Thursday, November 08, 2018

Robert Eagle Staff Middle School Capacity Meeting

It was a barnburner for sure.
The district was represented by Michael Tolley, RESMS principal, Marnie Campbell, Licton Springs principal, Lisa Allphin, two Executive Directors - Kim Whitworth and Jon Halfaker.  Directors Geary, Burke and Mack were in attendance.  The discussion was led by head of Enrollment, Ashley Davies.

Ms Davies said the PowerPoint that was presented would be at the district website and I assumed the Boundaries page.  I could not find it.  There is video out there but I have not heard yet from the parent who took the video.

I estimate there were at least 100 people there, including a large contingent from Licton Springs including students with signs.

She told the crowd that no decisions had been made that "staff has thought of options and you'll have time to engage with those ideas."  I think the audience was put off with the notion that other ideas were not to be discussed.  It was a low-key crowd until Ms. Davies tried to split up the group.

Director Burke (this is part of his region) said that he recognized this was "a hard conversation."  He asked that people didn't "project solutions for other communities."  I commend the audience because no one did that.

Looking thru the PowerPoint, you can see the problems.  Change a K-8 to K-5 just for it to survive? Document that Licton Springs was slated for space for 250 students and yet their enrollment is 175 (with "right size" at 160).  Whoops! Did the contractor screw up or just what happened?

One of the key takeaways from Ms. Davies is that doing just one of the presented solutions would NOT solve all the overcrowding.  It is going to take at least two.

Going thru the four "solutions," there are definitely pros and cons to each.   Whitman is problematic because, basically, it has terrible portables.  (This led me to wonder, because our district has never balked at spending money on new portables, why they couldn't just buy better portables?)

It felt like the district leans towards Licton Springs going to the renovated Webster building.  Look! a shiny, new building just for you!

Except that Licton Springs has already heard that promise (at least about new space).  I don't blame them; I predict if they moved into Webster and if the district needed that building, they'd take it away from LS.

No matter because it appeared that no one at LS was interested.  Looking at the stats on their population, you can see why.  Most of their students are from the RESMS area.  Webster is way off in far west Ballard.  The busing costs would be huge and the move disruptive.

Davies finished her presentation and noted tables in the back with the four solutions and writing paper on the tables and, true to district fashion, wanted us to break up into groups.

Summer Stinson, a parent in the region, said she wanted a Q&A since time was so short (there was only an hour allotted for the entire meeting).  I chimed in that it would probably be more useful for parents to hear others' thoughts and suggestions in a group.  The audience concurred and so there was no table time but comments and suggestions.

One question was, "Why aren't there any other scenarios particularly around Whitman?"
Ms Davies said that staff had run others but that the data was analyzed and those were rejected.

The questioner continued, "Why aren't those numbers available for us to see?"  She said they will make them available.

Themes for Comments

Olympic View students going to JAMS.  The majority of OV parents said fine.  They would like their children to go to one middle school rather splitting among three as they do now.   A few said that initially they were not happy with the assignment to RESMS but that now they had a community and would like grandfathering in order to stay.

There were many impassioned Licton Spring comments.  Basically,

1) Why do you keep screwing our community over?
2) Our school is a home for students who did not feel welcomed/comfortable at other schools.  Among the parents who spoke was a mom with an autistic student and a mom with a blind child.  It was very moving and reminded me of Nova and its students.  While smaller option schools are more expensive to run, there is a need for them.  They give children who may be so-called square pegs a place to shine.  They save lives.
3) They do NOT want to become a K-5 because they joined the program for the continuity of a K-8.  One mom who said her child came in at 5th grade noted that there were several students who came in at 4th and 5th grades in order to continue onto middle school there.
4) Interestingly, there was one impassioned suggestion for Licton Springs to have Cascadia's building and HCC student move elsewhere.  There didn't seem to be much interest from other LS parents.
5) One student spoke movingly about how their special needs students have to go into "one tiny office."  She said, "It's not okay."
6) One mom spoke of how some LS students get laughed at and made fun of by RESMS students.  

HCC parents were fairly low-key but they would like their students to stay together, if possible.  Also interesting was that you didn't hear the rancor about HCC at this meeting that you hear here at this blog.

A big theme - "We do NOT want to be meeting here again in two years for the same problems."  "Why can't the forecasting be better?"  "Why did you think this could be sorted out in an hour?"

One parent - who said she was on the Advanced Learning Task Force - said that it's important for groups to work together.

I thought it a bit odd that neither principal gave any insights into how they see the situation as it plays out for their schools, day-to-day.

Director Mack made an unfortunate choice to speak at the end of the meeting and ended up inflaming some in the crowd.  It was her contention that a decision had to be made "soon" and she didn't like the process either.  Director Burke tried to wind things up but by then one parent was incensed and shouted at them that they needed to "own this."  There were shouts about "white privilege."

As the highest ranking person at the meeting, Michael Tolley just told the crowd a couple of times that staff came to listen and these "are good insights."  Did that help? It did not. It sounded a lot like patronizing pap. 

  • The district should stop these short, divide and conquer meetings. Parents are hip to this ploy and won't stand for any longer.
  • Why not at least get a start and allow any Olympic View area students who want to leave and go to JAMS to go next year (or even this year)?  It was confusing because apparently JAMS is full? But maybe not as full as RESMS?  But it would be a start.
  • The district and the Board made a written commitment to Licton Springs. Either honor that and create the right-sized room at RESMS or find them another central location.  You cannot pick up an option school and put it in a location that is difficult to access.   Or maybe the BEX IV money for a downtown school should be put to use to find a permanent location for Licton Springs.  
  • It does appear that the longer the district puts off any decisions on HCC (waiting on the Advanced Learning Task Force), the more urgent the problem will become.  But I guess it's really just a convenient whipping boy because the Board and district leadership seems to feel the leisurely route is fine.
The second of two meetings about Robert Eagle Staff Middle School crowding problems is next Tuesday, November 13th at Whitman Middle School from 6:30-7:30 pm.  (I note the RESMS meeting went until about 8:15 pm.)


Anonymous said...

JAMS is FULL and beyond capacity with 4 portables.

WHITMAN is the problem: it is underutilized

The district pulled off too many feeder schools from it.





The problem is they decimated Whitman unfairly and unnecessarily. They KNEW what they were doing was wrong: I told them along with a few other respected insiders. This was a political decision out of Tolley and the Board at the time had some really inept folks going along with it not understand they were engineering a failure at Eagle Staff.

Realign either Greenwood or Bagley to Whitman. Don’t tell me they are close to Eagle Staff. Remember an attendance area school is NOT the same thing as a neighborhood school: look at boundaries for Wedgwood and Sacajawea and Bryant. Many are literally in the 1 mike walk zone for school “A” but are mapped to and then buses to school “B”. Physical school buildings are not distributed to perfectly match the distribution of student residencies. Buildings are immobile and their locations are inflexible which is why you can end up with less-than-ideal catchment area maps, but that is nothing new.

Return a k5 to Whitman. The OBVIOUS solution to an engineered-for-failure problem.

Do not throw 950 JAMS kids under the bus by overstuffing that middle school while Whitman remains anemic. That would be total stupidity.

As it is JAMS principal is talking to the executive ed director to go to lunch in three shifts next year because the cafe can’t handle the existing numbers in two shifts.

Remember this is the same district that pushed a Laurelhurst OUT of Eckstein over to Hamilton and then whipsawed it right back to Eckstein after siblings and friends had been split. So this repeated mistake in just another example of district incompetence and zero accountability.

They made this problem by pulling too many schools out of Whitman - thus causing unnecessary staff faculty disruption there and impacting elective choices, screwing over kids unnecessarily. Fix it by restoring a k5 there.

They need Webster for Ballard elementary kids enrollment growth. Thank goodness Flip is finally leaving!!!!!

Occam’s Razor

Jet City mom said...

Whomever limited the meeting to an hour, should be demoted.
What did they expect to accomplish except waste everyone’s time.

Robert Cruickshank said...

It was a fascinating meeting. The room was united in agreement that the way the district structured this meeting was flawed. The room was united in agreement that the options presented were flawed. The room was united in agreement that the district had done a poor job of involving parents in this process to date. And the room was united in agreement that Licton Springs should remain a K-8 and that the parents there should decide the question of its location.

Licton Springs parents and students got a lot of sympathy and rightly so for their stories of how they are not treated as equal tenants of the building. They asked for immediate remediation of some of the most obvious problems while the larger issues are fixed and surely SPS can find a way to do that.

I don’t know why SPS staff insist on presenting these things as top down. It never works. It just causes more problems. This entire mess exists because SPS ignored parents who pointed out that the original boundaries of RESMS would produce overcrowding. Changing the feeder schools seems an obvious thing to consider especially with Whitman having some room. It should have been presented as an option.

SPS has a chance to get this right. Instead of top down solutions, actually sit down and invite parents to help solve this. Seattle has a ton of smart and committed people who want to do the right thing. The people in that room made it really clear last night they want to work together to meet as many of everyone’s needs as possible. This could be an opportunity for the old, bad ways to die and for SPS to finally treat parents as partners and work with them to find answers.

Let’s hope they make that right choice.

Anonymous said...

Here is what I have learned from decades of these community meetings. Never, ever let them split you into small groups. Tell them right to their faces that this tactic is unacceptable and nonnegotiable. Small groups are designed to benefit the bureaucracy and not the community. They serve only to dilute the community's various voices. Meetings of the whole, on the other hand, allow the various factions in a community to hear each other, which might not happen as readily in a small group. Force them to listen to all of you at once. It doesn't have to be nasty, just calmly insistent. I hope this is helpful.

On personal note, I hate recaptcha with every fiber of my being. If the goal is to stifle comments altogether and drive people away from blogs, it is working. I have better things to do with my time than click pictures of bicycles that I can hardly see.

-- Ivan Weiss

kellie said...

I just want to make certain I understand this presentation.

In 2013, the Board said that the instructions in the 2013 Growth Boundaries process were unlikely to reflect the situation on the ground in 2017 and authorized staff to initiate a re-boundary process at their discretion. The board clearly noted that there needed to be a starting point for adding three new middle schools to the system.

In a rare display of community solidarity, every single community group warned SPS that the 2013 plan, did not match the reality of 2015, 2016 or the swiftly approaching opening in 2017.

The district geo-split hundreds of students, many in small groups of less than 10, and then refused to lets these groups return to their home school via the choice system.

Now in 2018, the list of official options for 2019 solution is one group, needs to eject another group. That is the official recommendation and official meeting conversation needs to be restricted to this official list.

The solution was listed at the beginning with the problem. A re-boundary process is needed. Every year, downtown says it is just too late to do a boundary process, because these take a lot of time. And well .... when you wait until November to admit the problem it is a little late.

So rather than actually solve the problem, the district is officially and transparently saying, "we want you to give us feedback on which group should be ejected."

This is definitely competitive for the craziest thing the district has ever done.

kellie said...

The Olympic View students should be returned to JAMS regardless of the number of portables at JAMS.

This is a very small number of students. About 25% of the Olympic View attendance area is split to REMS and then reunites with their cohort at Nathan Hale. It is simply cruel to take about a dozen students and have them so intensely misaligned from their cohorts.

Anonymous said...

@Occam's razor - I posted this on a different thread, but it fits here. Some people are asking why did they pull so many schools into REMS knowing this issue? Some history, I was also at the various meetings prior to REMS opening. Thinking about why they made the decisions they did I think is really important I think to understand one major goal at the time of keeping HCC small, and perhaps also splitting the service/program to as many middle schools as possible.

I heard Jon Halfaker's comments about ensuring HCC would not be too large a group at REMS. They wanted to keep the HCC cohort small and were not happy about enrollment projections.
He said that if they had to redraw boundaries to pull in more neighborhood schools to REMS they would do it. The motive at the time clearly stated was to pull in as many neighborhood kids without any apparent concern about Whitman's enrollment plummeting.

Halfaker also mentioned Garfield and there was really no reason why HCC kids could not be served at neighborhood high schools.


Anonymous said...

Also, the longer they avoid talking about what is going on with HH/spectrum advanced learning etc. the worse this situation becomes. It is affecting not only students in the cohort, but all the other students at the schools in which they are attending as well.

Parents should demand they come clean, be honest and address ulterior motives. I am also concerned about comments Juneau made which indicated she was getting a one sides story about the program from inside the administration.


Anonymous said...

"So rather than actually solve the problem, the district is officially and transparently saying, "we want you to give us feedback on which group should be ejected."

I can tell you which group I'd eject. Hint: it ain't students or parents.

It's seriously time for Juneau to step up to the plate. We can't keep perpetuating all these past JSCEE mistakes and failures, which are based on prior JSCEE mistakes and failures. Juneau needs to have the courage to just say no to her minions.

Now's your chance, Supt. Juneau. Show us what you've got. Or, as our [insert adjective of choice] first lady would say, "be best!" Heck, we'd even take "be good enough" at this point.

Typical Monday

Anonymous said...

Why do some continue to use divisive statements "OUR COMMUNITY" Ok, I choose not to use MY money on YOUR community!

-- off reservation

Anonymous said...

Can someone explain to me why Whitman is being left for dead? They are currently under-enrolled, they had to cut several of their offerings after a significant portion of their population was siphoned off to REMS, and now we are hearing that there is not a large enough current student enrollment for Whitman to be included in the next BEX.

Whose fault would that be and why can they not fix it?


kellie said...

Once again, we are at Project Management 101.

What is the problem you are trying to solve. First identify the problem and then you can see if the proposed solution actually solves the problem.

None of these solutions solve anything close to my definition of the problem.

Anonymous said...

@NW Whitman was left for dead because some were so concerned about filling REMS with more neighborhood kids than HC kids at the time, they ignored Whitman. They deliberately put too many feeder schools. They knew prior to Eaglestaff opening the projections.


Anonymous said...

the problem Kellie is Tolley's desire to get rid of HCC. See pathway destruction last year. The ms cohort has doubled since the hims/WMS split. But there are 5 HCC ms and they want a sixth.

Divide and conquer. Repeat. Zero sum gains all of them. Same with ls versus rems HCC. Juneau is just a huge disappointment. Identity politics.

Some caps

Anonymous said...

HCC, with its racist presumptions and exclusionary vision, IS the problem. And yes Tolley and the other administration IS going to solve it. Count on Juneau to finish the job. Great that there was an hour complaining session to check off the community engagement requirement. Let’s just look at a bonifide problem. Licton Springs conducts whole grades in the hallways as REMS students sneer at them during their passing periods which totally do not align with the schedules of the kids whose classrooms are in the hallways. LS gets a tiny little segregated section of the cafeteria. And the various musical offerings for the deserving fortunate, are conducted in classrooms right next to LS special education. Oh by the way, they don’t get a classroom at all. They also have the great privilege of their classes in the hallway, distracted by constant REMS passing periods, taunting from REMS, and extremely noisy band and privileged based music. LS? Not so much for any of that. The gym isn’t shared. The electives aren’t shared. The playground isn’t shared. The cafeteria is barely shared. A great example of haves and have-nots under one roof. LS kids see that, and are basically constantly wandering around. It appears there is absolutely no discipline, no academic expectations, and nearly no offerings for these students. Is there even a principal? You’d never know.

Deserve Better

Anonymous said...

Deserve Better,I was under the impression that LS WAS a separate school and should not overlap with RESMS. My son is 6th grader there, so I am very concerned to hear about the middle school students bullying the LS students. Have you spoken to admin about this ? Are there a group of students who are behaving badly? -TeacherMom

Anonymous said...

So yeah the middle school isn't sharing their playground with the elementary school. What a load of tripe. More identity politics. More zero-sum gains. Is that you tolley?

Some caps

Melissa Westbrook said...

Occam’s Razor, I hear you. But they are not talking about many kids; probably 40 across 6th/7th grades at the most. But it would allow kids from OV who got split off to be with peers.

Deserve Better, you said this:

"HCC, with its racist presumptions and exclusionary vision, IS the problem."

Sigh. That doesn't even make sense and would not be legal. But sure, keep blame one service for the district's problems.

Were you at the RESMS meeting? Because while there was some complaining, it was really taking stock of history. It was the Licton Springs community giving their input on the "solutions" offered.

I see you are advocating for LS but it's hard to see for your vitrol. RESMS is not solely HCC students - not by a long shot.

I do agree that it would have been helpful if the principals had given their viewpoint of the situation but that didn't happen.

TeacherMom, it was reported by LS parents that their kids are being taunted/made fun of. Again, would have been nice for Marnie Campbell to speak up, if only to say, "I'm going to make sure this does not happen."

What's interesting is the one thing all these decisions have in common is two-fold; terrible Facilities/Capital buildings decisions and Michael Tolley.

Anonymous said...

@Deserve Better, FWIW or whatever you are calling yourself in this thread, the attack on HC kids is getting old and bullying behavior. You obviously are just clueless about these kids and have fabricated some really wrong ideas. Many HC kids have ADHD, Anxiety, Asperger's and other issues. We also know families who have one child at Licton Springs and another in HC at REMS. Stop creating this dichotomy and if any inequity exists it is the fault of the district. Licton Springs is a separate school within a school. Are you suggesting they would be best off as a program at REMS so they can share electives with REMS and the same teachers? Are you also really blaming children for taking music which is offered at every middle school? Come on. BTW more than half of REMS is not HC!


Anonymous said...

@ Deserve Better,

HCC's "racist presumptions"? What does it presume about race?
HCC's "exclusionary vision"? What even IS it's vision?

What exactly are Tolley and Juneau going to solve re: HCC? Remember, the law says they needs to provide accelerated learning and advanced instruction, and I don't see any administrators making progress on that...

If you have a problem with the way RESMS is treating LS, don't go blaming HCC. HCC is only a small part of RESMS. Most is made up of neighborhood kids.

If schedules don's align, don't blame RESMS or HCC--blame the district, who put the schools in the same building.

If classes aren't equitable, keep in mind that (1) RESMS is a middle school, and (2) it's a large, comprehensive middle school. Comparing it to a small K-8 option school and then complaining about the range of offerings doesn't make sense.

If LS is smaller than planned, why don't they have classrooms? And if the joint site is so overcrowded, are you sure that RESMS classes don't sometimes meet in the hall? My kids' elementary and middle school classes elsewhere did...

Isn't music in MS open to all? I don't know where you get off calling it privilege based. That sounds like a personal bias against music, or against the type of kids you think take music.

Were electives supposed to be shared between LS and RESMS? I thought they were two separate schools. The playground isn't shared? I didn't think middle school students even use a playground. They don't get recess, just maybe a few minutes of free time after lunch.

How do you "barely share" a cafeteria? Does one group have to sit on the floor or eat outside while the other gets seats?

But most importantly, you said "It appears there is absolutely no discipline, no academic expectations, and nearly no offerings for these students. Is there even a principal? You’d never know." Which students: LS or RESMS? You complained about the insufficient LS offerings earlier in your post, so I assume you mean LS. If the principal isn't visible, then maybe you should take your issues to the principal rather than blame them on RESMS or, for some strange reason, the HCC subgroup of RESMS.

Typical Monday

Anonymous said...

It appears that you guys have never even been to REMS or LS. Go look at it. During the school day. RESM has totally encroached on LS, taken over its classroom space and its actual building, and has completely made LS nearly unworkable as a school. Thanks a lot. So what that HC kids have some challenges? So does everyone. That doesn't entitle anyone to take everything from another school, especially one with such high needs. There absolutely is no requirement for the district to provide any service in an exclusive and destructive way to others. Only parents are demanding this for their 1 group of kids. And yeah. They can then maximize those donations to their exclusive group alone. Are there really parents with kids in both? I doubt it. Because LS is being decimated to feed the beast.


PS. I have never posted as FWIW. Nice try, minimize obvious and justified criticism of others. Typical. Your party is over.

Anonymous said...

DB voiced complaints. Instead of attacking DB why don't you take the concerns seriously? If what DB alleges is true, those are incredibly serious issues that need to be resolved ASAP.


Melissa Westbrook said...

So what that HC kids have some challenges?

And boom! There it is. You blame HCC for the issues at RESMS? C'mon, that's not even plausible.

And yes, I HAVE been in both schools. I saw from Day One that LS did not have enough space. Apparently, things have gotten worse than that.

"They can then maximize those donations to their exclusive group alone. Are there really parents with kids in both? I doubt it. Because LS is being decimated to feed the beast."

This is an almost incoherent statement. I'm not even sure what you mean in the first sentence. Is RESMS PTA giving dollars only to HCC kids? Again, c'mon.

No, I don't think you are FWIW but we all recognize your writing.

DB is not voicing complaints; calling kids in a program "the beast"?

DB, you'll have to dial back that tone or you will be summarily deleted. We do NOT talk about kids in a demeaning manner.

Book Doctor said...

For years the district hasn't acted like a big fan of alternative education programs, option schools, K though 8s, Native American programs, highly capable students, anything that costs money, and students who live in the Bermuda Triangle between east and west along I-5, among many other groups.

This issue touches all of those things. Best of luck to everyone. If only the district could just come out and say, "it's not that we dislike you or disapprove of you, we just can't afford to educate you this way."

But they'd have to be able to afford a counselor to say something like that. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

DB/Deserve Better, as Melissa and others have said, RESMS is not synonymous with HCC. In fact, RESMS is primarily NOT HCC. HCC is not what's causing the problems you allege are happening.

NP, yes, if what DB alleges is true, these are serious concerns. The problem is that DB's concerns are hard to take at face value when so many of the comments don't sound plausible or seem to be rooted in biases or misunderstanding. When RESMS students, specifically HCC students, are somehow blamed for the fact that LS students don't have music or don't get access to RESMS electives, it's hard to know where to start.

If, as DB alleges, the principal is essentially absent and is allowing RESMS to "take over" the space, THAT is indeed a big problem, and the ED of this region should be stepping in. If the RESMS principal--the principal of a school that primarily serves gen ed students--is unfairly encroaching upon LS space, that's also a problem that merits going up the chain of command. If RESMS students are bullying LS students and the RESMS principal, staff, and parent community don't care, again--up the chain of command. For any of these, the larger parent community can be engaged as well. You don't, however, effectively engage the wider parent community by blaming one group for problems they didn't cause. When so much of the news is fake, we start to ignore the real news.

all types

Anonymous said...

>>>>So what that HC kids have some challenges?

>>>>>And boom! There it is. You blame HCC for the issues at RESMS? C'mon, that's not even plausible.

“Boom”. There what is? You are not making any sense. Your extreme devotion to one program at the expense of all others has blinded you. I am not blaming any students for anything. Nothing. You are the one who said that challenges entitled HCC to something special. Why? Lots and lots and lots of kids have tons of challenges. In all programs. That is how it is today in most schools. Again, so what?

LS has gotten completely screwed. It’s pretty obvious. Most likely, it will be cancelled. And it’s “incomprehensible that a pta would donate money to its own school”, as that very same school has taken nearly every single room at LS so that REMS May have choice electives. Really? Incomprehensible? Go look. I think it’s pretty easy to understand. Even as we speak, RESM is going on schoolwide field trips. That never, ever happens at LS. Where are you?



Anonymous said...

@ DB, are you under the impression that RESMS is an HCC-only school? Your comments make it sound like that's what you think, but it's not the case.


Anonymous said...

Email from SPS at 6:02 pm tonight:

Dear Families,

Thank you to those who have participated in the conversation around over-enrollment and building capacity issues at the campus shared by Robert Eagle Staff Middle School and Licton Springs K-8.

We have decided to slow down the process after meeting with families on Nov. 7. As a result, we are canceling the meeting scheduled for Nov. 13 at Whitman Middle School.

We will be moving forward a recommendation to the School Board that assigns all Olympic View Elementary neighborhood students to Jane Adams Middle School for the 2019-20 school year. The recommendation will also include grandfathering for current Robert Eagle Staff students.

As a result, for the 2019-20 school year there will continue to be overcrowding at the Robert Eagle Staff and Licton Springs K-8 building. We are working with the school leaders to schedule meetings to discuss more thoughtful engagement and future plans.

A work session on School Boundary Changes is scheduled for November 19 at the John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence from 4:30 – 6 p.m. This update will be discussed at the work session.

We look forward to working with families to develop a long-term solution that addresses the capacity issues and reflects the needs of students and families.

Michael Tolley Wyeth Jessee

Signed, promises promises

Robert Cruickshank said...

Wow. Tolley and Jessee are telling parents "oh, you don't like our way of doing things? Then screw you, you get nothing, your school will remain overcrowded as punishment for resisting us."

I did not get a sense from that meeting that people wanted to delay solutions. Quite the opposite. There was a strong desire for everyone to work together to solve the overcrowding problem in a way that would ensure the students of Licton Springs K-8 can thrive with the support they need. Parents came ready to pitch in and remain ready to do so. This dismissive response is unacceptable and the Superintendent and the Board need to step in here - especially at a time when so many of us are trying to help SPS pass its levies and overcome legislative resistance to fully funding our schools.

Anonymous said...

Db is not fwiw. He has obvious issue with privilege and grammar. She does not. He focuses his attention in the north she does not. Both have logical lapses so I can see the confusion. But rest assured there are more than one hcc detractor.

That said the response by Tolley might be coming from Juneau with holy shit this is wrong and disfunctional - we need to wait this one out. Too many Band-Aids to see the cuts from the scars.

Some caps

Robert Cruickshank said...

Pausing this for a year might well be the right idea. But they should have held the follow-up meeting on Tuesday, November 13 and said "we're now recommending we pause this for a year, and we promise Licton Springs K-8 will stay where it is for the moment, and here are some things we plan to do to address the concerns raised by Licton Springs students and parents, what do you all think?" I think that would have been very well received and created space for a collaborative approach going forward.

This district keeps getting itself in trouble and creating huge problems by insisting on a top-down approach that dismisses parents and community members.

Anonymous said...

Juneau is Tolley. She says he does. Nyland 2.0 but he laid low to pad his pension. She is playing identity politics and not leading. If she was a leader wash ms would have a new principal. Instead they have a divided building, no language program and recess. Perfect for hc students.

Maybe this is a sign that tolley, Kari Hanson, marni and Wyeth can't shove Bs choices down the communities throat.

Just thank your lucky stars no thoughtexchange

Some caps

Jami Kimble said...

I was at the meeting and there is one thing I heard or understood differently than Melissa. Yes, Licton Springs K-8 is rightfully furious. Yes, some of them want above all else to stay on that site, which is sacred to some of them and geographically close to many of them and they were promised space there. However, some of their comments sounded to me like some of them feel like they would be best served having their own building and not being jammed in with RESMS. I don't think they are monolithic in what they see as the least bad path forward. I wish the district would poll all the members of that community individually, because it may or may not match what's shouted the loudest at meetings.

Anonymous said...

Yeah Robert you do have a much appreciated balance in your statements. And I don't want to say things you didnt say... So I won't, but I feel we share common ground.

Heavy handed district staff are dancing now with Juneau. I see it more of a cha Cha Cha but it could be a Paso Robles with one not making it.

Juneau should clean house.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Some Caps. So good to have a really smart HC parent to figure out everyone’s identity. Does that really matter? You conflated Tolley and Juneau. Evidently you use identity clumping to disrespect those with whom you disagree. Fine. But what does it buy you? It doesn’t diminish them in reality.

Imagine a hallway where some classrooms have the teacher’s credentials and experience posted on the door, while other classrooms are just out in the hall. Actually you don’t have to imagine it. That’s the LS school. Nearly all the middle schoolers in LS attend hallway class. The credentialed REMS classrooms have subjects like science, with real labs, electives and even foreign languages. Wow. The LS classes are in classrooms where kids routinely leave and wander the building. There’s no concept of attendance. Don’t want to go to a class? Then don’t. There isn’t any discipline and fighting is common. Meltdowns are everywhere. There is no such thing as a consequence. Not so great for real life. They’ve deposited a lot of Sped in the school as one might expect. Some of these classrooms actually lock the students out, in attempt to make wandering more difficult, but it doesn’t really work. The normal REMS classes have passing periods, not synchronized with kids whose classes are actually in the hallways of their own building. That passing period is of course, totally disruptive and disrespectful to the hallway kids, but, nobody cares or does anything about it. The Sped is two offices, but one of them is used for nonstop meltdowns, the other is just an office shared by a lot of sped staff. Mostly the Sped is out in the hallway. As an added point of disrespect, the hallway sped gets the disruption of band and orchestra which has also been moved to regular classrooms in LS. The classrooms aren’t sound proof or appropriate for a classroom and totally disrupt the kids in the hallway and the kids in adjacent classrooms. But, nobody really cares about that noise or disruption either. Having a noisy music class without a care about the sound, is just perfectly fine in the LS building. We all know that REMS deserves a lot of music education. LS, nope. Not for them. They get to listen through the thin walls. Maybe osmosis is the idea. Music education is great. Too bad LS kids can’t have it, even when it’s held in their own building. The sped for REMS is also in LS, a great huge classroom decked out with the latest sensory equipment. It is mostly unused. You guessed it. Not shared with those LS hallway sped students. The gym isn’t shared. LS gets a couple of reserved tables in an odd corner of the huge cafeteria. I wouldn’t call that sharing. Of course REMS is not all HC, or even most of it. But every school with HC seems to be fine with a total breakdown of any sort of equity. Washington, Garfield. Aren’t the problems similar?

Robert if you think that can wait a year, your kid is obviously not in LS. It’s pretty hard to imagine that either staff or students will be retained.


Anonymous said...


The keys to the castle mayor- governor- president or some pathway but when you have the abuse to ls and to HCC (sorry my shit) I see no future. Strike a balance like the general did and yeah she could go along way.

First step is retiring Tolley and Hanson and getting grown-ups to replace marni (libros love) and Wyeth (whyeth are you even here?). Never do a thoughtexchange AGAIN

Sorry so rude but if you want to continue in politics in the Seattle area you cannot cut your teeth on Liketon Springs and HCC.
As for HTC I know it's a dying program but there are 10% of your population that understand and appreciate the merits of the program. That's one tenth. How much time did you spend listening to the HTC group? And just so you know this is voice activated so I'm sure there's tons of errors but the big one is HTC is really HCC.

I was really impressed with everything I knew personally about you and seem like will be a good superntendent. as we end the first quarter. Washington Middle School is a shitshow. They close classes so that they can offer another additional class of the same subject to students that are behind. Then the spouse of the newly anointed principle goes on to the blog and states very clearly her disdain for the HCC community.

Still waiting for apologies - still waiting for an understanding as to why in the South we can't have language classes that students will need to get into college but the kids in the north get several years more. Still waiting. Still waiting for Juneau to do something other than Nyland. I will continue to wait...

Has any ever gotten elected office in the US without King County's support.

Especially if they're not Ronald Reagan.

Robert Cruickshank said...

I’m not saying LS/RESMS should wait another year for a solution. I am saying that the parents and teachers at LS in particular should be the ones to make that call. My main objection to that letter is that Tolley just decided on his own to delay by a year. That’s the kind of top-down decision-making that has got to stop.

kellie said...

Let's start with the good news. Good news is rare enough that it is worth celebrating.

Downtown is finally doing right by the Olympic View community. That community should never have been split. It was well known by all parties when the plan was finally set in 2016, that WP would soon be overcrowded and it was simply cruel to move a extra dozen students per grade out of Olympic View for the stated purpose of ensuring a viable cohort for RESMS. Great job doing the right thing.

I have been following capacity issues for almost 20 years now and I have seen a lot of crazy. When I say something is competitive for the top 10 in crazy, it is pretty darn nuts. I was truly shocked that the "official list" of solutions was truly, pick someone to kick out. So in many ways, it is a sign of great responsiveness and sanity that the pause button has been hit.

Now hitting the pause button is not actually helpful. Hitting the pause button in 2016 would have been a brilliant strategy. Hitting the pause button will create almost as many problems as it solves. That said, hitting the pause button means that saner heads have shown that this solution set is nothing but more damage.

kellie said...

I was on the design team for the Wilson Pacific campus. There is a point I repeated at every single meeting with zero success.

The BEX plan for the "middle school" was a 1,000 seat middle school. I keep repeating that when you put aside 250 seats for a K8, that then translates into a 500 student middle schools. Nobody wanted to hear to this and nobody really believed it. Now that we have a little more reality into the situation, maybe folks will believe it.

The math had already been set when the South Shore building was constructed as a flex building. The math for that building was 1,000 seat middle school, 750 seat K8 or a 500 student elementary school.

The design and the plan keep moving forward at a breakneck pace that somehow the 250 seats set aside for Licton Springs then meant a 750 seat middle school, not 500. It is just not possible to have 750 middle school students and space for the K8. Folks told me now to worry and that it was handled. Hows that going?

I have no doubt that the information the DB is reporting about how impossible it is to effectively manage two school populations in an over crowded building. I have no doubt because the only way this would be possible would be to restrict RESMS to about 500 students.

That said, DB is pointing the finger in the wrong direction. There has been long standing animosity from downtown towards programs like Licton Springs. Schools like Licton Springs that do the real work of directing resources to historically underserved communities both cost more money and tend to have lower than average standardized test scores.

The situation at RESMS was 100% predictable. It was predictable in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. This is not new information and the only thing waiting a full extra year will accomplish is to intensify the situation on the ground.

kellie said...

I also agree with Robert. Cancelling next weeks' meeting is simply punitive.

IMHO, it is now more important to have a second community meeting. Particularly as the Whitman families were most likely planning to attend next week at Whitman.

The damage done to Whitman was severe and the damage to that school also can't wait a full year to be repaired. At a bare minimum, all the portables at Whitman should be replaced with modern portables and true choice seats should be opened. I would suspect that there are many families would would pick Whitman over overcrowded RESMS, but only if there were some assurances that some of the damage would be mitigated.

And this is where the real consequence of how poorly Flip Herdon managed this process. It is going to take some real effort to overcome the legacy of the broken promises mades to all the constituents - Licton Springs, Whitman, RESMS, etc.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Jami, you are probably right; no community is a monolith. I actually don't think it's a good idea to leave LS at RESMS given that the principals don't seem to be working together for both schools' best interests AND the district set all of this in motion without real support. And, the district does NOT seem to want to fulfill the promises made to the LS community.

I said that LS did not want Webster mainly because of its far-off location (especially given who is in LS currently) and because, as one person said (and I paraphrase) "And what happens to us when you want Webster for something else?" It's a valid question.

As I said in my post, I think the district should take the BEX IV money slotted for a downtown school and use it to find a home for LS just as they did for World School. It took some doing but it appears World School now has a permanent home (even if it's a high school in an elementary school building).

DB, I urge you to take a breath. What you are reporting is what I have heard and yes, it's terrible. Again, why do we pay EDs so much and yet this is what is going on in our schools.

"But every school with HC seems to be fine with a total breakdown of any sort of equity. " I disagree with that statement. I think the problems are ones that both schools and the district could solve but really, are content to see twisting in the wind or causing strife within the school.

But is that HC's fault? It is not.

"Still waiting for apologies - still waiting for an understanding as to why in the South we can't have language classes that students will need to get into college but the kids in the north get several years more."

Explain this please. What southend schools are you referring to?

Bravo, Kellie. Exactly what I would say.

The Board needs to ask some hard questions and right now.

Anonymous said...

Only one thing that makes any sense if there’s going to be a “pause” button for year, or heck, maybe 5 years. Fold LS into REMS and give it to one principal, Campbell. Keep a hallway for the K-5 without any trombones blaring through the walls. Make the middle school LS program part of REMS. A class, a set of electives, anything. LS students should get a full set of classes, you know, a basic education with actual rooms. The full burden of overcrowding should not be borne by a 80 students alone with no consideration for them. Without doing that, LS will surely die. If LS is banished to another building, it will surely die. And it may die no matter what. LS can’t retain staff as is. It’s now a mid year placement for difficult students, behavior problems, homeless, special education.

Care and share needs to be an ethos. Would you demand music if you knew it was going to be blared at other people trying to learn? Apparently some people would and do. You can blame the big, bad district for all the problems of inequity. That really just means they have to ignore to the 90 demanding parents who don’t care about the implications of their demands on others. Don’t care and refuse to look. They want theirs no matter what. Campbell is great at that ignoring, it’s a job requirement. Like it or not, so are Tolley and Jessee.


Anonymous said...

The principal at Washington Middle School cut the language program to only offer Spanish one 'a'. That is it. So in a district of primarily north language imersion all the kids going to high school from WMS will effectively be starting world languages.

Cats paw

Melissa Westbrook said...

DB, you know for a fact that all the issues with LS have to do with HCC? And all the HCC parents know all these issues? If you don't have prove, you cannot say this is true.

LS is a K-8, always has been and, according to those parents, they want to keep it that way.

Well, Washington is not the south; it's central,no? When you make big statements like schools in the southend don't get languages as schools in the north do, it causes confusion.

That said, yes, the issue of how this district allows schools that were doing well - Lowell, Laurelhurst, Washington - to falter is a mystery.

Anonymous said...

@ DB, if the problems are as great as you say, it might make sense for the LS middle school students to be incorporated into RESMS and/or neighborhood assignment middles schools is LS families are more interested in access to electives. That's one of the well-known advantages of larger, comprehensive middle schools--they are comprehensive, and can offer a wider range of classes. I had assumed most people selecting LS knew that and were fine with the much more limited set of options that would come with a very small middle school population. Perhaps that's not the case, or perhaps the size limitations of the school are more constraining than was anticipated. Maybe the LS middle school students could get the option to transfer to RESMS. If there really isn't a curriculum or any discipline at LS, those students will be in a bad position when they get to high school.

Having the RESMS principal also take on leadership of an LS K-5, however, sounds like a nightmare. If the current LS principal can't handle it, I would think they should be replaced ASAP.

Doesn't Supt Juneau have experience and prior success with native populations? Where is she in helping to solve this crisis? Sitting on it for another year won't solve it, although they might be able to come up with a more reasonable set of options for consideration. However, what else can they do now? It sounds like they need to get a team in there to figure out the best use of space in the meantime. There must be a

better way

You asked: "Of course REMS is not all HC, or even most of it. But every school with HC seems to be fine with a total breakdown of any sort of equity. Washington, Garfield. Aren’t the problems similar?" No, the problems are not similar.

DLM said...


There are some really ugly dystopian "othering" mischaracterizations of Licton Springs in this thread that I am not going to address, because (rightfully) no one seems to be taking them too seriously. I will weigh in a few points:

1. I suspect the LS community would ideally like their own building and that is what they were promised for years. The resistance to the offers on the table, as others here have pointed out, is based on the belief that the offers are a thinly-veiled prelude to again attempting to eliminate the school. A good-faith and credible offer of a dedicated building in a location that would serve much of the existing community would likely receive serious consideration. Good faith and credibility are in short supply.

2. When the district first unveiled the new Licton Springs facilities, the community realized how inadequate it was and how it seemed to be obviously a short-term sop before again trying to attack the school (the district didn't even bother ordering any Licton Springs signage). That has played out exactly as suspected. The district's initial response was to claim that some RES programs, facilities and electives would be available for LS middle-schoolers to share...with the details to be worked out between the principals. That is why you hear complaints about RES offerings not also being shared with LS middle school. Unsurprisingly, despite the district's assurances, Marnie Campbell at RES has been actively hostile to any sharing or cross-over, with full support from the District. LS families have tried to go up the chain of command and been told that everything was at the discretion of the principals working together.

3. Despite LS being shut out of almost all of the shared space in the building, the RES students do come into LS space to use two of the science rooms. That is the source of the friction and bullying, as RES students pass through LS hallways, where there are K-8 kids. It is obviously not all the RES kids, but it is again not anything that Marnie Campbell can be bothered to address.

4. A big benefit of last week's meeting is that it opened the eyes at LS that other groups have also been ill-treated by the district. It's my hope that the solidarity at that meeting is something that can continue and grow.

I obviously don't speak for the entire LSK8 community, but I wanted to offer a counter-perspective to some of the comments here.

Dave LaSarte

Anonymous said...

It seems clear to me that Superintendent Juneau needs to spend a decent amount of time at these schools and see how things are really working--not the idealized version the principals may present in a brief school tour, but some real "boots on the ground" time hanging out in the school and observing how things function (or don't). Maybe shadow a few LS students for the day or something. She should also extend her listening tour to hear from LS families on this issue.

Can she force the RESMS principal to open up some of the classes to LS MS students? Can she negotiate some increased sharing of space? Can she find a way to safeguard LS students and their instruction during noisy (and apparently undisciplined) RESMS passing periods--maybe by paying for hall monitors, finding alternate times/ways for students to get to class? Have the RESMS students meet in one spot then get chaperoned in silence to the lab space? There has to be some way to mitigate the problems for now, while they work on a long-term solution.

Here's Juneau's chance to step up...or step in it.

better way

Carol Simmons said...

Dave LaSarte,and better way

Thank you for your comments. You make excellent points. I would add also that Indian Heritage High School needs to be restored as promised.

Anonymous said...

"It appears there is absolutely no discipline, no academic expectations, and nearly no offerings for these [Licton Springs] students."

I can't speak to the current situation at Licton Springs, but when we toured AS1 years and years ago, the above was not far from our gut impression of the school. It was truly an alternative school - kind of loosely modeled on Sudbury? - and families were required to visit the school before selecting it (those were the days of the choice process for assignment). Maybe someone can speak on the structure of the school today, but back then it really seemed as nontraditional as you could get.

wayback machine

Anonymous said...

@DB and Better Way I had the same thoughts " it might make sense for the LS middle school students to be incorporated into RESMS and/or neighborhood assignment middles schools is LS families are more interested in access to electives. That's one of the well-known advantages of larger, comprehensive middle schools--they are comprehensive, and can offer a wider range of classes."

Many issues you are describing DB are likely because LS is operating as its own school inside a school and has under 200 students total. If students are sharing classes and resources LS becomes a program if incorporated into REMS. Regardless, its not the fault of REMS kids. I understand your frustration but they should not be the target. In addition, I am certain if issues are as you stated, SPS will need to fix this situation. I also knew of at least one family who had kids at one point in both schools. However, the younger one may have switched out to REMS for middle. As a side note they are not native either but liked the school, I am uncertain what percentage of LS are kids who are native. But I understand the significance of the LS school/program to their location and definitely don't think they should be moved by the district.


Anonymous said...

I think one of the key reasons that DB's complaints lack credibility is that he/she states that Tolley is going to solve the HCC "problem". However, the inequities between REMS and LS are promulgated by Tolley himself. He leaves the disbursement of academic programs to the discretion of the principals. If REMS students and their HCC cohort are taking academic opportunities and classroom space LS that is at the discretion of the principals. I have emails from Tolley stating as much when I have questioned the central district about access to academic programs. You can't paint Tolley as an equity hero when in fact he is a key part of the problem. Personally, I do not know why the district continues to keep him on as he abdicates responsibility for the important issues in the district.


Melissa Westbrook said...

"You can't paint Tolley as an equity hero when in fact he is a key part of the problem. Personally, I do not know why the district continues to keep him on as he abdicates responsibility for the important issues in the district."

Right on target.

Anonymous said...

Tully wants equally bad no choice schools throughout the district. He is a charter school booster through his actions. His tenor has one to be divided and conquer. This is clearly what is going on at Washington Middle School and what was trying to do at Robert Eagle staff Middle School.

It's why we have a third to task force in 5 years to solve the problem of equity in the highly capable program. And yet there is no equity in the programs execution. North End schools look completely different in regards to the offerings available. It's why there are five Middle School HCC since the split but the population has only doubled and they wanted to add another Middle School.

Some caps

Anonymous said...

@Some caps,

now i know why they're out of foil at safeway. tully wants bad schools and loves charters and wants to "conquer" something.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, there is no doubt about the lack of clarity and downgrading of Advanced Learning. Since he's the head, it would appear that's on him.

Anonymous said...

You all are like a roomfull of tooth gnashing Republicans, defending Kavanaugh at every turn. As if the rich and powerful “haves” are now somehow really the victim. Eg Kavanaugh. He is also the best and the brightest, and so deserving.


Anonymous said...

And you are like a person who ran for school board. I would say thank God but history shows... Only a FOOL would think Tolley is doing a good job.

Capicicty cap

Anonymous said...

And put your head where it belongs ostrich. You seemingly have kids. Raise your voice if they needs are being met. I am confident you have posted regarding their needs not being met.

I hope you see that it isn't HCC that is denying your kids(') needs but the district including Tolley and Juneau.

It shouldn't be na kids versrus HC versus kids in proximity. It is all Tolly's game. Why again are we playing that game.

Some caps

kellie said...

Thank you Dave LaSarte for the great insights. I hope you are correct and that daylighting these problems creates some greater community solidarity.

And Thank you Carol Simmons for the reminder that there was also a promise to return Indian Heritage High School to the Wilson Pacific campus and that promise has been all but forgotten. I would find it deeply ironic if one of the solutions was to give one of the entire buildings to K-12 program that combined Indian Heritage high school with LIcton Springs.

All of these challenges with RESMS should have been incorporated into the BEX planning under the equity model. I was on the task force this summer and RESMS was not one of the BEX candidates, because there was a planned "boundary solution."

When BEX III became the "high school BEX" the plan at that time was that BEX IV would become the "middle school BEX" because so many of our middle schools are in terrible shape. We are having a very challenging time with middle school in general in SPS at the moment. Boundaries are poorly drawn, offerings are deeply uneven , ....

The can has been kicked down the road over middle school way too many times and this current problem is just the latest version.

Anonymous said...

Kellie note that SPS is having a tough time with their middle schools...

It has always felt like these schools/grades have always suffered as they are literally 'stuck in the middle." These are some of the toughest years of kids, and it doesn't help when they are literally stuffed into overcrowded schools with a poor physical plant and operated by a district that doesn't provide any curricular supports for the teachers.

When I was at Whitman 20 years ago, the crowding was so bad that the small staircase / entryway that went down and out to the portables had a security guard posted at it during each passing period. The crowding was so intense that all it took was for an elbow to go the wrong way and the fighting would start.

You can't tell me the situation is any better today - those the district did a nice job of moving the crowding out of Whitman and into the other north end middle schools.


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