Thursday, March 29, 2012

BEX IV and APP

Let's do a new thread to discuss the BEX IV levy draft (see [1] [2]) and how it impacts APP. The BEX IV levy contains most of the district's new funding for construction, will be used to deal with overcapacity, and almost certainly will have a big impact on APP, especially where APP is overcrowded or does not have a permanent home.

Let's start the discussion with this excerpt of a comment from Charlie Mas:
The greatest failures in this BEX IV plan is how it treats the nomads .... There is no clear home for north-end elementary APP. None at all, they totally forgot about it. That's because the enrollment planning people only think about geographic communities and never think about non-geographic communities. The capacity for these students is distributed across their attendance area schools. It's an epic fail.

There are three likely explanations:

1) They forgot all about APP. Oops.

2) They presume the dissolution of APP.

3) They think that north-end elementary APP will split and go into spaces available at newly expanded or newly built elementary schools at Magnolia, Bagley, Thornton Creek, North Beach, or John Rogers.

None of these are good for north-end elementary APP.

It certainly appears that they don't want the program to go to John Marshall, and it certainly appears that they don't want it to stay at Lincoln.
Update: Melissa Westbrook summarizes a recent BEX IV meeting and, on APP specifically, writes:
Any decision on APP elementary north? No, but the AL committee is working on it (and indeed we are). As well, we are aware there are capacity issues for Hamilton/Washington's APP 6-8.

95 comments:

Anonymous said...

I want the north APP students and teachers to stay together. I do not want the program split up and made to share space with other programs where it will get inched out yet again. I would like to see an APP 1-8, in a building of it's own.

More than that, I would like to see evidence from the SSD that our kids are and their special needs are important and taken seriously. Why not show that you actually VALUE the strengths of kids who are in APP? Would it be too much to ask to admit that being bright is a good thing and work to support that, instead of working to make sure that everyone can pass the test???

I am very upset that every other program seems to be given consideration in planning...never APP. It's hard to find even the smallest mention of APP in ANY planning document. These kids have needs that require, REQUIRE, a different learning experience. There is research to prove this. The district totally ignores this research and actually does the opposite. However, it is happy to provide a zillion language immersion programs - huh??

My bright kid has as much right to a public education as any other kid. I pay taxes and work hard to support my school in any way I can. My kid deserves an education. Please, SSD, find a permanent home for APP. Please show the city that you value the APP community.

Jane

Anonymous said...

Advanced Learning needs a true leader at SPS. A real leader would make all the difference.

Tanya

Anonymous said...

There is a BEX meeting this upcoming Tuesday, April 3. Every APP parent should come. The more presence we have, the more the district will hear about APP.

-show up!!!!

Anonymous said...

From a long-term perspective, I think Wilson Pacific is great solution for a dedicated APP elementary and for an APP +option middle school -- two school on opposite corners of the property. They are in a central north location need I-5 and Aurora.

But even if the district made a commitment to this (BIG IF), it would take some years to build and ready the schools. In the meantime, more nomadic years for elementary APP and uncertainty for middle school (when will Hamilton capacity burst?).

At the SNAPP PTA meeting the other night, there was acknowledgement from leaders and parents assembled that current advocacy needs to keep in mind the future APP students who are now three years old, not just our children now in APP.

Most of the current population simply isn't going to experience both an ideal permanent location or have a full cadre of veteran gifted-ed teachers. (That's not to say that great things aren't going on. Parents, staff and teachers are all doing their best do make the best program possible for current students, given the moves, splits and teacher turnover in recent years.)

The best chance of a near-term central location for elementary APP to thrive in seems to be John Marshall. Keep the cohort together there and allow the teaching staff to continue to great work, collaboration and mentoring their doing among teachers.

An even better long-term solution (probably not possible in time to benefit my children) would be Wilson Pacific.

L@L parent

Anonymous said...

Is JM really the best solution? Inertia will set in and then it becomes your permanent home. Be careful what you wish for. Push for a long term solution, not a another short term fix.

Anonymous said...

"Advanced Learning needs a true leader at SPS"

This is so true. Advanced Learning under the leadership of Bob Vaughn appears to do nothing more than act as a gatekeeper to the AL programs. It provides no specific curriculum for APP, no professional support or development for staff (eg toward gifted certification or best teaching practices for gifted ed), no advocacy to support what research shows to be the best models for teaching gifted students. Where is the AL department when capacity discussions totally omit the APP program from any consideration? Why is it not standing up for the very students it had placed in the program? Why is it standing by while spectrum programs are systematically dismantled? Other school districts champion their strong, well supported gifted programs while SPS treats ours like a white elephant. Why is it left to the parents, teachers, PTA to organize and fund professional development, develop curriculum, and advocate for an physical school building to house our nearly 500-odd students - why exactly does the AL office exist if not to do all of this. Parents need to get active and demand more of this office.

SAPP (Save APP)!

apparent said...

Dear Anonymous @11.07 a.m.: Yes, JM really is the best solution, and would make an excellent permanent home for the entire north Seattle APP elementary cohort in one central location. That is exactly why we should push right now for this long term solution instead of accepting another short term fix.

For those hankering after a newly built elementary school on the Wilson-Pacific site, please be fully aware that no SPS planner has actually pencilled APP into any such hypothetical structure that might eventually be built. Even if north Seattle elementary APP were given some future chance to move out of John Marshall into any such new building, the entire program could then decide.

If any such brand-new elementary school building ever became available on the Wilson-Pacific site after the entire north Seattle elementary APP cohort had moved together into a renovated John Marshall, my guess is that parents would then reject another move because they would already be entirely happy in a building that is perfect to allow north Seattle APP to flourish and even grow as needed. But our intact APP cohort would be secure either way, and it would make sense to have that discussion when some real alternative of that sort has been put on the table before us. It is certainly not there now, and the plain evidence is that SPS planners are refusing to concede that north Seattle APP elementary students do need any permanent home together at the very same time that 786-seat John Marshall stands empty.

So Anonymous should heed their own advice: "Be careful what you wish for. Push for a long term solution, not a another short term fix." Regardless of any future alternative hypotheticals involving APP that might be floated, currently vacant John Marshall does offer that long term solution.

This seems hardly the time to roll dice, or to place our blind trust in the future wisdom of SPS planning.

Anonymous said...

Except for that nagging issue of it being so close to the freeway...and the building being neglected and at the end of its useful life...

apparent said...

Dear Anonymous @12.41 p.m.: As for the nagging issue of John Marshall being so close to the freeway, it is no closer than John Stanford International School, and TOPS in the Seward Building. Are you also proposing that the JSIS and and TOPS buildings both be immediately evacuated, and if not, why not?

As for that other nagging issue of the building being "neglected and at the end of its useful life," it is true that John Marshall was opened in 1927, in the same golden architectural age as Seattle's other impressive historic public school buildings which are now shining jewels today, very likely including your own neighborhood school. You might like to look at the National Trust for Historic Preservation's publications "A Community Guide to Saving Older Schools," and "Why Johnny Can't Walk to School: Historic Neighborhood Schools in the Age of Sprawl," in which the Trust addresses myths about renovation of existing schools and warns that America's older and historic schools are being abandoned due to policies that encourage consolidation and new construction over renovation and continued use.

NESeattleMom said...

We are in John Marshall every week for after school activities. It doesn't seem any worse than Lincoln. I am quite sure a playground could be installed there that is better than the small one in the front of Lincoln. I think it may be prudent for APP families to think in terms of practical solutions. I think a brand new school for APP is a pipe dream. I think that because to me it seems that SPS doesn't (or can't) do advanced planning for APP capacity management. Since keeping the current north Seattle cohort together at this workable size for collaboration and curriculum development, as well as music, art, PE and other enrichment, to me, the John Marshall site seems OK. SPS would have to rehab the building, just as it has done at other old schools.

maria renninger said...

Background re John Marshall & health hazards from the freeway: The hazard issue is unrelated to whether JSIS and TOPS are also close to the freeway. The question is whether it is wise/permitted to again place a school population next to a freeway. In the years since school populations were sited at JSIS and TOPS, the EPA and other environmental-health entities have amassed a much larger and more definitive body of research on the long-term effects of having school populations - particularly elementary populations - so proximate to freeways. If JSIS and TOPS were being considered today for the populations they currently house, those permits would face that same obstacle. In other words, having had the JSIS & TOPS permits approved prior to the existence of this body of research and the regulations that followed the research doesn't make JM an appropriate site for a school population. The updated EPA standards reflect the research. They affect renovation/relocation/reopening as well as new construction. Also, SPS received feedback on JM's suitability last year from UW's PEHSU (who provides advice to the SPS school board & related groups on such matters), which works closely with the EPA on local-specific issues. You can request a copy from SPS - KSB was given one as the board rep for APP bec Lowell is in her district - or I would be glad to send you a copy of what I have if you give me your email. Also, Calif has some excellent near-lay materials explaining why schools are no longer allowed to be sited near freeways.

maria renninger said...

ha - a lawyer friend just saw my post above and says: "A simpler way to explain: The dual existence of updated EPA standards + an advisement on file w/SPS specific to JM means that SPS would be opening itself up to lawsuits brought both by individuals and the federal government if it sited a school population at JM, both in the short-term and for any long-term side-effects a plaintiff could assert. Example A: a child with compromised lungs is in APP and APP moves to JM. Boom, there's an easily actionable circumstance."

(hmm I think my explanation may yet have been the simpler one, but... )

NESeattleMom said...

Wow, with that information, what will SPS do with North Seattle APP 1 - 5 ?

Also, will there be any connection between L@L and Lowell Capitol Hill after this school year?

Speaking of that, my 3rd grader told me on the way to school that after next year Lowell APP will be back at Lowell--that is the word on the street....(amongst kids)

Kate Martin said...

What recommendations did the APP Advisory group make to the school district so far? Did they make recommendations for BEX IV?

apparent said...

Maria,

thanks for your helpful response, but my question remains. If "having had the JSIS & TOPS permits approved prior to the existence of this body of research and the regulations that followed the research doesn't make JM an appropriate site for a school population," then why are JSIS and TOPS appropriate sites for their school populations?

Also, you refer to California "materials explaining why schools are no longer allowed to be sited near freeways." Am I mistaken in assuming from your reference to California state materials that in our own Washington state schools including JSIS, TOPS and John Marshall are allowed to be sited near freeways?

As for current SPS uses, John Marshall is still being used to educate young children as I saw on a recent visit when cute little preschoolers from the resident German-American school were happily riding their tricycles around the playground, all speaking German . . . but that might have been the effect of the nearby autobahn, perhaps?

Anonymous said...

It's like all of the school buildings that aren't up to earthquake code (JM probably falls into this category). As long as the buildings remain in use, they're grandfathered in, but aren't as safe as buildings renovated or constructed under new codes.

Anonymous said...

Maria

I agree the potential for adverse health effects relating to JM's location is worrying, however, so are the other possible scenarios for APP.
In addition that 2003 Californian state law regarding proximity of schools to freeways prohibits school districts from building campuses within 500 feet of a freeway, UNLESS the district can mitigate the pollution or determines that space limitations are so severe that there are no other options. It could be argued that the current capacity issues means there are no other options for the district. I'm not totally comfortable with the situation and would prefer to see the JM as an interim site (that way no single population would have longer term exposure) but where does that leave APP?

SAPP (Save APP)!

Anonymous said...

What is the current plan for the empty school in Magnolia, it is huge? Why couldn't that be used to house APP?

Anonymous said...

Is the APP capacity planning committee working only on APP Elementary North, or are they also working on district-wide APP capacity for all grade levels? Just curious as all I see on this blog is comments regarding APP Elementary North.
Thank you

maria renninger said...

My Calif reference was only to that state's prof/public-advisory docs. The docs are helpful in understanding the issue. Our regional EPA office referred me to them when I called last year to basically ask, "Is JM actually bad, or not so much?"

Anon @4:26 that is exactly how it was explained to me by both SPS Operations and EPA: Existing schools are grandfathered in. Also, that renters like the German lang school currently at JM don't count as "school occupancy."

To be clear, I am a lay person also. For those interested in JM as a location, I encourage you to investigate the permitting issues related to siting a K-5 or K-8 there. I did so after a PTA meeting last year by starting w/just two quick calls, one to the regional EPA office and one to SPS Operations. I have since talked with the EPA and SPS Operations/Facilities additional times, with the DCLU, and so on; also with PEHSU to better comprehend the hazards and medical research. For me, it's been illuminating to talk with the professionals who would actually review or undertake the vetting/permitting processes. That was more helpful to me than to keep discussing it w/parents, school board members, etc - there were not enough facts in play in those conversations for them to feel productive to me. So, I'm sharing what I learned. Perhaps others have had conversations with these same professionals but come away with other information/different understandings. I'm interested to learn any of that & would appreciate people sharing it.

Anonymous said...

I feel like no one who is really going to make this decision actually reads this blog. I suspect that the district uses a magic 8 ball to make thier decisions because they seem to make about that much sense.

magic-8

Anonymous said...

How do we find out which options have viability, also to what degree they are viable really? I don't want to spin wheels. Any BEX committee people reading this who can advise?

Anonymous said...

I am so upset that the District did not include a home for north end APP kids in their BEX planning. WTF!!! I have voted for every single school district levy - but if this one doesn't include a permanent home for APP, I will not only not vote for it, I will actively work against it. I agree with the comment from 10:44 am - every APP parent needs to show up at the Tuesday BEX meeting at Eckstein.

Outraged

Anonymous said...

I don't know how much weight the argument of NOT moving APP to JM due to freeway health hazard is going to carry. Frankly with other non APP schools operating just as close to I-5 (not to mention all the businesses, homes, hospitals, day cares, & apts up and down I-5), it looks like a lot like NIMBYism. Would just add more fuel for folks who want APP gone.

real world

Anonymous said...

real world-
I agree, not accepting JM is saying we're fine with APP splitting again and probably just dissolving soon. My daughter has choir there once a week- it's a beautiful old building in a great location, with good light, high ceilings, and enough room. This is a chance at a building to house our program, to keep it going. We should be JUMPING on this. Also, as a lawyer (who is not giving legal advice), I really don't think the district needs to worry about legal action from placing a school there, because of the "no other good options" clause. I hope they have decent lawyers checking this out, though, and are not spooked into giving up on an APP building by a couple inflammatory blog comments. They certainly don't need to worry about it more than the other building problems the district is rife with (good lord, the broken windows at Eckstein alone).

-Call me Ishmael

Anonymous said...

Rejecting JM is nothing more than rejecting JM, you can still advocate for keeping the cohort together, but somewhere appropriate for elementary students.

The discussions around health effects have been pretty rational and fact based. The district stated years ago that the site was inappropriate for elementary students. Nothing has changed to make the site more appropriate now.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 12:01

This must be your first time going through this type of thing with the district. Your wide-eyed optimism is refreshing.

It sounds like APP will be lucky to even be allowed to still exist. I think asking for proper ventilation is good, but saying no to a building could be disastrous.

-APP veteran

Anonymous said...

Has the district even offered JM as a site for APP, or is there a vocal APP contingent fixated on it? Inquiring minds want to know.

Anonymous said...

This district has so far offered NOTHING to APP. APP isn't mentioned in any of the capacity documents released last week. It's as if we don't exist. The district only tracks neighborhood kids. APP kids don't go to neighborhood schools, and aren't counted in any way in future planning.

This is why it is critical that everyone attents the meeting on Tuesday night. APP could end up with nothing.

-APP veteran

apparent said...

In the recently posted March 28 BEX IV Planning Board Work Session, Review of Stakeholder Feedback – based on March meetings with Principals, FACMAC, BEX Oversight, SPS Departmental Staff – the opening bullet on page 13 declares "Decision on APP configuration integral to planning process." Yet the first draft levy choices now released earmark not a single public dime towards needed construction costs to house elementary APP anywhere in north Seattle!

Again, although the APP program faces imminent eviction from Lincoln, under the draft levy that will be proposed later this year Seattle voters will be asked to invest not a solitary dime in elementary APP . . .

So unless you want to see this wonderful academically highly gifted elementary program broken up and scattered without any common curricular standards in place, that leaves north Seattle APP advocates with two choices. One possibility is to persuade the BEX planners, and soon the Seattle voters, to rewrite this draft construction invoice to raise a further tens of millions of $$$ in funding now for a brand new dedicated APP elementary building, perhaps on the Wilson-Pacific site. Is that going to happen?

apparent said...

Aside from seeking a brand new elementary school building north of the ship canal, our other alternative immediately protects SNAPP as an intact cohort without requiring any levy funding beyond the current BEX proposals.

All three of the proposed districtwide construction scenarios in BEX IV (@ $525 million, @ $745 million, and @ $855 million) show John Marshall (oddly misplaced on the posted maps) as an “interim” site: this must mean the district is in any event planning to renovate and reopen John Marshall for that purpose. So by specifically designating elementary SNAPP to fill this newly renovated John Marshall as “an interim site,” the district could guarantee now that our entire cohort will stay together – exactly as called for by Save APP, and so many other parents and teachers, and without foreclosing ANY of the environmental concerns now raised in this thread.

Indeed, if the proximity to the freeway John Marshall shares with JSIS and TOPS actually does preclude its renewed use as a public school, it will never even be approved as an interim school site by city, state and federal environmental regulators. But assuming instead that after full review it receives all regulatory approvals, why should a repurposed John Marshall not be filled by north Seattle elementary APP together with some compatible program, or possibly 1-8?

apparent said...

Maria and Anonymous, isn’t such necessary review exactly how we will get these specific environmental concerns answered, along with any others? If you are already so convinced of a negative outcome for health reasons, then why are you afraid to let the John Marshall reopening follow its normal environmental review process?

SNAPP could not move from Lincoln into a renovated John Marshall before fall 2013. Even a basic renovation of John Marshall for interim purposes would take up to a year after funds are approved (perhaps even longer if planning restoration as a permanent home). Regulatory approvals including any environmental issues would all have to be obtained before such work begins. The “interim” tag can stay on the building as long as needed – until either SNAPP collectively chooses to make John Marshall our permanent home, or instead SNAPP’s fairy godmother actually delivers our program some equivalent building in a preferable north end location.

And Anonymous, as a quick glance at the map will show, if despite your health arguments JSIS and TOPS are appropriate sites for their elementary school populations, it is very hard to see why John Marshall which now lies fallow is not an equally appropriate site for SNAPP.

Anonymous said...

Maria explained it quite well in an earlier post.

Imagine this scenario - the BEX planning goes forward on the assumption that APP will be placed at JM. After review, it is found that JM is not suitable. Meanwhile, the BEX projects move forward with no other place planned for the APP cohort. Is this a possible outcome?

Anonymous said...

I have heard that an APP 1-8 is absolutely not going to happen. It wouldn't fit into JM anyway. We would need a 900-1000 kid building for that and JM is about 750. I am hearing that the middle school might be split. I have not heard how soon, but Hamilton is very full and is not mentioned as a capacity problem because the district only counts assignment area kids. Good thing APP kids are invisible and don't take up any room. Hamilton might explode otherwise.

As to anon 2:18 - use some name - you can't operate under a crazy system like "it might not be approved, so let's not do it." That could happen no matter the building. With all the old buildings in the district, who knows what might be found? APP needs to find a home that the district will allow us to have. We all know APP can't get a new building because it's an "elitist" program and that will just reinforce that. We need a crappy building so that no one thinks we are getting anything special. JM qualifies.

-APP veteran

Anonymous said...

APP vet, I think you've hit the nail on the head. Better not give us anything good, that will never do.

The district seems to be made up of people working out their personal issues of mediocrity on the APP kids. Smart people seem to just make them uncomfortable. Better to just make them disappear by not counting their numbers in planning...it's like they don't even exist! Whew, that's better.

Thbpt

maria renninger said...

All - I don't mean to inflame or distress. I understand how exasperating the overall situation is and I'm not intending to divide; I'd much rather we built advocacy in Seattle's gifted-ed community. To clarify, I formed my JM opinion *after* talking w/professionals who participate in school occupancy permitting processes. But their opinions certainly don't preclude the processes themselves; those processes certainly will go forward, as they should.
As an adult in the community - not just as an APP parent - it gave me tremendous pause last year to learn that in the years since JSIS/TOPS got their permits, the EPA has essentially said "hey, putting an elementary pop in such locations is an even worse idea than we previously imagined, here's the data to prove it." I don't want to place additional Seattle elementary kids - from any program - in environments about which the EPA has basically and very recently said, "don't put elementary kids there."
Also, I hope to focus on permanent options that a large # of APP parents will rally behind. Not more potentially-interim-at-best options. I don't intend to be negative but I aim to be practical: I doubt APP will get something permanent w/out parents rallying, and I doubt enough parents will rally behind something that's already met w/SPS disinclination + an EPA strike against it. (Again - this strike has come *in the years since* JSIS and TOPS got their SO permits.) As a displaced pop, APP n-end elem has as good a claim to Lincoln as any other displaced pop. My rallying point would be twofold: 1) Insist on continued tenancy at Lincoln w/out an hs pop. I don't have concerns about co-housing w/an hs pop - it's only bec if there's no hs pop then the hs traffic-mitigation issue evaporates, thus allowing temporary revision of the master-use permit. Rev of MUP is not as hard as it might sound - maybe someone at L@L is already pursuing it, I don't know. If not, it's worth checking out if longer-term tenancy is established, SPS may even have an internal SEPA review unit - that would be interesting to find out. 2) Insist that the next APP move be to a permanent location, and that the location be *ready* for the kids before APP is moved out of Lincoln.
So - that's my very long two cents. Again, my wish is to help build an advocacy base for gifted-ed. Doesn't mean anyone has to agree w/me on the particulars. :)

Anonymous said...

Could we please have that thread on excessive homework in 8th grade at Washington? Thanks!

- concerned 7th gr parent

Anonymous said...

I'd be interested in hearing more about HW issues - it has only been a few years since more HS classes have been pushed into younger grades - is it too much?

Anonymous said...

Meetings for next Tuesday (04/03/12):
APP AC meeting @ Lincoln: 6 30pm- 8 00pm
BEX IV meeting @ Eckstein: 7 00pm (I think)
- Decisions, decisions...

Anonymous said...

APP AC meeting is now Monday night.

_parent

apparent said...

Maria, each of us would love to insist on the future location of north Seattle elementary APP, but the reality of recent SPS history is that the cohort can simply be broken up and crammed willy nilly into two or even more locations.

You want APP to stay at Lincoln without high schoolers until our new permanent home is ready, but you never suggest where that permanent home might be -- even though such a permanent SNAPP elementary home is not funded nor indeed even contemplated in any published BEX IV scenario.

I understand you don't intend to be negative and you aim to be practical, yet you reject the only present option under which SPS could IMMEDIATELY keep north Seattle elementary APP intact with the mere stroke of a pen -- by adding the word “APP” to the present BEX IV designation of a renovated John Marshall as a future "interim" site -- regardless of any final decisions that might follow.

You peremptorily dismiss John Marshall as a "potentially-interim-at-best option" in contrast to your so far unspecified "permanent options that a large # of APP parents will rally behind." But you actually raise no health concern regarding the John Marshall building that does not apply with even greater force to every elementary student now attending the TOPS and JSIS buildings -- which in that order are both measurably closer to the freeway than John Marshall.

And your same health concerns also potentially apply with equal force to any unfunded future building that might be imagined on the Wilson-Pacific site alongside street-level State Highway 99 (compared to the safer elevation of I-5 ) ... for that matter, very possibly with equal force to our current interim Lincoln location at the heavily trafficked street-level intersection of 45th & Stone Way, which is just five blocks from State Highway 99.

Will the professionals who participate in school permitting processes be sharing such detailed site-specific comparative health data with APP parents to support your proposal to veto John Marshall as an interim or perhaps permanent SNAPP location?

Anonymous said...

apparent - We get you're concerned about a split. Really we do.

Go back to the previous thread about health effects, proximity, etc. Read it. Several things to note: 1) being next to I-5 is different than being next to Aurora since I-5 has a much higher daily traffic volume (and Wilson Pacific is further from Aurora than JM is from I-5), 2) just because existing schools are similary situated (though JM looks to be even closer than others), doesn't mean more schools should be placed so close to I-5, and 3) based on the previous closure reports, JM is an interim-at-best site because of its building condition (and because of the site, unlikely to get full renovation treatment).

The BEX IV plans are not yet written in stone. Go to the community meetings and voice the need for an appropriate APP location that keeps the cohort together. Period. It seems everyone can agree on that.

Something else to consider - an APP-only site would mean the vote of the Board, rather than a program placement decision by the Superintendent. There is some opposition on the Board to an APP-only school, and co-location or co-housing would be seen as more acceptable.

The community meetings are all 6:30-8:00, with the first being at Eckstein on Tues.

-practically speaking

maria renninger said...

?? My perspective doesn't preclude anyone's pursuing JM as a site, including SPS. There's nothing to worry about on that score.

The information I've referred to is all public, is not absolute, and is easily accessible. The only piece that might be more difficult to obtain is the letter Catherine Karr wrote to me and cc'd KSB on, in response to my request that she (Karr) evaluate JM's suitability. Again, I'm happy to send that to anyone who will provide their email address (and a real name). I'm sure PEHSU would also if you'd rather receive it directly from them.

I encourage everyone to read at least the journal summaries on the reality of the health hazard. The peer-reviewed research on this type of health hazard is what informed the updated federal standards; the research is extensive, & recent. It suggests that in fact the same argument *wouldn't* apply with equal force to Wilson-Pacific, or Lincoln, and so on. Again, the science on this is all published.

maria renninger said...

sorry meant to say: my 10:22 reply was to apparent's 4:00AM.

Anonymous said...

"?? My perspective doesn't preclude anyone's pursuing JM as a site, including SPS. There's nothing to worry about on that score."

I don't understand this comment. I don't take orders from random people on a blog.

I think people should be aware that fighting against JM may mean that there is no building for APP. Yes, some of the board may be against a stand-alone site, but they are certainly not going to give an "elitist" group of people a new building at Wilson-Pacific. I think the chances of that happening are even less likely than winning powerball.

-cut off your nose

Elise said...

Hey everyone, spread the word. The APP Advisory Committee meeting has been moved up to Monday, so we don't conflict with the BEX IV meeting on Tuesday at Eckstein. It will still be at Lowell@Lincoln, and at 6:30. We will be focusing on capacity and the future of APP. Please come, everyone is welcome!

Anonymous said...

The SNAPP PTA has provided suggested talking points for the meeting. One comment - responses to the survey showed parents were willing to remain at Lincoln until a permanent solution was found (91% of responses were "however long it takes"), yet point #11 suggests Lowell families do not want to stay at Lincoln, so which is it?

Anonymous said...

anon 4:18

Did you come the the PTA meeting on Tuesday? The PTA explained that lincoln was going to get remodeled in preparation for re-opening in 2018. If we stayed, we would have to contend with construction as well as other schools rotating through the building. This information was not known when the survey was written. Things are changing quickly.

- everyone needs to show up

suep. said...

I have another idea. Let's hang a banner across Lincoln that says: OCCUPY LINCOLN! with a smaller sign underneath that reads: "We are the 2%!"

Anonymous said...

Or how about making a showing at the start of the BEX meeting with a couple hundred kids to represent the current and future unaccounted for contingent of APP students.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 8 18 pm
I really like the idea of gathering the kids "to show off". But I don't think we can arrange hundreds of students with this short of a notice. Especially that many of the working (and or single) families can not actually make it to the meeting at all at 6 30pm even if they want to. I would rather organize something for next Saturday morning for example.

apparent said...

Practically Speaking, thanks for thinking this through. As to your numbered points: 1) you don’t answer the query whether a very busy street level highway (e.g. State Highway 99) near a school building might sometimes be more hazardous than an elevated one near a school (e.g. I-5), and from a health science perspective it makes no sense at all to exclude TOPS and JSIS from any such comparisons; 2) again, TOPS is easily the closest to the freeway, followed by JSIS, while John Marshall is measurably the furthest, see for yourself using detailed Google satellite views; 3) the SPS board is already beginning its renovation of John Marshall for renewed school use as we can see from the agenda for Tuesday’s board meeting (at the same time as the BEX IV community feedback meeting at Eckstein Middle School), when the board will approve a construction contract to provide the John Marshall building on leafy Olmstead-designed Ravenna Boulevard near Green Lake with a new roof and elevators.

You point out that “an APP-only site would mean the vote of the Board, rather than a program placement decision by the Superintendent. There is some opposition on the Board to an APP-only school, and co-location or co-housing would be seen as more acceptable.” This is a strong argument for placing SNAPP elementary in John Marshall. The three-story building wraps around two large gyms (girls’ & boys’!) with a wide corridor in what is called a “racetrack” configuration, which makes it ideal for sharing with another program without any conflicts during frequent rainy day recess. Originally built in 1927 as a 900-seat middle school, since reconfigured for 786, John Marshall is nicely proportioned for elementary school students in contrast to the cavernous halls and huge stairways at Lincoln High School.

John Marshall along with every other old Seattle school building has a beautifully composed architectural history posted on the SPS website, also published as a book. Some time ago, another blog reader linked to a very detailed structural report on John Marshall, part of a thorough appraisal of the school district’s entire building inventory. Best of all APP parents, prospective parents, students, teachers, walk around the building yourselves . . . make up your own minds!

Anonymous said...

From the description of the work to be done on John Marshall, it is to make it serviceable, perhaps as in interim site, as the preliminary BEX plans show.

The air pollution is a function of many things, including: traffic volume (higher on I-5), distance from the freeway (the closer to the freeway, the higher the pollution; JSIS, TOPS, and JM are all within about 200 ft of I-5), and type of traffic (trucks vs cars).

The fact remains that unlike JSIS and TOPS, SPS has chosen not to put an elementary population at JM. The site is part of the reason. The building came before I-5 and is a casualty of "progress."

JM skeptic

Anonymous said...

I worry that we are missing Maria's point regarding JM which is that it isn't really relevant which other schools are currently in existence and where they are located; what matters is that NEW data from the EPA might possibly create a huge liability for the school district if they choose to set up an elementary school at the JM site. This is very different from any liability created at schools that are already running. Ultimately it doesn't matter what we all think is safe or fair, what matters is what the district will be willing to move forward with and their perception of legal liability.

I think it would be prudent to come up with 2-3 other solid ideas for the long term future of APP rather than focusing so much on the JM site. This doesn't preclude us from advocating for JM if it truly is a viable option, but protects us from showing up with one idea that is instantly shot down.

-- NE APP Parent

Anonymous said...

Was anyone able to go to the APP meeting Monday night who can give a brief summary? I had wanted to go but then had a couple family members come down with a bug so had to stay home. I'm still hoping to make the BEX meeting at Eckstein tonight (perhaps I'll threaten germ warfare if they can't figure out a way to give APP a permanent home).

suep. said...

I agree with NE APP Parent that Maria has made valid points about student and environmental health and safety that should be taken into account when considering JM, or any building, for that matter.

The more info we have, the better prepared we can be to lobby for something -- or not.

Anonymous said...

in response to the question about the APP advisory meeting last night-the entire meeting was given over to conversation about L@L PTA plan to demand that they stay together in a single location

app puzzled said...

anonymous at 11:28, any more details about the mtg?
thought a NW/QA, NE split was a plan for APP growth when it came up 2 yrs ago. our grp is big & growing, not sure realistic plan is long-trm 1 location.

Anonymous said...

I agree that holding onto a "keep us together" at all costs mantra may lose its impact when the North cohort is so much larger than the South cohort - and the South cohort is doing just fine.

During the first split - the idea was that we needed 200-250 for a strong cohort - isn't the North cohort much larger than that now?

I know the bigger issue is probably the teachers, as another thing that has become evident following that last split is that experienced APP teachers give the stability needed to flourish. Not many of those left anymore North of the cut.

-Seems like yesterday we were fighting the first split

Anonymous said...

There are the new construction discussions for the Olympic Hills and Thornton Creek sites. Why not participate in those discussions.

Anonymous said...

Has anybody mentioned that school in Magnolia? What would it take to re-open that building for APP. It is large enough; not perfectly located; but not near any highways and has outdoor space.

app puzzled said...

anonymous @ 1:39, do u know address/name of magnolia school? didn't know about that, thx. we're n-seattle but wld commute to magnolia.

Anonymous said...

If it were just about distribution of kids long term, I might say rip the bandaid off one last time and split northend into NW and NE. Long term that might be best. Either way, my child will end up attending five elementary school locations in five years, all in an hope that a now-battered gifted ed program will meet his social and academic needs.

But I'm afraid that splitting in the next few years will further undermine the ability of many teachers to be prepared to meet the needs of the APP population. My child needs his curiosity and creativity to be better engaged. With the support of the few veteran gifted-ed teachers left, there is an effort to resurrect an integrated curriculum (project-based learning). The teachers need some stability to rebuild, train, and collaborate. They've got a good start this year. Another split would undermine the rebuilding efforts that have begun and would harm the educational experience of many students in the next few years.

Keeping northend APP together as one teaching cohort and one student cohort is the right thing to do for current students and those joining the program in the next few years. (This is all assuming there is a supportive environment for teachers, allowing and supporting of best practices for teaching gifted kids.)

--Hoping for more APP teachers that can engage my child and other like him through an integrated curriculum.

Anonymous said...

Wow, can we give the teachers credit as competent professionals. They can thrive with a split. Looks like we split now with a plan or move out in 2013 and then move again in a few years to leftover space after growth makes a split happen anyway. Can we plan instead of hand-wring. And wow "Don't separate the teachers!" seems a lame argument when other schools don't have enough toilets for all their students.

-just sayin'

Anonymous said...

Just saying, it's not just parents asking to keep the cohort together. It's the teachers too, who wrote a very poignant letter to the district about their desire for northend APP to stay intact so they can continue to collaborate and rebuild the program after the last split, just what, 3 years ago now.

--worried about 2013

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't they be looking at ways for APP teachers to collaborate anyway, given that the program is already split?

Also Just Sayin'

Anonymous said...

Info on Magnolia Elementary School

http://new.dwell.com/contests/rethinking-preservation/submissions/magnolia-elementary-school-in-seattle


It housed Coe after a fire that set their remodel back and was home to the AAA before their school was completed. Most recently the Magnolia Fire Station was there during their remodel.

I know it needs a lot of work and needs to be retro-fitted. But it is a shame to see this beautiful building sit empty year after year.

Anonymous said...

I think my first post got eaten:

Strong advocacy for a split in half NOW into two specific sites (e.g., Magnolia + NE, another pair of sites?) may serve us better than strong advocacy for no split at all. Unless, there is a site large enough for growth, the latter does not eliminate the program's vulnerability given its already large size.

In other words, if it grows, it WILL be split later. Because APP decisions are heavily influenced by the politics of the Board + superintendent, a future split's configuration is a gigantic question mark. It could be wonderful, but is more likely to be tragic. Imagine how appealing it would be to split L@L and TM into 9 or 10 pieces that conveniently feed into neighborhood middle schools. APP = problem solved, from their perspective.

An immediate split would obviously serve us better, in both the short and long term.

- Considering all the options

Anonymous said...

I would think Magnolia Elementary School could handle present and future 1-5 capacity. Does not solve the middle school issue tho.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Considering all the options; it seems imminent that the program will grow enough to need another split down the road. And when you look at the larger picture and include middle school, creating one space for 1-8 APP in the NE and one in the NW solves their overcrowding problem as well. I think we need to focus on the long term of the program rather than reacting to the past (very poor) treatment.

Having said that, I recognize that we don't want to weaken the program more than it already has been. I think the teachers and administrators we have now that really believe in the program will stick with it through one more split if it's very well mapped out ahead of time rather than a last minute reaction to an already out-of-control problem. I would like their input on whether it would be terribly less appealing to have fewer classes per grade but have 8 grades of APP under one roof (in two different locations).

The bottom line in my mind is that it isn't fair for families in the NE to have to drive to Magnolia or for NW families to travel all the way to Jane Addams. But, it also doesn't seem realistic to demand a perfect scenario for APP with no compromises. If we aren't willing to budge on anything, we may end up with the same garbage we've been getting for years now.

--NE APP parent

Anonymous said...

Interesting tidbits from BEX IV meeting tonight:

(a) Magnolia was not on the list of schools for any of the 3 options presented tonight;

(b) When asked by an L@L parent which site is being considered for north-end elementary APP, assuming the cohort stays together, Pegi McEvoy said that the elementary site(s) slated to add 600 additional seats are the site(s) being considered. Wilson Pacific was the only site on the list which fit that criterion.

- Considering all the options

Anonymous said...

I'm glad it wasn't just me -- it seemed clear to me, too, that she was suggesting that they are thinking of a new elementary APP with 600 capacity on the Wilson Pacific site. That scenario (not mentioning APP in writing) is in option 2 and 3, with an opening date of 2017.

And, I don't think it was directly addressed, but it seems to reason that they'd be considering the new (replaced) middle school at Wilson Pacific, with 1000 capacity and an opening date of 2017 as a spot for APP + ?. The middle school scenario (again, not mentioning APP) was in all three options.

Knock on wood. Too good to be true? Well, with 2017 opening dates it doesn't provide a brand new school for most current APP families (except middle school for current early elementary APP kids). But for a future generation of northend APP kids, what a great thing!

To me, this adds another argument to keeping a single cohort now -- possibly at John Marshall as a longer-term interim site through 2016.

Of course, in order to keep below a 600 or so capacity for APP, the district would need to restore support for Spectrum programs and make ALO actually mean something for advanced learners in order to keep more families in neighborhood schools, so that fewer families feel compelled to choose APP.

-Daring to hope

Anonymous said...

would someone pls post a link to the BEX IV draft? can't find it... thx

ben said...

@Daring to hope. Not to dampen your enthusiasm but Pegi McEvoy pretty much agreed with every speaker and acknowledged their concerns. It would be impossible given limited funds for the district to deal with Whitman MS, McGilvra's cafeteria, Bryant's overcrowding etc. just to mention several of the other questions she reacted to.

For the record, I think long run the access and growth potential of splitting makes it more attractive to me. No new capacity is coming online for 3+ years. So its likely the majority of current APP students will be in MS before this happens. Its highly likely the program will move regardless of its long term location to an interim site.

Ben

Anonymous said...

To: Anonymous at April 3, 2012 9:29 PM

http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Departmental%20Content/school%20board/11-12%20agendas/032812agenda/20120328_Presentation_BEXIV.pdf

Anonymous said...

I was at the BEX IV levy meeting last night too and also left with the impression that the Wilson Pacific site would be the location of a new APP elementary school - if it gets included in the levy.

Anyone else notice that a new school at South Lake Union is included in ALL three levy options - but Wilson Pacific is only included in two of the options? I am unhappy that kids that aren't even in the system yet (they will be living in housing that isn't yet built at South Lake Union) are a higher priority for the District than the kids that are already here.

I'm also unhappy with how the District shows all the data by where kids live - as opposed to where they actually go to school. The effect of this is that Hamilton shows up as having extra capacity because they don't include the APP kids in the Hamilton numbers. I'm just waiting for the District to pull the same move at Hamilton that they did at Lowell.

Jane

Anonymous said...

BEX IV Meeting Update

Many thanks to our families and staff who turned out last night for the BEX IV meeting at Eckstein. Many people signed our petition there last night.

Two of our SNAPP 5th graders gave a compelling presentation--Brought tears to some parents' eyes it was so good! Our parents also spoke very eloquently with excellent questions.

For those who couldn't attend, the BEX slideshow presentation is posted here: http://bit.ly/GXz23G.
No mention of 500+ SNAPP elementary students anywhere in any of the options presented.

We all filled out question cards and a survey form. You can take the SPS BEX Parent survey here: http://bit.ly/vZovHf

Speaker Pegi McEvoy said to Jennifer Biely afterward that she is waiting to hear from SNAPP parents what configuration (split or single cohort) they want. We'll continue to gather our petition signatures and then present to Pegi and District leadership.

The SNAPP PTA is working to learn more about options and discussions from both FACMAC and ALTF, and will keep our families updated as soon as we know more. We will also be discussing capacity at our upcoming PTA Board meeting on Tuesday night.

thinking said...

-Pegi is making assurances and comments like that to *every* PTA president or other parent who is concerned how their school population may get affected in BEX IV. every.single.one. ask your friends at other schools that would be affected.
-is it realistic to petition to keep the cohort together. yes we're on the list of "maybe" groups for Wilson-Pacific...the *list*.
-the list omits the kids from apt bldgs & condos going up in the Licton Springs neighborhood in the past 5 yrs. hello.
-what demographics would cause a split and co-housing with a choice school or gen-ed. how close are we to that now.
- is "one location" the smart thing to ask for with the limited $$ that the district hopes to get from the levy.
-nobody has to sign the petition today. decisions won't be made until October. we need time to think.

Anonymous said...

When I spoke to Pegi after the meeting, she said that Wilson Pacific in a option for APP. I asked about the 2017 opening date. She said we would stay at Lincoln until then. She does not want to move us and then move again. I agree.

Anonymous said...

Um... That should be "is an option"...

Anonymous said...

We need more information about what staying at Lincoln until 2017 would look like. I understand the appeal of waiting it out in order to get a brand new, centrally located building at Wilson Pacific in 2017, but...

Lincoln will be a construction site the next few years as they get it ready to house 1650 high schoolers for the 2017 school year.

It is also slated to house 750 kids while other facilities are renovated, so it is likely that other schools will cycle through as their buildings get redone.

What does that look like, logistically, in the years to come? Construction noise? Construction vehicles and equipment on site, taking away playground space? Increasingly crowded cafeteria? Less time for PE given increased numbers to cycle through? (Even with McDonald there now, I don't think there are 750 kids in the building, right?)

If I had an incoming 1st grader or 2nd grader, I'd be very concerned about the possibility of having them spend the next 4-5 years in a building that was never designed for young kids and is slated to be a construction zone until 2017.

--worried about 2013

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, Anon @ 11:27 AM. My heart just leapt for joy at the prospect of my kid actually staying in one spot for the remaining elementary years. I hope hope hope this comes to pass.

Anonymous said...

That's odd. I also heard her dangle the new Wilson-Pacific building as a future APP elementary home (didn't say whether shared with another program or not, read split cohort or not). But she definitely also gave the impression SNAPP would be moving into JM when it opens as the new interim site beginning fall quarter 2013 and stay until any move to the new Wilson-Pacific building in fall quarter 2017.

Anonymous said...

I didn't get the impression we have any chance of moving in JM. When I asked directly, she clearly said, if we were to get the new Wilson Pacific elementary we would stay at Lincoln until then. Honestly, I'm not concerned about the construction or new kids cycling through. (And I do have an incoming first grader as well as a current 2nd grader). It certainly isn't ideal, but there really isn't any ideal place. For kids down the road, a new elementary would be awesome.

Anonymous said...

Following up on the previous post... I also specifically asked about stand-alone, single cohort being in Wilson-Pacific. Pegi said that is what she is thinking if staying together is what we want. I then asked if the district would really give APP a new building given community accusations of elitism. She said that has come up in conversation, but if APP needs the knew building, she'll do it.

Anonymous said...

To Thinking at 11:20 am -

decisions will be made well before the October vote of the school board. That October vote will be a final blessing; real decisions will be made much earlier. We need to work to get a good solution for APP into all of the options they are considering ASAP.

And I know most of the focus is on the elementary school needs -but don't forget about middle school. Hamilton is packed - but it doesn't show up as a problem in any of the Levy planning because they are only counting kids that live in the Hamilton assignment area. If pressure isn't placed on the District to be more proactive in their analysis and planning for middle school APP, then I would bet that middle school APP gets suddenly moved out of Hamilton because oh my goodness - they just realized they are out of room.

Jane

Anonymous said...

Guess Ben was right when he said: "Not to dampen your enthusiasm but Pegi McEvoy pretty much agreed with every speaker and acknowledged their concerns."

Fremont Mama said...

I am doing some thinking out loud here...

My immediate thought is moving to JM in 2013 until Wilson-Pacific is ready would be the way to go...if we get a playground solution figured out. I don't think moving in 2013 and then again in 2017 would be all that disruptive (at least to the kids).

Is the idea that APP 1-8 be housed at Wilson Pacific when it opens in 2017? What about kids going to middle school before 2017? Would APP still be at Hamilton until Wilson-Pacific is ready? Or will they put APP 1-8 at Lincoln and keep us all there until 2017?

Susanne

Anonymous said...

URGENT: Call to Action!

Dear Lowell@Lincoln parents

While we are still gathering petition signatures, we also feel that it is important for the district to hear individual voices as well as a collective one RIGHT NOW.

We are asking our parents to email Pegi McEvoy (Assistant Superintendent, Operations) and Cathy Thompson (Assistant Superintendent, Teaching & Learning) as soon as possible. There is another Advanced Learning Task Force meeting on Tuesday where the committee will be discussing and debating what happens to SNAPP. Cathy Thompson indicated she would bring emails from our parents to that meeting.

Your message should be about why you would want Seattle North APP to stay as a single cohort, north of the ship canal and what it means to you and your family personally. You can add any of the talking points such as:

* Stability for our students
* Teacher collaboration and SNAPP's team teaching model
* APP is no different than other unique curriculum programs like STEM, Language Immersion, Expeditionary Learning
* APP needs a critical cohort size to be successful
* Co-housing will lead to more capacity problems, just like we experienced in the Lowell building last year

Your message doesn't have be long, but it needs to be sent NOW! The ALTF meeting is on Tuesday.

Please send your messages to: Dr. Cathy Thompson, Pegi McEvoy, Dr. Robert Vaughan (Manager, Advanced Learning) and copy the SNAPP PTA so we can keep a copy to send along to the district along with the petition.
To:
cthompson@seattleschools.org
pmcevoy@seattleschools.org
rcvaughan@seattleschools.org
CC:
seattlenorthapp@gmail.com
capacity@seattleschools.org

Having 100 or 200 signatures is great. Having 100 or 200 (or more!) emails is awesome.
Many thanks for your help!

- LET'S GO VIRAL

Anonymous said...

When you are sending your emails about SNAPP (as per the 12:39 post from April 5), I would highly encourage you to tell the District that they also need to be planning for north-end middle school APP NOW. In their capacity planning slides, the District is showing Hamilton as having excess capacity - even though Hamilton is completely packed. It's because District staff aren't including middle school APP in their numbers for Hamilton. If we don't put pressure on the District to proactively plan, then my guess would be that the same thing happens to middle school APP as happened to L@L a year ago. The District will realize they are out of room at Hamilton, kick out APP - and then not have any good options.

Middle school APP also needs to be included in the planning for the BEX IV Levy. I would love for APP to stay at Hamilton - but I'm worried that if the District doesn't start being more proactive, they (and we) will end up in the same crisis situation as we experienced at Lowell.

Jane

maria renninger said...

Several parents have contacted me for an explanation of PEHSU (which I referenced in earlier posts on this thread) - sharing here for all:
Overarching org:
http://www.aoec.org/pehsu.htm

Region 10 org (NW region):
http://depts.washington.edu/pehsu/

suep. said...

Good point, Jane. I have heard that HIMS is currently at 950 or so and is slated to get another 40 kids in the fall. There really is nowhere to put them.

I also heard a rumor that the district might put two portables on the HIMS basketball courts for next year. Can anyone verify that?

Conversely, looking at some numbers earlier in the year, it seemed like HIMS has a large cohort of 8th graders this year, who will graduate out, so maybe there will be some wiggle-room there...?

Anonymous said...

Hamilton
Thanks for the "great" news Sue P, that means there is no place outside at HIMS for the students to spend the recess.
I have heard recently that the concrete basketball court not safe, there are a lot of accidents happening there already (maybe because of the sheer number of the students are trying to play there at the same time?), but for some reason the students can not go out to the field and play there. Could the reason be the school or the district?
-Questions, questions

NESeattleMom said...

I think we should find out why HIMS and Lowell APP at Lincoln can't use the playground at Wallingford Park ever. Some sort of agreement with the neighborhood. What is the agreement, and how binding is it?

Anonymous said...

From the Lowell @ Lincoln website:
"There are covenants between the neighbors and the Parks Department that prohibit school use of the park during the day."