries - is very much about politics and war and yes, oppression. I think it beyond distasteful that anyone would use it to say that HCC parents are trying to keep anyone else down.

About Time, I'm just about done with you. If you cannot stop sneering and smearing, again, find another blog, start a blog but you making the same point, over and over, is not a discussion.

Private Now, I fear that many parents feel the way you do.

Anonymous said...

"I think it beyond distasteful that anyone would use it to say that HCC parents are trying to keep anyone else down."

Who said that?

"Co-opting" from Dictionary.com:
to appropriate as one's own; preempt:(as in) The dissidents have coopted the title of her novel for their slogan.

Co-opting the role of the oppressed does not mean becoming the oppressor, it means
acting the part of the oppressed.

And, to be in the position of privilege and to act as though one is oppressed by (for example) co-opting such language for oneself, is what I was calling out.

About Time

Melissa Westbrook said...

About Time, talk about co-opting language. Jesus.

kellie said...

There has been one constant over my many years of capacity related advocacy. That constant is just how distracting it is when one group is pitted against another group.

This was endemic during the closures. The profound distraction created by "Close this school, not that school" distracted everyone away from the underlying facts that Seattle and SPS was actually growing and there was NO REASON to close schools at all.

I can't believe that I am outlining this so late in this process but ... The first thing that was done during the last set of boundary redraws was so simple and collaborative and has just not happened this time.

How to work collaboratively with the community to draw boundaries.

1) Make a geographic map that draws boundaries exactly half way between all high schools. This will make transparent the line where "closest school" is for ALL students.

2) You then add to this map the number of currently enrolled SPS students who live in that boundary.

3) This will tell you at a glance, which school have more students who live closer and which schools do not.

4) Then everyone knows which schools will be REQUIRED to have some students who live closer to this school, go elsewhere.

These maps were at every meeting the last time this happened and they used to be available on the district website. IIRC, Ballard had almost 2500 students, for whom Ballard was the closest high school. This made it very clear that there were going to be at least 1,000 families that would be directed to other schools.

I would suspect that once again, Ballard has MORE students who live closer to Ballard, than Ballard can handle.

kellie said...

@ About Time,

I have to comment that your remark on this thread is priceless. Are you being intentionally ironic here? You never miss an opportunity to bring HCC into the conversation and try to divide and conquer.

Bruce Taylor said...

My daughter is a senior at Holy Names, and she uses Naviance constantly. It's a spectacular tool for college-bound students. I wish there had been something similar for my son at Roosevelt, because he got so little assistance from RHS managing the college application process.

I don't know the cost of administration, training, and the license for Naviance. Obviously that's important and could be a deal-breaker. But I sure would like to see it used in the Seattle schools. It's the kind of thing that wealthy families pay for, but it should be available to all our high school kids.

Naviance has been an enormous help to my daughter through the college application process. It helped her explore what kind of coursework would be interesting, and what kind of college size / geography / physical environment would be right for her. It created a list of schools that she should investigate. After she narrowed her choices, Naviance displayed application deadlines for each school -- early action, early decision, regular decision. She uses Naviance to manage transcript and test score submissions. Naviance has tools that teachers use to compose and submit letters of recommendations (including biographical information that the student supplies in order to help the teacher write a more personal letter). Naviance displays scatter plots for each university showing data for kids from her high school -- GPA on one axis and test scores on the other -- and then shows on a scatter plot which students were accepted at that university (not names -- just X's and O's). That helped my daughter identify which schools she should focus on, which schools were stretches and which were extreme longshots. Naviance ties in with the Common App, and it includes a scholarship management section where students can discover and apply for scholarships.

Every year staff must train the new kids to use it. (I believe they start with sophomores.) Staff needs to follow up to make sure the kids are actually using the tool. But at least at Holy Names, they've developed a culture where everybody knows the deal. You do your stuff in Naviance. It's an expectation: "This is how it's done."

Naviance requires resources from the school. Personnel = money. Everybody wants to spend money different ways.

I hope the money can be found, because Naviance has been a huge help for my kid.

Anonymous said...

Bellevue School District has Naviance http://www.bsd405.org/about/initiatives/college/naviance/
SPS kids should also have access to this college planning software!!! I have heard so many parents state that our public schools need alot of help in college planning. It sounds so helpful. Enrollment has also surged and counselors are all so overloaded. This would be a really great tool and it is what is lacking in SPS.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Bruce, helpful to know. Thanks.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Magnolia4BHS said...

Hello – the petition from the so-called "North Ballard Parents" was started in response to this petition from Magnolia4BHS (https://www.change.org/p/seattle-public-schools-keep-ballard-as-magnolia-s-neighborhood-high-school) which is focused mainly on transportation issues.

I say so-called because "North Ballard" isn't an actual place and if it is, it's not where these parents live.

If BHS didn't have Ballard in its name, the "North Ballard Parents" would need another way to try and appropriate it rather than just calling their neighborhood by a fictitious name.

The commute from Magnolia to Lincoln is generally longer and worse than from "North Ballard" to Ingraham.

Anonymous said...

I signed the North Ballard petition because our children currently would require bus transfers on Aurora to high school which is unsafe while the changes for Magnolia and Queen Anne students would have safer bus options. Perhaps most importantly the options proposed by the task force put together put time into determining scenarios that would map onto important goals for the redistricting and recommended Hv2 because it hit the most boxes. Not everyone will be happy, but Hv2 hits the most boxes including being the only option to limit the impact on minority and higher needs students.

Karen! said...

@Magnolia4BHS, what data are you using to make your claim that the students moving to Lincoln from Ballard would have a worse commute time than what current North Ballard student's current commute is? In addition, the task force was clear that commute time wasn't the only factor considered. A group of parents from a specific neighborhood weren't the ones that made the initial recommendations and the task force acknowledged the commute would be better for the students around certain areas and not for other students. The first petition started was yours and it was also around transportation issues so my suggestion would be that your petition either provide data to state your claims or ask the school board to consider further transportation data.

Here's a real example how my child's commute would change with the proposed Hv2:

Current Commute to Ingraham
Distance from house: 4.4 miles
Total commute time using bus route with one transfer: 55 mins - 1hr (includes a .7 mile walk)

New Commute to Ballard
Distance from house: 1.9 miles
Total commute time using bus route no transfer: 25-30 mins (includes a .7 mile walk)
Total commute time using bus route with one transfer: 30-35 mins (includes a .4 mile walk)

Mine is the example of students' having an improved commute by going to a closer school and I'm willing to admit that every proposal will have transportation "winners" and "losers", but again while important, this wasn't the only consideration listed as part of the task force recommendations.

Anonymous said...

My younger child would be one of those "losers" ...

Older Sibling's Current Commute to Ballard
Distance from house : 1.1 miles
Walk : under 15 minutes

Younger Sibling's Proposed Commute to Ingraham
Distance from house : 4.3 miles
Bus route with no transfer: 1.8 mile walk / bus ride / 1.4 mile walk
Bus route with one transfer: 1 mile walk / bus ride / bus ride / 1 mile walk

Not including times as they vary due to weather/traffic.

N by NW