Saturday, May 14, 2011

Severe overcrowding at Lowell next year

Lifting from the comments over at the Save Seattle Schools Community blog, it appears that Lowell will be badly overcrowded next year.

Quoting one parent:
Lowell has announced that 5 new classrooms are to be added for next year. They currently have 575 enrolled, and by my estimate, 5 new classes would bring enrollment close to 700. The building capacity is 485 and no portables are permitted.

How is this possible? An all-school assembly wouldn't even fit in the lunchroom. What is it like at other schools?
Another parent writes:
Lowell is so full now that I can't even begin to comprehend where five new classrooms are going to go. To remind people who aren't at Lowell, the APP program was split two years ago partially because Lowell was "too crowded." The number of students there at that time? 531. Apparently not only is Lowell no longer overcrowded with 570, we have room for 130 more. Insane.
According to the Seattle Public Schools Facilities Department, in a Jan 2011 report, "Capacity and Planning Management" (PDF), Lowell has a "functional capacity" of 490, current enrollment of 545, and is already 111% of capacity. If Lowell went to 650-700 students, it would appear that it would be at 133% - 144% of capacity.

133% - 144% of capacity would appear to be far outside of the norm and puts it in the district's category of "severely over capacity" (over 125% of capacity). According to the document, the most overcrowded school in the district right now appears to be Gatewood at 116% of capacity.

Back over to the comments on the Save Seattle Schools blog, a third parent adds:
The thing that makes me mad is how predictable all of this was. The only time I ever talked one-on-one to Dr. GLJ was well over a year ago at one of those public meetings and I asked what their plans were for capacity at Lowell (eg, move APP to another building? change boundaries?) and all she would say is that each school will deal with capacity issues in their own unique ways and they would just make things work. There was no plan to prevent overcrowding; only a promise to react. How is that acceptable? And yes, she may be gone, but the entire enrollment department should have been working on solutions here and other crowded schools rather than standing idly by waiting to try to put out fires.

How is it that I, a busy working mom with no background in demography, could see that the capacity issues in the NE would eventually affect Lowell, sooner rather than later? Year after year of adding new K classes at the feeder schools means not only more kids who may qualify for APP but also more interest in transferring out of overcrowded schools. Add in promised spots to neighborhood kids, and your hands are literally tied. So while the news isn't entirely surprising, it is entirely frustrating.
Update: According to a post at the Save Seattle Schools blog, "Capacity Management Briefing", Lowell is not alone in this problem, and part of the problem may be how the district counts students in APP and other option programs. From the post:
The District will be seriously deficient in capacity for 2012-2013 all over the place:
Elementary schools in every part of the city except the Hamilton and McClure service areas will be at or over capacity.
Elementary schools in the Denny service area will be critically over capacity.
Four middle schools will be critically over capacity: Aki Kurose, Eckstein, Mercer and Whitman.

The numbers for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 just get worse.

Here's the worst news of all: the District does a perfectly terrible job of counting students and counting seats. The numbers shown to the Board are "adjusted" numbers. They are adjusted to discount students in option schools, students in APP, and students in K-8s. So, although the District reduced the student count for these populations, they didn't discount the school capacities for these populations.
Update: There is a meeting to discuss overcrowding at Lowell in the library at Lowell Tue, June 7 at 6:30 pm.

100 comments :

Steve said...

I know the Principal has a plan to accommodate all these kids, and I'll reserve judgement on these specifics until they're released. But the bigger issues are still there: is the building safe at such capacity? Are the facilities (restrooms, cafeteria, etc) sufficient? What impact on learning will result from the overcrowding? Most importantly, is this a short-term solution, or something incoming 1st graders will experience for 5 years? I think the more we accept as parents, the easier it is for the district to not address the core problems.

Lori said...

Well said, Steve.

It's important to note that functional capacity is not a stagnant number. Thus, the 490 for this year reflects the number of classrooms in use, but it will change as rooms get repurposed.

At our old school, the functional capacity was increased by converting a science room to a classroom, then the ELL room, then the resource room, next year the art room, and possibly the music room (which I mention to highlight that it isn't just Lowell capacity that has been mismanaged; I find it hard to believe that the quality of the education can be maintained if kids rarely get to leave their homeroom and have to do art-on-a-cart and the teachers have little opportunity to be in their room to work without the students there as happens now when they go to music, art, PE).

I expect that the functional capacity number for Lowell will increase as the plan rolls out and spaces are repurposed. It may even end up that the building is no longer considered "overcrowded" according to the district's definition, which unfortunately does not appear to consider bathrooms and cafeteria space.

Anonymous said...

It's a good thing we closed all those schools a few years ago because we had excess capacity. It proves once again that every job at SPS central is a waste of taxpayer dollars.

Anonymous said...

Is there a point at which the fire department or some such entity says, "You can't put that many kids in that building."

Anonymous said...

a suggestion for Lowell parents: contact the fire department and see if there is a building fire code that places a cap on occupants in the building as a whole.

Then contact the health department - the bathroom situation should, in the event that the fire code is kosher, be up to code.

Anonymous said...

Aren't fire inspection notices required to be posted in the building (and show maximum occupancies)?

Anonymous said...

I emailed my thoughts on how to solve overcrowding at Lowell to Seattle school board member Kay Smith-Blum:

“Lowell Elementary is 11% over capacity and expected over capacity next year (pg 15 in http://www.seattleschools.org/area/board/10-11agendas/031611agenda/capacitymgmtpresentation.pdf). As student parents, we are very concerned about this problem that will affect the quality of education, as well as wellbeing and safety of our children. The number of APP students has increased steadily in recent years. Short of rebuilding Lowell, the limited school capacity dictates APP and/or ALO program has to be cut. I believe the least disruptive way for current students at Lowell is to stop enrolling new ALO students. This way, current ALO students can continue stay at Lowell until they move up to middle school. Without new ALO students coming in, Lowell would see net reduction of about half a class of students in the next six years (assuming +1/2 APP class & -1 ALO class). This would allow Lowell to gradually return to capacity and (maybe) to gain some breathing room.

Many of us are also open to other solutions, including establishment of a new elementary APP program in north Seattle. For the health of all Lowell school programs, a solution is needed, and the sooner the better!”

Kay has emailed me back the following: (I have asked and gotten her permission to post here)

“I agree that a north site for APP K-5 if not K-8 (Hamilton is sorely taxed as well) is a possible solution. As we move through the capacity work sessions, I will be looking for my colleagues to embrace the idea of managing the APP population in a way that creates the solution to multiple schools’ capacity challenges. Bussing north end APP students south of the ship canal logistically is not something we can afford or should have ever done. As the APP population grows, I believe there will be a need for 3 APP sites (K-5), possibly one building in the north strictly for APP/Spectrum and two buildings – one central and one south- whose cohorts for APP are co-housed with neighborhood programs, creating additional ALO opportunities.”

-John

Anonymous said...

Regardless of how this situation came to be...it's not last in, first out. In the new student assignment plan, APP is the program that can be moved at the will of the district.

Stu said...

I don't understand something . . .forgive me if I'm not seeing something obvious.

Back before the split, they tried to close Lowell 'cause of building condition and overcrowding;
Instead they split the program, partially to deal with overcrowding;
Now the building's still overcrowded but they want to cram more kids in there.

Have I got that right?

Here's the question . . .

The Fire Code Maximum Occupancy for Lowell is 490. That's it, legally . . . 490. One more time: 490!

Forget about class size, forget about "functional capacity," forget about the cramming kids in there . . . how can they LEGALLY have more than the Fire Code allows?

Any lawyer parents? Anyone want to write a simple letter to the Board threatening legal action if they BREAK THE LAW by going over capacity?

stu

Anonymous said...

What's your source of the max. occupancy number?

Corina said...

No need to call the Fire Department. I have spoken with four offices in the SFD as well as the Seattle Department of Planning and Development, and neither has a maximum occupancy number for the Lowell building. The district itself places student capacity at 490, though I do not think it is a legally binding limit. In any case, we will have far more students next year than was the intention for the building.

While the school is working out a way to accommodate all of those students next year, it is a short-term solution, and only structural changes in assignments will solve the long-term capacity problem.

Anonymous said...

There may not be a maximum number for the building, but there should be one for the assembly space - the lunchroom - yes? At one time in recent years, parents were told that they could not attend assemblies because fire code would be exceeded. Was this misinformation?

Anonymous said...

Maybe this is totally out of left field, but could they do something like put 1st and 2nd grade at Sandpoint, even if it is only temporary? Or start a new program at Jane Addams or something and give people the option of opting in for this year (but not requiring anyone to make the leap)?

Anonymous said...

Obvious answers that will certainly help situation immediately.
Do away with the Lowell walk zone and move Queen Anne/Magnolia (south of shipping canal) to TM.

Anonymous said...

I like the idea about getting ride of the walk zone since those kids will go to a different Middle school unless they move North. Anybody know TM APP count for next school year? Is it growing or going the other way?

Anonymous said...

TM APP is getting larger next year, but I don't think they have final numbers yet. They have room and there's great energy in that school now.

Anonymous said...

Why would you bus someone that lives blocks away from the school several miles away? Besides there are very few students in the WZ.

Stu said...

Ahh . . the famous Corina!

Hi there . . I was quoting some, perhaps, misinformation about fire codes. This was posted on the Save Seattle Schools blog:

CrankyParent said...

I contacted the fire marshal about the Lowell legal capacity, and while he was not particularly interested in talking with me about it, he said he had been contacted by someone named Corina (a parent at Lowell) and they had been working with the principal on this. Anyhow, he suggested I contact her, though without her last name I have no idea how I'd do that, or the principal about this if I wanted more information. Just putting this out there


followed by:
CrankyParent said...

Got the fire code occupancy max. for Lowell It is 490, their current enrollment is 581. The woman I spoke to said they are working on what to do and have no idea what will happen with the new classes they are supposed to be adding next year.


I thought it was required by law in Washington State that all public building have fire permits and inspections and that capacity be posted. If this isn't true, fine; if it is true, where is the posting and what is the capacity. And how can the Fire Department not have an official figure for a building that's been around for a thousand years?

Maybe a Freedom of Information request will get someone moving a little bit and take the politics of it all.

stu

Anonymous said...

You would bus someone who lives blocks away to a different school because they chose to enroll in a geographically split program, and one location in severely over enrolled.
APP is not a neighborhood school so walk zone areas should not necessarily apply when overcrowding is an issue. A huge mistake that the district made when they did the split.

Anonymous said...

Once again, APP is a program, not a school. There is no Board vote needed to move/split/reconfigure the program.

I'm saddened by the band-aid solutions others are proposing that suggest some segment of the school population needs to go. Transitions are hard for students and families and I hope the District is able to find a solution that provides stability and minimizes disruptions for families.

Anonymous said...

What about the letter to Kay Smith-Blum to stop accepting ALO kids? What about their right to a neighborhood school? Nobody seems upset that they are being asked to transition again (many have already transitioned a couple of times).

What about current ALO kids with siblings coming up in the program?

Changing the APP boundaries to include Queen Anne/Magnolia and do away with the walk zone is not a "band-aid" solution - it goes a long way towards a permanent solution that can be implemented right away without having to open a new APP location (and once again dilute the APP program by opening a 6th school).

Anonymous said...

From the fire code:

1004.2 Increased occupant load.
The occupant load in any building, or portion thereof, is permitted to be increased from that number established for the occupancies in Table 1004.1.1, provided that all other requirements of the code are also met based on such modified number and the occupancy load does not exceed one occupant per 7 square feet (0.65 m2) of occupiable floor space.

1004.3 Posting of occupant load.
Every room or space that is an assembly occupancy shall have the occupant load of the room or space posted in a conspicuous space, near the main exit or exit access doorway from the room or space.

Anonymous said...

For you people clamoring to remove the Magnolia/QA kids and walk zone kids - how many kids are in that group? I think you should know how many kids this group contains as well as how many kids are in each grade level before you go on about it. As a member of one of these groups, it's not as many kids as people here seem to think. Lowell is going to be over by 200 kids. I would be very surprised if the QA/Mag and walk zone kids were even half of that. You also have to think about how many kids per grade that would remove. If you aren't removing entire classrooms, you aren't solving the problem.

My kids went through the first split and lost friends. I would hope people here would consider that many of these kids have already been disrupted once.

Another issue to consider - from my understanding Washington is even more full than Hamilton. I am not sure the district would want to add additional kids to that school. The district also wants more APP kids to go to Ingraham - another strike against moving kids south.

Anonymous said...

Ripping more APP kids away from their friends, trying to force more APP parents to go to Thurgood Marshall, those are not solutions. That's the same heavy handed and muddled thinking that got us into this mess of a split in the first place.

On a side note, I find it really depressing that the APP split has succeeded in pitting APP parents against each other. Here we are, arguing over scraps.

Anonymous said...

What about the letter to Kay Smith-Blum to stop accepting ALO kids? What about their right to a neighborhood school? Nobody seems upset that they are being asked to transition again (many have already transitioned a couple of times).

First, I wrote the letter. Second, my proposal was to let current ALO kids graduate from Lowell so they are not “being asked to transition again”.

What about current ALO kids with siblings coming up in the program?

One option would be both kids go to neighborhood school?

Changing the APP boundaries to include Queen Anne/Magnolia and do away with the walk zone is not a "band-aid" solution - it goes a long way towards a permanent solution that can be implemented right away without having to open a new APP location (and once again dilute the APP program by opening a 6th school).

Are you suggestion move current Lowell kids out if they live in Queen Anne, Magnolia or the walk zone? That’ll be quite an impact to these families.

I don’t like to split APP program, and that’s why I proposed “graduating out” ALO program at Lowell. But if the choice is either staying in an overcrowding Lowell or moving to a new northern APP school, I’d take the chance and have my kids moved.

-John

Anonymous said...

As a walk zone parent, I can tell you that a lot of walk zone families voluntarily choose TM. So the total number of walk zone kids at Lowell is quite small. To the best of my knowledge, there will be three walk zone kids in the incoming 1st grade APP class at Lowell. Moving 3 kids to TM won't accomplish very much.

And moving the neighborhood school kids out of Lowell is probably not an option in the short term. The closest neighborhood school, Stevens, had its borders changed last year and it is now severely over capacity, just the same as Lowell. Montlake is the next closest, and it is also having capacity issues. The next closest schools after that would have been TT Minor and MLK, but those were both closed in the last couple rounds of school closures. So there aren't a lot of neighborhood options until the TT Minor building becomes available again in a couple years.

Anonymous said...

Wilson Pacific.

It's time for the APP north community to stop fighting with each other, and start identifying viable locations for the ever-expanding APP north cohort.

I nominate Wilson Pacific. It's even big enough for a K-8. Yep, it's ugly. Yep, it needs remodeling, but same store for both Viewlands and Sand Point, and look what buildings are open for business.

In the past, I nominated BF Day (no, "too far west, cross-town traffic is too hard"), McDonald (no, "too many transitions, let's keep things at Lowell"), Viewlands (no, "too far North"). OK, I didn't "nominate" anything, there's no such a process but I just observed these objections reading blogs and talking with other Lowell parents.

It sure would be nice for the APP community to unify and fight for something viable, before someone else gets it. For example, SPS will certainly have to do something with the Wilson Pacific location before long, it would be nice if APP had something to do with that transition. While the buildings are total dumps, the location couldn't be more central, and it includes a huge plot of land (90th St. N, b/n I-5 and Aurora)

So if Wilson Pacific were a viable option, what would be the next steps for getting it? Is there anything else out there that would work?

Anonymous said...

This statement from Kay "....I believe there will be a need for 3 APP sites (K-5), possibly one building in the north strictly for APP/Spectrum and two buildings – one central and one south- whose cohorts for APP are co-housed with neighborhood programs, creating additional ALO opportunities.” is interesting. It sounds like there might be 3 schools (South, Central, North). I would assume QA, Mag, and Capital Hill will stay at Lowell. So another split coming?

Anonymous said...

deja vu all over again.

Stu said...

So another split coming?

I'm sure they would love to split it again. APP is the root of all evil, if you look at the way the community has been treated over the past few years.

An incredibly successful program is split into two factions, that now compete for resources, the middle school is split into two factions, which have different levels of offerings (music/language) and will end up competing for resources, the high school is "voluntarily" split to help take care of some of the PLANNED overcrowding at the only APP high school, and THEN just to give a little kick to the kids who didn't choose to leave, you cancel their advanced math classes.

Let's see have I missed anything? Oh yeah, after you woo some kids to another school, you fire the guy who wooed them. (Although you do rehire him with a nasty, non-supportive, "we did everything right and you suck" letter.

APP has been the whipping post for years; the district used to lose a battle or two (Lowell's till open, isn't it) when we were a unified bunch but that managed to split us up so that we couldn't argue as a group.

Three schools by next year . . . four schools two years later . . .and then "hey, look, it's just like an ALO so we'll get rid of the program" will happen. Splitting the program again dilutes the resources again and, with each split, we lose our collective voice.

stu

Anonymous said...

deja vu all over again.

Anonymous said...

The first step to fixing a problem is understanding what caused it. What caused this problem is that TT Minor never should have been closed and that Lowell never had the space to take ALO students in addition to APP and Special Ed. Many of us said this at the time.

Now that we're stuck with this mess, if we are looking for places nearby that can hold more students in the short-term, what about Gatzert? They are only at 78% of functional capacity and could take 100 students.

The long-term solution has to be to open an APP elementary for the north that is actually in the north. It never made any sense to have Lowell be the school for the north when it is not in the north. We should have Lowell for central, TM for south, and a new APP elementary in the north.

Another great solution would be to open a big new school for grades 1-8 or 1-12 APP somewhere in Seattle with an all-city draw, but that seems unlikely as much as we might wish for that.

Anonymous said...

It's time for the APP north community to stop fighting with each other, and start identifying viable locations for the ever-expanding APP north cohort.

100% agree!

I nominate Wilson Pacific. It's even big enough for a K-8. Yep, it's ugly. Yep, it needs remodeling, but same store for both Viewlands and Sand Point, and look what buildings are open for business.

In the past, I nominated BF Day (no, "too far west, cross-town traffic is too hard"), McDonald (no, "too many transitions, let's keep things at Lowell"), Viewlands (no, "too far North"). OK, I didn't "nominate" anything, there's no such a process but I just observed these objections reading blogs and talking with other Lowell parents.

It sure would be nice for the APP community to unify and fight for something viable, before someone else gets it. For example, SPS will certainly have to do something with the Wilson Pacific location before long, it would be nice if APP had something to do with that transition. While the buildings are total dumps, the location couldn't be more central, and it includes a huge plot of land (90th St. N, b/n I-5 and Aurora)


That’s a nice idea! Its central location is definitely a big plus.

So if Wilson Pacific were a viable option, what would be the next steps for getting it? Is there anything else out there that would work?

I think the best way is to get APP AC involved and championing the proposal. You can email Stephanie at stbower@comcast.net.

-John

Stu said...

Wilson would be great . . isn't that what Dick Lilly proposed about 8 years ago?

Trouble is, I don't believe they'll ever offer an all-APP school 'cause the APP test scores are too important to have concentrated in one location. Building scores go up when APP kids are in the building; increased test scores mean the district/administration can point to all the improvements.

stu

Anonymous said...

Madrona K-8 and Bailey Gatzert are not too far from Lowell, and they are both underenrolled. In theory you could re-draw boundaries to shift at least some of the current Lowell attendance area to Bailey Gatzert (and some of Stevens area could be shifted to Madrona K-8). But when Kay Smith Blum proposed redrawing the Stevens/Madrona boundary a few months ago, the families in the affected area launched a swift, strong and successful campaign against it. Their main argument was that it would have been the third school for that neighborhood in three years. A Lowell boundary change would also be the third school in three years for the affected families. The other unspoken issue is that Madrona and Bailey Gatzert are some of the worst-performing schools in the city, and middle-class parents don't want their kids to go there. So re-drawing boundaries would be a fight.

Could Special Ed be moved from Lowell to Madrona or Bailey Gatzert? Moving Special Ed would not raise the same issues that moving the neighborhood kids would raise.

Anonymous said...

Why do you think moving the special Ed kids wouldn't be an issue? Lowell was built for special ed -- they move LAST.

Anonymous said...

Yeah spec ed was why the split wasn't two even more southern schools.

Anonymous said...

Please folks - think before you suggest that one group or another should move. We're all part of the Lowell community and we're all at the mercy of the district.

Anonymous said...

First, I should state, we are not currently at Lowell. Although, it is a consideration for my 1st grader (transfering in at 3rd grade). While I can understand the upset of those who are currently there, I see it differently as a future parent. We are in the NE cluster. Our neighborhood school is seeing overcrowding issues that are taking away things that help make it a great school (art room, music room...). The other neighborhood schools in the area are seeing this too. WHY would we not open a northend k-8 school for spectrum/app? Close the app program at Lowell (I know, sorry), move those others who are somewhere in the middle to TM OR the new school and see ALL schools in the north drop some numbers as I am sure many who are identified as advanced in an ALO or neighborhood school may be interested in doing. Where is Jane Adams on their enrollment? Jane Adams is a school that is already opened, k-8, and spectrum. Do they have the room?? As a future APP parent, I don't really see a problem with that.

Anonymous said...

Also, JA has before/after school care program which looks interesting- Spanish immersion.

nowalk said...

A firm boundry for APP that makes sense is to use the ship canal, kids north go to Lowell and kids south go to Thurgood Marshall. It would be a move for those who opted into the walk zone accomodation, or even for those outside the walk zone who asked for special enrollment consideration, but many feel these execptions to the automatic north/south APP split should never have been allowed in the first place as it was predictable that Lowell would end up over crowded.

Anonymous said...

Nowalk, it probably is more accurate to say that many feel that the north/south APP split should never have put the north school south of the shipping canal and then a gen-ed population added to Lowell. That boneheaded move really is the core of all our current problems, all of which were predicted and loudly warned about by parents. If Lowell had been the south/central APP school (while keeping special education) and a new APP elementary school had been opened up north, as most parents recommended if we had to have an APP split, none of these problems would be happening.

As for your proposed solution, Thurgood Marshall is full. How are you going to put a lot more APP kids in that building? And do you know of a school in the north that could take 600 APP kids if Lowell APP was closed?

At this point in this mess of an APP split, a much more likely solution is to open a new APP school in the north that takes a couple hundred APP kids. Then, you would have three APP elementary programs, one south, one central, and one north. That is not my preferred solution, but I think it is the most likely one now that we are where we are at.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, pushing for 3 elementary locations will further dilute the program. The district would most likely use that as an excuse to disperse everyone to their neighborhood school as the cohort gets smaller and smaller.
We cannot afford to advocate for that in this district climate of cut where they may.
TM is full? Where do get those numbers? I haven't heard that at all, so just wondering why you say that.
We have two working locations - one is too full and they have the ability to move the split boundaries and still keep the two locations - why wouldn't we advocate for that?
I understand that it will be disruptive for some kids again, but at some point we need to make a decision to do what is best for the program.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, well, at this point, I think we're screwed. APP is going to get diluted whether we like it or not. The point to stop dilution was at the first APP split. It is now too late to stop dilution.

As for Thurgood Marshall numbers, enrollment is 426 at Thurgood Marshall and functional capacity apparently was just increased from 366 to 455, so I doubt it can be increased much more. Sounds pretty full to me. No chunk of APP students are going to fit there, especially given that the enrollment is expected to grow everywhere over the next few years by an average of 15%.

I know, I think we all wish we could find a massive school in the central or north that would hold 1-5 or 1-8 all-city APP, but that's not going to happen now that the splitting has started. That's a dream we all had pre-split that is gone now.

What is most likely to happen is we find a bit of room for 200-300 or so APP students in the north somewhere, then have three elementary APP programs, one north, one central, and one south. There aren't many other solutions available now that we are where we are at.

Anonymous said...

awesome - the district has us just where they want us.

Stu said...

There aren't many other solutions available now that we are where we are at.

Don't kid yourself, there are lots of options. What's missing is an desire on the part of the district to even acknowledge that there's a problem. Lowell overcrowded? Let's shove more kids in there . . . there, done!

I wrote before, and honestly believe, that it's the goal of the district to eliminate APP altogether in favor of an in school, or in "cluster", ALO plan. Split the program, split it again, get volunteers to split themselves, et voila! "Look, you don't need a cohort!"

Jane Addams has a lot of space for a true North End APP; use Lincoln; fix Wilson and bring it back online as a true APP 1-8 . . . there are solutions, just no one who wants to do it.

stu

Anonymous said...

Jane Addams has a ton of space. And, the fact that it is already open and running a k-8 is a no brainer. The district would save a lot of money in transportation alone. Trying to argue for opening a new facility would be a longshot.

Jane Addams has a projected enrollment of 310 for the 2011-2012. According to the Annual Report dated Jan 2011, they were "severely undercapacity". The north can not afford to lose a k-8, but the distrct can't expect to maintain a building this size without adding something. THUS, APP.

I speculate this is the direction they were heading when they did the split in the first place. Because, now, it just "makes sense" to move to this side of the ship canal. And, yes, it is a reasonable longterm solution and not a bandaid.

Anonymous said...

Stu, the problem is that, at this point, the district is relying on APP kids to boost the average test scores in several buildings. If they moved APP 1-8 into one building, then test scores would drop badly at a bunch of schools, and everyone would be able to see how the district has failed the struggling kids in those schools.

The district staff would never allow a 1-8 APP in one school now. Those high test scores are too tempting to use.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the Jane Addams building has a "Planning Capacity" of 835 students. http://www.seattleschools.org/area/spsplan/schools/JAddams.pdf

Anonymous said...

How much space does Jane Addams have though? It's functional capacity is 450, so, if it is currently enrolled at 310, that means it could only take 100 or so APP students. That's not enough for a viable APP north end elementary, is it? You really need a place that can take 200-300, don't you?

Anonymous said...

Oh, then that might work, yes. I wonder why the functional capacity is so much lower than the planning capacity?

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure. But, it looks like Summit had 754 students in the JA building in 2005.

Anonymous said...

Beware!
Two years ago the vast majority of APP parents voted strongly not to have TWO APP location, for a lot of good reasons.
Now folks from APP are going to suggest THREE LOCATIONS?
Are you nuts?
Think about it, that invites APP at Rainier Beach next year.
Time to think about keeping it together and not continuing to split it apart.
Luckily we don't have to find the new building and even if we do the distict will say no on principle.
ONE location for each grade level has always been the ideal.
TWO locations has caused a ton of problems.
THREE locations equals no more tangable program at all.
Next our kids will be retested each year and seats will be limited.
Be careful what you ask for.
It isn't a north thing or a south thing but an APP thing.
TWO locations per grade level is already TWO many.
Don't get sucked in!

Anonymous said...

Okay, you want to reunify APP. We all want that. Everyone agrees the split was widely opposed, poorly thought out, and badly damaging for APP. I think we all would love to reverse it.

But how are you going to do it? Where is a building that can hold the nearly 1000 kids in 1-5 APP or the nearly 1500 kids in 1-8 APP? And how would you convince the district to let APP have that building?

nowalk said...

Clearly we now have two locations and nobody has suggested reunification, so don't cloud the issue. A third APP elementary location only benefits a handful of families that refused to accept the north/south split. It is nice to be able to walk to school, and it would have been better to locate all northend serving APP schools in the northend. Further spliting is a problem for the rest of APP, but admittedly would be a great benefit to the walkzone kids.

Anonymous said...

If you are proposing two APP elementary schools, which two?

If Thurgood Marshall and a new north-end, Thurgood Marshall is full, so you need a new north-end elementary that can take 700 students. Where is that? It isn't Jane Addams. And what happens to a now nearly empty Lowell and special ed at Lowell?

If Lowell and a new north-end, now you need to find a place that can take 500 students (250 from Lowell, 250 from Thurgood Marshall). Where is that? It isn't Jane Addams. And what happens to Thurgood Marshall now that it is under capacity?

If Lowell and Thurgood Marshall, you have to kick out general ed at Lowell and reduce general ed at Thurgood Marshall. Where will those kids go? And, even if you could do this, you still don't have a north-end APP in the north-end.

But, if three schools, you only have to find space for 200-300 kids in a new north-end school. That is easier. And it gets the north a school that is actually in the north, which should have happened in the last APP split.

Let me be clear. I don't like having three APP elementary schools either. But I don't see any choice now that we are where we are at. If you don't want three elementary APP schools, what is your solution?

Anonymous said...

Why not Jane Addams? Closing APP at Lowell?

It seems the Jane Addams building was originally constructed with a capacity of 1,250 and at one point in history held 2,250 students. (I'm not suggesting it goes near that!) http://www.seattleschools.org/schools/janeaddams/history.html

But, as of last year, Jane Addams had 356 students.
http://reportcard.ospi.k12.wa.us/summary.aspx?groupLevel=District&schoolId=7623&reportLevel=School&orgLinkId=7623&yrs=&year=2009-10

I suppose I would just rather see the kids in a place that could facility their needs than fight to stay at a building that can't.

Meg said...

Anon - maybe north end APP will eventually need to be able to fit 700 students, but it's not there yet.

Lowell is overcrowded (in part) because it has 3 self-contained programs, 2 of which are guaranteed entry. Thurgood Marshall has been lucky enough to have a fairly small reference area for the school, but Lowell's reference area is much, much too big.

If north end APP stays at Lowell, well before I considered further splitting the program, I would draw smaller boundaries. I wouldn't do it for the sake of the APP program - I would do it for the whole school. 700 kids in a school that was considered overcrowded at 528 is untenable. What I struggle with is that the trickle-down from this would be to push more kids towards Gatzert, Leschi and Madrona (because you're not going to be able to cram a whole lot more kids into Stevens, Montlake and McGilvra), schools which may be starting to get their footing but have had their share of problems.

McDonald might be able to accomodate north end APP. The Jane Addams building had a planning capacity (a calc used before the deeply questionable functional capacity calculation started being used) was 850. A huge portion of the district's rationale for closing Summit was that there's a space crunch and they weren't filling the building.

The building location is not central north end. But it is large, and JA is an option program. Enrollment is currently at 448, and projected to be 481. It could work. A number of issues would need to be looked at (physical number of classrooms and the like).

Another, probably less viable possibility - also not central north end, would be Viewlands. It had a planning capacity of 390, which likely means that it couldn't hold general ed and APP, and at this point, I think the district is going to balk at letting any APP program (especially north end APP) have their own building, so unless a building can fit APP and another program, it'll would be DOA as a proposal.

I think that further splitting the program at the elementary level in the north end could be a consideration. I have a whole lotta concerns, though, that an additional elementary split would lead to more splits at the middle school level, and the first split has already caused math options (well, in-school math options) to be closed off to kids.

Stu said...

If you don't want three elementary APP schools, what is your solution?

"In 1971, Lincoln became a four-year high school with an enrollment of 1,750."
-

Lincoln School

"Situated on nearly 17 acres, Wilson has one of the largest school sites in the district. Enrollment peaked at 1,347 in 1959–60." -
Wilson School

Both might need some work, and Wilson's farther north than desired, but both could take the entire APP elementary program. Lincoln has been used as a substitute school in recent years, so we know it can open right away if necessary, and is pretty accessible from around the city.

Unfortunately, I do believe that, in the long run, the district doesn't want APP and, in the short run, wants to use the APP kids to bolster building scores. They would much rather split the program and jam some more kids into a neighborhood school than reunited the cohort.

stu

Anonymous said...

The most important thing to advocate for is to stay together, that hasn't changed.

North APP elementary needs to stay together, as does south APP elementary. Thankfully it is not the job of citizens to find a new location.

2 APP elementary and 2 APP middle schools has nearly been the death of APP already. The loss of APP math options in middle, and now in high school, is evidence.

Each subsequent splinter would set us up for further loss of ground. Don't take the bait on further splitting for any reason.

dj said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dj said...

Parents at Lowell who might want to push the boundaries such that general-education students will be pushed into Gatzert and Madrona need to think about two things. One, many of the general education students who were assigned into Lowell previously were assigned to T.T. Minor or Stevens; this would be their second boundary shift in a few years, which is bound to upset parents (particularly ones who might be in the position of having siblings split up). Second, those schools have room right now because parents avoid them, not because there actually are too few kids in their assignment areas. If you want to move the boundaries, consider advocating for programs at those school that would be likely to attract students (a second TOPS site, language immersion, etc.) I would think parents would be a lot less upset about being redrawn if their families weren't being booted from a school that is overcrowded because people want to go there and sent to schools that have room because people consider them undesirable.

sp. said...

I agree that we should not advocate for a further split. Despite the growth in APP enrollment, there are signs that the program has been diluted and that academic offerings at each site are not equal.

How about:

1. Take all of APP out of Lowell and move it north to a space where there is room to grow, because I'm pretty sure a north-end location would attract more families that have been hesitant to send their kids as far away as Lowell.

2. Absolutely keep SPED at Lowell. The building and playground is designed for them. It was their school before anyone else's.

3. Let gen ed/ALO grow at Lowell. Maybe develop a Spectrum program. Attract kids from the Stevens and Montlake overflow, as well as the TT Minor area kids (until the district comes to its senses and reopens TTM for SPS kids). It may be small at first, but I think it will grow, especially since the district has yet to figure out how to make Madrona a strong, desirable school.

4. Rather than overcrowd Thurgood, which sounds pretty full already, leave boundaries as they are, with the exception of the Lowell walk zone -- those few kids could go to Marshall.

I think we need to impress upon the district that a solution has to be reached soon.

700 kids at Lowell is not physically safe nor academically sound.

Lowell houses some of the district's most medically fragile children. There are a number of kids in the Special Ed Program and preschool who need physical assistance to evacuate the building. (There are about 60 kids in those two programs.)

Right now it takes about 4 minutes to evacuate all of Lowell's 582 kids from the building in an emergency. One hundred more kids next year will add a minute or two to that time. Note: this only accounts for the time it takes to get them outside of the building. It does not include the time it takes to congregate them safely away from the building. That takes longer.

Something to think about.

--Sue p.

Anonymous said...

Okay, so you are saying to close Lowell APP, then move to a north-end school where there is room to grow. Where is that?

The only place big enough would be Lincoln, right? But, if you are going to use as big a school as Lincoln, why not close Thurgood Marshall APP too and unify 1-5 APP at Lincoln?

Anonymous said...

The school was supposed to get a fire sprinkler upgrade. The district now plans on reconfiguring classrooms, which is a one-year fix (bid is for $100,000 in changes). I'm not sure about the status of the fire sprinkler upgrade.

BL said...

Regarding Lincoln, not only has it been used recently, it is being used right now as the temporary site for Queen Anne Elementary and McDonald. Next year, only McDonald will be there.

Anonymous said...

Our task is to be unified about staying together to maintain the cohort and ongoing breadth of APP offerings. Not to scout facilities.

It is often said about APP that "the cohort is the program." The fact that our children are together with a sizable group of others they can relate to, is sometimes taken for granted.

There is strength in numbers. We are not well liked by other factions and by some administrations. The smaller the populations per location, the easier it is to reduce classes critical to APPs survival.

Look to Garfield as an example. With 60 fewer APP kids there next year, it is now easier to cut a few math offerings or sections that really only serve APP.

When your kid is in 1st grade it might seem remote to protect their access to advanced Calculus for 12th grade, but now is the time to plan for that. This is why no more splits should be encouraged.

In elementary grades the impact is more likely to be in how many more mixed, grade level classes are needed. In middle school scheduling is dramatically affected with smaller groups.

Refuse to be further split and lose anymore than we already have.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I would be shocked if APP did NOT get moved to Jane Addams.

Addams has the size/capacity to handle the transition(160,798 square feet)and sits on 20 acres. More importantly, it is already OPEN.

Currently, Addams is not really viewed as a 'desirable' option school in the overcrowded NE cluster. However, it was opened to deal with the capacity issues in the NE. The hope is that it would pull kids from the surrounding schools to relieve those issues. How do you make it desirable? Raise scores. Who has high scores? APP.

Politically and financially it makes sense (and let’s face it, that is what it is about).

While the location is not central the accessibility is pretty easy from most locations (via Lakecity Way, 35th, Sandpoint, Northgate, 125th...)

Anonymous said...

There are going to be FIVE classrooms of 6th grade APP at Hamilton next year. If that is any indication of cohort size, I don't think there are any buildings that would hold the 15-25 classrooms that a north end APP location would likely need.

I would not be surprised at all to find that that some or all of Lowell APP is moved to Madronna, rather than Jane Addams.

Anonymous said...

So, if there are currently 15 sections or approximately 3 classes at each grade level at Lowell, how are you arriving at the 25 classes figure? Pretty agressive to add in 250-300 students in your estimate. There are only so many children in Seattle who will test into the top 2-percentile after all. And don't forget that some years are way larger than others, that goes for current 5-th graders and current 8-th graders if I remember correcly.

sp. said...

That would be historically ironic. That's where APP was before it was moved to Lowell by Supt. John Stanford.

Madrona would also be geographically illogical, because that would put the "north-end" elementary APP location even further south, and even closer to Thurgood.

Unless you mean one, reunified elementary APP at Madrona. Is there room?

Anonymous said...

Maybe APP has grown beyond the point where it makes sense to have a single APP elementary school. Even if there were an available building that were big enough, a lot of parents don't want their young kids going to a huge school. And it seems like there are enough kids to support two large and vibrant APP locations, especially if the locations made geographic sense (which would presumably attract more families). The south location could be Lowell or TM. (And TT Minor becomes available again in 2015 or 2016.) Not sure about the north location. I do know the district's materials say they expect the underenrollment at Jane Addams to be short-term, so I don't think they view that space as available.

In the short term, assuming there are 700 kids at Lowell next year, what is the principal's plan to accomodate them?

dj said...

Madrona K-8 has about 150 middle school students, to my understanding, of about 450 current students. Washington is crowded, so I don't think you could reunite APP at Madrona and have a place for the middle-school students there without essentially pushing the Lowell problem onto Washington.

Anonymous said...

There is currently a bid out for interior modifications to Lowell to add/remove walls and doors.

Modifications include:
-walling off the existing open art space into two enclosed rooms
-taking down a partition between Rms 212/213 (to combine into one room)
-changes to Rm 209

And probably no more all-school assemblies.

Anonymous said...

Here's a link to Lowell modification specs:

https://www.yousendit.com/transfer.php?action=batch_download&batch_id=dkJwckhSbEE1aVpjR0E9PQ

Meg said...

I should have been clear: I don't think APP should split again. I think there are a whole lot of reasons, but chief amongst them is reduction in learning opportunities at the middle and high school levels, particularly in math. I don't think that a reduction in rigorous learning opportunities benefits any students - APP or not.

Anonymous said...

Here is the link to current APP enrollment - not broken down by area in any way.

http://district.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Departmental%20Content/enrollment%20planning/section%209_%20APP.pdf?sessionid=8bfd451bc2703055650fa027ad90c254

There does seem to be a huge middle school school enrollment jump.

If enrollment is reporting 148 current APP 5th graders or about 5 classes and there is going to be about 10 APP 6th grade classes - 5 at Washington and 5 at Hamilton. That does seem to imply that lots of North end families are choosing to wait to enroll their APP qualified student until they can be closer.

If you work back from the 5 - 6th grade classes, I think one can reasonably guess that a north end location would attract something like the following as a minimum.

1 - first grade
2 - second grade
3 - third grade
4 - fourth grade
5 - fifth grade classes

That looks like at least 15 classrooms would be needed for a true north end location.

Anonymous said...

John Marshall? On Ravenna Boulevard just off the I-5 freeway, probably the most accessible North end APP location for many. Recently leased, but a great school location for APP students!

Apparent

Anonymous said...

John Marshall was originally a middle school. It is a terrible location for elementary students as there is no playground and there is no room to add one.

It could be a middle school again with a lot of money as the building is in terrible shape. There are no fields so any athletics would need to be at Greenlake but it shouldn't be too hard to work that out with Parks. I have friends that went to John Marshall middle school back in the day and the field issue didn't seem to be a big deal then.

Wilson Pacific does have great fields but it is in equally terrible shape and would be quite expensive to make it a modern school.

- cynical

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of unifying 1-8 APP at Lincoln and closing APP at Lowell, TM, Hamilton, and Washington. It fixes all the overcrowding problems at APP all at once and gives room to grow. But the district staff is going to hate it because it creates a lot of problems and work for them.

What about trying to fix a bunch of problems for the district at the same time as creating a 1-8 APP at Lincoln?

Here's an idea. What if we had APP 1-8 at Lincoln as the main APP option (closing Lowell and Hamilton APP), but then had satellite APP programs at Thurgood Marshall and Washington, designed to improve access to the APP in the south? It would be similar to the situation at the high school level where we have the main APP at Garfield, but a satellite and optional program at Ingraham.

The advantage of this is that it solves a bunch of problems for the district. It eliminates overcrowding at Hamilton and Lowell and reduces the overcrowding at Washington. It provides good and easy access to advanced education in south Seattle. It provides a lot of badly needed new capacity for general education at the now empty Lowell (replacing the capacity lost when TT Minor was closed). And it provides a long-term fix to APP overcrowding at the elementary and middle school levels without further splits to the program.

A big objection from the district likely would be that average test scores would drop at Lowell, Hamilton, and Washington due to concentrating APP students at Lincoln, but, if that is their objection, at least it makes that goal clear and we can have an open discussion about whether it is reasonable to use APP in that way.

Anonymous said...

Let me add one more thing. The idea is that Lincoln would be the main option for APP for grades 1-8, but that parents could choose to go to Thurgood Marshall for APP 1-5 and to Washington for APP 6-8. That would be attractive to people who live nearby or have better transportation options to those schools (and the district could make it more attractive by providing transportation options to TM and Washington).

That would be similar to the situation at the high school level, where Ingraham is an attractive option for APP for those who live nearby or have better transportation options to that school.

So, any APP parent could choose between sending their child to Lincoln or the satellite APP programs at TM/Washington, then later could choose between sending their child to Garfield or the satellite APP program at Ingraham.

Anonymous said...

For the K8 idea

I think reunification is a dream. It is just not a priority for the district and the cohort sizes at each school seem to work.

I think middle schoolers need a comprehensive middle school and all the extra offerings that size generates. I don't think an APP K8 can actually generate the diverse offerings needed for advanced students and I would suspect that would push families to have a tough choice to stay in that K8 environment.

K8s look great when your kids are younger but when they are older you being to really focus on college readiness and high school options and the comprehensive middle schools are great for getting students ready for high school.

I really don't like the sense of isolation that one all city, all APP K8 would create. It would just give too much credence to the elitist argument and I honestly don't know how many south end families would really choose this option.

It certainly seems that parents are voting with their feet and since more folks are enrolling in the split program, that will be enough for the district to declare the split a big win.

Anonymous said...

SPS has a vested interest in keeping APP in mixed population schools, so isolation won't work for SPS, or ultimately serve APP students well.

As a community, APP will do best in as few locations as possible, given that there are already two locations that serve north and south, the cohorts, offerings and resources should be as equal as possible in locations for the same grade level.

Also, SPS has not historically taken APP recommendations on facilities. In fact, in the past they have dismissed some very good solutions simply because it is not politically popular for SPS to act on APP driven ideas.

Anonymous said...

Here is a solution to the overcrowding--stop allowing parents to buy their way into APP by having their kids privately tested. I am new to Seattle, but my observation so far is that the school system needs to change their standards and rethink who their "gifted" program is targeting. If there are this many kids testing in (privately or not), then why not have a program at every school? I don't get it.

Anonymous said...

a "program" at every school is not a Program at all...

if you don't have a qualifying child it can be difficult to understand the need for APP

Anonymous said...

Spectrum and ALO were supposed to be the "program" at every school or region - the increase in demand for APP is one indication that those "programs" are not fully serving students.

Anonymous said...

Here we go again. Yes, Seattle is just full of licensed psychologists who will fudge cognitive test results for a few hundred bucks. We also have many parents who want to put their children into programs for which they don't truly qualify and that might be too difficult for them to handle. We love to see our kids struggle. New to Seattle, you've caught on to us.

hschinske said...

Here is a solution to the overcrowding--stop allowing parents to buy their way into APP by having their kids privately tested.

As I posted two years ago, "That is a very tired old canard, and I'm sick of having to post about it. The psychologists damned well do sometimes get test results lower than those needed for Spectrum or APP. You don't hear about it because no one wants to say their kid didn't test gifted. There are a *lot* of well-off families who've ended up sending their kids to private schools precisely because their kids didn't test in to Spectrum or APP. There are also a lot of families who have privately-tested kids in different programs."

"If you have any evidence that a psychologist is taking bribes, report them to their professional organization. It's a clear violation of their professional guidelines: they should lose their licenses over it."

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

At the same time, I think that there is some truth to New To Seattle's remark. The NE cluster is overrepresented in APP because people can afford outside testing and have enough education to see the benefit of the program and to research what needs to be done in order to enter the program. There is a good reason that people use outside testing: there's no guarantee for a Spectrum seat and the quality of the Spectrum programs are variable.

--Old to Seattle

Anonymous said...

I'm with Helen, attack the problem, you perceive, at the root rather than beat up those who require special ed in the form of APP. Many of these students are not really that easy to manage, but they do have some similar characteristics and needs.

Shame on any parent or professional who bends the rules, that is a serious disservice for those kids and can cause whole classes to have to move more slowly than they would with a classroom full of well identified students, but that doesn't change the facts that the vast bulk of APP identified students really have no other alternative.

New-to-Seattle you have a lot to learn yet as is evidenced by this statement:

"the school system needs to change their standards and rethink who their "gifted" program is targeting."

It is not some sort of marketing ploy, it is about meeting student needs. No one would deny that a group who doesn't speak English or who can't speak at all represent special needs, how about a whole room full of students with genius level IQs?

signed,
I'm-with-Helen

dj said...

Old to Seattle, income and education levels of parents correlate pretty strongly with test scores, so if the children in an affluent, high-education neighborhood are overrepresented among children with high test scores, that seems a more likely explanation than the more circuitous one you provide.

I hear about the private testing APP kids all the time, fifth-hand and anecdotally, but l have never seen data that suggest this is a major phenomenon.

hschinske said...

Another subject I've posted about many times. You don't even have to have tests that outright favor privileged kids. You just have to have *inconsistent* tests, and the privileged families will put more time and effort into making sure their kids are tested again, or tested on a more reliable test, or whatever. The system itself isn't specifically doing privileged kids many favors; it's just that their families are the ones who are most able to adapt to it and grab what they need. Quite a lot like the lousy math curriculum, really. A better, fairer, less byzantine system would serve everyone better. It's not zero-sum.

Helen Schinske

Greg Linden said...

The Lowell PTA just sent out an e-mail about Lowell overcrowding. A copy is below.

---------------

Dear Lowell Families and Staff:
Last Tuesday (5/31), a few members of the Lowell PTA board met with Robert Vaughn (APP Director), Marni Campbell (Special Ed. Director) and Tracy Libros (Enrollment Manager) to discuss the capacity issues at Lowell.

The PTA members spoke with them about the following:

1. All three programs at Lowell cannot continue together at the current location with the growth next year and potential future growth in following years.

2. Not any one program at Lowell should be split, as we don’t want to further dilute the strength of our programs.

3. The neighborhood students and Special Needs program take priority over APP at the current location.

4. Any change proposed by the district should be a long-term solution, not a “band-aid” approach.

The goal is to be proactive and get ahead of any district decision, to also be a part of the decision process and to communicate timely and factual data to our school community.

Currently the district is finalizing their capacity data analysis and is not in the position at this time to discuss any options and transition possibilities for Lowell. The PTA board plans to have a representative at upcoming capacity management workshops and will work with the district to collect your valuable feedback through a parent survey.

We expect the district to issue their capacity realignment proposal in late fall, followed by a period of community engagement before finalizing any plans.

As most parents are aware, Lowell is just one of the many capacity issues plaguing the district at this time. To avoid unnecessary stress, rumor mill mayhem and duplication of efforts, we ask that you please direct your concerns and questions to the PTA so that we can act as a collective voice for all of the students at Lowell. Please feel free to email any member of the PTA board — you can find their names/addresses here: http://lowelles.seattleschools.org/modules/cms/pages.phtml?pageid=212970. Also, ‘capacity management’ will be an agenda item for the next Lowell PTA board meeting, Tuesday June 14th at 1:30 pm, and all are welcome to attend this meeting.

Thank you for your support.
Lowell PALS PTA Board

Anonymous said...

Sounds to me Lowell PTA is saying Lowell APP needs to move out.

Joyce said...

Not sure I understand the comment" Neighborhood and special needs students take priority over APP students" - why is that? How can the PTA have assessed that sentiment represents the majority opinion of the Lowell parent group? Lowell has only been a neighborhood school for 1 year..I think (or 2?) - I think just since the NSAP last Fall, correct? So why does its role as a neighborhood school take priority over its role housing the APP program? I really dont understand this line of thinking. And is this coming from the current PTA or next year's PTA? Greg, since this topic is getting so long, can we move it to another thread so pple realize its still active? THank You for hosting this blog, its really an excellent forum!

sp. said...

I don't understand that comment either. I wonder how and when that was determined.

I think the only program that should not be considered for relocation is Special Ed.

Btw, I testified before the school board about all this on Wednesday.

--Sue p.

Anonymous said...

I think it has something to do with NSAP language: APP is a program that can be moved without Board action, while ALO is the neighborhood school, that can't be moved/changed without Board action. It's about district designations, not time in the building.

Anonymous said...

also the Lowell building is a level entry from the steet (no steps) which is why so much money was spent on setting it up specifically for Special Ed prior to the APP program being there

hschinske said...

The special ed program has been there since at least the 1960s (when my siblings and I attended school there -- we lived a few blocks away).

Helen Schinske

SkritchD said...

The comment" Neighborhood and special needs students take priority over APP students" makes perfect sense to me. I was not happy about the APP split and not happy how things have gone on at Lowell since then, but with such a large # of students expected at Lowell next school year and on, I don't see how it makes sense to keep APP, Special Ed, and ALO all in that building. Special Ed has the most profound needs, so keeping that program stable makes sense. As for ALO, yes, they are neighborhood so why would you move them and move them again after they just came from TT Minor 2 years ago. That is ridiculous. As for APP, the vast majority come from north of Lake Union, so moving APP to a more centrally located building for that population makes by far the most sense. Why do you think it is fair for the neighborhood kids to be shuttled to a new school after closing their school and moving them just 2 years ago?