Tuesday Open Thread

 Action Alert from the Network for Public Education:

The U.S. Senate will soon make critical decisions on federal education funding. The House, to its credit, increased funding for programs such as Title I and Special Olympics, while cutting $100 million from Betsy DeVos's Charter Schools Program (CSP) budget to start new charter schools.
Send your letter and tell the Senate it’s time to investigate the CSP and cut its funding. Let's fund our neediest public schools instead.
The Times has a story on the transportation issues at SPS via the Council of Great City Schools.   Spoiler! Not good.  But of course it's not - the district has been operationally dysfunctional for a very long time.  In SPS, operations is like the weather - complain all you want but you can't change it.  Charlie and I used to say that if they got operations right, it would be hard for us to fight back on other issues (because policy is more nuanced than, say, getting the buses to run on time).
Just a few months after the height of a bus-driver shortage at First Student that delayed routes by up to two hours, an external review dated January 2019 also found many critical and longstanding problems with oversight and communication in the district’s transportation department, little to no reliance on data to drive decision-making and an overall “lack of urgency to change.”
The list of issues of long and appalling.  But there are good items:
In just one year, 7,000 additional students received free ORCA cards as a result of a partnership between the district and the city that began last fall. First Student and the department now have regular weekly meetings to improve communication and the district requires GPS tracking and video cameras on all contract buses.
New to me:
The district is still reviewing the report, he added, and the recommendations will be brought to the superintendent’s transportation Think Tank, a group of business, city and district leaders tasked with brainstorming more efficient transportation options.
Did you hear this good news?  Morehouse College graduation speaker, Robert F. Smith, announced at the commencement that he would pay off all the college debt for the class.   What a great gift to get all those young men going off to their futures.

From UW's Computer Science and Engineering Department, news parents can use:

In a paper published last week in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the team presents a new app that can detect the presence of fluid behind a child’s eardrum — a telltale sign of infection — anytime, anywhere in a matter of seconds using a smartphone’s microphone and speaker.

Interesting story at the district's website about Graham Hill and their feelings that their school was divided by its Montessori and Gen Ed programs. 
The equity teams have committed hours of effort in transitioning the school towards a One School model, where all classrooms will reflect the diversity of the community. Eradicating the Montessori program is not the goal; they want to see the school become more inclusive in all learning spaces.

They wanted to hear from families that have historically been excluded.  

There are currently two programs at Graham Hill: Montessori and Contemporary. Students in Montessori and Contemporary have separate break and lunch times and have little to no opportunity to be around each other throughout the school year. Upon completion of one grade level, students also move through the school in a cohort model.
What I always find fascinating about these kinds of stories is that this is a district-created program and the school carries it out.  These two entities always act like some terrible thing visited their school.   You could ask:

- why were families historically excluded?  Were families of color not allowed to enroll?  Did principals not explain to all families what the program was about?
- how come the principals didn't take steps to unify the school like having lunch and recess times mixed? Or mixing PE and music classes?

Unifying the school is a great idea but how it got divided in the first place, without those in control doing anything about it, is troubling.

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said…
The Think Tank also included highly regarded community members. People that want to be part of the solution.
Anonymous said…
"...many critical and longstanding problems with oversight and communication in the district’s transportation department, little to no reliance on data to drive decision-making and an overall “lack of urgency to change.”

You could copy and paste this into an audit of every department, every staff position, and every school in the district.

Lack of Urgency
Safety NOW! said…

SPS does not have a policy to verify background checks for bus drivers.
Anonymous said…

What a joke of a Troll you are.

Honest Air
Down with Montessori! said…
"Visitors and families would visit and point out that the Montessori program didn’t represent the demographics of the entire school."

Who did they point it out to? To the teaching staff who don't reflect the demographics of the entire school? Or the students who don't reflect the demographics of school-age children who actually live in the assignment zone?
suep. said…
This is part of a continuing campaign by the district to eliminate Montessori and any program or type of school that offers alternatives of any kind. This is the second or third Montessori program that has been targeted in this way. I believe Leschi was another. Will Bagley be next? Rather than replicate, the district eliminates.
Anonymous said…
I am wondering about the decreasing 5 year enrollment projection numbers in the transportation report. (Also wondering why these projections are not on the SPS website.) I know birthrates are decreasing, and the number of people moving to Seattle is slowing down. However, do we really think the incoming kindergarten classes are going to be smaller than the graduating classes in the next 5 years? Or do they think so many people are being gentrified out of Seattle that we will see shrinking enrollments because people are moving?

Garfield Mom said…
Garfield High School, recently named one of the top four high school theatre programs in the nation by the Educational Theatre Association, is presenting Spring Awakening May 22-24, 29-31, and June 1. Come on out and catch this groundbreaking, multi-award winning musical! More info at www.garfieldstage.org
Anonymous said…
Leschi elementary has quietly, without notice to families, gotten rid of Montessori materials and instruction in all 4/5 classrooms. Although it claims in district materials to be a school that blends Montessori and Gen Ed, that is now a false claim for grades 4/5, and likely will be false for all grades within a few years. It would be nice to have some truth in advertising from the school district about this, but sadly that is not happening.

Leschi truth
Shades of Spectrum - I just don’t know why this district can’t be honest and transparent.
Anonymous said…
Message to Roosevelt HIgh School Community

Unconfirmed report that Roosevelt HIgh School has been told to Cut its Teachers and Classes DRASTICALLY.

1/3 of its Language Classes

Computer Science, Vocational Ed

16.5 Teachers

85 Classes

Roosevelt was told to choose which Classes to Cut.

State Requirements require High School Students to pass 24 Credits to Graduate. That is 6 Classes per Year.

How can High School Students get these Classes when their School is forced to cut its Staff, and its Course Offerings, by 10%?

Talk to the SPS School Board, before it is too late.


Anonymous said…

Garfield, Ingraham, Ballard, Franklin are other schools I have heard are also receiving drastic cuts. I don't have specific numbers but this is very upsetting. I don't know if they are moving all those teachers under the guise of a Feb projection of declining enrollment to support opening Lincoln. Seems like they don't want to hire new teachers. The enrollment report in April showed much stronger high school enrollment.

A Parent
Anonymous said…
My child heard that Roosevelt is getting rid of the French, American Sign Language, Japanese, and Latin classes. It sounds like they will be phased out and not offer first year classes for any of these languages next year,

Keep languages
Anonymous said…
That's horrible. These were the cut levels before the levy lid was lifted. Did the high schools really see zero improvement from all that extra money? And Roosevelt really does seem to be taking an undue share of the cuts. Is this political? Are their projections way off?

NE mom
Anonymous said…
Considering the district told the board at a recent meeting they are keeping all portables in place, and the actual enrollment showed a decrease of very few students from the overcrowded high schools when Lincoln opens it is outrageous.

A Parent
Anonymous said…

How can they possibly be cutting teachers at any high schools? I think Juneau and her staff need to appear at every night school and answer some questions.

Anonymous said…
Fewer than 100 RHS students are being moved from RHS to Lincoln HS. That’s the reality. The cuts are purely political crafted by those who think this is what social justice is.

JoLynn Berge and Steve Nielsen’s budget stinks to high heaven.

These allocations are political, shadowy (deliberately so), and cannot generate confidence because they are so manipulative and opaque.

If staff was so proud of the budget work they did, why don’t they daylight the numbers? Why have they been so nasty to their own board directors about hiding the numbers?

Juneau, Nielsen and Berge steadfastly refused to daylight the most simplest number of all: post open enrollment. Student bodies drive teacher FTE & funding into buildings. Without this data, it’s like a game of spin the bottle. Shame on them.

If staff has been fair, and the process was clean & not political, then the results would be equitable and broadcasting them widely would garner public confidence. In other words, yes it sucks, but this is a shared pain experience across the district.

HOWEVER, if district staff has acted underhandedly, & this is been a purely political process, of patronage & favoritism, then of course they’re going to hide the numbers & refuse to put them out in the public, because the disproportionality and favoritism would scream loudly!

Why do principals and their union PASS stand for this? The powers that be anoint certain school (West Seattle High School), while egregiously punishing other schools (Roosevelt high school, it’s true they’re trying to bury you). Without the simple enrollment numbers, it is impossible to refute this political budget? No data, therefore no evidence to back the gerrymandering assertions, therefore we are powerless & Ms. Berge’s budget is a buzz saw coming down on the children.

The truth will out. When people learn how badly their children have been screwed over, voting for ed levies is going to be called into question.

Children who have less, who have bigger burdens, should be given more. Buildings who have more of such children should be given more, but that should be handled by 1 formula equally applied to all buildings: the WSS. Weight F&RL students more, weight sped, homeless, hidden, migrant, & foster children more. Then with that single WSS, allocate the budget to who is showing up to the buildings. The “tiers” are weaponized, designed to allow Juneau, Berge, Nielsen et al, the anointed few with real power, to paint certain buildings with a “most favored nation” status.

Make no mistake, they singled out Roosevelt for disproportional pain in an unconscionable way. Children from poor households attending Roosevelt will not get the opportunity to take computer science. How is that fair to them? Should social housing never be put in well-to-do neighborhoods, is that the message Juneau is sending? Because it means poor kids can’t get a fair shake at education unless they go to a building that concentrates poor kids. How sick is that? Juneau’s tenure in Seattle clearly is going to harm children.

Playing fast and loose with the dollars is disrespectful to children, teachers, communities, and taxpayers. We can’t vote Juneau out, but if she is unwilling to even take on the breach of policy and possibly law with respect to Amplify, it’s only a matter of time before one of her employees does go over a line that will result in a fireable offense.

Doesn’t have to be this way. Juneau should come clean with the data and provide rationale for that budget.

Roosevelt is NOT eroding significant enrollment to Lincoln: fewer than 100 are being yanked. Ballard that is loosing three times as much, but with Rick Burke as their astute board representative, district staff threw Roosevelt under the bus & left Ballard alone, shielding it from the worst bloodletting. Because in contrast to Rick, Jill Geary is quite happy with the cuts at Roosevelt. Perhaps she doesn’t realize the pernicious affects that are going to be visited upon the communities in Magnuson.

scared & scarred
kellie said…
As for enrollment, it is important to remember, that POLICY drives enrollment. Downtown tends to behave as if enrollment is some mysterious variable over which they have no influence. This is simply not true. Policies impact enrollment and the current "staffing capacity" policy among others is directly causing the downward enrollment.

To be clear, school by school enrollment does vary and in a normal system, it will vary both up and down. However, when you place ARTIFICIAL enrollment caps on certain schools, you have changed the system so that they only way that enrollment can vary is downwards. You do this often enough with enough schools and over enough years and the only possible trend is downwards.

The downward enrollment trend is real but is policy driven, not demand driven. The under 18 population in Seattle is the highest since the baby boom. The students are here, but they are not enrolling. Charter schools are making serious inroads, among other options.

Anonymous said…
WSHS anointed? We wish.
Favored over CSIHS? Absolutely. By all. By teachers. By parents. By me. Compliments of Aida Fraser-Hammer.
And yep, Burke (and Michele Aoki for that matter) came and listened to the loud voices of JSIS, McDonald and Hamilton parents and he made a commitment to them without thinking of the implications to neighboring high schools. I know. I was there.
That’s Rick Burke for you.

Not Happy
kellie said…
The situation at Roosevelt is very concerning.

Most people involved are pretty clear that enrollment will drop by about 100 students. As such, the portables are remaining in place. (just in case!)

However, because of the "staffing capacity" policy, the budget office has declared that there are ZERO building level adjustments between the FEBRUARY budget allocation and JUNE.

ZERO changes.

That policy is both extreme and like all zero tolerance polices, causes more problems than it solves.

SPS has over 110 buildings, 15 grade bands and multiple programs. Some flexibility is critical in a system this complex. There is a lot of learning about enrollment that happens as you get closer to the start of the school year. The budget allocations are formulated in the Fall and then finalized in Feb. This policy means that any information that is different from the February projection is EXCLUDED from teacher hiring and in this case, teacher RIFs.

The situation is just plan looney.

Anonymous said…
I saw Jill Geary speak at Juneau's listening tour stop at Roosevelt. She's happy Roosevelt is getting extra cuts. She obviously loathed families living in the northeast who send their children to Roosevelt (though somehow those same families are ok while their kids are at Sand Point Elementary). Kids won't graduate now; a nearly 2000 kid school will *only* offer Spanish as a foreign language, but hey, we definitely need that video rental science curriculum for 10 million, right?

NE mom
Anonymous said…
This is beyond looney. This is outrageous. The School Board should reject the budget. CFO Berge and Deputy Superintendent Nielsen should be fired. This mismanagement should be reflected in Superintendent Juneau's June evaluation. This is Goodloe Johnson all over again. It's time for a vote of

No Confidence
Anonymous said…
High School Budget Cuts

High School Teachers, and essential Educational Programs, are being Cut all across the District.


Part of these Multi-Million-Dollar Cuts are to pay for new Multi-Million-Dollar, Expensive, Non-Functional, new Science Curricula (Amplify, CarbonTime, etc.), and the Professional Development (>$5M) to implement them.

District Staff even slipped in a new 1.0 FTE Staff Position to implement Amplify in Elementary Schools.
One or more SPS teachers will lose their jobs to fund this proposed new Staff position.

See the Science Curriculum BARs for last Board Meeting (May, 15).


If you value your Teachers, and the existing Programs in your Schools, you must Speak Up now!
Contact your School Board Directors right away.

MaryMargaret Welch (Science Director), Kyle Kinoshita (Head of Curriculum), Diane DeBacker (new Chief Academic Officer), and Superintendent Juneau are responsible for these Cuts.

These Multi-Million-Dollar Cuts are needed to pay for the new Multi-Million-Dollar Science Curriculum Materials.

The Board votes on accepting these new Science Curriculum Materials next Wednesday.

There are only a few days left to Save your School's Teachers and Programs. Speak Up Now!


Anonymous said…
Jill Geary is obviously fine with these cuts, but there are plenty of school board candidates running in districts where kids would go to Roosevelt. Surely those candidates need to be urged to speak out against this and help lead the resistance. These cuts must be opposed - not just at Roosevelt but all across the district.

That said, I will bet anyone here that Liza Rankin and Chandra Hampson will either be silent about these cuts, or actively support them.

Anonymous said…
These courses are listed on the Course Verification List RHS sent out this week as not being offered for the 2019-2020 school year.

*AP Computer Science Principles
*Projects in Computer Science
*Web Design
*Intro to Programming
*Apparel and Textiles
*French 1
*ASL 4
*Dance Intermediate

RHS Parent
Anonymous said…
And the same brilliant curriculum and academic officer are actively trying to slash the ability to take non-SPS courses to get credit! So Roosevelt kids are double screwed! If they found a good substitute course “off reading” for the missing AP computer science, rather essential when applying to university and hoping to get into computer science, their ability ( their competitiveness) is going to be severely restricted.

This is how equity plays out (at least in the minds of Juneau, Kinoshita, and DeBacker): don’t raise the floor, lower the ceiling! Don’t make a school attractive so that families want to in, instead lock it down, bar the school gates and fence them in!

Take away honors, pretend it is honors for all. Lincoln has actively boasted on not offering many AP courses because they think they can game the college entrance system with higher adversity scores (they said it out loud at one of the meetings I attended - so our kids won’t be going there), disallow credit from Johns Hopkins or Stanford Universities on a student’s transcript because you lie and say they only did it so that they could get an easy “A”! Do all of this attempted social engineering in the name of equity and scowl at any who point out the unintended consequences will hurt poor kids far worse than all others, and then shut the critics up by SCREAMING racist!

This district and Juneau specialize in rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Unless and until they realize the only thing that solves an education problem is good education, expensive education, true rigor, and yes, TEACHERS not computers, kids in Seattle school district are screwed.

The fact remains that 24 credits are needed to graduate, and kids who fail courses are going to be put into risk of not just not graduating on time, but not graduating, so clamping down on the ability to obtain credit elsewhere and make it count towards on-ramping to post-secondary education community college or university is ass-backwards.

So, to sum up, Juneau and Berge’s budget slashes teachers, thereby slashing courses and course sections at schools, most notable at Roosevelt. Juneau and Kinoshita are boxing children in in an attempt to stop them from consuming education elsewhere when SPS is NOT meeting their needs.

What part of this formula do they think is a recipe for success? In what way does this serve kids? Juneau is taking away their teachers WHILE she is also clipping their wings...

Charters are here. Their enrollment has grown. SPS is not a monopoly. This they will learn to their detriment, and more importantly to the detriment of the children still gated in their system. Enrollment is shrinking... this is why.



Anonymous said…
Regarding RHS - my son told me they are no longer offering French 1 next year....what if you have a child who is finishing her first year of middle school French and would be due to take French 2 Freshman year/2020. Will that be eliminated too? Is my daughter wasting one of her middle school electives on a language she can't continue meaning that to take the college recommended 3 years of foreign language she would have to take 3 years of Spanish in high school meaning one less year of electives with only 6 periods? Also - if they only offer Spanish, won't you have to offer many more sections of Spanish which would be the same as offering French? Why have we not been contacted about this and what can we do as parents to fight this? Do other high schools offer languages other than French next year? I need to have answers on 1) if this is set in stone and 2) if I need to start figuring out whether we need to look into private school or moving. Either one would be a huge financial stretch for us with college bound kids.

NE mom of 3
Anonymous said…
Many students for many reasons need to change planned high school language sequences in high school Mom of 3. Enjoy you middle schooler's intro to French. There's value in taking the course even if not continuing in high school. If an unavailable high school language course rocks your family's world so much that you are considering moving, you've got a very rough road ahead no matter where your child lands. Really. Try complaining to a different public school. You'll be laughed out of the office. Not a lot of private schools will care either. Teach your child a valuable lesson about adapting before she and you are stuck with the dreaded snowflake label.

Carry On
Anonymous said…
Carry On -

Moving would not be based purely on a foreign language. I apologize if I was venting a little hard and didn't communicate fully. I am fed up with a lot with Seattle beyond Seattle Public Schools and this was just a tipping point reading other posts. I didn't follow the wait a few hours to calm down and then post. Just like maybe you should have waited to react and pull out the snowflake label.

I wanted to edit my post but could not figure out since I posted anonymously. It would be nice if you would allow one to vent who has not targeted you rather than posting such a rude reaction. I don't mind my child taking another language, but with only 6 classes and having to take 3 years on high school (reason for taking foreign language in middle school) other opportunities of exploring classes in other areas get taken away - at least for 2 classes.


NE Seattle mom of 3
Anonymous said…
My child heard that a RHS current physics teacher is going to teach AP computer science next year. The current teacher is leaving maybe being RIFed. S/he only taught 3 periods this year down from 5 last year due to lack of demand for his/her computer science classes.

RHS parent
Anonymous said…
I agree with NE Mom of 3. Even 8th graders start planning for language classes, or other elective classes. Maybe a student would pick Spanish instead of French in order to have that year done in 8th grade? I worry in general for foreign language at RHS, and SPS. I don't see how cutting any single year of a foreign language doesn't lead to the end of that language at a high school, especially given that part time teachers are not allowed and foreign language teachers may be leaving the district for job stability elsewhere.

My kids have taken classes from the current CS teacher and are signed up for more next year. As they can also be CIHS courses, it's a loss for RHS students to have the second AP CS class cancelled (Principles).

What is the time frame for communicating with students? If their electives have been cut before the end of the year, will they be offered the chance to resubmit? I also don't understand if only 100 kids are moving to Lincoln, why the need to cut so many classes. Will there simply be more freshman pushed into huge PE and health classes? The lines at the counseling office will be long next fall. Yes, I realize that students sign up for third and fourth choices, but older students in specific music groups or advanced languages don't have as many options.

Anonymous said…
@Scared & Scarred ---Everything you said applies to Ballard as well. They are ALSO losing ONLY 100 or so student for next year according to the April enrollment information. Ditto, Ditto. I believe same for Garfield as well, take a look at the April enrollment information.

BHS parent
Anonymous said…
Carry on, I fear the SPS scarcity mentality has gotten to you so that you believe this is normal. I agree having to change a language and indeed much, much more is de rigeur at all SPS high schools, but especially disfavored ones. But this is actually not normal. Take a look at all neighboring district high school offerings. Other districts' high schools offer a variety of AP classes (more than any SPS high schools, even the ones we consider to have "a lot" of AP classes), most offer 7 periods, of course they offer more than one foreign language, and no one is trying to limit online course completion, especially not as they simultaneously decrease course offerings in schools. This is not a normal thing that happens in high school. You would never have to go into an office to be laughed out of it for complaining, because thos DOES NOT HAPPEN in other districts in the first place.

Wish We'd Moved
Anonymous said…
@VoteNO "Charters are here. Their enrollment has grown. SPS is not a monopoly. This they will learn to their detriment, and more importantly to the detriment of the children still gated in their system. Enrollment is shrinking... this is why."

That's probably not an unintended consequence - it might be their plan. Drive families out of public schools and into Charters. Then Juneau can leave Seattle in a Charter-friendly shambles and get a job in the DOE or as the next Ed Secretary (if the Dems win in 2020 - big IF) w/ Gates money paving her way for a 'job well done.'

Amplify is probably part of the plan too. Get all SPS kids hooked on computers and online learning. Give it a positive sounding name like 'blended learning' or 'individualized learning' then fire the teachers cause you don't need them anymore - kids are 'teaching themselves' 'directing their own learning.' They don't need the 'Sage on the Stage' - they are their own Scientists!!

Don't teachers realise that supporting online learning is supporting themselves out of a job? It's not a coincidence that Amplify is a favorite of Charter schools like KIPP....

Could that be the real reason why the district is cutting teachers? To replace them with computers?

Something's afoot.

Start the petition for

No Confidence
Anonymous said…
Here is the report that references post open enrollment figures and their projections for Oct 2019. You will see that across the board they are projecting losses in enrollment from each high school across the board.

Roosevelt is PROJECTED to lose -188 students and Ballard -148. Garfield is PROJECTED to lose -224 the most out of any high school. This is at least in part due to Lincoln opening, but the loss is not 300 per school no way. The cuts are not proportional to the loss of students at any of these schools. They all are facing larger cuts, not just Roosevelt.

Ingraham is projected to lose -139, Cheif Sealth -147 (as much as Ballard!) alot of kids for these smaller schools half of Ballard and Roosevelt's size proportionately, not due AT ALL to losing students to Lincoln.

However, even with the loss the overcrowded high schools were so crowded they are still overcrowded. This report states 8 (!) portables will remain at Ballard and 6 at Roosevelt. Ballard currently has 1874 (Capacity 1600) enrolled (April post enrollment) for next year, Roosevelt 1823, Garfield 1712.

Anonymous said…
Here is the report that references post open enrollment figures and their projections for Oct 2019. You will see that across the board they are projecting losses in enrollment from each high school across the board.

Roosevelt is PROJECTED to lose -188 students and Ballard -148. Garfield is PROJECTED to lose -224 the most out of any high school. This is at least in part due to Lincoln opening, but the loss is not 300 per school no way. The cuts are not proportional to the loss of students at any of these schools. They all are facing larger cuts, not just Roosevelt.

Ingraham is projected to lose -139, Cheif Sealth -147 (as much as Ballard!) alot of kids for these smaller schools half of Ballard and Roosevelt's size proportionately, not due AT ALL to losing students to Lincoln.

However, even with the loss the overcrowded high schools were so crowded they are still overcrowded. This report states 8 (!) portables will remain at Ballard and 6 at Roosevelt. Ballard currently has 1874 (Capacity 1600) enrolled (April post enrollment) for next year, Roosevelt 1823, Garfield 1712.

A Parent
Grouchy Parent said…
The way the district is run does seem pretty anti teacher. But I think part of the problem might be inept teacher union leadership. We all know that no one in SPS listens to parents or taxpayers. And the teachers were able to get guaranteed recess time for little kids through tough negotiating tactics (sheesh, why was that even necessary? who are these meanies at the district?). But no at the district seems interested in preparing kids to be appealing to colleges. Even while the mayor and the city are giving some of college away for free to everyone. Is the goal just to have 2 years of what would have been high school taken in college? Like, can't finish your 24 credits in high school? Didn't pass math? Don't worry, try again in what used to be community college. It's free! Maybe they had to offer 2 years of associate's college because they new SPS was going to fail to get the students ready for a 4-year college? At any rate, it's sounding a lot like bullshit. My rural high school had less than 500 students and offered 4 world languages AND computer programming AND A.P. classes up the wazoo.
Anonymous said…
This is exactly what my point is, the $ budget is based on a projected enrollment loss of 321 kids from Roosevelt, but in reality, capital is planning for a loss of just 188 RHS kids. BOOM!!!! Busted!!! That is why the portables are staying in place RHS.

That is why the Berge budget is a PURELY political document, not a reality one. And that is the evidence Roosevelt has been politically targeted for a hatchet job by Berge. Berge, with Juneau approval, manipulated the Roosevelt number by 133 students! (321 her budget enrollment drop vs the capital budget drop of 188 students). Huh?!? That is a huge difference, unexplained, and clearly no other high school was targeted by this BIG of an unexplained gaff between the two SPS documents. That’s the smoking gun. SPS are literally talking out of both sides of their mouth at the same time, but saying different things.

Put in perspective, 133 difference/188 likely enrollment drop = 71% OVERSTATEMENT of RHS enrollment drop. That’s the difference between Ballard and Roosevelt and Garfield: Garfield genuinely is going to have the largest enrollment drop (west Seattle kids not showing up, north Seattle kids barred) and Ballard is losing the most kids and territory to Lincoln, yet the district is fixated on penalizing Roosevelt in an inexplicable way even though the RHS had quite hard numbers showing the Roosevelt wasn’t going to experience much of an enrollment drop.

133 kids / 29 kids/teacher = 4.6 UNNECESSARY ROOSEVELT TEACHER CUTS!!! That again is a different and disproportional cut than the other schools are lined up for.

That is how hard this district is attacking the kids in Roosevelt. Roosevelt is going to disproportionately be missing almost 5 teachers as compared to Ballard - good luck rehiring teachers and re-casting all those RHS kids’ schedules when in September 2019 the enrollment crystallizes.

Because Ballard and Roosevelt do offer a great experience, and there have been a lot of issues at Lincoln, families are finding a way to avoid Lincoln. Perhaps that’s why the district has manipulated Roosevelt so much, they want Roosevelt to sink down so Lincoln doesn’t look so bad?

Anonymous said…
The restoration of Levy funds is averting librarians being cut and libraries being closed at the larger and middle class majority high schools.

Likely the severe cuts at Tier 3 & 4 schools are to avert any cuts due to population shrinking at Tier 1 & 2 schools...but wait didn't Rainier Beach also protest projecting the loss of some teachers as well? Hmmmm

Should't there be a baseline of what is to be provided to all SPS high schools? What is with this behind the scenes robin hood behavior...or wait is it even going to lower income schools?

A Parent
Anonymous said…
@Voteno "Ballard is losing the most kids and territory to Lincoln" ....Nope not true. Old information Voteno. Ballard neighborhood is booming as an understatement... and has 1874 ENROLLED from their references area for next year. That's almost as many as this year WITH the opening of Lincoln. They are losing LESS kids not more to Lincoln than Roosevelt.

Kid City
Anonymous said…
Multi-family and townhouses have already been developed as Ballard has been densifying as a designated "urban center". Many of my kid's friends moved to townhouses in Ballard from out of state. Many moving to Lincoln are from Queen Anne. Magnolia is still at Ballard as well. My best guess is that enrollment is not skyrocketing as fast in (more expensive) QA. It is not a match for growing baby boom Ballard with more affordable and more townhouse and multi-family housing. Also alot more kids from QA go to Private school as compared to Ballard where they stay public.

Kid City
Anonymous said…
Start looking at the Downtown Department Budgets to save Teacher jobs.

Are these Departments and Positions really critical?:

Science Department
Math Department
Research and Assessment
Ed Coaches

Make Cuts a 2:1 Priority Decision. Two Central Staff for Every Teacher Cut.

Each School should speak up to Save its Teachers. Find the Money for Cuts in the District's Central Staff Budgets.


Anonymous said…
It should be noted that the money for the science adoption was cut from the budget. This was not restored by the Board.

However, staff has stated this is the not a problem, because they "found enough money" to cover it.

Staff always seems to find enough money to pay for what they want to push, but not enough to cover teachers.

- grumpy

Anonymous said…
"Lincoln has actively boasted on not offering many AP courses because they think they can game the college entrance system with higher adversity scores (they said it out loud at one of the meetings I attended - so our kids won’t be going there)."

Uh...the goal should be to broaden opportunities and LOWER the adversity students face! When Yale piloted the College Board dashboard and said it factored into their decisions - well, it could factor into decisions in a number of ways. Do people not think the tool could also be used to select for students having attended schools with lower adversity scores?

think aboutit
Dick Schreck said…
"Here's the strategy.

Attack the district and discredit as many staffers as possible. Paint the district as corrupt and incompetent.

Attack anyone who wants to change the delivery of ....

Call people lots of names.

Trot out anecdotes and lists of complaints about mistreatment.

Harass anyone who supports a different vision for ... services.

Hire some professional internet trolls to do the above while you're sleeping, on vacation or just because it's cheap.

Rinse and repeat."

quote from Umbellularia on this blog in 2016.
Dick Schreck said…
Want to know what’s wrong at SPS? …It’s YOU!

I have lived in school districts with “very good” reputations and with “bad” reps. The difference was the support and good will of the community. This blog had the same type incompetent and corrupt comments about SPS back in 2014 during the math curriculum adoption, and in 2016, and today during the science adoption. What is the common thread that has not changed? The curriculum is different (math vs science); the SPS staff is different, and most of the board is different. What is the same? This blog and some of the same bloggers.

Bellevue schools have an excellent reputation. I could not find an equivalent blog of complaining for Bellevue. I happen to think SPS is a pretty good district, and is moving in the right direction. But this blogs attitude and behavior is dragging on the district and has been for some time. Get involved and volunteer in a positive way if you can.
kellie said…
Thank you A Parent for posting the board packet for the capacity work session. Starting on page 70 of that packet, you can find the post open enrollment information.

Even a casual examination of the high school numbers just beggers belief. Staff is projecting massive enrollment drops for most high schools between now and Oct 1. Larger drops than any schools has ever experienced, without any reason to support this "sudden rapture of high schools students."

At the work session, this was explained by a general fiscal conservative stance and an increase in the Running start enrollment numbers. Both of those explanations are silly.

1) Intentionally mis-projecting enrollment is not fiscally conservative. It is intentionally short staffing schools, with the purposed of rehiring later. While this is a dicey strategy when enrollment is growing. It is downright disingenuous when it is based on RIF'ing current staff with the belief that you can re-hire later.

2) There has been a significant increase in Running Start enrollment. However, SPS has collected no data on this and therefore it is speculative that the trend will increase. It has already been documented that when high schools are over-crowded, Running Start enrollment increases. In theory, the opening of Lincoln, should also slow down the Running start enrollment.

kellie said…
Regarding the comments about Lincoln High School ... It should be noted that Lincoln not only meet its year 1 enrollment goal, it also has a very healthy wait list for 9th grade. This means that many families are embracing the school.

Anonymous said…

Roosevelt was disproportionally and erroneously targeted for budget cuts far beyond the other comprehensive high schools. That reeks of politics. HERE ARE THE RECEIPTS:

School - Oct 2018 enrollment - April 2019 post-open enrollment for Sept 2019 - that Sept 2019 # less actual Oct 2018 diff VS Berge PROJECTED diff from her budget

Ballard current 1,971 p/o 1,874 (97) vs (256)
Garfield current 1,774 p/o 1,712 (62) vs (294)
Roosevelt current 1,840 p/o 1,823 (23) vs (321)

So compared to Berge’s budget difference versus the actual difference, Ballard will have 159 unfunded kids, Garfield will have 232 unfunded kids, but Roosevelt will have 298 unfunded kids. Yup. Roosevelt is getting SCREWED ROYALLY. Basically, the district is saying, “F*ck you, Roosevelt”. Remember, she locked the door and forbid the Board from driving any revisions based on updated post-open enrollment numbers. Berge won’t allow them to try deviate from her budget because that would just be “too hard” (?),she demands those teachers get RIFed. And Juneau said she wanted to first hire back central staff!

ROOSEVELT IS LOOSING THE FEWEST STUDENTS BUT ROOSEVELT IS GOING TO LOSE THE MOST DOLLARS BASED ON A CROOKED PROJECTED NUMBER THAT BERGE EXPLOITED TO DRIVE HER POLITICAL BUDGET. Berge cooked up pure fiction against RHS to butcher Roosevelt’s faculty - this has nothing to do with RHS tier (BHS is also tier 4) nor their actual enrollment. This is to punish kids and families living there.

So maybe you think, it doesn’t matter, my kid doesn’t go to Roosevelt. But here’s the thing, if Berge and Juneau can do this to Roosevelt, they can and will do it to you next. This kind of political hatchet job that hurts kids is either unacceptable or is acceptable. That’s the real fight. Pick your side carefully, because it could be your kid who is next lined up for the Berge hatchet treatment. Frankly, it shouldn’t matter whose kids are being abused, no kid should be abused. This is why they buried the post open enrollment numbers, Berge, Nielsen and Juneau didn’t want to handover the receipts for their chicanery.

kellie said…
@ Dick Schreck,

I think this blog is one of the many things are RIGHT about Seattle Schools.

This blog was started when SPS was aggressively attempting to close schools, despite the simple fact that Seattle was the fastest growing city in the US, multiple times.

This blog became a place where people all across the district could collaborate and share information. Sure there are plenty of trolls and detractors (this is the internet after all) but there is also lots of sharing of basic information that happens here.

Just because very few people agree with your point of view about the science adoption, does not make this blog "the problem." When I first starting posting, very few people agreed with my point of view and my point of view about capacity matters is regularly challenged here.

Mr. Schreck, of course, it's us - the parents and the public - that are the problem. We're just too negative.

As for me, I have volunteered in SPS for 20 years. I'm on my third year in one school as a volunteer now and I haven't had kids in SPS for a long time. As well, I "volunteer" to write this blog, go to those meetings and report back. If I hear not-so-good things, I am not going to put a shiny veneer on it.

I also know most of the parents DO help in their schools one way or another. The sheer amount of time and money given to the schools shows that.

Bellevue and Seattle Schools Districts are VERY different. Of course, it's easier over there.

It's an interesting thing how you have appeared out of nowhere on this blog to lecture us all on what we are seeing or doing wrong. Are you a parent? A teacher? Just a Seattle taxpayer? And what is the source of your knowledge base? I have no problem with you having opinions but you seem so certain of your knowledge that I'd like to understand where you acquired it.

As for "corrupt" staff, I invite you over to see my latest thread on the Science Adoption. And, when I get the rest of my public disclosure and FOIA request, I have no doubt there will be more.

The truth can hurt AND the truth can set you free. Most of life is a double-edged sword.

Anonymous said…

To catch you up Ballard, Garfield were also told they were losing draconian amounts of staff. Ballard and Garfield were each told 15 FTE staff loss. Ingraham loss of students are projected to be roughly same as Ballard (148 or so), and last I heard 4-8FTE being cut. Numbers were already reported on this blog on another thread. Franklin and Rainier Beach are even losing staff as well. Roosevelt is not the only school being targeted to take an unfair brunt of the cuts. The actual April POST enrollment report also demonstrates that Roosevelt IS NOT losing "the fewest students". Ballard also remains the largest high school with the highest enrollment. The schools being affected so unfairly need to rally against these cuts together.

A Parent
Anonymous said…
correction in italics: RHS will go down a mere 17 kids, not the 23 stated above. So their screw-over is even worse.


School - Oct 2018 enrollment - April 2019 post-open enrollment for Sept 2019 - that Sept 2019 # less actual Oct 2018 diff VS Berge PROJECTED diff from her projected to current

Ballard current 1,971 p/o 1,874 (97) vs (256)
Garfield current 1,774 p/o 1,712 (62) vs (294)
Roosevelt current 1,840 p/o 1,823 (17) vs (321)

So compared to Berge’s budget difference versus the actual difference, Ballard will have 159 unfunded kids, Garfield will have 232 unfunded kids, but Roosevelt will have 304 unfunded kids.

kellie said…
Data is correct in that Roosevelt is taking the largest hit "this year". But A Parent is also correct in that all of the high schools are being unfairly and unnecessarily short staffed.

I have posted many times on the topic of enrollment that the high school budget is nearly impossible to follow. The k-8 budget is homeroom based and relatively easy to follow. The high school budget is master schedule based and unbelievably convoluted.

It is because the high school budget process is so convoluted that it has been possible for us to get this point, where we are actively RIF'ing high school teachers in the certain knowledge that these staff members will need to be hired back.

There are so many challenges with getting some daylight and sanity restored to the high school budget. Believe it or not, the short staffing at North end high schools is directly related to the artificial enrollment caps on South end high schools. Everything about high school is intertwined.

I know the board has pushed back hard on this but ... the key issue is simply that BUDGET has completely and totally refused to make any staffing adjustments to the FEBRUARY budget allocation. Period.

The Superintendent is the only person who can instruct budget to change their stance.

Anonymous said…
@ Dick Schreck

If district staff doesn't want to seem corrupt & incompetent then they need to be TRANSPARENT.

We have seen lots of corrupt & incompetent staff come through JSC. Perhaps you have forgotten, but it makes the rest of us suspicious when staff is not transparent. Many of our central staff are committed and competent folks. But when staff hides information, or lies, it reminds of us of previous fiascos that happened when we weren't vigilant.

So whether it is budgeting (remember the Olchefsky 34 million loss, or Silas Potter), buildings (Selling Queen Anne HS, school closures during the population boom), privacy (giving away student disability records), or textbooks (EDM) , we've been burned too many times to assume that staff should just be trusted.

Curriculum adoption is a particular recent sore spot after EDM sent most privileged families running to tutors & Kumon and left our more vulnerable students needing elementary level remediation before they could attempt algebra. (Remediation that they didn't get of course.)Also lost some excellent math teachers. Especially because success of that adoption was going to be guaranteed by "teacher-proofing", "fidelity of implementation", "Every student on the same page every day across the district", and anyone opposed was racist. So anything short of complete transparency & honesty, absolute adherence to board policies/RCWs, or language reminiscent of that used to promote EDM is just asking for trouble. This adoption process has had shortcomings on all three fronts.

And most of us are volunteering in schools. I have been volunteering in SPS for almost 20 years, in classrooms. (Teaching high schoolers to multiply & do fractions among other things.) So we see how individual students are impacted with every decision downtown. Not really surprising that people are upset is it?

-HS Parent
Anonymous said…
@HS parent, you capture the SPS incompetence eloquently. And that list of yours is abridged: there are so many other massive anti-student initiatives SPS has executed. Co-locating Denny and Chief Sealth, allowing Schmitz Park to fail into 17 portables, building the Eagle Staff and Cascadia campus without an auditorium, allowing “guess and go” spelling per readers and writers workshop instead of teaching actual grammar and spelling, knee-capping Cleveland and Franklin, and of course the truly egregious manner in which the district hurts SpEd students such as deaf and hard of hearing children or the failure to support dyslexic students. That’s just a small sampling of malfeasance.

Right now, the district is actively trying to harm learners by (1) trying to ram through Amplify, (2) trying to cut-off alternative learning via outside credits, (3) doing nothing to bolster credit retrieval opportunities, and (4) gerrymandering the operations budget that favors central staff over kids and is blatantly targeting extra pain on kids in one particular building for no reason.

SPS and Juneau are blasting water cannons at all of us, then pointing fingers at the legislature. It would be best to cut central staff to the bone and just let principals and their teachers get on with it, because it’s the teachers who show up day after day to face our kids and support our kids and teach our kids. At this point, all central office is good for our creating problems.

If you agree with this, then the only action you can take is to withhold your kids from their centralized data collection. Write whatever test you need to graduate, but every single other one, opt out! Vampires live off of blood, SPS lives for (but fails to protect) our kids’ data. Deprive them of it now. You don’t need an SBAC to know how your kid is doing in school.

- Fed Up
Anonymous said…
Fed Up,

You forgot many other reasons why we cannot trust the district staff downtown, there was the killing of Stectrum, and throttling HHC, killing Middle College in the south end, refusing to fund IB, pulling support for dual language programs, cutting arts funding at Center School, pushing after-school and before school care out of schools, pushing SBAC and a million other tests on our kids, choreographing community input events and forms to avoid input, deceptively ending choice schools, failing to maintain buildings (except the crystal palace). They have had multiple software purchase disasters and countless student data breaches. They keep hiring directors and other mid-level and upper management and cut cafeteria cooks, librarians, nurses, social workers, and janitors. Worst of all, they are failing to provide adequate teaching staff. Year after year after year, they lay off teachers in the spring only to fail to hire replacements in the summer and fall!!!

No, we don't trust this district, and especially MMW. Nearly every time they are given the opportunity to do something right, they piss on our kids. Yeah, we remember!

kellie said…
Dick said "Bellevue schools have an excellent reputation. I could not find an equivalent blog of complaining for Bellevue. I happen to think SPS is a pretty good district, and is moving in the right direction. But this blogs attitude and behavior is dragging on the district and has been for some time. Get involved and volunteer in a positive way if you can.."

I respect that this is Dick experience, and that he truly believes this blog is the problem. Many people feel this way for the first few years in SPS. I have 17 years of attending budget meetings. I do share Dick's point of view but yet, like many people on this blog, I keep tilting at the windmills.

My oldest recently graduated from SPS. As part of that ritual time window, I reconnected with a wide variety of folks who had "moved for the schools" over the years and also had students who were graduating. The reconnection was lovely and naturally we all compared stories about how "moving for the schools" vs "staying in Seattle" worked out.

Everyone had some challenges but there were a few things that really struck me.

1) Everyone who moved, had start times and end times for the school day that were 100% predictable and in most cases were the same times for their entire school experience. My kids had a different start and end time, almost every single year. Plus the magic years of the three tier system where there was 2.5 hours in between student 1 and student 2 starting school.

2) Everyone else had multi-year calendars. They not only had great confidence in what time of day, their students went to school, they also knew all the days the students would be in schools.

3) They also knew WHERE their kids would be going to school. One of my students was essentially a ping pong ball. I have lived in the same house for over 20 years but the school assignment has changed at least six times and under the 100% choice system, my neighborhood was simply assigned whatever school had space.

4) Nobody outside of Seattle, ever had to have a conversation about "split siblings." In fact, many of the folks that moved were still bitter about this process of geo-splitting their siblings.

Other districts don't have a blog like this because other districts somehow manage their basic operations and basic communications and do not treat students like widgets that can be picked up and moved at whim.

I still keep volunteering my time and energy, because I still have hope that some basic operational competency could change things for the better.

Anonymous said…
Last year 2018 is a year I would expected Roosevelt and Ballard to have more attrition from April enrollment to Oct attendance. We knew kids who left public school after 8th grade graduation for private high schools. They wanted a 4 year high school experience at one school, and did not want to get switched to Lincoln for 10th.

But in 2016 & 2017 these two schools had on average had 27- 50 less students. Some other schools such as Garfield and Chief Sealth had a higher attrition of over a hundred per year. Other schools such as Franklin, W Seattle, Ingraham also showed an increased attrition in Oct last year. Center school actually lost fewer students last year and Nova actually gained students. Looking at only the past three years seems to me that there is a slight trend of high school enrollment shrinking in the South end only.

The April enrollment report shows that even with the opening of Lincoln, Ballard, Ingraham, Roosevelt and Garfield still have over capacity enrollment. That is the truth of the matter.

The north end overcrowded high schools that are far over capacity should not be targeted unfairly for extreme cuts. It is cruel, mean and wrong. It will impact kids unfairly who want to be competitive for their local state colleges. For example at UW a competitive school, basic admission requirements exclude many students. In actuality they need to take multiple years of the same foreign language as a core admissions requirement. These high schools already receive much less support from the district. Also, they are NOT schools without any F&R lunch kids. If you do the math, 12% F&R lunch is well over 200 kids at each of the larger high schools. These cuts also hurt many poor kids. This district has some messed up priorities and it is apparent they don't care about all the kids.


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