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Sunday, May 05, 2019

Seattle School Meetings, Week of May 6-12, 2019

There are four Work Sessions this week; two on Tuesday, May 7th and two on Wednesday, May 8th.


Tuesday, May 7th
Work Session: Budget; State Auditors Exit Conference from 4:30-7:00 pm. No agenda available. Agenda with Budget documentation only (State Auditor will be releasing their report the day of.) Viewing the Budget documentation, I only see marginally good news.  Possible restoration plans on pages 10-13.


Wednesday, May 8th 
Work Session: Capital Program Semi-Annual Report -  4:30-5:00 pm
Work Session: Capacity and Enrollment Evaluation - 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

For some reason the agenda - plus documentation  - is available for these work sessions.

Capital Program Report Highlights:
- Despite the addition of nearly 2100 seats via the reopening of Lincoln and addition at Ingraham, they are not recommending removal of any portables at Roosevelt or Ballard.  In fact, they have to get permission from the City to continue to have as many portables at Roosevelt as they currently have.
- The schematic for Bagley Elementary looks great and what a difference it will make for that area.
- They are still working on revamping Webster as a K-5 or K-8 for up to 375 students in Fall 2020.  My guess is that they are going to push Licton Springs K-8 out of its current space co-shared with RESMS.  The stories I have been told - by both sides - does scream out for something to change.  It seems odd that both principals cannot get control of the situation for the time being.
- There's also an interesting examination of energy efficiency at BEX IV buildings, see page 36.


Annual Enrollment Report and Capacity Evaluation (Ashley Davies/Rebecca Asencio) - starts on page 51
  • Brief Overview of Relevant Policies and “Space Available” policy directive
  • Overview of Enrollment reporting and release of 2018-19 Enrollment Report (reports on 2017-18 school year) (https://www.seattleschools.org/departments/enrollment_planning/enrollment_data/annual_enrollment_r eports 
  • Enrollment and Capacity analysis 
  • Potential Capacity Management actions for 2019-20 
  • Potential School Assignment Changes for 2020-2021
Next Steps: Board Work Session June 5, 2019 on 2020-21 School Boundary and Student

Assignment Transition Plan 
- Enrollment is projecting 700 fewer students next school year, mostly from high school and grades 1-5.
- There are about 2700 students on waitlists which is about the same as last year.
- New portables - North Beach (4), Robert Eagle Staff (3), Jane Addams (2)
- 13 more Sped classes due to enrollment growth - 
North Beach, Olympic View, T. Marshall, Boren, Eckstein (2), Washington(2), Ballard, Chief Sealth, Rainier Beach, Roosevelt, Bridges
- Noted that Maple is overenrolled and the largest Title One elementary in SPS.  Conflicting dates in the report for when the new Wing Luke Elementary might open and relieve the pressure at Maple.  Green Lake Elementary is also overenrolled with no room for portables.  I find that curious given their large playground area. North Beach Elementary is also overenrolled and now has 12(!) portables.
- JAMS is overenrolled with now 6 portables. RESMS/Licton Springs K-8 full to the brim. They will have 7 portables by Fall 2019.  Suggestions are moving LS K-8, additional site for HCC (and maybe then freeing up space for LS K-8?) or boundary change. 
- Mercer MS is already overenrolled even with BEX V design.  Boundary change?
- Hale, Roosevelt and Ballard will remain overenrolled even with the reopening of Lincoln.  (So the district is losing high school students per the projections for next year but these schools will remain full? Hmm.)
- They state there will be community meetings on some boundaries in late May/early June and in the fall with plan to Board by November 2019.  Any boundary changes would come for Fall 2020.
- Pages 70-77 have new enrollment stats and maps.

Other Information of Note

Advanced Learning Task Force Meeting
Tues., May 7, 4 - 7 p.m. 
Minutes from April meeting.  These minutes both pleased and disappointed me.  I'll have a separate thread on this topic.
Information Technology Advisory Committee (ITAC)

NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR 2019-20Please and submit by July 31, 2019. Applicants will be notified by email or by phone by August 31, 2019. Meetings occur on the third Monday of the month at 4:30 - 6 p.m. For new committee members, the first meeting is September 16, 2019 at the District Office. Please note that living or working within Seattle Public School boundaries, or having a student in SPS is not a requirement for participation in the ITAC.
If you are unable to complete the online application form, as directed by July 31, 2019.


Editor's Note: I will be finishing my one-year term as co-chair of ITAC at the June 2019 meeting.  I am not reapplying to remain on the committee. 

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

Moving LS to Webster might solve a lot of problems, split those two principals up (who can't seem to get along) and get the schools out of each other's way. Webster could be renamed Shilshole Elementary or something.

What they should have done is built a small third building on the Wilson-Pacific specifically for a K-8 intended to go to LS. The fact that they didn't is yet another opportunity botched by Nyland. That ship has sailed now. Splitting Cascadia to Webster and moving LS partially in Cascadia will just create all the same spats they have now sharing with REMS. Not a solution. LS needs their own building.

The most central location for LS's target population would actually be somewhere around Sodo or father south, but Webster is now faster to reach from the south end because of the tunnel, something I recently confirmed, and it's easy enough for students in NW and NNE to reach.

The LS community seems divided on moving or staying, but if they could move into their own building without any need to share space any more, they could get behind it. They are sick of the spats with REMS, that's for sure.

Windy

Melissa Westbrook said...

Windy, yup, another small building would have kept everyone in their lane but no, Nyland nor anyone else in Capital listened. LS really can't move to Webster because that program is part of the land it sits on plus most of their current students would have to sit on a long bus ride to get there (it's way out in Ballard). Going off Aurora out to Ballard is not fast.

Anonymous said...

You really can't tell they are predicting lower enrollment mostly from High school for next year from the report. As of this April, it shows more high school students are actually enrolled overall in the district for next year. 14190 are enrolled for next year versus 1292 currently enrolled. Also, wow so far almost no loss showing up---Ballard 1971 to 1868 still very overenrolled, Garfield increased at 1714 from 1658, 1817 to 1815, Franklin 1178 to 1237, Ingraham 1346 to 1524 etc. Still the same overenrolled despite 600 students at Lincoln.

Why are they still cutting staff from these high schools while keeping all the myriads of portables in place which shows they still expect to be overcrowded? They are not losing very many students at all it seems. They should not be cutting staff at all from the other high schools, but maybe that was the plan all along to fund the opening of new high school. Stretching more resources even more thinly between schools instead of having the funding in place needed to open the high school.

disgusted

Anonymous said...

Typo 12,942 currently enrolled increase to 14,190 currently enrolled for Fall 2019. I guess they don't expect all to show up in Fall, but even so don't know how they are estimating 700 less students mostly attrition at the High School level from those numbers.

disgusted

Anonymous said...

Always seemed to me the right answer was to move Cascadia to Webster, move Licton Springs K-8 to Cascadia and give them a few years to fill the building, expanding slowly but steadily so as to not lose the heart and essence of the program, and let RESMS fill in the rest of their building. I get that moving Licton Springs K-8 to a totally different site seems like it could solve things, but I don't see how you get the LS K-8 community on board with that, given that their name is attached to the site, their program prioritizes the murals and cultural elements of the site, and their lack of trust in the district from previous moves.

Terry Springer

Anonymous said...

That's a really sensible idea - except that Cascadia is already over 700 I believe. Can they fit into a Webster? Probably would need 2 schools or 1 and part of another.

LS was not always named LS. It was Pinehurst K-8 before (after it merged with the old Pinehurst), and before that it was AS#1. It's always had the social justice focus and Native focus but under various names.

Another long-term idea I've heard discussed is that the district actually owns the property Oak Tree Mall is built on. They could develop that property into a school, move REMS or Cascadia to that site, and then give the current RESMS or Cascaida to LS but turn it into a K-12. I know, I know. Too expensive. Never going to happen. Or maybe?

Windy

Billy Bucks said...

Seattle Public Schools now has a budget of over $1B per year. The budget is expected to grow at a rate of approximately $40M per year though 2022.

The board really needs to get a hold of this issue.

Billy Bucks said...

Correction: The district's budget is expected to grow at a rate of $30M per year through 2022.

Billy Bucks said...

The budget deficit is expected to grow to $104M by 2022. Unreal.

kellie said...

There is a lot to unpack in these budget documents.

Fortunately, staff is recommending that a little bit of the extra money is used to restore the Core 24 funds to high school. I hope the is finalized today because that could potentially, stop quite a few of the high school RIFs. High School really took the lion's share of the cuts this round and this restoration, should mitigate things and act as a buffer to the "ultra-conservative" high school enrollment projections.

In other words, this should help to provide some staff for when high school enrollment is higher than the budget.

Also, the money for "curriculum" was cut in the budget and is not scheduled to be restored. I am presuming that is money for the science adoption. If the budget was cut, why is the science adoption still moving forward?


Anonymous said...

Why don't they redraw the boundary for Whitman rather than forcing out the K-8 with a Native American focus from an area sacred to Native Americans and in a building named after a Native American local hero? The Times recently did an article on the sacredness of Lichton Springs to the local Native American community.

HP

Watching said...

With a projected budget shortfall of $100M and projected cuts to curriculum and CORE 24...how does the board and district expect to implement Amplify with fidelity?

The state was smart to require four year budget projections.

Anonymous said...

If the HC numbers would indicate they could do it, why not add Whitman as an additional HC site, alongside HIMS, Eaglestaff & JAMS. HIMS is still very full. They would likely need to adjust feeder schools etc and send some kids from HIMS to one of the other schools. Another idea is to move HC entirely to Whitman unless that puts Whitman a school with a severely aging infrastructure & terrible portables over capacity. Otherwise adjusting boundaries between Whitman & Eaglestaff for all the kids.

ideas

Melissa Westbrook said...

HP, good question. RESMS is overcrowded and forcing out LS is not the answer.

Watching, another good question. I do not see the funding for Amplify OR the 1-1 computers that will be needed. And, as I said previously, the Technology Advisory Committee has only discussed 1-1 for high school. If Amplify goes thru, that will probably change to middle school as I know there cannot possibly funding for both. I think high schools need 1-1 more than middle schools.

Anonymous said...

Ballard will be over capacity again after we cut so many staff this year?! Well maybe the increase will let us re-hire some staff in science. Right now we don't have enough FTE to offer nearly as many sections of 3rd year science classes we offer now.
science forever

Anonymous said...

They have stated they will only reinstate a couple of FTE, so that means they are still cutting a ton from the high schools. There is something strange going on as they are cutting from high schools despite severe overcrowding in some schools, and the April enrollment report which shows they were ultra conservative with projections in Feb. I suspect they are moving money around, maybe needed to open Lincoln as others have mentioned. I don't know what the high schools are going to do. They can't increase class sizes any higher in many classrooms as they are already overcrowded. Maybe they will be forced to push more kids out to running start? Maybe this is why they choose the high schools to take the cuts because pushing them out is an option.

Fed up

Anonymous said...

As they make the cuts, I hope they are keeping in mind that next year's 11th graders are required to meet the new 24-credit requirement. This means not just 24 credits, but 24 credits that cover certain requirements--like 3 years of science and 2 years of a world language. Students don't have wiggle room in their schedules, so can't really be forced into free periods and TA-ships when they don't have core classes available. It would seem that with MORE requirements and LESS flexibility, you need more teachers per student, not fewer.

A while back someone posted a figure re: the number of 9th graders from that first cohort of students subject to the 24-credit requirement who, after just one year of HS, were already off track to graduate. It was surprisingly high, something like 20% (?). Does anyone have updated figures after the first semester of that cohort's 10th grade year, or know when/where we can get it after they finish 10th grade next month?

When x% of students start 11th grade next year NOT on track to meet the 24-credit graduation requirements, what is the district's plan? Will they redirect more resources toward essential classes and those needed for credit recovery? Will that leave those focused on college prep with fewer options and effectively force many of them into RS? How much analysis--if any--has the district done re: the impact of the 24-credit requirement on its students, and on its operations? Have HS principals received any guidance on what they must offer? Is the district simply assuming that whatever schedule deficiencies exist will be made up via RS?

The district has known about the 24-credit requirement for about 5 years now, so what's the current plan?

core24

Melissa Westbrook said...

Core24, one thing I can say - from committee meeting minutes - is that Naviance is not being widely embraced at this point. The numbers in both middle school and high school are pretty low. So if the District thought that was going to help, it's a slow start.

Anonymous said...

I am very unhappy with the lack of transparency and communication to the public by the superintendent about the overall cuts to the high schools. The public and most of the SPS community is in the dark. People think that the recent levy win means that our high schools are not facing the cuts. Those who are in contact with principals are hearing that the majority of major cuts are moving forward despite over enrolled high schools and April enrollment reports.

KL

kellie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melissa Westbrook said...

I sense a shift happening and realignment at schools that they can only do by whittling away. As KL, the lack of transparency and authentic communication are dooming this district.

kellie said...

I have gone through the various documents and the changes to high school are just crazy.

They are projecting that 1347 high school students who are currently enrolled for high school NOW will not be enrolled on Oct 1. That seems like a crazy number. And it will also become a self fulfilling prophesy. When the high school master schedule does not have enough flexibility, then students are pushed out to get the classes they need. This should only intensify with Core 24 as that is going to put tremendous pressure on specific classes.

The budget work session did not include any updated budget documents showing the current changes to schools. With the WSS restored, this means K-8 is back to pretty normal, but the high school cuts are still pretty severe without the Core 24 money.

kellie said...

I did not attend the budget meeting but I was able to attend the capacity meeting.

The board did a wonderful job of raising many of the questions that have been raised on this blog. That said, the answers were often quite frustrating.

For example, the board raised the question of moving the waitlist at Lincoln. (Brand new school. Tons of space. Long wait list) 400 students were assigned to 9th grade at Lincoln and staff does not want to move the waitlist for fear of "overcrowding" at Lincoln in the future. This was stated unironically, even though Ballard, Roosevelt and Hale will be keeping their portables because they are overcrowded and will remain crowded.



Anonymous said...

Wait...so they are expecting an unprecedented super large drop that has never happened in this magnitude in the past from stated April enrollment (but not really as they are keeping portables) at the high schools for Fall 2019.

But they are also expecting Lincoln a school opening with only two grades with capacity for four won't receive a drop, but would become overcrowded "in the future" if they let some kids in this year from the waitlist? That REALLY makes no sense.

I hope board members press them on this response. Lincoln will benefit from an increase from the waitlist. It will likely ensure Lincoln classes are filled. The severely overcrowded schools getting staff cuts will benefit as well.

Unless the plan is to under enroll Lincoln intentionally so they don't have to offer as many classes or have as many teachers to save money. Oy. If they were more transparent we would not have to guess.

want answers

kellie said...

The theme of the meeting last night seemed to a profound philosophical debate about the nature and costs to Seattle's assignment plan. With a focus on "What is operational efficiency?"

On the one hand the board was pushing for some strategic wait list moves for schools with ample empty space and sizable waitlists - Lincoln, Cleveland, Dearborn Park, etc. Because the most expensive capacity in the system is unused capacity. As a district we are still over capacity, with a lot of unevenness, with extremely full schools directly adjacent to schools with ample physical space. Some strategic waitlist moves could truly help to balance capacity issues and create that efficiency. More importantly, small changes have ripples. When you support the less enrolled schools, you save significant money on needing to expand, mitigate and place more portages at the over-full schools.

On the other hand staff was arguing against any wait list moves, even for schools that are begging for students like Dearborn Park or new schools with ample space like Lincoln and Magnolia. Staff is presenting this as an equity issue of stealing students from other other programs and that the choice system must be curtailed in the name of basic education. That fact that this treats students like widgets and not humans was completely missed.

I can understand both sides of this debate. In general too much choice tends to re-segragate school districts. Nationwide, particularly with charters, most people choose towards higher SES schools and away from more diverse schools. The great irony here is that in Seattle, we have a great diversity of choices and there are many people who are choosing more diverse schools and lower SES schools.

Seattle has a very unique choice system where SPS can elect to honor the strategic choices that increase diversity and support schools, because frankly the high SES schools are already over capacity!

There are families who want to attend many schools that are considered to be "not popular" for whatever reason. IMHO, respecting families unique reasons, when there is ample physical space, makes us a stronger school district.



Richard said...

Thanks, kellie, for this update!

kellie said...

Thanks Richard,

Frankly, both sides of the argument have merit but miss the point. SPS has a unique problem that really is different from every other district in the State and pretending that we can operate like other districts is fundamentally silly.

SPS has the challenge where we have to amortize ONE budget, based on precise ratios, across 110 buildings, multiple programs and grade bands. SPS has 19 unique high schools. Most districts don't even have 19 schools and programs in total.

The State of Washington provides district level funding "as if" there were perfect efficiency. In other words, SPS has to staff individual building with their individual enrollment and ups and downs, but the State ONLY funds the total numbers of students as if all these students came in neat little packages, with perfect student teacher ratios. There simply isn't enough money in the system to even pay for tiny miscalculations in capacity and people are furious when a teacher needs to be removed for not enough enrollment in October.

So naturally, staff would vastly prefer to under-hire now and then add staff "if needed" in October, even if that means RIF'ing staff now that need to be replaced. Even if that means RIF'ing staff at buildings with ample physical capacity. Even if this process is documented to push families out of the district and into charter schools. The entire process is troubling.

Like many things, a balanced moderate approach would help, but ... this has turned into a philosophical war of Yes/No on choice, rather than taking a more nuanced and strategic approach. It is frustrating because both teachers and students wind up in a lose/lose situation.







kellie said...

@ want answers,

It was mentioned at the meeting, that Principal Medsker is prepared for the 400 9th graders who are currently assigned to Lincoln.

I can appreciate her concerns. Opening a new school is brutally challenging and 400 is a perfect number for a school with a future planned enrollment of 1600. That said, there are plenty of benefits for Lincoln to move the wait list and have a larger opening cohort with a wee bit of wiggle room in the schedule.

As a new school, the show rate is uncertain and there is no way to even predict how many of the 400 will actually be present on October 1. Also since the school is both Language Immersion and HCC, there is a lot of uniqueness in the schedule and most students will be taking at least ONE - non grade level course (language, math, science, etc) Both Ingraham and Garfield with similar scheduling challenges have pretty steep 12th grade enrollment drops to Running Start, so it is very unlikely that all 400 will nicely roll up to 12th grade.

Having been part of opening more than a few new schools, I can say that enthusiastic families who want to attend the school are critical and anyone who is on the waitlist is likely enthusiastic about starting a new school. IMHO, it is a win - win, to provide a tiny bit of relief to other schools and give Lincoln more students to start.

Because of its geographic location, it is highly improbably that Lincoln will ever be over-filled with assignment students, so the risk of future over-enrollment is very small.





Anonymous said...

Kellie--Thanks so much for your analysis.

Do you know if the Racial Equity Analysis Tool has been utilized at all on this issue? It sure seems to me that limiting choice and not moving waitlists grossly disfavors higher SES families. If you don't get into the school you want and you are upper middle class, you can go to private school. Kids qualifying for FRL don't normally have this option.

WS Parent

Number Looker said...

Disfavors lower SES families, you mean. Right? This system does not impact high SES families. Those families can just move or pick a non-public school. Middle SES and low SES families are disfavored by this refusal to move waitlists. Because they can't opt into the more popular schools, may not have much of a choice about moving to a "better" geozone, may not be able to afford private school or arrange transportation to an option school they might possibly get into.

Families who live in the Franklin zone can pick Franklin or RBHS. Families who live in the RBHS zone cannot pick Franklin, they can only pick RBHS. Any of them can try to get into Cleveland, but there are 155 students on the waitlist. So your odds aren't that good. You would think the Racial Equity Analysis Tool would blow this system out of the water, but no.

Here are schools that have ZERO students on their waitlists. In other words, the district let in anyone who said they wanted to go there. The number after the name of the school is the change the district predicted in the number of students that would enroll next year (from the end of Feb. when they made their enrollment predictions). A positive number means the district predicted an increase in the number of students over this year. A negative means they predicted a decrease in the number of students compared to this year.
Cedar Park 85
North Beach 71
Gatewood 13
Whitman MS 12
Licton Springs K-8 10
South Lake HS 9
Cascade Parent Partnership -5
Middle College -6
John Rogers -11
Roxhill -16
Sacajawea -16
Meany MS -17
Decatur -18
Aki Kurose MS -21
Ranier Beach HS -29
John Muir -32
InterAgency -35
Cascadia -36
Northgate -40
World School -55
McClure MS -64
Nova HS -65

Number Looker said...

And here are the schools with waitlists. The first number after the name of the school is the district's predicted change in enrollment compared to this year. The second number is the size of the waitlist a week or two ago.
Hazel Wolf K-8 -2 344
Salmon Bay K-8 -15 166
Cleveland HS -44 155
Pathfinder K-8 -1 149
Louisa Boren K-8 -5 136
Roosevelt HS -321 134
TOPS K-8 1 107
JSIS -6 95
Ballard HS -256 92
Garfield HS -294 79
Catherine Blaine K-8 -179 76
Hamilton MS -33 68
Fairmount -33 62
Lincoln HS 556 (new school) 61
West Seattle HS 34 47
Magnolia 246 (new school) 41
South Shore K-8 3 41
Mercer MS -116 41
Ingraham HS 41 37
Thornton Creek 13 37
Franklin HS -134 34
Jane Addams MS 66 33
Arbor Heights 11 31
Daniel Bagley -41 27
Thurgood Marshall -103 27
McDonald -4 25
View Ridge -77 22
McGilvra -8 21
Orca K-8 -26 21
Loyal Heights 68 20
Eaglestaff MS 47 18
West Woodland -7 17
Dearborn Park -38 16
Hawthorne 5 15
Maple -3 15
QAE -37 13
Eckstein MS 54 12
Whittier -36 12
Lawton -75 12
Bryant 22 11
Alki 5 11
Wing Luke -22 11
Washington -68 11
Olympic Hills 79 10
Kimball -2 9
Stevens -33 8
Genessee Hill -44 8
Center School 9 7
Graham Hill 2 7
John Hay -30 7
Leschi -34 7
Franz Coe -47 7
Concord -7 6
Madison MS -12 6
Broadview-Thomson K-8 -52 6
Rainier View 5 5
Olympic View -26 5
Hale HS -77 5
Madrona 19 4
MLK 4 4
Green Lake 2 4
Highland Park -13 4
Montlake -34 4
Adams -43 4
B.F. Day 12 3
Lafayette 10 3
Greenwood -6 3
Wedgwood -26 3
Dunlap -48 3
Bailey Gatzert -8 2
Viewlands -33 2
Lowell -80 2
Sealth HS 53 1
Emerson 23 1
Denny MS 12 1
Sand Point -12 1
Laurelhurst -18 1
Van Asselt -19 1
West Seattle Elem -32 1

Anonymous said...

@Kellie "On the other hand staff was arguing against any wait list moves, even for schools that are begging for students like Dearborn Park or new schools with ample space like Lincoln and Magnolia. Staff is presenting this as an equity issue of stealing students from other other programs and that the choice system must be curtailed in the name of basic education. That fact that this treats students like widgets and not humans was completely missed."

This is nuts. If the district wants to bolster high schools that are in low demand, e.g. Rainier Beach, the solution is to improve those programs, not to artificially cap neighboring high schools that are in high demand. "Stealing students from other programs" misses the point entirely. Schools and programs do not OWN students. How in the world is it equitable to prevent POC, low SES families from exercising choice? And, guess what SPS, they already are: Why are charter schools thriving in the SE? Because you have given families No Other Option. How is forcing families out of SPS high schools and into charter schools preserving "basic education"? This is a self-created mess.

And let's not forget that budgets aren't just numbers on a page. Budgets are where the rubber hits the road. Budgets represent a district's strategy. So, if the district is not being transparent in budget, it is not being transparent in its strategy. All families deserve to know exactly what decisions are being made on behalf of their students and why. SPS so far gets an F on transparency and communication. Articulate what you are doing and why and using what data and evidence. Be honest and explicit about your tradeoffs. It's not rocket science.

Concerned parent

Anonymous said...

Thank you Kellie for your analysis of the situation. "Staff is presenting this as an equity issue of stealing students from other other programs and that the choice system must be curtailed in the name of basic education."

Basic education is pretty darn important baseline for all students they serve period. Kids need school. They absolutely all need to be able to earn enough credits to graduate. Ideally they also should be prepared to meet the true competitive admission requirements of many colleges and universities as well. If they are correct that moving waitlists will indeed jeopardize classes and programs from other schools it is a very important consideration.

MJ


Anonymous said...

Number Looker--Yes, disfavors lower income families. It was a typo, thanks for the catch. And I agree, it sure seems like any racial/socioeconomic equity analysis should blow the current system out of the war.

WS Parent

Anonymous said...

@MJ "If they are correct that moving waitlists will indeed jeopardize classes and programs from other schools it is a very important consideration."

I think the "if" is the key here. Has SPS clearly explained how moving waitlists will jeopardize classes and programs from other schools and those schools' ability to provide a "basic education"?

Anonymous said...

@kellie wrote: "Staff is presenting this as an equity issue of stealing students from other other programs and that the choice system must be curtailed in the name of basic education."

@ MJ responded: "Basic education is pretty darn important baseline for all students they serve period.... They absolutely all need to be able to earn enough credits to graduate.... If they are correct that moving waitlists will indeed jeopardize classes and programs from other schools it is a very important consideration."

But I don't think staff is correct on this. How exactly do they think the choice system prevents the delivery of basic education? Unless every school is exactly the same, you have the same equity issue, don't you, even without a choice system? If the "good" schools are all full, the choice system isn't sending more students there; it's doing the opposite--letting people at select opt into some of the less popular schools that have room. If the concerns is about a particular small group of schools that nobody wants, well, fix them.

mr fixit

kellie said...

@ WS Parent

There was no mention of the Racial Equity Analysis Tool. I sincerely doubt that this was used in any format. This is really an ideological discussion. Everyone involved seems to want stable schools and believes their approach is the best. (including me!)

Staff truly is convinced that "staffing stability" is the most important element and the building budgets should be set in Feb and that is that. The budget is set in Feb and customer demand is not relevant. (That point was made many times last night)

I think it is more complicated that that and that students and teachers have a symbiotic relationship and that with 110 schools, all black and white policies are fundamentally flawed.

That said, I think the most compelling piece of evidence is that all of the schools that have had artificial enrollment caps have had shrinking enrollment. Franklin, Cleveland, Stevens, Dearborn Park, Whitman, etc, etc, etc. Shrinking enrollment hurts the entire district as there are just fewer total resources and when total enrollment is shrinking, there is always less stability, no matter what approach you take. Plus this then greatly intensifies the capacity pressures. And finally and most distressingly, sends the clear message that if you want a different school, get a different address.

Staff did acknowledge that Green Dot has had a huge impact on SE enrollment. But they were unwilling to consider changing course. It seems that they are perfectly content to run a district of basic schools and push any uniqueness or innovation to the land of charter schools. I truly understand why Charters have gained so much market share nationwide.

The impact of starving SE high school of students will be felt through the whole system and the sad part is that it did not need to happen.



kellie said...

The list that number looker posted is quite interesting.

Many of the schools on the list are dramatically over capacity and it is very appropriate that there is a wait list and that the wait list doesn't move.

But for about half of those schools, the wait list is insulting. Cleveland was engineered for cohorts of 300 9th graders but SPS is only enrolling 225. Olympic Hills, Madrona, Center School, Lowell, and many more have ample physical space and would welcome more students. So many schools have only 1-2 students on the wait list. Seriously? That does not make a statistically significant difference at any school. However, the waitlist does send a clear signal to families that SPS does not care about what works for you.

kellie said...


@ MJ,

I concur. Resources is an important consideration. For me, that means that you have to really look at the data and then consider it.

Unbridled and unmitigated choice has profound consequences. During the 100% choice system, Seattle Schools were subjected to a popularity contest and schools that were less popular were also resource starved.

The current system with a Weighted Staffing Standard was designed to make certain that all schools had a set minimum resources and the limited choice system was intended to level the playing field.

IMHO, the current wait list proves my point. There are schools with wait lists with all kinds of demographics. There are schools that many people would label as "failing" that have a wait list. To me, that shows that families are truly engaged in finding schools that work for them and are not just blindly playing the popularity game.

Naturally, the extremely long wait lists at very popular option schools like Hazel Wolf, JSIS, Boren, etc, is information about what families want. Based on the meeting last night, staff wants fewer of these option schools, not more.