Monday, November 05, 2018

Upcoming Events of Note

Tuesday, November 6th 
Are you interested in the dual language/immersion program at Lincoln High School? Michele Aoki and dual language pathways principals will be there, including Ruth Medsker. Come learn and ask your questions about dual language at Lincoln. 

6:30 pm at John Stanford International School.  
Spanish and Japanese interpreters will be there. Childcare will be provided.

Sponsored by the JSIS, McD and HIMS PTAs.

Wednesday, November 7th
First of two meetings about Robert Eagle Staff Middle School crowding problems.

This one is at RESMS from 6:30-7:30 pm.

Potential options:

  • Create an additional Highly Capable pathway at Whitman Middle School and assign students receiving Highly Capable (HC) services to Robert Eagle Staff Middle School and Whitman Middle School based on where students live. HC eligible students living in the Whitman attendance area would receive HC services at Whitman, and students living in the Robert Eagle Staff attendance area would continue to receive HC services at Robert Eagle Staff.
  • Move Licton Springs K-8 school to the Webster School building in Fall 2020. As a result of this move, both Licton Springs and Robert Eagle Staff would have their own buildings rather than be co-located.
  • Make Licton Springs a K-5 school given the lower enrollment at grades 6-8.
  • Adjust Olympic View Elementary feeder pattern so that all Olympic View students would be assigned to Jane Addams Middle School rather than the current split of Olympic View between Robert Eagle Staff and Jane Addams Middle School. 
Any changes will take effect in school year 2019-20 if approved by the Seattle School Board.

Tuesday, November 13th
Second of two meetings about Robert Eagle Staff Middle School crowding problems.

This meeting is at Whitman Middle School from 6:30-7:30 pm.

Thursday, November 15th
Via Facebook:

The Whittier Elementary PTA's Diversity and Inclusion Committee is pleased to welcome Seattle-based author and activist Sharon H Chang for a community dialogue, "Talking To Our Kids About Race."  

We cannot work together to dismantle racism if we are not grounded in who we are. Sharon's presentation will delve into a discussion of deeper racial identity understanding for us and our children. We will develop shared language around privilege and oppression, build tools for having tough talks, and equip ourselves not only to have more transformative race conversations within our families, but also to act for change.

This is a free event for not only families of Whittier Elementary but for all parents and community members who would like to join us.


Anonymous said...

The RESMS issue makes me nuts. Even before they opened the school it was so obvious that this was going to be a problem since they (1) added Licton Springs, and (2) didn't adjust the feeder patterns to increase the number of neighborhood kids that would be going to Whitman instead.

They decided to co-house Licton Springs with RESMS so as not to screw over the native population once again. So now they want to do just that? I admit that I do not know a whole lot about the specifics of this situation, but on the surface it seems shameful. Clean up your mess some other way, SPS. This is on you. Everyone else saw it coming.

Why is there no discussion of increasing the Whitman zone, if Whitman has more space? Why add HCC services--at a school that has historically NOT been very pro-AL--when you could add more neighborhood students? I suspect this is all part of Tolley's apparent grand plan to eliminate HCC pathways entirely, claiming services are available at all schools. How did that work with Spectrum at Whitman?

Typical Monday

Anonymous said...

Leave Licton Springs K8 alone. Geez. How many years in a row is it now that the genius group downtown has treated the program like a hot potato? Can't the community just teach and learn? Do they always have to advocate through yet another existential middle-management-caused crisis?

And apologies in advance to Whitman. Seems inevitable that somehow someway the school is going to get the blunt end whack of a stick from JSIS out of this. Again.


Anonymous said...

Only one option moves kids to Whitman which has a ton of room for kids, and that option moves the HCC kids to a building that has historically been hostile to even Spectrum. Yeah, that makes sense.

Two of the other options involve Licton Springs which we either need to fully support or just call it quits on because this half assed approach is just wrong. Wasn’t Licton Springs at RE/Cascadia because it is centrally located for the north end and historically meaningful? Stick a small school in a building for 450 and hope that it makes it? Make it smaller? (Where would those 6-8 graders go - they still need to be somewhere?)

Maybe moving the Olympic View kids will help, but if that’s too many kids, won’t Jams just get overcrowded?

Why not a 5th option - leave LS alone and redraw the boundary lines for Whitman (I have no strong feelings on Olympic View, but could probably be convinced either way with that group). While they’re at it, fix neighborhood middle schools so that what you get is reasonably consistent across neighborhoods. I’m looking at Washington and Whitman specifically, but I think I heard McClure has fairly major issues as well.

NE Mom

Anonymous said...

I don't understand how moving more kids to Jane Addams helps fix the fact that Whitman is seriously underenrolled. Previous fixes under consideration included moving feeder schools (Greenwood, Broadview-Thompson) back to the Whitman zone. I'm curious why that is no longer an option.

Typical Monday, it does look like an attempt to dismantle HCC...


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

Frustrated, I would recommend writing to the Board and saying, "Why not the Whitman option?" It is a glaring omission (to not even mention).

Anonymous, I'll reprint your comment but next time give yourself a name; we do not allow anonymous comments:

"Has anyone point blank asked Tolley what his plan is for HCC and AL? It seems like we hear a lot of talk about Tolley's "attempts to dismantle HCC." I'd like to get something on the public record. And wouldn't Juneau have to countenance any such moves? What's her stand on this? Or the school board's And where is the evidence for anyone's stand on this beyond just preferred philosophy?

Any local reporters looking into this "dismantling HCC"? If not, why not?"

First, that far-off laughter you hear is me. Tolley is a very difficult person to read, to talk to and he likes it that way. Mind you, he's not rude or anything like that; he just makes himself less than accessible.

But, if you asked him, he'd probably point you to the website and tell you it's all there.

As for Juneau, well, she's still "listening" but to whom is a good question.

I'll have some of this in a new post about PTA funding. It's all part of the big picture.

Anonymous said...

Why should kids who can see REMS from their home have to go all the way to Whitman to make room for the HCC program? I would not support moving Licton Springs given the history there and promises made. But HCC kids are opting to not go to their neighborhood school. It doesn't make sense to prioritize the displacement of students from their nearest school when there is plenty of room for the HCC students at Whitman.

-Greenwood Mom

juicygoofy said...

I know that there needs to be a seismic change in attitude at Whitman, but I would advocate for moving all HCC out of REMS and to Whitman, JAMS, and pending boundaries, back to HIMS. They should have never been there in the first place. Whitman has the space and a sizable Spectrum-eligible population. REMS HCC program was far from stellar, and Licton Springs should be given more than enough room to grow and attract more students from the neighborhood. But whatever happens, it is imperative that the moves be done gradually, allowing students to grandfather at REMS, if they wish.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous, asking SPS staff point bland what their plans are has not been an effective strategy on anything, in my experience.

Obfuscation, vagueness, contradiction, promises that are soon broken, pass-the-buckiness, window-dressing task forces, more vagueness, wishful thinking, and so on--those are what we get. Not straightforward, honest answers.

Typical Monday

Anonymous said...

@Greenwood Mom

I just want to correct you on a few points where you have conflated issues that are actually unrelated.

Students who are identified as highly capable are automatically moved into the Highly Capable Cohort (HCC). Their assigned school actually is the HCC school; they do not opt in. (In fact, if they want to stay at the geographically assigned school, they would have to specially opt in to that school.)

Second, HCC is not an option program, like a STEM, Montessori, or Expeditionary Learning program. HC students have a right under the state constitution and state law to developmentally appropriate HC education. The reason why they have that right is because it is a required social-emotional and academic intervention for those students to thrive. HC students are often misunderstood and thought have nothing but advantages, but almost all HC students in fact have severe challenges of one kind or other that make success in geographically assigned schools impossible for them. For example, they usually have something called "Debrowskyan overexcitabilities," although that is a technical term and doesn't mean they are overexcitable. It means they have unique hyper-intensities they can't module or self-regulate at younger ages that in turn can alienate other people and create social deficits when handled inappropriately. In addition, almost all HC students are strikingly asynchronous in their development (very ahead in some areas, very behind in others - especially behind in executive function, gross motor skills, and fine motor skills). They are on a distinct developmental timeline and require the social-emotional and academic intervention of HCC to avoid permanent long-term social-emotional deficits. By high school age, this distinct timeline has caught up with their age peers, which is why cohorting is no longer a social-emotionally necessary intervention in high school.

However, you are right that Licton Springs should not be given the short end of the stick yet again, and you'll find even in the HCC community wide if not universal agreement on that point.

Last, HCC placement is used in Seattle as a capacity management tool, not as a parent preference. The sites where HCC is currently located are arbitrarily chosen by the district to manage capacity and not chosen with any parent input whatsoever. We can see that mistakes were made with capacity management because of the overcrowding at RESMS (and underenrollment at Whitman), but that has nothing to do with HCC. That is fully and solely the fault of the district. Remember also that dozens of people warned the district about this well before the boundaries were drawn, and yet the district ignored parent input.


Anonymous said...

@ Greenwood Mom, many of those HCC students you would cast out to Whitman also live in the RESMS zone. Why should that group of neighborhood students have to move to get appropriate services when non-HC-identified neighborhood students don't? Because they're different?

Also, in case you missed it, SPS doesn't draw boundaries based on who can see which school. There are many cases in which geozones send students to a school much further away than their closest school.

Regardless, I think you're exaggerating. There's plenty of room to re-draw the Whitman zone larger and shrink the RESMS zone in a way that would not move "kids who can see RESMS from their home" out of RESMS. For example, draw the western boundary at Aurora, or Linden--or Greenwood. As drawn now, kids in the western part of the RESMS zone are actually CLOSER to Whitman. And kids in the Greenwood neighborhood are lucky in that they are pretty close to both Whitman and RESMS, so it's not a huge geographic distance one way or the other--unlike your RESMS neighbors to the north, who are much further away from the RESMS zone to which they are assigned. Heck, SPS could also look at moving some of the Broadview folks into the Whitman zone.

FYI, HCC kids are opting to not go to their neighborhood school because it can't serve them. Not because they don't want to go there, but because it doesn't provide appropriate educational services. So you're saying that THEY should be de-prioritized for displacement on that basis? I love how everyone always wants to kick those HCC (or HC in high school) kids out of "their" schools.

True colors

Anonymous said...

Splitting HCC yet again.... from Eaglestaff to Whitman would likely splinter the program too small to be as effective, as larger programs at HIMS and JAMS unless they balance HCC enrollment. If that happens, I also really hope they would do the right thing this time and grandfather kids.

The split from HIMS to JAMS created issues but at least at the time they tried to mitigate and assigned more counselors etc. The last split to Eaglestaff from HIMS went terribly for the 8th graders who were in their last year of middle school. It was really rough. There was nothing for them. They watched kids at their old school have special opportunities they would have had reaching 8th grade and activities such as dances etc.

The students and parents of kids now in high school 9th grader, are still upset at how things were handled. Despite the challenges learned from previous splits, there will also be parents who also advocate against older children (not their own) being grandfathered for a "perceived" benefit for their own younger kids.

Old Timer

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thank you, Simone; right on all counts.

Charlie and I had both said that it would be great if there were HCC elementary, middle and high schools in north and south. Out of sight, out of mind and it would stop all this really unproductive discussion.

NE Parent said...

Not sure about JAMS capacity, but the Olympic View community has fought for 5+ years not to be split between two middle schools as is currently the case, JAMS and Eaglestaff. Sending some Olympic View kids to REMS and others to JAMS against the wishes of the community breaks the middle school feeder pattern common throughout the rest of the district. And all of Olympic View is zoned to go to Nathan Hale, so those that have been assigned to REMS and continue on to Hale are part of a very small cohort entering high school. The Olympic View community has voted overwhelmingly three times over the years not to be split and would prefer to be sent to JAMS.

Anonymous said...

True, once HC students are in the cohort, they are assigned to move with the cohort, BUT they must opt in initially. If they join the HCC cohort in elementary, then yes, they are automatically assigned to an HCC pathway middle school to continue receiving services. I would also disagree that the need for a cohort disappears in high school. Classes are not cohorted in HS, but you do need a critical mass of students needing higher level classes. Schools like Ballard and Roosevelt may have those numbers, even without an official HC designation (look at heat maps of HC and Spectrum identified students in the district), but that's not the case at all high schools.

And the need for social/emotional support does not suddenly evaporate in HS. It sometimes becomes more necessary when students are confronted with staff (yes, staff, not students) that don't take kindly to "those" kids and think they need to be put in their place and taken down a notch. It happens. It can be ugly.

YES! SPS has been using HCC primarily as a capacity management tool. The actual academic programming is in need of improvement. Many families have little choice but to follow the cohort, however, as something is still better than nothing. According to a recent parent survey, 18% HCC parents were "very satisfied" which is down from 2012 when 48% APP parents said they were "very satisfied." 48%? Still not so great. But only 18%? I'd be curious about a survey of student voices.

The Whitman/RESMS/Licton Springs capacity challenges were pretty predictable...of course the original recommendation was to make Wilson Pacific a high school site...walking distance to a community college, on bus lines, space for fields, auditorium, etc.

coulda shoulda

Anonymous said...

Any effort to create a new HCC middle school site needs to be met with community- and board-level insistence that the district first define what exactly HCC is at the middle school level.

How can you create a new service site if you can't describe, in detail, what that service is? The new site would not be able to implement it, which is not fair to students, nor is it fair to the teachers and administrators that are supposed to implement this mysterious service. Not being clear about what HCC entails also makes it difficult for the district to monitor implementation and effectiveness (if they were so inclined, which they should be, but let's get real, they don't actually care, but still, I had to say it).

If they create a new HCC middle school site, here are a few things they need to first clarify. I'm sure others had things to add to the list.

Cohort size - What is the minimum number of HCC students per grade that are needed to ensure that HCC students will have access to appropriately challenging classes?

Social-emotional support - What social-emotional support services will be provided for HCC students, and what training is required for providers?

Curriculum - What classes must be available for HCC students at each grade level? What is the curriculum for each, and how does it compare to Spectrum and GE curricula for that comparable class?

Equity - How will the district ensure that HCC students at the new site have equitable access to HCC-appropriate classes and services as their HCC peers at other schools?


Anonymous said...

Now it’s important, but when kids in West Seattle got stuck at Madison without any of this, it was no big deal.

Who matters?

Anonymous said...

Students who qualify for HCC are not forced to leave their neighborhood school. It is a choice. I know parents who have kids who are HCC qualified and they made the decision to stay at their current school because they felt it was the better choice for their child. I was never arguing that HCC is not a needed or mandatory service. I do remain totally unconvinced that a program that draws from a regional watershed should be displacing neighborhood kids from their nearest school when there is a capacity for that program at another school in the area. That just doesn't make sense.

-Greenwood Mom

Anonymous said...

@Old Timer,

Kind of hypocritical that some of the loudest voices who lead the anti-grandfathering charge last HCC split (from HIMS to Eagestaff) around are now advocating for grandfathering of their (ahem) HCC kids at REMS! This time around they have the 8th graders and how interesting they are now rallying the troops to write the board to support grandfathering. Seriously some people only seem to care about their own kids and could not give two cents about others. But I guess what comes around goes around.


Zella917 said...

I'd actually advocate for grandfathering of all current students at RESMS since the current enrollment mess is entirely the fault of the district and not due to any particular group. I believe that is what the RESMS PTA is advocating for as well. Pitting groups of students and their families against each other doesn't serve any of us well; we should be working towards solutions that attempt to cause the least harm. By that I mean not forcing any current students to leave RESMS if they would like to stay, but choosing more sensible enrollment paths for future students. I really don't have a vested interest in this any more since my current RESMS student is an eighth grader, but it's hard to listen to the same negative arguments going back and forth each time a new school opens and enrollment plans are revisited.

Anonymous said...

@Greenwood Mom

It's important for this to be emphasized as it is a widespread misunderstanding: When a student becomes HC-qualified, she or he is automatically assigned to the HCC school. That school is the assignment school henceforth. To stay in the geographical assignment school, the parents would have to opt in to the assignment school during open enrollment.

You are correct that many parents do make that option, but despite those few counterexamples, the point to being in HCC is to have access to the cohorted services delivery model, which is so important for many HC kids' unusual social-emotional development, without which those same children cannot and do not flourish in other schools.

However, HCC is not an "option" program the way Salmon Bay, Hazel Wolf, or Thornton Creek are. I guess I'm insisting on correct terminology: an HCC school is the automatic assignment school for HC students; it is not an option school.


The vast, vast majority of the impacted HCC community wants Licton Springs to stay put, if that is what Licton Springs wants, and they also want the HC cohort to stay together. These are not mutually exclusive, since HCC could be moved to Whitman, among many other least-bad scenarios. But the HCC community absolutely does not support displacing Licton Springs.

The school district, however, is not the same as HCC. If Licton Springs ends up displaced, the blame must fall fully and squarely on the board, and the board will have ignored the input of HCC families telling them not to displace Licton Springs.

Certain people in SPS like to pit groups of parents against each other. Everyone must be mindful of that ruse and not fall into that trap this time.


Your Turn said...

@Karma Amen! Hope those parents/students reaped all the supposed benefits of my 8th grader being in that building for their 6th grader who was "entitled to a comprehensive middle school experience". My kid certainly didn't and had a complete waste of a year, socially/emotionally/academically. Someone else now might need your kid to fill that role for them. If they have HCC at Whitman they might "need" your 8th grader there for the sake of their 6/7th graders. Hope you're willing to take one for the team as Dir. Burke asked our kids to do outright at a board meeting.
FTR, I advocated for grandfathering of everyone last time around too and I would again - very different than advocating against other kids for the sake of your own with the slogan "we're stronger together."

Your Turn

Keep Talking said...

It seems foolish to have overcrowding issues at Eagle Staff and Hamilton, and not talk about the underattendance issues at Whitman and Washington. Where's the discussion about Whitman and the general discomfort parents have with choosing the school? With all of the north-end space issues, is it time to consider sending Queen Anne and Magnolia south to Washington? Why does the solution have to rest on the groups of Licton Springs and HCC who have already shuffled around the most?

Anonymous said...

Assignment to HCC is NOT automatic. Yes, once identified, the HC designation follows the student year to year, but a student must "actively select" the program (HCC) during open enrollment, even if that newly identified student attends a HCC pathway school.

Superintendent Procedure 2190SP, Highly Capable Services & Advanced Learning Programs:

Students in grades K-7 designated as Highly Capable will not automatically be enrolled in the Highly Capable Cohort. Even if the HC Cohort is offered at the student's attendance area school, families must actively select the HC Cohort and school for which the student is eligible and submit a School Choice Form during the SPS Open Enrollment period.

Students enrolled in the HC Cohort in grade 8 will automatically be enrolled in 9th grade at their pathway high school. If a student chooses not to attend the pathway high school at any time, enrollment in the pathway high school is no longer guaranteed.

Services for Highly Capable
The variety of instructional programs or services for students identified as Highly Capable will include pathways to sites with adequate cohorts of Highly Capable students in order to provide peer learning and social/emotional opportunities for these students, teachers with experience and/or professional development on the academic and social/emotional needs of these students, appropriate curriculum, appropriately differentiated instruction, deeper learning opportunities, and accelerated pacing.

Adequate cohorts, peer learning, teachers with experience, appropriate curriculum, accelerated pacing...all specified in Board Policy 2190. Not defined or even enforced, but in policy.

fact checker

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Students who qualify for HCC are not forced to leave their neighborhood school. It is a choice."

Yes and those who don't have the services at their neighborhood school, they leave. Many probably would stay if the service was available. Please don't make it sound like it's a choice for pleasure when it's a choice to get academics.

Your Turn and Keep Talking, good points.

What is fascinating is all this "equity" talk and yet nothing is being done to change HCC. Everyone is supposed to wait a year or more for the task force to finish its work.

And yet, HCC gets blame for inequities AND capacity problems. If this was such a problem, why is the district using band-aids or a finger in the dike?

Anonymous said...

To further clarify, once a student is identified HC, they qualify for the HCC pathway school and will be given the assignment if they "actively select" the program during open enrollment. This is unlike option schools, where assignment is on a space available basis, and not guaranteed. Future school assignments (MS and HS) would then be HCC pathway sites, automatically, unless they opt out and "actively select" their neighborhood school for the 6th or 9th grade. The exception is IHS, a HC "option" where HC assignment is not automatic or guaranteed.

fact checker

Anonymous said...

@Your Turn...exactly! And I do believe what comes around goes around. Our older kids were crying at that board meeting begging for grandfathering last time around. Those very same parents were stone faced and advocated hard for our kids to be ripped away. They are now leading grandfathering efforts.... to benefit their own kids. It's quite different for some I guess when its your own kid.

Of course there will be some sort of lame justification as to why it was a good idea not to grandfather those "other" 8th graders last time, but why their own kids, who will be 8th next year, should be grandfathered this time.


Anonymous said...

@Zella917 Also some history Whitman kids were grandfathered last time around, but HIMS HCC kids were not. I also think grandfather all or none should be the policy. The inequity was outrageous last time around and very cruel.


Anonymous said...

As a long-time HCC parent, I’m just going to say that I didn’t read Greenwood Mom’s comments to be disturbing or antagonistic (as seems to have been interpreted by some, based on some of responses to her). How we got here — so predictably — is crazy making. But taking the history and emotion out of it, I think Greenwood mom asks a reasonable question.

HCC students opt in to a program for a special need. Often that means traveling some distance—historically, sometimes quite a long distance—because getting that academic / social / emotional need met in the HCC pathway school is higher priority than attending their (usually closer) attendance-area school. HCC students also get bussing to that HCC pathway school if they live far enough away. But if they really just prefer their attendance area school over a school farther away, they can choose that.

Attendance area kids have a single guaranteed school. It’s reasonable to consider whether the placement of a large group of students for a special program (aka “service) is coming from outside a school's attendance area and distorting the enrollment and/or boundaries such that the numbers are unreasonably displacing students who would otherwise be attendance area students.

RESMS is crowded and will continue to fill up with feeder schools. The area around the school is increasing in density too. Whitman has space and a majority of HCC families at RESMS are from the Whitman attendance area. Long-term it would actually be a more stable and secure location (in theory, except that this is SPS, so who knows).

That said, given the shape of our city and location of schools and the tendency to make boundaries mainly from feeder school boundaries, that itself distorts things and some students are just going to be far away from their school no matter what.

It’s also true that there’s a long history of moves and splits, and threats of them, that makes HCC families justifiably defensive. HCC at middle schools come in a block of 250-350+ students, which is important to maintain for the integrity and cost effectiveness of the program. That’s not easy to move or to to get established and must be balanced in any school alongside the other students assigned there.

RESMS wouldn’t be in this situation if SPS had gotten it right up front. Easy? No. Easy to predict? Many did.


Anonymous said...

Also to clarify it was the HIMS HCC parents with the younger kids who advocated hard against grandfathering the older HCC 8th graders at HIMS last time around. Now those very same parents are literally leading the charge for grandfathering at REMS for 2019, and suddenly "all kids should be grandfathered". Their own kids will be the older kids this time around at REMS.


Anonymous said...

RESMS Mom - I appreciate your level headed reading of my question.
Simone - I see how using the word "option" muddles the discussion since it has a very specific definition in this district that I was not applying it to. Thanks for the feedback.

Again, I am not trying to devalue the role of HCC. I do think it would be ideal for every student who required specialized services to get them in her or his neighborhood school but my understanding is that is not feasible or likely to happen any time soon. Given that reality, I have yet to hear any argument that has swayed me from my original assertion that it makes more sense to move a specialty program from a overcrowded to an under capacity school than moving the neighborhood students. I am truly all ears for hearing arguments to disabuse me of that notion.

-Greenwood Mom

Anonymous said...

@Karma, sounds like some giddy Trumpian projection going on. So there’s like, savage bands of anti-grandfathering people posing as hypocritical pro-grandfathering people trying to keep someone else’s kids at the school, even though their own kids are moving on. I think you might need to check your facts.


Anonymous said...

@Huh? No projections. In fact multiple parents are talking amongst themselves that "they can hardly contain themselves" because parents who not only fought against other kids being grandfathered but "led the charge" now find themselves in the same situation. They are now of course "leading the charge" to grandfather, because their own kids will be in the same situation as 8th graders next year on FB HCC middle page. I truly hope for the benefit of the kids they do grandfather this time around. But it is interesting...


juicygoofy said...

@ Huh.
I agree with Karma.
At various meetings in the spring of 2017, I witnessed parents of rising 7th and 6th graders advocating to NOT grandfather the HIMS HCC rising 8th graders. I believe the board WOULD have grandfathered the (only) 60 kids, had they not had the ear of these very vocal anti-grandfathering families. As I am not hearing of anyone advocating against grandfathering now, we can connect the dots and assume the same families have now changed their position.

Anonymous said...

@Karma Uh, no. The opening of a new school with the moves anticipated years in advance is apples and oranges compared to moving kids from one newly established school to another established school with little notice. Either way is a big deal, but the process and the implications are apples and oranges. And either way, it’s not the same kids moving or the same parents "leading the charge"...whatever charge that is. It's not even clear which feeders or pathways would change. So, huh? Whoever can’t contain themselves must have bad info on who is advocating for what and why. Both this time and last time. This year's 8th graders, who moved in 7th grade, are going to high school next year, some of them also to a brand new school, again. Fun times.

@ Juicy goofy is also very off on numbers, low by 150 or so between Whitman and Hamilton… except for those parents who got an extra address or whatever to work the system and stay at Hamilton after getting everyone else worked up and kids terrorized about the horror that Eagle Staff would be. Or have those who are so worked up still not figured out that issues were more complicated with the opening of a new school and about much more than those 110 or so Hamilton 7th graders who moved, along with several hundred other kids who moved too?


juicygoofy said...


There were only 2 sections of HC 8th grade classes at REMS last year, which is roughly only 60 students. My student had the same daily schedule with mostly the same 30 or so kids, with only a slight variation on electives. And unlike at HIMS or in lower grades, these HC 8th graders did not share classes with students outside of their small cohort (only HC 8th graders were taking 3rd year language, advanced music, Geometry, etc.) The projected numbers did not consider separated families with at least one parent still in the HIMS boundary. Nor did it account for the students grandfathered due to the language immersion program. The larger issues of opening a new school and attempting meet the needs of so few HC students may have been managed more easily if they had stayed at HIMS.

I do and will continue to advocate for grandfathering.

Anonymous said...

@Huh- Without outing anyone specifically, you had better believe it is the same parent who led the charge last time against, and is leading the charge now. Advocating on FB for HC parents to write the board to advocate for grandfathering among other items. As I mentioned an excuse as to "why it is different this time around" will be the argument to avoid truly listening to others with open ears, and taking any responsibility for the terrible situation 8th graders went through last time around. Those poor kids. Like juicygoofy, however I will continue to advocate for grandfathering of all kids, despite the hypocrisy.


Anonymous said...

A roll up is being done for a new school Lincoln. The school will open with 9th and 10th graders who will have multiple years at the new school. Current 10th, 11th students will be grandfathered at RHS & BHS, two very overcrowded schools. It can be done. It demonstrates those 8th graders could have been grandfathered. Instead they were removed and sent to REMS for no good reason other than some "perceived" benefit by certain HC parents advocating against it for their younger HC children. I will continue to advocate for grandfathering of all kids which is the right thing to do.


Anonymous said...

Without knowing enrollment numbers and course offerings, the grandfathering discussion is difficult to have. Going back to the comments from @DisAPP, families should focus on program delivery, grandfathering or no grandfathering. Cohort size, curriculum, teacher training, and baseline offerings across program sites - without more clarity and guarantees around delivery of services, the district will continue to move students around like widgets.


kellie said...

The urban myth that some group of parents somewhere have this mysterious power and that X happened because of their effective lobbying is intoxicating but completely not true.

This particular mess at Wilson Pacific was seen by every community group involved, which is a pretty rare occurrence. Downtown was utterly tone deaf to EVERY SINGLE CONSTITUENCY, in this particular decision making process.

It is important to remember (but this does not excuse this disaster upon students) that this process was being decided at the height of the levy cliff problem, when downtown truly believed that they would have to be implementing drastic budget cuts and they had already decided that the decisions regarding opening Wilson Pacific and Meany would be done with ZERO MITIGATION DOLLARS.

During the decision making time, the JAMS community had reported that the 8th graders were not necessary for the opening of the school that the cohort of 6th and 7th graders would have been sufficient. Downtown could have EASILY left the 8th graders in place. However, DOWNTOWN did not want to do this, in large part because DOWNTOWN did not want to PAY for grandfathered transportation.

Jet City mom said...

If Whitman is underenrolled, why are kids from east Ballard sent to Hamilton rather than Whitman where they have historically attended?

I admit that neither of my kids have ever attended school in Ballard but if they had, I would have wanted them to attend the same middle school as the kids they would be attending high school with.
Both my husband and I had very disruptive events in our jr high days that deterimentally affected our path through school.
That age is especially vulnerable to external disruption, likely because they are already going through physical and emotional changes.

kellie said...

During the 2013 Growth Boundaries Vote, that created this mess, the board gave very clear instructions, that boundaries would need to be adjusted.

The decision to place Licton Springs inside the Wilson Pacific campus was made BECAUSE of the projections that showed substantial space at Whitman. An amendment was passed that directed staff to make the necessary boundary changes.

However, Tracy Libros retired and the accountability to make the necessary changes fell to Flip Herndon, who simply ignored the problem. And when the problem became impossible to ignore, continued to ignore the problem and refused to direct his department to start the boundary change process.

The bottom line is that PARENTS did not cause this problem and pointing fingers at other parents will not solve it. The problem is currently the same problem that existed two years ago.

Whitman's boundaries are TOO SMALL.
Hamilton's boundaries are TOO LARGE.
Eagle Staff was promised to too many different programs.

Olympic View should never have been sent to REMS. This change only impacts a small number of students but ... it is important to remember that downtown felt strongly that the two dozen students from Olympic View as critical to the launch of REMS or REMS might not have enough funding to launch. That all by itself should have made it clear that the decisions were being made in crazy land. They geo-split student out of JAMS, just to avoid mitigation dollars.

kellie said...

@ Karma,

Your point of view about Lincoln proving your point, is incorrect.

Once again, decisions are being made for monetary reasons. Opening a high school is very expensive process. Opening Lincoln with just 9th and 10th graders will require much less mitigation funds, than opening with more grades.

This is in part because of the complexities of Core 24 and the requirement to offer classes for mitigation that most likely will not be offered long term. It is also because all 11th graders have the option of Running Start, as such, it is nearly impossible to predict how many, (if any at all) geo-split students will actually attend Lincoln.

Anonymous said...

First of all, whether or not students "opt" into HCC shouldn't really be a factor in this discussion. HCC is a service for students who need it, because the neighborhood school is not likely to provide adequate instruction to meet their needs. An HC-identified student opting for HCC is no different from a non-HC student accepting the default pathway into their neighborhood school--both provide access to their "basic education."

Second, I would counter Greenwood mom's argument that "it makes more sense to move a specialty program from a overcrowded to an under capacity school than moving the neighborhood students" with the opposite: if you need to move a subset of students from a crowded, dual GE-HCC school to an underenrolled GE school, it makes MORE sense to move a portion of the GE students, since this would mean neither school would need to change their overall programming (i.e., the dual GE-HCC school would continue both programs, and the GE-focused neighborhood school could maintain that focus). This would be much less disruptive to schools and teachers, as the classes offered and curricula would not change much for either. Yanking HCC from one school to the other would create a lot of unnecessary upheaval.

Third, what are the actual numbers at RESMS? How much over capacity is the school, and what percentage does HCC represent? How does the GE vs. HCC breakdown compare to other HCC sites? My sense was that the RESMS GE population was disproportionately large compared to other HCC north end middles school sites, in which case it would seem to make more sense to reduce the GE rather than HCC population there. HCC schools need not only a sufficient cohort size to function effectively in terms of classes and student social-emotional support, but the service also needs a sufficient "presence" at the school so that the needs of HCC students are considered by school administrators, teachers, the PTA, etc.

Finally, the discussion over who supposedly advocated for what in the past and how that impacts what we do now is, frankly, bizarre. This should not be about resentment or revenge, punishing one group of parents for what someone perceives them to have advocated for in the past. Parents should not be acting like children--we should be thinking about what is best, and most fair, for children in our community. (FWIW, I have no dog in this fight and am not acting out of self-interest.)

Typical Monday

Anonymous said...

Kellie's comment gets back to my comment at the very start of this thread. We knew this was going to become a problem and that boundaries were going to need to be adjusted. There were clear directions at the time that the boundaries were SUPPOSED TO BE adjusted then, but in typical SPS fashion they weren't. Now they need to do that.

Note that the direction was to adjust neighborhood school zones. The direction was NOT to split or relocate HCC. It would seem that the most logical solution is to belatedly adjust those school assignment zones now, but for some reason none of the proposed options seem to do that. What gives?

Typical Monday

kellie said...

@ Typical Monday,

To be extra clear, the 2013 Growth Boundaries with Amendments is well over 100 pages in length. Very few people were in the room at the very end of the night when it was all said and done.

As you can imagine, there was substantial mutually contradictory information in the document.

One section instructed HCC to be geo-split to Wilson Pacific, in the event that Hamilton was still over-crowded. The final amendment was the one that directed staff to make changes as required to accommodate Licton Springs at Wilson Pacific.

Changes required could have been to have placed HCC at Whitman, which was one of the suggestions at the time.

The 2013 board really blew it by over managing the boundary process. It was last vote for several board members so they really wanted this complete, at any cost. But to their credit, they said that they knew they would be getting it wrong, in part because they were using 2011 data, not even 2012, data, and that staff was going to have to initiate processes to do the clean up work.

juicygoofy said...

Thank you Kellie. I always appreciate your wealth of information.

But please allow me to clarify that I believe Karma is referring to not the districts original growth boundary plans when opening REMS, but to an amendment proposed in early 2017 by Sue Peters. She understood that Whitman 8th graders were going to be able to stay at Whitman due to space available, so she was attempting to allow rising 8th graders from HIMS an equitable option. Her amendment (at the 11th hour) would have grandfathered all rising 8th grade students equally. The school board rejected the amendment for likely many reasons, but it was by a slim margin and after testimony from parents of younger/future REMS students advocating against the amendment. I believe Karma is reporting that some (or at least one) of the parents who advocated against the grandfathering amendment then are now posting on the HC middle school Facebook page advocating for grandfathering their own students.

kellie said...

Thanks Juicygoofy,

I am familiar with Sue Peters's amendment and I was generally supportive of her efforts. Because her efforts would have also grandfathered the students that were to be geo-split from McClure, Washington, Eckstein and JAMS. In some of these cases, fewer than 10 students were to be moved from these schools. Those students did not form a cohort and were unnecessary to move for capacity reasons.

Geo-split are not pretty. Moving less than 10 students from a school is just plain cruel.

But yet ... downtown was determined to geo-split 100% of the students in the new REMS area and the primary argument was "transportation costs" and "mitigation costs."

Karma is likely correct in her reporting about an advocate who has a flipped their position. However, Karma is incorrect in her assessment that ANY PARENT managed to kill Sue Peter's amendment. The board conversation around this was not about cohort. It was about costs and downtown kept repeating the mantra that SPS could not financially afford grandfathering due to transportation costs and mitigation costs.

Downtown was once again, quite inaccurate in their costs assessment. The costs of grandfathering were truly negligible but ... the board members who did not support Sue Peters, claimed they did not support the amendment because of the financial cost, not cohort. Most of the board members cited that they had heard from JAMS and cited that JAMS reports that the 8th graders were not critical to the launch of the school and that it would likely be better for everyone concerned to have only 6th and 7th graders and roll up one year.

Truly, because of the cost neutrality and the academic benefits, I really thought that amendment made sense. But ... downtown was opposed and that's the way the vote went.

Anonymous said...

Everyone should be furious at the JSCEE for pitting Native American parents against HCC parents over capacity issues at RESMS. Neither group had anything to do with the problem. Parents warned early and often that the RESMS boundaries were flawed. Rather than accept responsibility and work with parents to solve this without displacing current programs, the district is playing an ugly game of divide and conquer. Most HCC parents I know want Licton Springs K-8 to stay where it is. The district staff should be denounced, publicly and regularly, for their shameful actions. Ideally people would be fired over this, but, we all know you can get away with pretty much whatever you want if you're senior staff at the JSCEE.

Don't Move

NNE Mom said...

Does Licton Springs have a PTSA? Have they issued any kind of statement on what their preference is?

kellie said...

The more I think about this, the more clear it becomes that the list of "options" proposed by staff, is both completely inadequate for the problem at hand and is simply another family vs family solution.

The real source of the problem is that the 2013 Growth Boundaries process was intended and designed to be a placeholder not a true solution. Imbedded in all the 2013 decisions was the firm understanding that decisions needed to be made AND that the data was insufficient to make accurate decisions. As such, there was a requirement for an annual review.

The PRESUMPTION was that the annual review would be an actually review with a request for changes, not a simple community meeting with here are the changes. By 2015, it was more than clear enough that middle school feeder patterns were way off course and either Dr Nyland or Flip Herndon, should have called for a full middle school boundary review.

But instead ... the 2013 board completely and totally underestimated how much school districts hate boundary processes and will do anything to avoid a full boundary discussion.

All of this could have been avoided. The opening of REMS was handled very poorly. As such, we are now looking at the process of essentially RETURNING students who never needed to be geo-split.

None of the proposed solutions even acknowledge the unnecessary pain caused to many communities by the failure to do a boundary process. And once again, the solution to the current problem is still a boundary process.

Washington and Whitman are severely under enrolled and will be for the future until a boundary process.

The solution to just add HCC at Whitman for the Whitman attendance area only is laughable. It ensures that there is neither appropriate boundaries nor a sufficient cohort. To move all of HCC to Whitman would solve some of the issues but once again HCC is being treated like a ping pong ball. That decision to place HCC at Whitman could have been made two years ago .... but ... only if a boundary process had been triggered.

Downtown made this mess. I hope someone out there has a more creative solution. Because none of the "options" proposed actually solves the problem.

Anonymous said...

My thoughts on the HCC issue:

HCC should be returned to what it was originally as the place for real outliers. At it's inception as the IPP program it taught students at four grade levels above. Now it is filled with many red-shirted students who should have started K on time and be in GE. It is also full f well-prepared but not gifted students.

My students hav been HC designated from 1st and 4th grade respectively and went to the local middle school, McClure and are now at Ballard. IMO,HCC has become a way for parents to try to get a leg up on college admissions and a way to avoid having their kids in classes with GE students.

From the stories of students who have entered the cohort, they are not doing as well socially as the ones who stayed in their GE school. Believe or don't, but teachers we have had actually enjoy working with HC students in the GE setting, they want them to succeed and do an effective job of differentiating. The classroom has the advantage of intellectual diversity and the corresponding social diversity.

Another View

Anonymous said...

Very good points by Another View.

Re. The 2013 Growth Boundaries process, there was overwhelming meddling and micro- managing by most of the then board, with the exception of Director Branford. Staff recommendations were over-ruled and board generated amendments protected well-heeled constituents, principally HC. In addition Director Peaslee stopped the bleeding at Licton Springs, whose history as the progeny of AS1 and Summit, is noble, by promoting co-location at Eaglestaff and cutting deals with other members to push this through, against staff recommendation. Staff pointed out that maintaining micro schools is a very expensive process and pulls from other areas of the budget.

Re. HC locating. HC is a service not a program. Service can be delivered anywhere. It is not a social emotional, intervention as some have claimed. It is an academic provision. It is time to fully integrate HC at the reference school sites. Everyone will benefit and the issues of travel and continuous risk of movement for students will end. In addition all students will improve from heterogeneous settings and a full panoply of perspectives and activity. Data tells us that HC identified students who stay at their reference schools perform just as well, if not better than HC students who opt for services at a non reference school site.

It is as abuse of privilege to consume so much of SPS time and energy on one population, particularly when there are greater issues that need to be solved.

Institutional Memory

Anonymous said...

@Institutional Memory What's funny about your statement is that HC occupied relatively little of SPS' time and energy until fairly recently. But once SPS started dismantling Spectrum, the HCC numbers started to grow remarkably quickly. That's led to it occupying a disproportionate amount of energy. You aren't going to be able to have HC be like IPP was unless you have an intermediate step that is consistent and well-defined across the district. That step used to be Spectrum.

If SPS staff had re-visited boundaries for Eagle Staff and Whitman three years ago (like they promised), we wouldn't be here. If SPS staff had revisited North Capitol Hill elementary school boundaries two years ago (like they promised), Stevens Elementary wouldn't be losing a teacher every year. The problem is not that HC exists and occupies space in a building. The problem is that SPS staff are not looking forward toward solutions and are not doing the things they promised.

RESMS (and probably Whitman) enrollment issues could be resolved by moving Greenwood Elementary (or Broadview-Thomson K-8) from RESMS to Whitman. That wouldn't have to be a geo-split. Let families that want RESMS stay there, let families that want to move go to Whitman. If that had been done a couple of years ago, we wouldn't have spent a couple hundred grand on portables for RESMS while Whitman sits half empty. That money could have made a real difference elsewhere in the district and it's not the fault of HC parents or students that it isn't.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I attended the RESMS meeting about capacity issues last night. It was quite the barn burner and I'll have a report soon (I may even have video as a parent was taping and I gave him my business card). Licton Springs parents (and students) were there in numbers and are quite clear on what they do and don't want.

Instutional Memory, that's quite the schoolmarm attitude you have.

First, it's Blanford, not Branford. And, just to note, he basically did very little in his term on the Board except go to conferences, write reports on them and wag his finger about kids of color while he did very little to move the needle. So his lack of participation during that time shuld not be taken as a good thing.

Second, the Board may indeed have been micromanaging but you know why? Because staff was trying to bulldoze their plans, no matter what parents - from across the spectrum - had to say. I'm glad the Board listened.

As I said, I'll have a report from last night but one thing about these "micro-schools?" They save lives. We shouldn't have a phlanax of them but yes, they are necessary and needed.

Lastly, on HCC. It is a service and has indeed been quite the moveable feast (the real moveable feast is, of course, Sped).

You can go read any kind of research on highly capable students including the latest report from OSPI and it does include references to socio-emotional needs. It is not in the RCW but that's because the legislature allows districts to design their programs.

And where is your magic want that will wave and instantly every single school will - with full fidelity - implement highly capable programming? Right. It doesn't exist because this district is nowhere near being able to pull that off.

Research shows that everyone benefits academically from a heterogeneous setting. Except HCC kids.

Why would HCC kids who stay at reference schools do just as well? Probably because those schools have the ability to meet their needs (and likely have more resources than others schools may have). That's not a reason to upend a program.

We do have many pressing issues in this district but the need that some feel to lay ALL the equity problems and ALL the capacity problems at the feet of HCC students is wrong.

Anonymous said...

@Kellie -

For the record, I never stated a parent was able to kill Sue Peter's amendment. Go back and read my comments. I was commenting that it is hypocritical that the very same parents who are NOW advocating for grandfathering argued against other parents wanting the same for children in the past. These kids were at a crucial age and were moved in their last year of middle school. Many also had socio-emotional challenges. The 8th graders did not need to be at the school for their 6th and 7th graders.

I don't believe the parents had zero influence as those parents were also very politically connected, we both know who some of them are Kellie. I do agree, their advocacy may not have been the only or primary reason the 8th graders were not grandfathered at the time. I never said they were.

However, I do remember Sue Peters mentioning to parents that there was money earmarked that could be used for an expenses related to grandfathering.

In addition the younger HC parents decided to take a position to argue that older HC kids needed to be at REMS specifically to benefit Whitman 8th graders who might decide to opt into REMS. When the younger HC parents argued that 8th grade needed to be at REMS it was not a very powerful argument. The younger HC parents made an "equity for kids of diverse backgrounds from Whitman" argument which was repeated by some board members when board members explained their voting direction.

The logical and more practical solution IMO would have been to keep all of Whitman 8th graders at Whitman. If equity was truly a concern why not keep all at Whitman? And keep HIMS 8th graders grandfathered at HIMS. All the other kids heading to other middle schools to be grandfathered at their middle school for their last year as well.

Whitman was very concerned about under enrollment. However, the board agreed to grandfather Whitman 8th graders, but not the other 8th graders from other schools.

I will continue to advocate for grandfathering of ALL kids. It should be a paramount concern for SPS not to disrupt kids, and IMO especially those they move for just a year! Middle school is only 3 years.

On a different but related topic, I also agree that SPS knew the situation with REMS being full from opening. Everyone told them and they were well aware of projections as well. However, I also remember one of the directors at a meeting stating that in no way will HC enrollment be larger than GE at REMS.

He stated the intention of REMS was for it to be a "neighborhood" school. They deliberately put the larger number of elementary feeder schools leaving Whitman under enrolled. The intention IMO is to splinter HC middle into as many schools as possible.


Anonymous said...

Stevens Elementary is losing a teacher due to falling enrollment as it loses many students to HC at Thurgood Marshall. The access to non reference HC site has a negative impact on many populations.

Institutional Memory

Anonymous said...


Your comment to me is sexist and contemptuous of women and teachers in general. Also old fashioned.

Institutional Memory

Anonymous said...

No, Stevens is losing a teacher because the district throttled all choice enrollment there two years ago, refusing to let even siblings into the school after a boundary redraw, despite space, in order to protect Madrona's enrollment numbers. So people are starting to make other choices there, not believing they will have predictability and stability for their families. Mostly the choices are private school. HCC enrollment has not increased from that reference area.

Wonky wonk

kellie said...

Institutional Memory, Maybe you should change your moniker to revisionist history. The HCC component of the this mess was tiny and it was not the focus. The focus was then AS1 and Indian Heritage and the board was quite focused on ensuring that these historically underserved groups were not pushed to the sidelines. The board, especially Betty Patu, made it very clear to staff that no schools would be closed on her watch. But yet, staff tried to force the issue of closing both AS1 and Indian Heritage for "capacity reasons."

The 2013 Growth Boundaries was the last vote for several board members and they were determined to push this through. Yes, they over-reached dramatically but Director Blanford completely neglected his region in the process and the current problems at Steven and Washington lie directly upon him.

Anonymous said...

Jeez, Karma...Let it go. You advocated for your 8th grader to be grandfathered and it didn't happen. Now you want to advocate for ALL students to be grandfathered...great. Stop beating the dead horse before your benevolent motives are questioned as simply being petty-minded.

Olympic views

kellie said...

@ Karma.

I believe I read you correctly. There is hypocritical parent out there, that flip flopped about Grandfathering students. I just don't believe that is a particularly useful or relevant piece of information.

I simply do not share your beliefs that somehow the parents who wanted grandfathering were somehow more influential than the parents that did not want grandfathering. I attended the meeting in question in its entirety and I listened carefully to the board comments. IMHO, the board was deeply persuaded by the grandfathering argument. The comments that really caught my attention was the "I can't justify the costs of grandfathering."

Staff made a big deal about how expensive grandfathering would be and that there was no money to pay for it. As the levy cliff problem of that year was resolved in July, it is easy to forget how much pressure the board was under in January to not authorize any expenses. My impression was deep regret on the part of the board and a strong desire to grandfather but that the students needed to be moved to protect the budget.

To be extra clear, the board did NOT agree to grandfather Whitman 8th graders. Flip Herndon simply stated that 8th graders could apply via the choice system and that Whitman families would "most likely" be admitted. The board authorized the geo-split for all those Whitman students. That statement was squishy and staff refused to move the wait list. There was over 100 8th graders who applied to return to Whitman who were waitlisted instead. There was a very nice spike in Shoreline's enrollment that year.

FWIW, I was on the side grandfathering the 8th graders. IMHO, it was an extremely cruel action on the part of SPS to move 8th graders for financial reasons. There was ZERO capacity benefit to the decision but yet Staff testified repeatedly that the geosplit needed to be equitable and therefore move all 8th graders. I strongly disagreed then and now.

Anonymous said...


You are conflating, as Director Patu May have been, closing a building with moving a school. They are not the same thing. What happened with AS1 was displacement. Their original Decatur building was requisitioned for a growing non option reference population. Without a dedicated building AS1, now renamed as Licton Springs was in need of a location. Its history was one of declining population since its original principal left. It was being kept alive by dedicated former Summit teachers and a new identity built around Native American culture and traditions, hence Licton Springs. As the original Decatur AS1 site was not being closed but being rebuilt as a new physical plant, there was never an issue around closing a school so there was no legal issue to consume Director Patu, who has shown little curiosity beyond her own primary area. Why you think Director Patu is relevant to this immediate discussion is not obvious to me.

The question once again is what population will be displaced due to growing enrollment at Eaglestaff?

Displacement is not closure of a school as legally defined by the state. This needs to be kept in mind when discussing history accurately.

Institutional Memory

Anonymous said...

Perhaps if we could discuss "fully integrating HC at the reference school sites", we could also discuss removing other impediments to the availability of academic opportunity across SPS, such as

- *Vastly* disparate PTSA funding (see recent KUOW story, https://www.kuow.org/stories/some-seattle-school-ptas-can-afford-extra-teachers-should-they-spread-the-wealth).

- Significantly disparate availability of courses and programs from school to school (e.g., world language, instrumental music, rigorous college prep courses).

- Significantly disparate levels of commitment on the part of principals and teachers to the education of students who are capable of working above grade level.

- Lack of an HC curriculum to "integrate".

PTSA funding is the third rail in Seattle - it's never seriously discussed as a tool in achieving equity. Much less uncomfortable to keep arguing about whether HC should exist and using those students as scapegoats.


kellie said...

@ Institutional Memory.

You are cherry picking details to create a narrative. I am not conflating anything. I am deeply familiar with the WACs regarding schools closures as well as SPS long history playing fast and loose with the definition of programs in order to circumvent those rules.

Outside of Seattle, there is NO DISTINCTION between a school building and the population within that school building. As such, the the WAC regarding school closures are written as if they are one and the same. SPS splits that hair regularly. The closure of Middle College should have triggered all of the protections afforded to a school closure but that was sidestepped. Likewise, AS1's closure should have triggered all of those protections, but ...

And your details of the story are incorrect. AS1 vacated the Pinehurst building to accommodate the Jane Addams K8 (now Hazel Wolf).

AS1 would have been happy (in 2013) to have been moved to the Cedar Park building. Staff made it clear that was not an option in an attempt to force the board to close the school. Sherry Carr was the swing vote that saved AS1 by agreeing to place AS1 on the Wilson Pacific campus.

Anonymous said...

Again, no. The original building was Pinehurst, which is where Hazel Wolf is now located. AS-1/Pinehurst never had any interest in the Decatur building. Hazel Wolf was displaced from Jane Addams for a growing non option reference population, and Hazel Wolf displaced Pinehurst/AS-1, which then joined with the Indian Heritage program to rebuild. Patu was not concerned with the legal issue of school closure but rather not shuttering communities, and combined with Peaslee's soft spot for Pinehurst this led to the late night vote NOT to close the program, but rather move it to Lincoln and then the Wilson Pacific site. This should have lead to boundary changes from staff, as design of the building was complete, but it did not.

For someone with that moniker your memory seems poor.

Wonky wonk

Anonymous said...

@ Another View, what counts as an outlier? Why 4 years ahead? What's in GE for a student who is 3 yrs ahead? Or even 2? And who the heck are all these red-shirted students of which you speak? None of my kids' HCC friends were. Mysterious. As to "parents to try to get a leg up on college admissions," I'm stumped. Since kids who were not in HCC can take pretty much the same classes in high school, I don't see the advantage transcript-wise. RE: social success, could it be that you have it backwards, and those who aren't doing as well socially are the ones who move to the cohort? That was our case. And that's actually one of the reasons FOR the cohort--because those kids are different than their peers re: social development. Awesome for you that your kids didn't need HCC and you had teachers who could and would differentiate. Others are not in the same boat. Either boat.

all types

Anonymous said...

Thank you Kellie

I actually amended/edited my comment to correct Pinehurst for Decatur and add the correction of Jane Addams. For some reason the edit was not posted. Thank you for the added clarifications.

Saying that other districts usually don’t have distinctions between schools and resident programs may be true, but it doesn’t change the fact that Seattle is much bigger and more complex and that legally here those distinctions matter. For all kinds of reasons....

And I don’t think we need to go off on a tangent about Middle College.

Institutional Memory

Eric B said...

Sorry, 1:01 PM was me. I was having problems with my post.

Anonymous said...

@ Intsitutional Memory, sounds like there's a social-emotional component to HC services to me.

From OSPI:
Aware of the special skills necessary to instruct highly capable students, lawmakers defined the essential skill set and
knowledge base that makes a teacher effective in a setting with highly capable students. Districts are not required to employ special teachers or teachers with the Gifted Specialty endorsement. Teachers must meet highly qualified requirements for the content areas in which they are working.
WAC 392-170-038 Special teacher — frames the competencies of HCP teachers.
As used in this chapter, a special teacher is a teacher who has training, experience, advanced skills, and knowledge in the education of highly capable students. Areas of competence should include knowledge of the following: identification procedures, academic, social and emotional characteristics, program design and delivery, instructional practices, student assessment, and program evaluation.

From SPS Policy 2190:
Services for Highly Capable
The variety of instructional programs or services for students identified as Highly Capable will include pathways to sites with adequate cohorts of Highly Capable students in order to provide peer learning and social/emotional opportunities for these students, teachers with experience and/or professional development on the academic and social/emotional needs of these students, appropriate curriculum, appropriately differentiated instruction, deeper learning opportunities, and accelerated pacing.

all types

Anonymous said...

Social and emotional is not an identifying criterion.

Institutional Memory

Anonymous said...

@ Institutional Memory, I forgot to ask--where's the research that says everyone will benefit? I've seen research on the benefits of keeping neurotypical and/or higher income students with lower income and/or lower performing students, but I've not seen anything that breaks out the impact of that approach on highly capable or highly academically advanced students. They are just lumped into the typical student group. The fact that average students may not do worse when below-average students are added says absolutely nothing about how significantly advanced students do. You seem to have very little understanding of the need that many HC students have for peer relationships with people who get them. For many HC students, even Spectrum level students just can't relate.

all types

Anonymous said...

Straight up fact regarding a "leg up" on college admissions.

Kids coming into high school from HCC middle schools will be able to get a better ranking than non-HCC kids, due to earlier ability to take AP classes, unless the GE school attending students take a lot of classes at a CC during the summer.

Does ranking help at competitive schools? One would assume so. So, yes, some parents see HCC as an opportunity to get ahead of the pack because it really does.

smoke detector

Anonymous said...

@ smoke detector, I though SPS high schools didn't report rank?

And it's only single science class worth of difference, since math is not HCC-specific in middle school and English is the same for all. Not much of a leg up, and surely not so much that non-HCC kids need to "take a lot of classes at a CC during the summer" to catch up. If you're really that worried about the leg up, take one extra class (summer, an online AP program, Running Start, etc.) and voila!

all types

Anonymous said...

All types,


institutional Memory

Anonymous said...

@ smoke detector, if HCC helps so much with college admissions, it's funny that you have anti-HCC people here often arguing that HC students really aren't all that anyway, citing as "proof" that they supposedly don't fare all that well in college admissions.

both ways

Anonymous said...

All types

It’s Language Arts, not English. Are you even in this district? Your references are antiquated.

Post Modern

kellie said...

@ Institutional Memory,

As an anonymous commentator, you do not have the ability edit or amend your comments.

I did not say that other districts usually don't have that distinction. OSPI clarified during the closures that OSPI never envisioned there being a distinction between a physical building and the students inside that building.

The protections afforded a building during a closure process are pretty slim. It's not a very long list, but it involves some basics of public meetings and notifications. As such, during the three rounds of closures, SPS afforded "programs" being closed the same level of public process that was being afforded to buildings.

This was mostly done to provide some protection in the event of lawsuits. I provided no real meaningful change. However, after that era closed, there has been this fast and loose approach with regard to programs. Your assertion that this does not matter because Seattle is "bigger" is just plain silly.

It does matter because the protections afforded to buildings were intended to be protections afforded to the students being educated in those buildings.

Authentic institutional memory is critical to this question around Eagle Staff. This situation was not created in a vacuum and its was not even remotely unexpected or unpredictable. Simply put, this problem was self-inflicted.

IMHO, the critical information is that in 2015 the two people who had the authority to fix this (Dr. Nyland and/or Flip Herndon) simply decided to pass the buck.

And once again, rather than fess up to a self inflicted mess, SPS is pitting groups against each other.

Anonymous said...

Nope. The district did not create the situation, a micro-managing board who did not heed the district’s recommendations did.

The district threw a reasonable and logical lifeline to Licton Springs of location at Cedar Park. The board, encouraged by Director Peaslee, decided on Eaglestaff. A few years later they then voted, against district recommendation, to make Cedar Park an option school. It’s this kind of silliness that makes city takeover look plausible.

We cannot continue to let provincial politicing run the district.

Institutional Memory

kellie said...

Institutional Memory,

You are once again confused on the details.

The district did indeed offer Cedar Park to Licton Springs. In 2015. After AS1 and Indian Heritage had merged into Licton Springs. After the Licton Springs community were already housed in Lincoln for two years and had been actively involved in the design and construction on the Wilson Pacific Campus. After the Licton Spring community were instrumental in the re-naming process from Wilson Pacific to Robert Eagle Staff.

During the 2013 Growth Boundaries process Cedar Park was the first choice and Staff was unequivocal in the lack of availability for that property.

Provincial politicking should not run the district. Nor should false narrative. Nor should this continuing pitting of group against group.

The 2013 Growth Boundaries were intended to be a set of guidelines. Less than half of the changes listed in that document were implemented. The district created this situation at REMS by failing to head community input and make the necessary course corrections in 2015.

This situation is just not a surprise.

Anonymous said...

@ Institutional Memory, Finland? Way to not answer the question posed. Maybe try again?

All types

Anonymous said...

Any SPS high school student may access their ranking by asking a guidance counselor. It is reported to colleges that request it and is used to determine valedictorian and salutatorian.


Anonymous said...

@ Post Modern, you caught me--I'm old!

But you know what else? You might want to check out this page from the SPS website before you make too big a deal of my use of shorthand:

Apparently SPS refers to it as "English Language Arts." Imagine that. OSPI and Common Core do, too. While we may more commonly refer to it as LA--and yes, I'm IN the district and usually call it that myself--I really don't see what the big deal is. Clearly you got my meaning, and clearly the district and state don't refer to it by the overly simplistic (and under-specific) term you said to use when you so unnecessarily chastised me. Why not focus on something more important.

all types

Anonymous said...

Another View,

Our experience at McClure was different than yours. After the change to blended classes, the quality of the courses that had been for Spectrum students dropped markedly. Our student had the same teacher for the same subject two years in a row, and despite having the same teacher, the classes were no where near the same. The first year, students did their work, came to class regularly, and participated in discussions. The next year, some students missed lots of classes, didn't pay attention so couldn't contribute, didn't do the reading, and there were no interesting discussions. The grade-level kids, the majority, likely benefitted because the disrupters/no-shows/sleepers were more equitably distributed among the classes. The greater good was undoubtedly served. But the quality of classes was in no way the same.

Also, we saw zero differentiation at McClure. Honestly, I don't know why anyone would even expect it. You have 5 classes, maybe 3 preps, 150 students, papers to grade and now you double your preps so that you can differentiate (and only to two groups) within a class? We saw some dedicated teachers there but get real about what is even possible.

When you say that HC kids benefitted and differentiation happened, I'm trying to believe that's what you think but I wonder if you are trying to sell something, because it is so diametrically counter to everything we saw and experienced. Again, blending was probably the fair choice. But don't kid yourself that your HC kid benefitted.

As for diversity within the class, there's lots of diversity in an HCC class because you have many quirky and different kids who bring unexpected perspectives to the material. So it's not like a Stepford population of cookie-cutter kids. Many of them have trouble making friends because they are so different in behavior and interests from the majority of kids in school. People who think that the only kind of diversity is racial and that Asian kids are white might feel differently. So maybe not racially diverse, again, if you pretend Asian kids are white, but certainly the kind of diversity of ideas and viewpoints that make a rich learning environment.

SPS is mediocre. Mediocrity for everyone, so super equitable.


Melissa Westbrook said...

IM, well, there are worse things than being old-fashioned.

"Social and emotional is not an identifying criterion."

You cannot prove this point from the heaps of research. It isn't in itself but it is referenced over and over. It's even in SPS' own documentation about what parents should look for.

No, the staff created the situation by not fulfilling what they said they would which was 250 seats for Licton Springs and they only have 160 students now. And it's overcrowded.

Kellie has it right.

I'll write up the RESMS meeting now.

Anonymous said...

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. I also heard the regional director 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. In fact I remember the director actually stating 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.


Anonymous said...

They didn't just want to keep the HCC at RESMS small--they wanted to keep it smaller than at other similar HCC pathway schools in the north end. Why, I don't know--but I suspect it goes back to that frequent "we don't want that group here" mentality, which GE parents are often not afraid to share publicly.

Unfortunately, SPS administrators have bought into that same mentality. They seem annoyed at the fact that these kids are here and need something different--it's just so much extra work! Yeah, try parenting one of these kids. It's hard work to meet their intellectual and social/emotional needs outside the classroom, too. Inside the classroom, it's SPS's job. If it were easy, the legislature wouldn't have needed to require it. But they did.

all types

Anonymous said...

If HCC parents find it so onerous to deal with the District, why don't they move to Mercer Island, Bellevue, Newport or go private?

SPS seems determined to blend the HCC students into the greater population and serve them in situ. The attempts at muscle flexing are getting old.


Melissa Westbrook said...

CC, what a terrible thing to say. Would you say the same to Sped families? ELL families?

And your assumption that all HCC families have the money to go private? Also terrible.

SPS should be clear on what it is doing because, for the rest of us, it already IS clear what is happening. (And as God is my witness, that's my next thread.)

I think that the majority of HCC parents would say, sure, serve my kid at their attendance area school. But the planning, training and resources better be in place first. Because highly capable is a law that has to be followed and serving kids on paper is not serving them in practice.

Anonymous said...

"I think that the majority of HCC parents would say, sure, serve my kid at their attendance area school. But the planning, training and resources better be in place first. Because highly capable is a law that has to be followed and serving kids on paper is not serving them in practice."

Replace HCC with ELL, FRL or SpEd and you see how ridiculous this statement is. Those kids don't get to demand that all the services they are entitled to by law are perfectly in place, so why does HCC demand perfection or self-contained?


Melissa Westbrook said...

Up/down, who says all HCC parents "demand perfection or self-contained?" Because that's not true as we see many kids who ARE in HCC but stay in their attendance schools.

And, perfection? Please, it's barely a service but at least it exists. If you read the CSIPs for schools, their "plan" for highly capable students is nearly non-existent.

Also, FRL doesn't belong in the same category as Sped, HCC or ELL. That's quite confusing that you include that category.

Anonymous said...

A birdie just told me that the Whitman meeting regarding Eagle Staff capacity may be cancelled for next week and that the district has decided they have a lot to digest and need additional conversations with the community before pushing forward on the solutions that they had originally presented.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Breathe, thanks for that. Or, they fear what a next meeting might be like and realize they need to change course.

Oh and one last thing on HCC - I was told that Whitman has been hostile to Spectrum so imagine moving HCC there in order to create room at RESMS? Is that the answer?

Anonymous said...

No school or community is frozen in stone. And whether or not that was a fair assessment in the past, the school has gone through a lot of change including its leadership, demographics, and well, the times they are a changing.


Anonymous said...

@ Breathe, please, please tell me that Juneau stepped in and put a halt to the whole process, realizing that her staff were continuing their old incompetence in this area and that she needed to hear from others who have better ideas...

pretty please

Anonymous said...

And your assumption that all HCC families have the money to go private? Also terrible.

Data shows, most HCC parents have spent 1,000s of dollars to pay coaches and “private” evaluators to get into HCC in the first place. So yes, it’s reasonable to just keep paying for that private school too. HCC, is not like special ed or ell. HCC is demanding the perfect education free from their fair share of challenging students. And don’t tell me about your HCC Aspergers. It isn’t even a real diagnosis anymore. It was removed from the DSM V years ago. Students in sped and ell are simply seeking access to education which has been denied them forever. HCC is seeking special costly privilege. That’s a huge difference. Nobody gets a CSip worth crap, but only HCC thinks they deserve some special something in that document.. McOuttahere is happy to cluster those problem students and forget about them. Anything and everything, so long as her kid gets perfection. Go private and pay for it. The HCC law doesn’t require self contained HCC, or special classes, or FAPE, or provide IEPs, or provide for automated due process, or provide funding, or provide citizen complaint, or provide a single procedural remedy for HCC. Has there ever been a single lawsuit or complaint other than school board bullying?

Nobody gets a private education in public school. HCC shouldn’t expect it or receive it.


Melissa Westbrook said...

"Data shows, most HCC parents have spent 1,000s of dollars to pay coaches and “private” evaluators to get into HCC in the first place."

What data? I'll wait. Oh you mean the number of private appeals? That proves little.

Asperger's was renamed; yes, it does still exist and saying it doesn't is incredibly disrespectful.

"Students in sped and ell are simply seeking access to education which has been denied them forever. HCC is seeking special costly privilege."

I'll remind people that HCC is a legally protected status so the comment above is just an opinion.

Institutional Memory, you, too, are being disrespectful in speaking about children. I warned you before and you are choosing not to listen.

Melissa Westbrook said...

So because Institutional Memory will not stop violating the rules - we do NOT make insulting comments about kids (and I consider "spurious disagnoses" to be insulting), I'll end this thread here.

There are no "de facto" private schools in SPS.

The phrase "others like them" refers to an academic cohort, not a racial group,as you seem to infer.

Also,"paid posters"? You're insane. I make no money from this blog ergo, I pay no one.

I could give a rat's ass if you screenshot anything. Who cares? This blog stands as a place where folks can talk, exchange information and ideas and yes, disagree.

As I've stated previously, I have no funders and I have no boss, so the one perk I get is being able to reject seriously wrong/insulting/demeaning comments. As the moderator, that's my call.

Again, if you so dislike this blog, go start your own.