Friday, November 03, 2017

Seattle Schools' 2018-2019 Assignment Plan Discussion at Operations Committee Meeting

The Operations Committee of the Board had their regular meeting yesterday afternoon.  All three Board members who serve on the committee - Blanford (chair), Geary and Pinkham - were in attendance as well as many senior staff.   Superintendent Nyland came in about 20 minutes into the meeting.

The Student Assignment Plan for next year was moved from the bottom of the agenda to being the first item discussed.

There were several pieces of documentation (which I will have to get the links for).  (I was sent all the documentation in one block all topics on the agenda.  The SAP items start on page 38.)They are:

- Student Assignment Plan for 2018-2019 (redlined)
- Student Assignment Plan for 2018-2019
- Discover Advanced Learning (ThoughtExchange data)
- Advanced Learning Community Engagement Summary
- An untitled document with questions about Advanced Learning with what I think are responses from non-English speaking parents.
- Advanced Learning Garfield PTSA FAQ
- BAR for Board acceptance of this plan

Given that the BAR reflects several "highlights and changes" and yet staff had documentation for only one - HCC - is interesting.

Flip Herndon (Associate Superintendent: Facilities and Operations) and Wyeth Jessee (head of Student Supports) were the main presenters.  Head of Enrollment Ashley Davies was not in attendance.

Flip launched into the discussion going at a fast clip.  He noted that the word "transition" will be put on the first page to reflect this is not the SAP.

He stated that they had changed the wording about K-8 students to reflect that they CAN transfer to their attendance area school for the next year during Open Enrollment (as long as services they need can be met at that school.  (I note the change from "student's services are available" to "can be met" which may mean that if there are too many students - even ones from within the attendance area - who want to be in that school and have service needs, the district will not honor all of those students.)

I think another key item on the redlined page three is the definition of space availability. 
Space availability depends on the seats available given the staffing capacity at the school.  To determine the total number of seats available at a grade level in a school, the district will multiply the target class sizes across each classroom, given the number of teachers at each grade based on the staffing allocated by the Budget Office.
Wyeth said that based on the desire for more engagement with families, that they had interacted with about 1900 families about HCC.

In the redlined plan on page five, they have moved up the deadlines for testing for HCC.  They don't note those actual deadline dates but rather, Wyeth said they want to "wrap up appeals before Open Enrollment."  You have to apply for assignment during the Open Enrollment period which ends in February  (not until May 31st as you could previously).

Wyeth then went on to say something that I consider revisionist history.  He said that they are "cleaning up on ALO (Spectrum)" and there are "no longer self-contained services."

I suggest that senior staff and the Board go back - not so long ago in the past - and review Advanced Learning. It was APP (HCC), Spectrum and ALOs (Advanced Learning Opportunities).  Every non-APP school was supposed to have an ALO so that any identified student who didn't want to be in APP or Spectrum, could stay at their neighborhood school and have some kind of rigor.

Somehow that has gotten lost.  I appreciate that staff now wants to see an ALO in every school but this is not a new thing.  It's just something that staff like Michael Tolley never bothered to enforce (despite CSIPs saying that some schools had ALOs).  No revisionist history.

Wyeth continued saying (about Spectrum), "Not to edge it out" but one "clear thing" would be advanced math opportunities for identified students (I assume he meant in elementary and middle school but he did not specify.)  I find this somewhat baffling as the plan says - on page 10 - "Advanced Learning (Spectrum)" is still offered so I believe ALOs are now Spectrum at schools.

I think this is vague and needs much more clarity, if not in the plan, then at the Advanced Learning webpage.

Page seven makes it clear that in 2019-2020, that for HCC in high school, students will be assigned to their pathway high school (see page 17).

Wyeth said that AP courses "are already built out" in high schools but they need consistency for pathway schools.  He says parents said they want their students "closer to home."  


Wyeth had said he had visited Franklin High recently and was debunking myths.  Blanford asked him what those myths were.

1. Cohort.  He said that what they were presenting was a "high school model" not a cohort.  I found this a bit jaw-dropping because he seemed to make it sound like there never was an attempt for a cohort for HCC and that's just not true.

He said that 90% of students who take AP courses are NOT HCC.  Geary had him say it again to make sure it was understood.

So for all you who think that AP is always about HCC kids, you are wrong.

He said that 40% of HCC students in high school do not go to Garfield or Ingraham. 

2. He said there was some kind of belief that you had to test into AP classes.  Not true.

3.  He said that many people thought that IBX at Ingraham was going away.  Not true.  

4.  He said parents needed better information about advanced coursework and whether it is right for their child.  He said he had heard about students with a heavy courseload of 3-4 AP classes who were struggling.

Geary wanted to know if staff would be reaching out to the other Board members for a deeper dive especially since some of them (she did not say who) had expressed concerns over the plan.   "How do we make sure that interest in the process is satisfied so we don't end up with conflict?"

Blanford said he thought those concerns had been addressed in this document.

Flip said staff would be happy to talk to any other Board members.

Director Pinkham asked about the 2019-2020 boundaries and what should be on parents' radar now?

Herndon said that boundary work is coming in January, ahead of Open Enrollment.  He said when Davies is back, she will put out the timeline for a "deeper dive on work for the entire SAP."

Then he said something that struck me.  He said staff needed feedback from the Board about the "big lifts" for service delivery for programs and stated that this plan for HCC "is an intermediate step for capacity issues."

He did not define or clarify what "intermediate step" but it certainly sounds like this is still a transition plan.

He said there were challenges in program location - "where we put them and sustain them and the interaction at the school."

Pinkham asked about athletics.

Herndon said they would  have to have a a conversation about that, saying it might not be possible for Lincoln to have football if they are only 9th and 10th graders.  He said it was up to the state governing body on high school athletics to decide if those students could play, not the district's.

Geary then started a focused look on Special Education pathways.  She said Sped students in elementary to middle have dual pathways but there is not the same pathway from middle to high school.  (The issue being that if a student is told they can't attend their pathway school because of lack of services that they then be given the choice of staying with their "cohort" from the school that did have services OR moving to the pathway school that would be their regular assignment.)

Wyeth initially said "it shouldn't be an issue" but Pegi McEvoy said it might be an issue for transportation and they need more analysis.

Geary went on saying she'd like to see the enrollment pathway for Sped for designated placement prior to enrollment for greater choice before flow of open enrollment versus individualized Sped placement.  She was worried about 2E kids.

She said, "I want maximum flexibility and I don't see that."

Wyeth said that because Sped is a service, that isn't addressed in the assignment plan.  Geary persisted, saying she'd like to see that acknowledged.  She said that there are cases where services are offered at a school near a Sped student but they can't get into the school because all the spaces are taken.

Herndon said he would be glad to sit down with her and look at developing the language.

Geary said she would be happy for that and said, "I've been asking for this for months and months."

Pinkham noted the section about keeping twins/multiples together but asked about other cases like kids coming from blended families, step-sibs, etc.  Herndon said they could look at that. (This is on page 13.)

It was an interesting discussion but I did not hear any questions of the sort that many parents commenting here in other threads have stated.  I urge you to write to the Board with your concerns.

This plan is to be introduced at the Board meeting on November 15th with a vote at the December 6th Board meeting. Tick, tock.


Anonymous said...

Melissa or Kellie, might you suggest some talking points to consider as we communicate to board members? I'll admit to being confused as to what's being discussed when. Is this the HCC pathways time? or general school boundaries?

Anonymous said...

Why can't Lincoln have a Freshman Football Team or a JV Team to start? Almost all the high schools have Freshman football teams and/or JV teams. Then they could naturally grow into a Varsity team when they have juniors and seniors.


Melissa Westbrook said...

HP, I thought that as well. But I think it may be a combo of money plus nowhere to practice.

Anonymous said...

IBx may not be "going away" at Ingraham via official fiat, but Ingraham leaders are actively discouraging students from pursuing that accelerated path. Most HCC 9th graders I know there (I have a non-HCC 9th grader) are planning on pursuing IB, not IBX.

I'd urge all parents to be very explicit with school board members about whatever their "ask" is, whether grandfathering or other moves.

--Concerned Parent

Eric B said...

I think the most important place to push is on staffing capacity. Option schools should be filled to physical capacity. Period. Full stop.

If staffing capacity is set for every school as a set number, waitlists will not move because there will be no flexibility in the system. Instead, they should set floors for most schools (probably at the current number of teachers except for schools here they want to encourage growth) and ceilings for a few schools (ones that can't take any more, eg Garfield). That won't be all the teachers the district will need. They then go through Open Enrollment and see where student demand takes the remaining teachers who need to be hired. There's no reason this can't all be done by early April to get into the early rounds of teacher hiring.

Building capacity and student assignment is an Enrollment decision, not a Budget decision. Overall budget of the district won't change, just the distribution of teachers.

This isn't hard and there's no reason to make it hard.

Anonymous said...

I suspect part of the push to encourage an IB pathway over IBX is to obviate the need to provide advanced senior year classes for IBX students. It's easier for the school to have all students on a similar pathway and avoid that school within a school friction. Yeah, they say IBX is still an option, but not really. IBX is now more a pathway to early graduation or Running Start rather than a 4 year pathway. I'd be interested to hear what they are telling potential students in terms of IB offerings and options.

IBX flux

kellie said...

I agree that there does need to be some significant clean up about Spectrum and ALO, because Spectrum exists only on paper and is incredibly misleading to families. I also concur about the dangers of revisionist history.

Spectrum was intended as a self contained program. In the few places where Spectrum was not self-contained, there was a PLAN that the classes would become self contained as soon as there was enough demand / student enrollment. BECAUSE, Spectrum was self-contained, ALO's were added to the menu as the NOT self-contained option.

There is a challenge faced by all public school districts. How do you deliver educational services, when students do not arrive in nice neat little class size packages. There is NEVER perfect alignment between where students live and where school buildings are located. It is a job that requires continual adjustments.

Self-contained programs ONLY exist in a system where you have the ability to create full classrooms, by establishing a wait list of students who will NOT receive services. ALOs were established in 2007 as the way to ensure that students received services outside of self-contained Spectrum.

This is Year 10 of ALOs. This is not new. I sincerely hope that this clean up is about creating some transparency and accountability.

kellie said...

@ HardtoKeepUp,

It is very hard to keep up, when you have a classic "chicken and egg" problem. Boundaries and Programs go hand in hand.

The today topic is HCC pathways. The January topic is boundaries. What is a NEVER topic is the simple fact that the HCC pathway decision is the primary driver of the boundaries.

Here are the bottom line options.

1) HCC pathways are established at Garfield and Lincoln while maintaining the theoretical IBX option. This placement will cause the LEAST boundary disruption and create the maximum walkability for General Education students. There is also the possibility that this configuration could restore the 10% choice seats at high school, if Enrollment chooses to honor that.

2) Staff's proposal is to establish HCC sites at Ballard, Roosevelt, Garfield, Franklin and WSHS. This placement will cause the MAXIMUM boundary disruption.

In theory, Lincoln High School is being reopened because of severe overcrowding at Ballard, Roosevelt and Garfield. In theory, Lincoln should be receiving students who would otherwise have been assigned to these schools. This is even more obvious when you consider that Lincoln is geographically contiguous (aka shares a boundary) with these three schools. By establishing a program that requires reserved space at all three schools that share a boundary with Lincoln, this means that Lincoln's boundaries will need to be drawn as large as possible.

There is also the added complication that making Franklin an HCC school will eventually cause Cleveland to become an attendance area school causing boundary changes throughout the south end.

Mindnumbing Reteaching said...

That ALO/Spectrum thing is revisionist. Or possibly delusional. My neighborhood school is (was?) "an ALO school" which is a completely different category from a "Spectrum" school. ALO means that some years you can walk-to math and some years you can't depending on whether the principal believes in it or not. One year it took the principal more than 100 school days to decide if she believed in it or not.

Michael Rice said...

The reason Ingraham staff is encouraging most students to do IB as a junior and senior as opposed to sophomore and junior is because the demands are too much for most sophomores. We have 6 years of dealing with students who melt down or underperform because they do not have the emotional maturity and/or organizational/time management skills to pull off such a demanding program starting as a 15 year old. What we care about more than anything else is student success. We want students to be in the class they are ready for, not the class they can brag about at the neighborhood block party. Most students are better prepared to do the IB diploma program as juniors and seniors. That extra year makes a world of difference. By the way, there is no shame or sense of failure in that.

That being said, there are a handful of students who truly prepared both academically and emotionally to take on the rigors of the IB diploma program as a sophomore. That option is open to them and will continue to be.

This has nothing to do with senior year. This has everything to do with the emotional and academic well-being our students.

Anonymous said...

@Kellie- But has the train already left the station? Lincoln does not sound like it is in the cards to be utilized effectively.

Anonymous said...

@Michael Rice-- Yes, that is the impression I received when I attended an info session. I also heard from several HC parents who recommended IB over IBX for maturity issues, and the principal was clear there is an honors pathway of courses & AP HC can take prior.

But I sense the issue of concern is IBX parents who are fearful about not having enough peer students senior year to offer certain advanced (English) classes.

Future Ingraham

Doctor Hu said...

Melissa wrote, "Then he said something that struck me.  He said staff needed feedback from the Board about the 'big lifts' for service delivery for programs and stated that this plan for HCC 'is an intermediate step for capacity issues.' . . . He said there were challenges in program location - 'where we put them and sustain them and the interaction at the school.' . . . This plan is to be introduced at the Board meeting on November 15th with a vote at the December 6th Board meeting. Tick, tock."

The choice for Highly Capable Cohort (HCC) service delivery is now between:
staff regional pathways proposal -- 5 regional pathways plus 1 IBX option = 6 total
HCC Advisory Committee's dual pathways proposal -- 2 north/south pathways plus 1 IBX option = 3 total
some permutation/combination of above alternatives

staff regional pathways proposal -- 5 regional pathways plus Ingraham IBX option are:
Ballard + Ingraham > Ballard HCC regional pathway (new)
Roosevelt + Nathan Hale > Roosevelt HCC regional pathway (new)
Franklin + Rainier Beach > Franklin HCC regional pathway (new)
West Seattle + Chief Sealth > West Seattle HCC regional pathway (new)
Garfield + Lincoln > Garfield HCC regional pathway (existing)
HCC north/south pathways proposal -- 2 south/north pathways plus Ingraham IBX option are:
north end > eg Lincoln HCC (any alternative?) north pathway (new)
south end > Garfield HCC south pathway (existing)
some permutation/combination of above alternatives

The School Board not the staff now need to choose between these competing staff and HCC Advisory Committee high school pathway alternative proposals. For all their outreach did the staff ever even consult the HCC Advisory Committee, is that described in their materials for the board? The School Board now needs to direct staff to prepare for their review two new boundary change maps incorporating these two competing HCC high school pathways proposals: Map H3 incorporating the staff regional HCC pathways proposal, and new Map I incorporating the HCC Advisory Committee's dual HCC pathways proposal.

The board has already pushed back the staff SAP changes timeline by 3 weeks in preparation for the expected high school boundaries vote on January 17. The staff handout Decision Timeline for SAP Changes for 2018-19 said Nov. 1, 2017 was the "Expected date that recommended changes to SAP will be presented to the full School Board" for an expected Nov. 15 School Board vote. Now Melissa says that Nov. 15 is the expected date that recommended changes to SAP will be presented to the full School Board for an expected Dec. 6 School Board vote. So the School Board must now insist on two new alternative maps to choose between.

Anonymous said...

I would not dispute the reasoning provided by Mr. R, but the effect of a dwindling IBX cohort is the lack of a continuum for those kids come senior year. (It's not about bragging to neighborhood parents - sheesh).

@Future Ingraham, as far as the honors pathway, it's my understanding the only AP courses offered at Ingraham are math based - AP Calc and AP Computer Science. No AP science courses are offered and advanced science courses cannot be taken prior to starting IB in 11th. The IBX pathway is the only means of accessing advanced science coursework prior to 11th grade.


Benjamin Leis said...

@sigh - No the train has not left the station until the final board vote and anything really could happen up until then. Almost all of the recent significant decisions have been altered in this way. For example, last years SAP and rollout of new schools. The planning principal at CP changed course mid stream because of the shift to an option school.

Melissa Westbrook said...

10% choice seats at high school"

Kellie, staff has told me repeatedly that the 10% "never existed" so while there is "choice seats" language in the SAP, I think it's another "policy but not practice."

Thank you, Michael; good to know student well-being is the focus.

"For all their outreach did the staff ever even consult the HCC Advisory Committee, is that described in their materials for the board?"

Great question and no one on the Committee asked this yesterday nor was it stated by staff. And again, that is why I would never again serve on such an Advisory committee; it's all for show by staff.

And do heed Benjamin's words; it is NOT too late. But parents need to rise up in numbers and tell the Board - several times - what they see and what they don't like

Anonymous said...

I suspect the board will hear from Ballard, Roosevelt and Hale HC families who are supportive of the linked school HCC plan, yet irritated with the process. They will hear from a bunch of QA, Mag, Wallingford families who hate the plan and want choice seats at Ballard or Roosevelt, with the exception of a few south QA families wanting Garfield. They will hear from 1/6 or less of the W. Seattle HC families worried about cohort size, so like 5-10 emails, and maybe an email or two from SE HC families. Not sure what those in the Garfield boundaries think about all of this change. This leads me to believe a significant highschool cohort providing the opportunity for more "onsite" and "with same age peers" advanced classes junior and senior year will be a thing of the past, 3-5 linked schools/pathways will have a few more math and science classes than the others, and everyone will be pushed to running start.


Anonymous said...

@ IB Flux and Future Ingraham, I don't see it as problematic at all if "IBX is now more a pathway to early graduation or Running Start rather than a 4 year pathway." Makes perfect sense. There's a nice rigorous pathway available for any HCC student who wants to start IB in 11th grade. If they are really wanting more acceleration, why not graduate early and/or do Running Start? That's what similarly advanced students would likely do elsewhere, no?


Melissa Westbrook said...

HF, I'm glad you can speak for all parents and students "makes perfect sense." High school isn't all about academics. Some kids want to be there four years. Some kids are not ready for college emotionally.

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to make sense of what Herndon said, which has some little alarm bells going off in my head.

He said staff needed feedback from the Board about the "big lifts" for service delivery for programs and stated that this plan for HCC "is an intermediate step for capacity issues."

Does this mean what I think it does, that staff don't really know how they can effectively deliver appropriate HC services once they move to this much more dispersed 5-pathway model (+IHS), but they want to go ahead with it anyway?

Does this being an "intermediate step" refer to staff's desire to disband HCC pathways altogether and serve all at AA schools, but that in the interest of parent pushback they went ahead with a 2:1 feeders:pathway model?

He said there were challenges in program location - "where we put them and sustain them and the interaction at the school."
Is this essentially an admission that (1) it will be hard to provide enough challenging classes at some schools, and (2) HCC students aren't really all that welcome at some schools? Aren't both "equity" concerns?

I wasn't at the meeting, so maybe in context Herndon's comments weren't so troubling? I have to say, though, I'm disappointed (but not surprised) at how little the attending board members seemed to question any of the thinking behind these "plans," which seem to be very half-baked.


Anonymous said...

@HF- Yes, I agree with you about the rigorous program available in 11th and 12th grade. 9th and 10th are honors classes with a couple of AP classes. Ingraham can at least provide a solid advanced program and if you sign up for IB you know what you get.

With a 1 to 5 pathway split, you might have challenges from one year to the next. I have concerns about HC at Ballard, Roosevelt and other schools not providing a program pathway that fits well as far as scheduling. If only 2 sections are offered of an AP class, will all the core courses fit nicely into a schedule every year?

At Garfield there are tons of sections offered at different times and masses of kids taking all the same classes together. I read this on another thread. Kids might be able to take classes with older kids until later in high school, then might run into issues if not enough students for example to take BC calculus in 12th grade. The district will likely not provide funding for classes smaller than 30.

Future Ingraham

Anonymous said...

@ Melissa, huh? Maybe you misunderstood me. The traditional IB pathway IS a 4-year plan. If a student wants four years, they can easily get them. Ingraham is even encouraging it. However, if someone wants a faster pathway, as a some HCC students might, they could choose to graduate a year early. IBX makes that a fairly easy option for a qualified, motivated student. Not sure why you had a beef with what I said, but everyone seems to be on edge...


PS - Also, how am I presuming to speak for all parents and students when I clearly said "I don't see it as problematic..." I didn't say it wasn't, just that I (me) don't see it that way. Isn't that what you always say we're supposed to do, put things out there as opinions rather than facts?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Okay HF, you did state it as an opinion but what you say now is not how you first stated it.

Anonymous said...

Different words, but I meant the same. Sorry if it was unclear or confusing.


Anna said...

I can't get the link to the documents to work. I can see the redlined SAP, but not the rest of it. Is it just me? Could you repost the link to the longer file?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Anna, thanks for the heads up; I fixed the link.

juicygoofy said...

Scenarios to explore:

If an HC student is enrolled at one of the "new" HC attendance area schools in 2018, can they be geo-split to a non-HC school when boundaries change in 2019? Or could/would they be grandfathered at their current school as an HC student?

Alternately, if a student is enrolled at Garfield in 2018, would/could they have the choice to move "back" to their attendance area HC school in 2019?

Eagle Mom said...

The proposed new Student Assignment Plan says that starting in 2019-20:

Advanced Learning (Spectrum) is offered for elementary and middle school students identified through district testing. For elementary and middle school students, AL is offered at each school site.

and also:

Students in grades 1-8 who are AL or HC eligible and enroll at their attendance area school will receive ALO services at their attendance area school.

Uh, so how does that mesh with the fact that a lot of principals and teachers don't believe students should work ahead of grade level? And the fact that MTSS does not include any way to identify or address students who need more advanced work?

A lot of the families who are in HCC programs now have already experienced this form of "meeting" advanced learning needs in students. This is the take-this-extra-worksheet-and-sit-in-the-corner approach to advanced learning. Unless you happen to stumble across a gem of a teacher who believes all children should learn at school and knows how to make that happen for the advanced ones in the mix.

Anonymous said...

The current draft policy specifies that the 8th graders will go to Garfield and be grandfathered there and NOT switch to the new pathway.

Anonymous said...

@juicygoofy- Regarding your other question, they said they would not tie services to boundaries. Lets say an HC student chooses neighborhood school in 2018 Ballard. So this means that if a geosplit, then no the HC student would not get geosplit to a school (ex Lincoln) that does not have HC services. But I don't know if they might need to move to the new HC service school (ex Garfield). Or if they could stay at their former neighborhood school (ex Ballard) that now is an HC school. It is a complicated question. It is one to ask.

I think the district will be in for a BIG surprise in how many 2018 families will choose Ballard & Roosevelt in 2018 in anticipation. The school cannot handle the projected enrollment for next year without HC returning. I don't think they can mitigate this kind of surge with portables.

Anonymous said...

Sorry I meant to state cannot handle projected enrollment next year even without HC returning.Ballard has 2000 (capacity is around 1600). Roosevelt similar. Next year will be more.
With HC returning I cannot....even....imagine.

Anonymous said...

@ worried, I don't think that's the question exactly. Say the HCC student opts for their assignment school, Roosevelt in 2018. When the 2019 changes happen, could this student be geosplit to Lincoln for 10th grade? What if Lincoln doesn't offer appropriate HCC services, since they need to provide a continuum through 12th grade? Would they be split from Roosevelt, which might be a new HCC site then, to Garfield, which is "their" HCC pathway school? Or would they say that once you go "off" the pathway you can't get back on, even if your newly assigned school can't meet your needs?


Rallying Cry said...

Or we could just all write to the board and explain why getting rid of the cohort isn't the best idea. There should be a south end pathway high school and a north end pathway high school. This should help Garfield's overcrowding by moving the vast majority of north end HCC out of there. And it should help Ballard and Roosevelt's overcrowding by not being located at Ballard or Roosevelt and drawing students who are assigned there away. And it shouldn't be located at Hale because it is scheduled to be overcrowded soon as well and it's a poor fit with Hale's philosophy.

That leaves Lincoln and Ingraham. Lincoln is central and families who attended Cascadia there know what the commute would involve and know that it's feasible. And no one is assigned to Lincoln yet so the HCC cohort wouldn't be displacing anyone. And Ingraham is already an option site for HCC that is going to have added space available. And who's going to fill that space?

Ballard families should urge the board to put HCC at Lincoln and/or Ingraham, because otherwise Ballard's zone will shrink. They will have to fill Ingraham's extra space with former Ballard zone students. And part of Ballard will be sliced off to send to Lincoln when it opens. Either way, Ballard is a strong school and families that live close to it sound like they want their students to go to it.

Families in the Ballard and Roosevelt and Hale zones should urge the board to do this, because it will help keep their schools from being overcrowded.

Families from QA/Magnolia should urge the board to do this because it would free up space at Ballard that they could access and if the north end HCC pathway went to Lincoln and if they did end up assigned to Lincoln it would help insure that rigorous, college prep choices will be available from the beginning at Lincoln along with Medsker's project based learning.

Lincoln zone families should urge the board to do this because why would they want to send their kids to a brand new school that might start with only 9th and 10th grade and has no sports fields without all the neighborhood's HCC kids who will be shipped off to Garfield and language immersion kids from JSIS and MacDonald who will be shipped off to Ingraham. That would likely leave Lincoln with a weirdly lopsided package of the kinds of students a full, city high school ought to include. Maybe a sort of artsy, wholesome, project-based, Thornton Creek/Salmon Bay sort of crowd. Plus local students who had no choice. I picture it a little like Hale—a very distinct flavor of high school that probably ought to be an option school, but for some reason is a mandatory choice for students who happen to live in that assignment zone whether they want that style of high school or not. When there used to be choice seats for high school, that seems like it would have been fine. If you had a hard core pre-engineering math-head type hard science student, you might have been able to get the kid into Ballard or Roosevelt in the old days. Now those are overcrowded, so, no. Your engineer is going to have to go to attend Medsker's expeditionary group learning dream school. Maybe excellent, but not the right fit for every student's dream.

Anonymous said...

Great post, Rallying Cry. HCC at Lincoln as THE north-end high school pathway would draw kids away from some already crowded schools and allow for a critical mass to ensure enough sections of next-in-sequence classes for junior and seniors. It would allow for less dramatic boundary changes, and disrupt fewer kids already enrolled in other schools, particularly Roosevelt and Ballard.

We need to see projections for the different scenarios, so we can better see the impact of 5 HCC pathways (plus IB) versus 2 (plus IB) citywide. In my opinion, going to 5 pathways is almost like giving up on any pathway at all. Besides Garfield as a single south-end pathway, I could perhaps imagine Ballard and Roosevelt as two north-end HCC pathways, but ONLY if they included kids from QA/Mag/Wallingford to help ensure critical mass (again, pathway projections?). But having that critical mass at Ballard HS and Roosevelt HS would mean shrinking Ballard and Roosevelt boundaries and increasing the Lincoln boundary, necessitating a lot more disruption for non-HCC students. Is that really necessary, with Lincoln as a possible north-end HCC pathway instead?

Questions on aligning middle and high schools: Although it sounds nice and neat on paper for middle school and high school boundaries to align, and I think parents of younger students tend to especially like the idea of keeping kids together through each school change, are those really sustainable expectations to set? Instead, shouldn’t the district be maximizing the possibility of choice for high school, allowing and even encouraging more students to go to a school that might have unique offerings or an environment that suits their unique interests as they approach adulthood?

Long timer

Doctor Hu said...

Do you wonder how big are the potential alternative Seattle HCC high school pathways? These are my estimates, gentle readers please correct all errors, please supplement with all available data.

In the 6 school years beginning 2011-12, Seattle's total HCC enrollment in grades 1-12 almost doubled from 1,772 to 3,467 students. During the same period, HC high school enrollment in the Garfield HCC pathway and in the Ingraham IB option rose from 494 to 890.

Again, in 2016-17, the last school year for which consistent figures are published, 890 high school HC students grades 9-12 were enrolled in HCC. District staff state that another 40% of all HCC eligible students do not attend either the Garfield pathway or the Ingraham IB option, so the total Seattle HCC eligible high school student population is currently about 1,500.

Note that the following rough estimates of HCC enrolled students are underinclusive because they do not include those approximately 600 HCC eligible but not enrolled high school students who might join these new HCC high school pathways (concentrated in areas furthest from Garfield, including the staff proposed regional northwest Seattle HCC high school Ballard pathway, the staff proposed regional northeast Seattle HCC high school Roosevelt pathway, and the staff proposed regional West Seattle HCC high school pathway).

But note that the following rough estimates of HCC enrolled students are also overinclusive because they do include all HCC enrolled high school students belonging to those pathways who actually attend the Ingraham IB option. In another post, we will estimate these numbers too. Annual Enrollment Report Table 6-C, "High School Open Choice Assignments by Home Attendance Area, notes: "*Garfield is an HCC pathway (designated) school so HCC students are not included as choice students. **Ingraham includes HCC choice students, who are considered as new choice assignments."

For our rough estimates here, middle school attendance areas are paired with the proposed H2 high school boundaries as best we can, you should view the high school and middle school boundary maps linked below for yourself to see all obvious discrepancies. For example, the north half of the Meany middle school service area is in the Garfield high school attendance area and staff proposed HC regional pathway, while south of I-90 is in the Franklin attendance area and staff proposed HC regional pathway. In contrast, the middle school service areas do converge exactly with the West Seattle high school attendance area and staff proposed HC regional pathway.

Doctor Hu said...

Rough size estimates of the competing HCC high school pathways proposals can be construed from the Annual Enrollment Report: 2016-17 data, Table 9-C, "Grades 9-12 HCC Students by Home Service Area and Grade," which shows the home middle school of every enrolled Seattle HCC high school student (except Eagle Staff and Meany which both opened only this school year). Those middle school service areas do not align exactly with the existing or proposed high school boundaries, but this information still does allow us to roughly estimate how many currently enrolled HC students would be reassigned to the competing proposed HCC high school pathway cohorts.

How Big are All the Proposed HCC Pathways?

Plan A: HCC Advisory Committee dual pathways proposal -- "2 south/north pathways plus Ingraham IBX option:"

north end > eg Lincoln cap. 1600 HCC (any alternative?) north pathway (new) (approx. 369 + ? Eagle Staff students + 40% = >517?)
171 Whitman + ? Eagle Staff + 137 Eckstein + 61 Jane Addams > 369 + ? high school HC students grades 9-12

south end > Garfield cap. 1594 HCC south pathway (existing) (approx. 459 + ? Meany students + 40% = >643?)
71 Mercer + 32 Aki Kurose + 74 Madison + 22 Denny + 171 Washington + 89 Hamilton + ? Meany > 459 + ? high school HC students grades 9-12


Plan B: SPS staff regional pathways proposal -- "5 regional pathways plus Ingraham IBX option:"

Ballard + Ingraham > Ballard cap. 1607 HCC regional pathway (new) (approx. 171 + ? Eagle Staff students + >40% = >239?)
171 Whitman + ? Eagle Staff > 171 + ? high school HC students grades 9-12

Roosevelt + Nathan Hale > Roosevelt cap. 1715 HCC regional pathway (new) (approx. 198 students + >40% = >277?)
137 Eckstein + 61 Jane Addams > 198 high school HC students grades 9-12

Franklin + Rainier Beach > Franklin cap. 1397 HCC regional pathway (new) (approx. 103 students + <40% = <144?)
71 Mercer + 32 Aki Kurose > 103 high school HC students grades 9-12

West Seattle + Chief Sealth > West Seattle cap. 1215 HCC regional pathway (new) (approx. 96 students + >40% = >134?)
74 Madison + 22 Denny > 96 high school HC students grades 9-12

Garfield + Lincoln > Garfield cap. 1594 HCC regional pathway (existing) (approx. 260 + ? Meany students + <40% = <364?)
171 Washington + 89 Hamilton + ? Meany > 260 + ? high school HC students grades 9-12

some permutation/combination of above alternatives


"2017-18 Middle School HCC (formerly APP) Pathways Map"

"2019-20 High School AA Task Force Scenario H version 2 Map"

"Grades 9-12 HCC Students by Home Service Area and Grade," Annual Enrollment Report: 2016-17 data, Table 9-C

"2016-17 Student Density: Enrolled in HCC Grades 9-12 Map"

"2016-17 Student Density: Eligible for HCC Grades 9-12 Map"

Doctor Hu said...

Rough size estimates of the competing HCC high school pathways proposals can also be construed from the Annual Enrollment Report: 2016-17 data, Table 4-D, "Students in High Schools by Attendance Area: Summary," showing the home high school attendance area of each student. From the counts of non-attendance area high school students busing to Garfield, subtract open choice assignments because those are not HCC pathway assignments. Annual Enrollment Report: 2016-17 data, Table 6-C, "All Choice Assignments by Attendance Area Grades 9-12." In contrast, counts of non-attendance area high school students busing to Ingraham are overinclusive because they also include other non-HCC IB students.

How Big are All the Proposed HCC Pathways?

Plan A: HCC dual pathways proposal -- "2 south/north pathways plus Ingraham IBX option:"

north end > eg Lincoln cap. 1600 HCC (any alternative?) north pathway (new) (approx. 199 + 359? Ingraham IB students = <558 HCC pathway students + 40% = <781?)
75 Ballard + 16 Ingraham + 81 Roosevelt + 27 Nathan Hale > 199 high school HC students bus to Garfield grades 9-12
129? Ballard + ? Ingraham + 151? Roosevelt + 79? Nathan Hale > 359? + ? high school HC students bus and walk to Ingraham grades 9-12

south end > Garfield cap. 1594 HCC south pathway (existing) (approx. 244 + ? Garfield + ? Lincoln + 18? Ingraham IB students = >262 HC pathway students + 40% = >369?)
87 Franklin + 42 Rainier Beach + 73 West Seattle + 22 Chief Sealth + ? Garfield + ? Lincoln? > 224 + ? high school HC students bus and walk to Garfield grades 9-12
4? Franklin + 2? Rainier Beach + 2? West Seattle + 1? Chief Sealth + 9? Garfield + ? Lincoln > 18? + ? high school HC students bus to Ingraham grades 9-12


Plan B: SPS staff 5 pathways proposal -- "5 regional pathways plus Ingraham IBX option:"

Ballard + Ingraham > Ballard cap. 1607 HCC regional pathway (new) (approx. 91 + 129? Ingraham IB students = <220? HCC pathway students + >40% = 308?)
75 + 16 > 91 high school HC students bus to Garfield grades 9-12
129? + ? > 129? + ? high school HC students bus and walk to Ingraham grades 9-12

Roosevelt + Nathan Hale > Roosevelt cap. 1715 HCC regional pathway (new) (approx. 108 + 230? Ingraham IB students = <338? HCC pathway students + >40% = 473?)
81 + 27 > 108 high school HC students bus to Garfield grades 9-12
151? + 79? > 230? high school HC students bus to Ingraham grades 9-12

Franklin + Rainier Beach > Franklin cap. 1397 HCC regional pathway (new) (approx. 129 + 6? Ingraham IB students = <135? HCC pathway students + <40% = 189?)
87 + 42 > 129 high school HC students bus to Garfield grades 9-12
4? + 2? > 6? high school HC students bus to Ingraham grades 9-12

West Seattle + Chief Sealth > West Seattle cap. 1215 HCC regional pathway (new) (approx. 95 + 3? Ingraham IB students = <98? HCC pathway students + >40% = 137?)
73 + 22 > 95 high school HC students bus to Garfield grades 9-12
2? + 1? > 3? high school HC students bus to Ingraham grades 9-12

Garfield + Lincoln > Garfield cap. 1594 HCC regional pathway (existing) (approx. ? + 9? Ingraham IB students = ? + <9? HCC pathway students + <40% = >13? + ?)
? + ? > ? high school HC students bus and walk to Garfield grades 9-12
9? + ? > 9? + ? high school HC students bus to Ingraham grades 9-12


"Students in High Schools by Attendance Area: Summary," Annual Enrollment Report: 2016-17 data, Table 4-D

"All Choice Assignments by Home Attendance Area Grades 9-12," Annual Enrollment Report: 2016-17 data, Table 6-C

Melissa Westbrook said...

I urge you to send the Board your scenario questions and tell them you'd like to seem them vetted by staff.

If staff has done its homework, they should be easily able to answer each one (and its possible outcomes). Then the Board can judge the outcomes and the merits of the plan.

Anonymous said...

(Summarizing from Dr. Hu's posted info)

Rough estimate of 9-12 HC cohorts, under 5 pathway scenario (excludes Ingraham IB):

Ballard - 170
Roosevelt - 200
Franklin - 100
Garfield - 260
West Seattle - 100

Assuming a portion of Ballard/Ingraham/Roosevelt/Hale/Lincoln students opt for IB at Ingraham, those cohorts are looking pretty small. Yet they are based on past numbers, rather than projected enrollment, so it's unclear by how much those numbers would increase by 2019. Compared to current cohorts at Ingraham and Garfield, the numbers look too small to offer the critical mass of students for advanced course options. Franklin and West Seattle would have an average of 25 students per grade. During the transition period, where some students are grandfathered at Garfield, the offerings would be even more limited.

Can't help but look at those numbers and think the 2 HC pathways + Ingraham offers a better chance of maintaining a critical mass of HC students to offer a continuum of classes 9-12. Lincoln and Garfield as HC pathways + Ingraham, would probably better balance numbers and make for more limited boundary adjustments.

train wreck

Anonymous said...

"Great post, Rallying Cry. HCC at Lincoln as THE north-end high school pathway would draw kids away from some already crowded schools and allow for a critical mass to ensure enough sections of next-in-sequence classes for junior and seniors. It would allow for less dramatic boundary changes, and disrupt fewer kids already enrolled in other schools, particularly Roosevelt and Ballard."

Yes, but people need to get out the word to the Ballard & Roosevelt HC families who I know who are excited by the thought that "HC will be located within walking distance". In addition, I am not sure we will see Ballard and Roosevelt families would rise up and complain in numbers about HC returning to their schools either.

If HC parents have no experience with program planning, they may not be aware of the challenges of the 5 pathway idea. What would be apparent is " Ballard & Roosevelt offer the same AP courses." And they may know of an HC kid or two who attends and "is doing o.k".

Parents must understand the scheduling piece. Why Garfield works and why HC kids with a thinner cohort might have issues maintaining coursework alignment in all courses from year to year at a school without many sections. I assume it can be done with planning, but the district, school principal, registrar and counselors all need to have a shared understanding. The school needs to budget, schedule classes for cohesiveness of AP courses so they fit together within an advanced program for 4 years. Garfield has a 4 year plan for selective colleges in the catalog that is also an HC pathway. Any electives and language would have to be taken outside of the core class pathway.

Anonymous said...

@Train Wreck "Assuming a portion of Ballard/Ingraham/Roosevelt/Hale/Lincoln students opt for IB at Ingraham, those cohorts are looking pretty small."

Yes, many I know who have Ballard as reference are interested in Ingraham IB. So I think cut those numbers in half for projections. Ex 85 HC at Ballard and 100 HC at Roosevelt spread amongst all 4 grades.

Anonymous said...

It seems to be forgotten in all these threads that Lincoln is going to be a great STEAM school and a comprehensive high school for all students in it's boundaries. Many north end HCC students currently choose Roosevelt over Garfield. If Lincoln is a great high school, the same should apply for neighborhood HCC students. Most LI students go to Roosevelt, not Ingraham now so I don't see why they wouldn't still choose their neighborhood high school in large numbers.


Rallying Cry said...


With the proposed 5-school plan, Ballard and Roosevelt HC families may be excited at the idea of staying at a nearby, highly regarded high school that at least in name will now offer an HC pathway. And certainly even without the "HC pathway" name, some Roosevelt and Ballard families already do send HC students to Roosevelt and Ballard.

From Doctor Hu's calculations, it looks like some of the cohort sizes might be quite small (West Seattle? Franklin?). That may or may not be a concern for families. The computations look different for every child, for every address...

The concern about the 5-school HC pathway plan should maybe be coming from the Ballard and Roosevelt families who will be kicked out of Ballard and Roosevelt to make room for the incoming HC pathway students. Ballard and Roosevelt will need smaller zones. And families who are happy with Ballard may or may not be happy with being rezoned and forced to attend Ingraham or Lincoln. Families who are happy with Roosevelt may or may not be happy with being rezoned and forced to attend Hale or Lincoln. These families are the ones who should be writing to the board. Having one north end HC pathway high school (at Lincoln?) would save a lot of Ballard and Roosevelt families from being sent somewhere OTHER than Ballard and Roosevelt. But because the 5-school HC pathway plan LOOKS like an HC plan, many of these families might not have any idea that it might eventually kick them out of their school.

There is a glut of HC students coming up the pipeline. Cascadia was the largest elementary school in the city last year with 750 or so students. And that was with no kindergarteners and very few first graders.

Families throughout the district should write to the board and ask for Student Assignment Plan maps for:
1) the 5-school HC pathway plan
2) a 2-school HC pathway plan (one in south end, one in north end)

Then families will be able to judge what the changes would mean for them. And I suspect a lot of families would rather have a 2-school HC pathway plan when they see what the effect on their assignment will be. But families should be able to look at the maps and judge for themselves.

Eric B said...

It's worth pointing out that Ballard and Roosevelt have pretty large AP/honors programs right now, before adding any more HCC students there. That probably explains why a lot of HCC students in the assignment areas go to those schools rather than the default pathways. You wouldn't be depending on enrollment just from HCC to keep those programs strong.

The flip side of that is that there's a big draw then to those schools and HCC may get more popular than it was before. That leads to a better chance that the schools will be overenrolled. If it ain't broke at those schools, don't fix it.

Anonymous said...

Families have absolutely no idea what will be offered at Lincoln.

The community meeting included a video montage that promoted Project Based Learning, but also seemed anti-AP. What does a "comprehensive high school" mean? Is Hale a comprehensive high school? While HC students might be choosing their neighborhood schools if they live within Ballard and Roosevelt boundaries, I'm not sure the same is true for Hale. If Lincoln is Hale V2, will families consider it a "great" school?

reality check

Anonymous said...

"Parents must understand the scheduling piece. Why Garfield works and why HC kids with a thinner cohort might have issues maintaining coursework alignment in all courses from year to year at a school without many sections. I assume it can be done with planning, but the district, school principal, registrar and counselors all need to have a shared understanding.”

I think it’s mighty optimistic to think it can be done. As in, it's not going to happen reliably or consistently--if at all. On top of the loss of critical mass for each and every HC pathway school, my crystal ball tells me that eventually a lot of Hamilton/McClure-area HC families would return from Garfield in significant numbers to Lincoln (their attendance area school) once it’s established, making a yet another defacto north-end pathway.

Too many pathways = no pathway.

I can’t see nearly every high school across the district spending their precious budgets and using precious staffing and classroom resources to schedule half-full classes with limited demand and inadequate critical mass to support them. Nope. Families need to know to resist the shiny object, thinking everyone can have a Garfield-like pathway close to home. They simply can’t have their cake and eat it too.

Long timer

Anonymous said...

Eric B said: "It's worth pointing out that Ballard and Roosevelt have pretty large AP/honors programs right now”

Yes, but the population of Ballard HS is going to dramatically change if fully half of the current Ballard enrollment is moved to Lincoln. The overall enrollment will come down — which it should, because it’s so overcrowded. With Whitman shrinking and needing to make programming tradeoffs, they may no longer be sending kids up to Ballard HS who are two years ahead in math. So, depending how all the puzzle pieces fit together, I’d be very careful assuming there will be enough kids who haven’t been on the HCC path to help ensure the critical mass needed to support a master schedule similar to the current one, especially as kids get to be juniors and seniors.

I can't speak to Roosevelt, but it's pretty clear to me that Ballard is going to change a lot and current programs or classes aren't any guarantee of future ones.

Long timer

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why people jump to Nathan Hale as a model for Lincoln when Ballard and Roosevelt are currently neighborhood high schools as well--and very popular ones, too. Why wouldn't Lincoln be as great as Ballard and Roosevelt? (I know it doesn't have the sports fields, true).


Anonymous said...

@Eric B-- Yes Long timer is correct. The population of Ballard will dramatically change as it will lose QA and Magnolia students.

Also, having a large AP honors program, is different than being able to provide the exact courses HC kids will need for alignment for each and every course for all 4 years. For HC students I imagine they could be in the position of having to repeat courses or take inappropriate courses.

Garfield actually offers a HC 4 year pathway program. Will SP be able to ensure that they will work with all 5 principals, counselors , registrars and have the budget to ensure that all the five HC schools will be able to offer the same? Maybe, if they want to actually mirror what Garfield has provided and put energy and resources toward it. Long Timer is skeptical. They will also be disrupting boundaries and students in the entire district to implement it. Is there an alternative?


Sunstar said...

It's suspicious that Geary, Pinkham and Blanford are the ones proposing this 5-school HC high school pathway plan. Based on their track records (and statements), these are not board members who WANT Seattle public schools to provide a strong basic education for advanced learners. They favor meeting the needs of advanced learners at local schools no matter what, even if that means the needs aren't met.

But to them I would say this: If we want to reduce the gap between the best- and worst-performing kids, innovations need to be directed at the bottom of the distribution. The lowest achievers need extra support. And packing Ballard and Roosevelt with HC students does nothing to provide the district's lowest achieving students with extra support.

And in fact if the district didn't find itself struggling to figure out how to afford to offer high school classes for accelerated HC students at Ballard and Roosevelt and Franklin and Garfield and West Seattle, there would theoretically be more money to provide extra support to students in the district who need that.

Andrew said...


People are jumping to Hale as a model for Lincoln instead of Ballard or Roosevelt because although Medsker does not appear to be as allergic to accelerating students who need acceleration or offering advanced learning opportunities to students who need advanced learning opportunities the way Jill Hudson is, Medsker has failed to convey a vision that inspires confidence in families who want to send their students to a college preparatory high school. The district hired Medsker with no public input. And Medsker has told families what she will be offering, but no one has ever asked what families want.

Lynn said...

@Helen - Lincoln’s principal is sending out pretty strong signals that she is anti-AP and is planning a School based on project-based learning.

Ballard and Roosevelt offer traditional honors and AP classes and do not force students into project based learning courses. Nathan Hale on the other hand offers few accelerated classes.

Anonymous said...

The District decided CP would be an experiential learning option school rather than an advanced learning option school like the board requested. How's that going? What do they have...like 50 students?

Belly Flop

Anonymous said...

Quit saying Hale doesn't offer college prep. Plenty of kids at Hale go on to college and are well prepared. In my kid's class, a large percentage went to UW Seattle. Others went to Western and WSU. My own kid went to UO. Every year, the Hale newspaper prints a map showing where all the seniors are going after high school. Most are going to good colleges. It may not be the right path for the majority of HCC kids but it works well for gen ed kids.


Andrew said...

You're right, HP. Hale students do indeed go on to college. I found this back issue of the paper for the class of 2015:

I didn't say Hale didn't offer college prep. I said Hale's principal Jill Hudson is allergic to accelerating students who need acceleration or offering advanced learning opportunities to students who need advanced learning opportunities. And then I said that Lincoln's Medsker has failed to convey a vision that inspires confidence in families who want to send their students to a college preparatory high school. I believe both of those statements to be true, but what do I know? Maybe I'm wrong?

At any rate, if a family had a child whose dream was to study engineering at M.I.T. or CalTech or Stanford, and they could pick any Seattle high school to send their child to, I have my doubts how many families would put Hale at the top of their list.

Different students are different and their goals are different and what they would need to accomplish those goals are different. "College Prep" for North Seattle Community College, Shoreline Community College, and WWU may end up meaning something different from "College Prep" for a major in computer science and molecular biology at M.I.T.

Anonymous said...

(reposting from other thread)

For comparison, Garfield’s 2017 schedule (# of sections):

AP LA 11th and 12th
AP Calc AB (5)
AP Calc BC (1)
AP Stats (3)
AP Env Sci (5)
AP Biology (3)
AP Chemistry (5)
AP Physics (2)
AP World History (11)
AP Amer Gov (2)
AP US Hist (4)
AP Japanese (2)
AP French (1)
AP Latin (1)
AP Spanish (2)
AP Macro (1)
AP Computer Science (2)
AP Studio Art (1)

If HCC was to split into 5 cohorts (+ Ingraham), any course with only 1 or 2 (or even 3) sections could be in jeopardy. Again, where is a detailed analysis by the district? For each course, what percentage of the students are HC vs non-HCC?


Anonymous said...

That was going so well until you basically implied everyone at Nathan Hale was only qualified for Community college or a bit more ...


Melissa Westbrook said...

-ThinkBeforeYouPost - two-word monikers, please (I don't care if you run everything into one name, just two words)

I certainly don't think Hale grads just go to community college but faculty and principals there have been fighting honors classes and more AP since MY kid went there. It's not some whispered rumor and, that current parents say the same thing, I'd assume it's still true.

Anonymous said...

There is, in my opinion, a generalized hostility towards Hale and Principal Hudson on this blog. I find it weird.

Melissa, I am a current Hale parent and I am impressed and satisfied with what Hale has provided my child. Of course, others may disagree, but I'd appreciate it if the Hale bashing would stop.

Hale Parent

Anonymous said...

@ Hale Parent, it's not really "bashing" to say that a school doesn't offer a particular thing that some find important. There are other parents who talk about how great Hale is for their kids, so I think people see both sides. But when we're talking specifically about HC-identified students, including those who have been on the accelerated HCC pathway, it makes complete sense that you may see less support or enthusiasm for Hale's approach. It's not "bashing" to say that Hale's approach isn't really designed for the needs of such students. Would some do fine there? Sure. One of my HCC kids would likely be a great fit at Hale. The other? No freakin' way. Absolutely not. Hale doesn't offer enough opportunities for acceleration, and there's way too much time spent on advisory and mentorship and reading periods. That kid doesn't need that, doesn't want it, and quite frankly, wouldn't go. No offense to Hale, it's just not a good fit for all. No school is.

all types

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'm not sure it's bashing. It's making a pointed observation about the principal and the direction the school has taken for a long time. I'm not sure that's a bad thing - Hale is VERY inclusive. But the problem is that, for a comprehensive high school, Hale seems lacking for some parents of college-bound students. The district HAS to insure that every comprehensive has enough offerings and services for the wide range of students attending.

All Types makes some good points but it reminds me that parents don't have much choice. Hale was right for one son (with one glaring exception) and Roosevelt was right for the other son. We did get to pick Hale but we lived near Roosevelt.

Anonymous said...

Garfield only offers 1 BC Calc class? With an HCC program? Did I also read correctly that in Seattle the course path is AB Calc and then BC Calc over 2 years vs AB Calc as a slower option OR BC Calc for stronger math students (what I’m familiar with from my HS days and the east coast). Why?

My kids aren’t in high school yet so I haven’t dug into Running Start deeply yet, but it looks like quite a few HS kids enroll in at least some classes. Does anyone track (and is there any transparency) as to how many kids and which classes? It seems to me that info would help everyone understand how many slots there really are in HS and how many AP classes (assuming kids aren’t taking HS level/college remediation classe) are needed. Maybe quite a few Gen Ed kids outside of Garfield are really being shorted right now and there would (should) be plenty of AP classes for HCC kids at least many schools in N Seattle if the scheduling was actually set up correctly or funded reasonably. S Seattle still looks a little too light from a cohort/current set up perspective.

It also seems crazy to me that we are planning to set Lincoln up as a neighborhood school. Optically, yes, it would look awful to have it be HCC and Language. But we’ve already put the language immersion elementaries right there. I also don’t understand Hale and a number of the elementaries. To me, this is a great opportunity to fix neighborhood vs choice. Where you live shouldn’t drive your opportunity or challenge. Everyone should be able to expect a standard-ish, comprehensive school experience - no matter where they live. Non-standard schools can be amazing and are absolutely fantastic for many, but are also a terrible fit for some...and it seems crazy to lock someone into Hale or a project based Lincoln, just based on where they live. Perhaps 1 language, 1 steam and one expeditionary choice per quandrant, 1-2 alternative HSs per 1/2 city, etc. Instead we’re planning to lock people into their neighborhood school which means very different experiences depending on which side of an arbitrary line you live on. And this is somehow supposed to create equity? Seems to me it’s more likely to strengthen property values in the “good” parts of the city and result in some wealthier people doing alternative addresses, temporary rentals, etc.

NE Parent

Anonymous said...

NE Parent, what you said is all logical, but SPS doesn't much go in for the logical route.


Anonymous said...

@NE Parent - You are so logical. I love your reasoning. Don't change and please consider advocating these points to SPS and the school board. This city and SPS needs more people like you advocating for logical solutions.
another northeasterner

Anonymous said...

I'm learning about how high school master schedules are generated from reading this blog, and I'm wondering about the following:

1. Has the district made clear what are the core values and guidelines for decision making on master schedules and what is the impact on student offerings and services?

2. When students are first selecting courses, does every high school in the district offer the same catalog of courses to choose from to determine demand? If every high school is offered the same initial "menu", isn't that equitable?

3. Are reports generated that show class request demand vs. fulfillment on a school and district level? Are those reports available to the public?

4. Are those kids whose class request wasn't fulfilled due to not enough demand, offered the opportunity to take that class at another high school that offers it or is Running Start the only alternative?

5. Is the reason for any impediments collected and analyzed (e.g. SPED service level, ELL, pre-reqs)?


Ballard Resident said...

Draining students from Ballard high school will hurt advanced learners and vulnerable students, as well. Funding is based upon scale.

Anonymous said...


This is the problem with site-based decision making. A school makes up the list of possible courses based on the core values of its administrative team. Principals are not required to consider student interest when making these decisions. Nobody tracks or reports whether students get the classes they want. Nobody tracks the number of students who are forced into Running Start. Students cannot choose their school or take classes at two high schools. Schools make up their own rules for PE waivers and online classes. Schools can schedule 45 minutes or 3 hours for advisory every week.

Fairmount Parent

Eric B said...

1. No.
2. No, there's not necessarily consistency. It may be hard for some schools to offer the same set of classes because of staff skills/certifications. It might be equitable to do so, but I don't know if it would be possible. I think most classes have consistent names, so you don't have Algebra II/Trig at one school and Algebra II at another for the same set of learning objectives.
3. I've never seen one of those reports, although it's possible that one will be published in the next HS Boundaries Task Force meeting materials.
4. I think Running Start would be the only other alternative. I don't know of any students registered in two high schools.
5. Probably not. If it is collected, it's probably not released publicly.

kellie said...

@ Maybe,

The short answer to all of your questions is No.

A few years ago, Downtown wanted to cut staffing at Garfield High School after the school year was underway. The brilliant Meg and I put our heads together in an attempt decipher the mystery of the high school budget. We simply could not understand how downtown made that decision in the face of Garfield's enrollment situation.

Since then, I have attempted to daylight many of the challenges with the theory of high school funding vs the on the ground reality. Your list of questions is very similar to the questions I have asked over the last few years.

I couldn't reconcile how the enrollment reports kept showing high school enrollment as flat, when it was abundantly clear that the incoming 9th grade cohorts were increasing exponentially. After quite a bit of analysis, it became clear that Running Start was the mystery variable.

Running Start enrollment information is not included in ANY of the official SPS enrollment reports to the School Board. That information is only found on the SPS reports to Olympia. If you look at that information, it becomes clear that Running Start enrollment has been doubling every year for the last 3 or 4 years.

I have been attempting to daylight the connection between all of these items for several years now, without any meaningful success. Until Enrollment Planning is willing to address these issues, there won't be any answer to these questions.

Anonymous said...

FYI, Bellevue School District puts together a single course catalog for all their high schools (http://www.bsd405.org/wp-content/pdf/curriculum/Course%20Catalog%20HS.pdf?x17383). It lists the courses, and which schools offer them. There are still some differences in what's offered at different sites, but it seems to be based more on things like whether it's an IB school or not. I'd like to Seattle do something like this, as it would really help students in schools that have limited offerings see what they are missing out on so they (and their parents) could put pressure on their principals (assuming we're stuck with the sit-based decision-making on this, that is). A single document like this could also be used to create some consistency in other areas, such as waiver granting procedures, how credits are assigned, etc.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for all your helpful responses.


Anonymous said...

I went to the HCS AC meeting last night. First, we were told the 5 pathway plans was not the only plan the Directors would see. Odd. Right? That was from staff! There are four plans they would propose. Stay tuned. Only one was put through operations committee? And that is after none were even explored publicly as the ThoughtExchange had ZERO proposals. ZERO. Change is coming to all who have a kid in SPS. Not HCC kids. ALL kids. What if they did the same to SpEd? What would you like to see with changes coming to SpEd? This is asinine.

It turns out that staff got the answers they wanted from Thoughtexchange: people wanted equity (no real understand how that very finite word is being used; where is Charlie when you need him) and close to home (again close may mean not 2 metro bus stops away or walking distance). Both of these answers are useless. USELESS.

They both are relative to any who may SEEK them. They are also based on questions without true query behind them. They also talk of AL as it relates to education when in fact we are talking about HCC. Minor point? NO.

The "district" also said the principals will have to do what they are told by staff. When has that ever been the rule? I know in the south that WMS, GHS and TM have done whatever they wanted when it comes to AL. JAMS and Hamilton as well have completely disregarded established classes/"curriculum." As I have watched my kids progress through the classes they have become less and less and later and later on subjects. Even math surprisingly.

If you have a kid in SPS you need to let the Board know that this rush to boundaries and pathways is self inflicted. The only hurry is because staff chose to make it so. We have all known there is a new school coming. Hurray! Staff have chosen to make that a way to get rid of HCC HS services.

When you go from neighborhood middle school to neighborhood high school you go with your friends at the prior school. Not in this plan for HC. You go from WMS to GHS or Franklin (with 30 other kids who have historically chosen GHS). So no cohort. No established program. A parent said that it will be tough for those kids but we have to look long term (in the context of equity!!!). And yet the district is springing this on us in less than a month. Folks there is no MS=HS link in this plan. When cohort is really the only social/emotional component to HC and one that every kid has in their neighborhood pathway, what the heck is going on here.

In addition, HC pathways were addressed in the Advanced Learning Task Force and it was recommended to only make changes that have a minimum disruption of the cohort and that with splits to middle schools should be large enough to have three classes of 30 kids at least. A couple of years later they opened Madison MS as a pathway with just 30 kids. No questions asked. Now they wanted to do the same for every high school. Currently it is down to 5 schools but perhaps that is not what they will propose to the Board. Perhaps they are back to all high schools. But why should we be involved, they chose another task force to get the answers they were looking for (with no understanding of the complexity they were proposing) and have the Thoughtexchange data (bogus and a waste of time) they think to storm forward.


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Anonymous said...

@EntitlesinSeattle- That argument does not hold water. HC Students only take half of their scheduled classes together. The other half of the schedule is not cohorted. Gen ed kids also take many of the same classes together. So same thing. Gen ed students are also free to enroll in AP or IB classes in high school, so all those classes are open. It is about kids being able to access the appropropriate curriculum. It is a given if you are general ed due to the sheer number of gen ed students at all schools.

Anonymous said...

Students who have gone from neighborhood elementary to neighborhood middle school to neighborhood high school are more likely to be with the same familiar faces K-12 than students who have left their neighborhood schools for HCC.

what bubble?

Anonymous said...


We have one kid who's done HCC and one who hasn't. It's the HCC kid who has not been in a bubble -- having been moved around geographically by the district and, in high school, taking only a portion of advanced classes.Our non-HCC kid has gone to neighborhood schools that are not very racially or economically diverse and have the same kids year after year.


Anonymous said...

@entitled: do your research. We left our neighborhood school for HCC to find a little rigor and enjoy some diversity. We thought Garfield would be the end game--where our student would enjoy a very diverse inner city educational experience. Now it looks like our student will be pulled back in to the neighborhood school where people like you are just angry when someone leaves for greener pastures. You think you know what's best for other kids. Look at the latest diversity stats for the HCC elementary schools in north seattle and compare those side by side with the schools they draw from. Then, let's talk.

Assumed Intent

Anonymous said...

This is the "Low Bar" rationale:

"Look at the latest diversity stats for the HCC elementary schools in north seattle and compare those side by side with the schools they draw from."

About Time

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Anonymous said...

I hope so!

Assumed Intent

Anonymous said...

Yes assumed intent has it right "some people think they know what's best for other people's kids." I am also convinced some people just seize any opportunity to insert something on their own agenda ....that does not fit the discussion. About Time--- Ballard, Roosevelt & Garfield will be getting a whole lot more diversity in this plan...really?

Anonymous said...

"We thought Garfield would be the end game--where our student would enjoy a very diverse inner city educational experience."

Same thing with our kid at Hamilton. Now we are apparently going to have to to Ballard, the whitest, lowest FRL high school in the district.

Having the Garfield experience looks much better on college apps than a homogeneous school like Ballard, not to mention the lack of courses, we were very keen on Latin, which is a Garfield only option.

I think HCC kids need that exposure to other types of kids that they can currently have at Garfield.

This new plan seems designed to push HCC families out if the district into private high schools or other public districts.


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Anonymous said...

Please do not assume that all families, if they don't like the direction of SPS or their school in particular, have the option to "go private." And threatening SPS with "well, we may just be forced to go private" isn't much of a threat.

That said, the brutal truth is that public school systems that lose their middle-class families tend to languish. And that's not because working-class or poor families are somehow "bad." It's because the loss of the middle-class sets off a domino effect that is hard to stop and has real ramifications for schools, teachers, and kids.

Seattle already has one of the nation's highest opt-out rates to private schools. Losing more middle-class families will be devastating to this district. Families would be wise to remind school board members of this and urge them to stop the zero-sum-game machinations around pitting one group of parents (and students) against another in the name of equity. As someone else on this blog has mentioned, simply bandying about the term "equity" does nothing for students who are struggling. Equity seems to be more about optics in SPS than about doing the hard work and resource allocation that truly impacting equity requires.

Concerned parent

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Anonymous said...

@ About Time, there's just no pleasing you, is there? I hope you find happiness in your non-blog life. Maybe spend more time there, too.

Let me get this straight: HCC parents are racist and/or elitist if their kids are white or Asian and in HCC, because clearly they are only sending their kids to HCC to avoid exposure to the unwashed masses. If someone dares to make a comment about how they actually DO value diversity, or how HCC afforded their kid a more diverse experience than had they stayed at the less-diverse assignment area school, then that's another sign that they're racist/elitist (for living in the neighborhood in which they do), or it somehow proves that they don't really value diversity for the people and understanding, but simply for the optics. If Garfield lowers the level of rigor in classes (e.g., honors for all) and forcibly increases the diversity of such classes (by making them the default), if people complain about the level of challenge, it's clearly not the level of challenge people really care about, but it's their racist tendencies?

Clearly you've made up your mind, and your biases are not to be swayed one little bit, no matter who shares what. No can do. If you ever showed even the tiniest bit of willingness to listen and understand the perspective of those you rail against we might be able to get somewhere in these "conversations", but nope, not gonna happen.

lost cause

Burris Oops said...

The outcry against "Honors for All" is not because of diversity of race or socio-economic status or religion or family background in the classroom. If "Honors for All" classes were made up of students who are all performing at or around the same level, whatever their age or demographic details (you could do multi-age classrooms, based on academic readiness for the course, not age, for example), there would be ZERO outcry. The outcry doesn't have anything to do with race or SES it has to do with whether or not all students in the class are making academic progress.

There was an outcry because Ted Howard doesn't understand what detracking is. The district sends him hundreds of students who test in the top two percentiles from far and wide, from every corner of the city, so that he can personally detrack them? I'm sorry, I don't recall the part where Carol Burris said you had to ship in hundreds of super high testers for detracking to work. When did she say that again? I DO remember the part where Carol Dweck said that if a child completes a task fast and perfectly they learn nothing from it—the task is simply too easy for them. It happens all the time, but rather than giving the child a sticker or a certificate and telling them how great they are the teacher or parent should apologize to them for wasting their time and promise to find a more suitable task next time.

Mr. Howard says he has students entering his high school at anywhere between 4th grade and college level and that that's hard. I bet it is, Mr. Howard, I bet it is. Part of the anger about "Honors for All" comes from how Howard didn't tell families he was going to do the program, wouldn't meet with families to answer their questions, and still won't tell anyone how the experiment he's conducting on their children it's going.

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Anonymous said...

@about time-my comment WAS about wanting the experience, it was someone else who went in a different direction with their mention of the college application benefits. I made no comment or judgment of Honors for All. Two (or three, or four) different people, and what do you know!!...different perspectives and priorities.

Assumed Intent

kellie said...

I appreciate all the time and energy that people take to make so many thoughtful and nuanced comments on this blog. Sadly, we are all living in an age where thoughtful, nuanced and complicated thoughts are anti-dogma.

About Time does a great job of representing the real problem. About Time does an exquisite job of representing the blank and white thinking, where dogma is everything and even a 1 degree deviance from the stated canon, must be vigorously attacked.

The simple reality is that things get complicated quickly and if there were easy, no cost solutions, then those solutions would already be in place. Good policy takes into account all of the competing priorities.

I think most reasonable people would agree and support the active allocation of resources in order to identify AND serve historically underserved students, including under-served and under-represented gifted populations. I know I do. There are people who truly believe that under-serving certain demographics is either just fine or even a good thing. I don't believe those people take the time to comment on this blog. There are better ways for them to expend their energy.

I appreciate and respect that About Time does a great job of reminding all of us that under-identified gifted communities is a real problem. I do not appreciate the chronic disrespect and word twisting employed to support that agenda.

I want downtown to do the hard work that is required for an equity solution, where new students are identified and served in appropriate ways. I do not want a phyrric victory where there is more equity on paper and lots of self-congratulations on how HCC was dismantled in the name of equity, but no real movement on the underlying issues. The simple truth is the over-identification and under-identification are TWO completely different problems and that the vast majority of attempts to solve under-indentificaiton, tend to result in even more over-identification.

So many of About Times' comments have tremendous irony. Yes, in many part of town, particularly, NW Seattle, the bar is extremely low. That is the point, not an excuse. NW Seattle is the least diverse part of town with the great irony that the North, North East Seattle around Lake City is the most diverse.

There are indeed times where the HCC cohort INCREASES DIVERSITY. The fact that the bar is low does not make this less true. If Lincoln High School is an attendance area high school only, Lincoln will swiftly become the wealthiest and least diverse of our high schools. Program placement is the tool that we have in the toolbox to change that.

Anonymous said...

The key words are If Lincoln High School is an attendance area high school only.

It would be interesting to compare the enrollment numbers of Ballard/Roosevelt/Lincoln under 2 scenarios: 1) Lincoln as a neighborhood school, with no HC pathways, and 2) Lincoln boundaries drawn much smaller, with the school as one of only 3 HC pathways (Garfield, Ingraham, or Lincoln).

One would think it would be done as part of a preliminary analysis...but one would think lots of other stuff would have been done by now as well.

heaping mess

Anonymous said...

"I appreciate and respect that About Time does a great job of reminding all of us that under-identified gifted communities is a real problem. I do not appreciate the chronic disrespect and word twisting employed to support that agenda."

Yes to what what Kellie stated above. This person About Time (same as FWIW?) is very hateful toward people and their kids and twists people's comments and ironically makes very biased assumptions in the process. They are guilty of the thing they accuse others. The person also seems incapable of reason and just seeks to provoke not dialogue. I would encourage people not to waste time engaging.

Anonymous said...

"NW Seattle is the least diverse part of town with the great irony that the North, North East Seattle around Lake City is the most diverse. "

Geographically North whether NE or NW has more diversity and poverty. Actually north of Greenwood, has tons of apts and the View Ridge elementary school is very diverse has some of the highest FRL.

In addition, NW where Ballard High is situated in historically middle class neighborhood, along with more condo's and apartments. Roosevelt NE draws from Laurelhurst and some very wealthy communities which are not analagous to Ballard. The property values are much higher in NE versus NW. I also believe the diversity and FRL stats of Ballard high are very similar to Roosevelt High.

QA and Magnolia feeding into Ballard high school currently raise the socioeconomics and lower FRL in Ballard High, but that will change with the new maps.


NNE Mom said...


Uh, NE isn't just Roosevelt. It's also Hale. So, let's do the math again on your "the property values are much higher in NE versus NW."

Anonymous said...

The flyer I get from Windermere every month always says the property values in the NW are higher than the NE.


SusanH said...

Kellie: I just want to say I so appreciate your thoughtful, fact-filled analysis on this blog. I wish you were in charge of the district. I hope to one day meet you so I can buy you a drink, or an ice-cream cone, or give you a hug. Name your poison.

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kellie said...

@ About Time,

I can't even guess as to the nature of your question or what you are attempting to be proactive about this time.

You routinely post about the how demographics of HCC are not representative and you comment extensively how that has come to pass. As part of basis statistical analysis there is always an over/under relative to your baseline.

I truly do not understand what part of that is a "strong statement" that "deserves to be backed up," as this is where you and I actually agree. Over, under and baseline are pretty straightforward terms.

The simple truth is that wacky things tend to happen at the edge of bell curve. Identifying outliers is as much of an art form as it is a science. The reliance on standardized test scores as qualification, and particularly as the entire qualification is always going to have an significant error rate.

Where you and I disagree is that somehow, an edict from Olympic is going solve things. I agree that the focus from Olympia is a very good thing and will hopefully start to change the conversation but a lightly funded mandate is not a magic wand.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Olympia does not agree with About Time. While "Equity in HCC" is advocating for identification quotas for Blacks and Hispanics, that is illegal per state law. I contacted OSPI prior to the new law to share my legal concerns. The state rightly chose "low-income" as the criteria instead of race. Despite some of false narrative on this blog, there are as many Asians that qualify for FRL as Hispanics in SPS.

Protected classes include the category of race, gender, disability, religion, sexual orientation, etc. and do not provide a legal out as to which races are protected under the law or given preference. All children deserve equity.

You can file complaints with OSPI or with the district Civil Rights Compliance Officer.

New Advocate

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Anonymous said...

About Time/Almost Time/FWIW,

No, you have not been inclusive of white, Asian or 2e students. Regular readers of this blog are very familiar with your agenda.

Our civil rights law's definition of "protected classes" specifically uses "race", instead of limiting protection to specific races as you do, because of people who twist the law to suit their political agenda.

Chris Reykdal grew up in poverty and taught in Longview, WA a high-poverty, primarily white school district with a drug addiction crisis. At St. John Medical Center in Longview, 50% of women who gave birth there have a substance abuse problem.


How do you think that has shaped Reykdal's perspective? How does it change yours?

I neither voted for Trump nor am I a Republican, but some of those people who did vote for him are truly suffering (jobs, substance abuse, health care). When we ignore their perspective or trivialize their complaints as "privileged", because they are white, societal divisions increase.

I see the same attitude on a local level with some people using the "privileged" badge to silence dissent through shame.

If you want to reach your equity goals, try inclusiveness, flexibility and empathy for different life experiences. Using bias to combat bias diminishes your credibility.

New Advocate

Anonymous said...

"While racial quotas can't be used, highly skewed numbers must be justified or it can be determined that there is discrimination in programs or courses."

How would you justify the skew? Maybe something like: "we pre-screen everyone regardless of race (e.g., MAP or SBAC scores), and we do special targeted screening in high-FRL schools, but very few students from some groups qualify despite our best efforts to find them. We also consider things like ELL and FRL status and are willling to lower the score thresholds somewhat in such cases when it seems appropriate, but given that our HC program relies on academic acceleration as the primary intervention, we can't lower the performance cutoff too much"?

How are "underserved" groups identified? Based purely on the skew? Are more students in those "underserved" groups being missed than in other groups, and if so, why? Is it possible seemingly underserved students are being appropriately served? How can we tell? So far it seems like the argument is always that the rates/percentages should be equal to the population, but with the intersection between race and income and how those factor in on this issue, and the income disparities by race in Seattle, is it really so clear what the rates should be?

It's complicated

Anonymous said...

It’s complicated - well, we could do something like take the top 2% “aptitude” of each demographic proportionately. You’re right that that would likely lead to issues with the strict acceleration program, but on the other hand, that current program isn’t a good fit for some HCC qualified kids and leaves a number of kids who could handle acceleration, but don’t qualify for HCC out of any options. We could advocate for walk to programs at all schools with enrichment for HCC qualified kids which could actually meet more kids at their working level.

NE Parent

Anonymous said...

What is the point in pasting a gifted label on students who are not academically/cognitively gifted? Why not just label random kids from the desired groups and be done with it?


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

@ AlmostAbout Time, what if the demographic inequities in HCC mirror cognitive inequities in SPS? Isn't that a possibility, given the intersection of race and poverty and the impact of poverty on child development? Would you expect rates of academic giftedness to be the same between children who grew up in poverty, had poor prenatal care, suffered malnutrition, and got minimal stimulation in early childhood (e.g., lower word exposure count) and children who had fight income parents, good prenatal care, good nutrition, pro-brain development stimulation, etc? The evidence does not support that to be the case. Is it possible that some of the observed disparity in HCC rates reflects actual differences--not based on race, but conditions that disproportionally impact certain raceial groups in Seattle? I'm not suggesting that's the only thing behind our numbers, but will you acknowledge it's likely a part? The assumption that rates should be the same is a big assumption.

It's complicated

Anonymous said...

news alert: this just in no need to engage with about time/fwiw/d/and any other name they like use.

lies and conflating issues is not facts and trying your best to have the best program for all kids should be all our goals.

but sadly it doesn't stop with hateful comments. it includes direct geary who states that stephen martin is running a racist program. think about that for a bit.

the school board should pass on any changes until the new board can look at this further. to do so would have them voting on an item two of them would be furthered by members no longer on the board.

no caps

Anonymous said...

District data shows that appeals currently mirror who is already in the HC.

Data please

Anonymous said...

New Advocate:


Bubble Exit