Friday, March 23, 2012

Open thread

What's on your mind?

Update: In the comments, Melissa Westbrook writes:
BEX IV ... is our capital building program levy that will be on the Feb. 2013 ballot ... [usually] it is about the oldest/worst condition buildings. But capacity management has thrown that whole scenario off ... One of my goals is to find a permanent homes for APP 1-5, SBOC and Nova. That really does have to be goal #1 for BEX IV.

First, it is unlikely that Lowell at Lincoln could stay there more than another year or two. Why? Because the district needs interim schools for BEX IV projects. Our district moves entire populations out of their current building to Lincoln (or Boren). It is faster this way than building on-site.

I have two ideas for APP 1-5 (or maybe 1-8).

One is John Marshall ... Air condition as an important issue ... Marshall does need fixing up ... [but] it is worth the district's while to do so. ... It could be just 1-5 or maybe 1-8.

Wilson-Pacific will be rebuilt ... [and] could be a middle school containing an APP-North program. That would take some of the pressure off Hamlton and Eckstein (as well as Whitman).


the district could split APP 1-5 (and possibly 1-8)and send half the program to Jane Addams and half to Salmon Bay ... Jane Addams is on a large site ... Advantages include buses already going to Jane Addams, near-by community center pool, a horticulture program at Jane Addams and, if it were 1-8, classes for 6-8 at Hale across the street.

Salmon Bay needs rebuilding and could support a larger capacity. Again, there is a nearby community center pool and, if it included 6-8, Ballard High school is nearby for classes.

I know you are tired of being buffeted around and, most of all, living with uncertainty. My personal feeling is that the district has never had a champion for Advanced Learning in any senior leadership and it has allowed it to operate in an underwhelming manner ... The AL Taskforce is interested in any and all comments and ideas.
Let's make this thread about that now. Please comment here to respond to Melissa, and I'll create a new open thread for more general discussion.


Anonymous said...

I would love to hear more about how thigns are going at Hamilton for people. I have a 7th grader, but it is hard to get information from her. She seems to be doing ok, but says she is not learning anything at all. Her favorite class is band. How are things going for others there?

- HIMS parent

Anonymous said...

To HIMS parent:
I have a 7th grader also who comes home every single day saying the same: she is not learning anything new lately. I don't like the generalization so usually I ask her class by class - what was happening there today.
It turnes out that there is a learning in the classrooms (naturally) but the quality and the quantity of the learning is not the same she used to have before. So she is bored and rather reading a book than learning anything new in her class. Except math: she really likes that, she is challenged and the teacher is also great.
I don't want to list her subjects (she doesn't have band though) and point out the different problems with the teachers and their teaching because it is all different: some has no clue about how to teach / engage gifted kids, some of them doesn't want to go ahead of the district discribed curriculum, some of them just lazy and happy with the class MAP scores, and others just showing online and really boring materials instead of teaching, etc.
But I would like to welcome you on the board of the concerned parents at HIMS (who were called helicopter parents by the people who doesn't seem to have any problems in HIMS). This board seems to grow day by day, you can read more in the previous posts here.
-1 in 6 is nearly not enough

Enough already said...

Can anyone speak to the rumors at Hamilton about Ms Thurik and Ms Chacon looping next year? How can we get to the bottom of them? I've seen this subject mentioned on this blog, and rumors are flying among the kids about this--are the teachers themselves perpetuating them? My child is coming home in despair, as he is already enduring three miserable hours a day with these two. Another year of them may be enough to make us jump the APP ship. Which, in my most cynical moments, is what I suspect they are trying to make us all do...

Info Please said...

I would like to ask the AL task force when a decision is going to be made about the future location of APP North for middle and elementary. I am becoming increasingly more frustrated with the entire process. What exactly is the task force's role in the process? Will the tf just make a recommendation to the district or does the tf make the decision? How often is the tf meeting? If it is just once a month that doesn't seem to be often enough. What has been accomplished regarding determining location thus far?
Never thought I would consider private school for my kids but upon looking into it and realizing we would qualify for a ton of financial aid, it is looking more and more appealing. Sad.

Anonymous said...

According to the advanced learning website, the task force was supposed to have a meeting this week. There's a link with a timleline of meetings and recommendations. Another link has a list of the task force membership, several of whom are parents at Lincoln.

For those not in elementary, a survey was done at L@L regarding capacity and whatnot, with several questions on program configuration (1-8 vs 1-5) and placement, including a vague question about whether John Marshall would be the "type" of building you would consider. Around 50% of the elementary parents that responded
were in support of a 1-8 configuration.

Since I-5 went through the John Marshall site, it has not been used for elementary students by Seattle Schools. In fact, the closure report in 2006 cited it's unsuitability for elementary students.

Anonymous said...

To "Enough Already,"

I can't speak to the looping question, but I can tell you that my daughter had those two teachers last year, and this year has Ms. Macdonald and Mr. Gussin (spelling?), and she is bored and feels she is not learning. It is disappointing. My older child went to Washington, and while there was a range there too, overall his teachers kept him much more engaged and excited. I didn't expect to feel like this about HIMS - I actually thought it would be an improvement over WMS. We are helicopter parents, by the way, but when a child comes home and complains about how boring classes are every day, it is hard.

Signed, a disappointed parent

Anonymous said...

Info Please:

The ALTF met yesterday. They are really focusing on the north elementary APP, not middle. Our family is just about ready to enter APP middle, so it's a really big concern of mine. There seems to be thinking that Hamilton can handle all the growth. I am concerned we have another situation like Lowell - we are going to out-grow the school with nowhere to go. Of course with all the teacher stories I hear from current Hamilton families, I am not looking forward to the middle school experience like I would like to be.

I get the impression that the ALTF is like the APP AC. The district will listen to their recommendations, but they are not making the final decisions.

-i want a stable, sustainable north APP

Anonymous said...

Last year with Thurik and Chacon was dreadful, and this year in 7th with the rare exception is unchallenging. Our kid complains almost daily of boredom. Apparently one teacher has "anger issues," says "shut up" to the class, and mutters expletives. We will endure another year but are not sending our youngest to Hamilton. SPS has failed APP miserably.


Anonymous said...

From the mail box:

A Message from the SNAPP PTA
Dear Lowell@Lincoln Parents-
In the spirit of keeping our families informed about capacity and program placement issues as they concern APP, we wanted to give everyone an up-to-date accounting of the SNAPP PTA's advocacy work.

Yesterday, Jean Bryant, SNAPP PTA President-Elect, presented the PTA survey findings to the Advanced Learning Task Force (ALTF). In addition, she presented a position paper, drafted by the SNAPP PTA, outlining findings from our parent survey and making a request to the district to keep our cohort together in a location north of the ship canal. Finally, she also presented a letter drafted and signed by our teachers summarizing why the teachers believe it is important to keep the cohort together.

At the meeting, Jean received confirmation from Cathy Thompson, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching & Learning, that the district is committed to keeping the Lowell APP students north of the ship canal and that the program placement decision is being lead by Teaching & Learning, not Operations.

Lowell APP has 4 parents representing our interest on both the Facilities and Capacity Management Advisory Committee (FACMAC) and the Advanced Learning Task Force. Ms. Geoghagan also sits on the ALTF. The SNAPP PTA will continue to keep parents informed as collaboration with the district continues. We appreciate your patience in this process and your trust of the Lowell APP parents committed to these groups on behalf of our children.

Cathy Thompson, Susan Enfield (Interim Superintendent), Noel Treat (Deputy Superintendent), Pegi McEvoy (Assistant Superintendent of Operations) and Robert Vaughan (Manager, Advanced Learning) all received their own copies of these three documents. We have attached these documents below as well as a timeline of SNAPP PTA advocacy work.

We will have follow-up discussions and progress reports at the SNAPP PTA General Meeting next Tuesday. (7 PM in the Lincoln Library)

Have a great weekend.

Anonymous said...

King story just played on KUOW. Can anyone find the story online? I have had no luck. I missed most of it due to making dinner.

suep. said...

It's nowhere to be found on the KUOW site and Brian Rosenthal at the Times missed the scoop.

Anonymous said...

Thanks SueP.

I KNOW I heard the story but I was making dinner and the stupid exhaust fan was on. I ran over when I heard "King" and "Geoghagan." By the time I got the sound up, I just heard the last bit about what happened at Lowell last year. I, too, have been searching the KUOW site to no avail. A Google search turned up no info. from today, either.

-stupid fan

Anonymous said...

I just don't understand: if the Lowell (King) report is out, it has to be public and readable somewhere also. Somebody already predicted earlier the it will come out on a Friday afternoon (so less people will pay attention to it) but only on a radio where there is no chance to read about it or re-listen to it???
- Doesn't make any sense (or only in SPS)

Anonymous said...

Save Seattle Schools is going to post soon about Lowell report.

I knew I wasn't crazy.

-thanks to Melissa

Anonymous said...

The SNAPP-PTA position paper misrepresents parent support for the John Marshall building. Survey results show just over 50% supporting a building such as John Marshall (the survey didn't give any details about the building or site), with just over 40% saying "maybe." The position paper states "only 3% would not be satisfied with a building such as John Marshall."

It's now clear who is pushing for the JM building. How many people that said "yes" have been to the site and walked around what would be their child's play area? The entire site needs to be considered, not just the building.

Anonymous said...

Seattle Times story on Lowell investigation:

Anonymous said...

Guess Rosenthal was DOING HIS JOB instead of missing anything. Was just coming here to post the link above.

suep. said...

A letter of reprimand is all they get?

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

(I knew Rosenthal was on the story, just wondered why KUOW got there first today.)

suep. said...

The report is posted here (3 documents) -- courtesy of SPS Leaks. (It's not good.):

Letter dated March 16, 2012, addressed to Paul Apostle; RE: Lowell Elementary School: response to Gregory King’s and Rina Geoghagan’s Assertions re: my February 15, 2012 report.

Memo dated February 15, 2012; Whether (four employees) Fulfilled Their Mandatory Reporting Obligations

Memo dated March 16, 2012; Lowell Elementary School: Complaints by (two employees)

apparent said...

Anonymous @ 8.28 p.m. asks: "How many people that said "yes" have been to the site and walked around what would be their child's play area? The entire site needs to be considered, not just the building."

I have, both previously and as it happens before reading your question I had done so again today. The North Seattle APP students will be very lucky if John Marshall becomes our permanent home. It is a beautiful building, and the location could hardly be better for our student catchment as it is equally convenient whether approached from northwest, north, or northeast Seattle.

It is large enough either to establish an APP 1-8 program, or else to cohouse the north Seattle APP with Spectrum or an option program that does not guarantee seats. We already know that placing north Seattle APP in a neighborhood school will result in future dislocation that would further damage the program.

I would agree that "The entire site needs to be considered, not just the building." On that very point, readers should be aware that this beautiful old building is surrounded by an ocean of tarmac largely devoted to needless parking spaces -- so earlier posted comments saying no room for a full playground are way off
base. Other schools (e.g. Lowell, Bryant, Laurelhurst, etc.) have no dedicated parking spaces, and in any event John Marshall is near to a large public park and ride.

For older students John Marshall is a safe walking distance to Greenlake, doable for grades 3-5, and certainly for any midddle schoolers.

From most vantage points, APP students would not even be aware of the freeway nearby, as the building is facing southwest onto the Olmstead-designed Ravenna Boulevard. In response to earlier posters, concerns about vehicles flying off the freeway at that precise spot seem no likelier than the possibility of a falling space capsule on this or any other school, but if you're still worried about that we should close JSIS too. Equally fanciful at this location are other expressed parental worries including killer mould and killer car fumes.

If you are an APP parent who believes that the program requires stability in its own building with room to flex and grow, then John Marshall is an ideal choice. On the Seattle schools community blog, Advanced Learning Task Force member Charlie Mas has argued that it would be better to split north Seattle APP into three smaller locations, and dedicate John Marshall to language immersion programs (he makes a convoluted argument which essentially rests on freeing up seats elsewhere in the "overcrowded" northeast). Charlie is a strong APP supporter, but he is just wrong on his proposed logistical solution.

As of now, the future of APP seems deeply uncertain. A true home for the north Seattle APP elementary students at John Marshall, which would allow the program to flourish again, is actually the very best we can hope for.

Last thought: I heard State Assemblyman Jamie Pederson say he served on some committee which put a price tag of $15 million to bring John Marshall back into school use, because after three years without students it needs to be restored to the current code. The estimate may be out of date, but a classic historic building currently configured for 786 students (and with two gyms, boys' and girls'!) for that price -- an absolute bargain, and a stable north Seattle APP elementary is an important investment that should not be deferred.

Anonymous said...

Health Effects Associated with Traffic-Related Air Pollution

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Keep the kid indoors with the windows closed and they should be just fine.

Anonymous said...

Could John Marshall be adapted to be able to hold more than 780 students? A north 1-8 would need more room for students than that. Lincoln is supposed to be about 520 next year, and I am not sure of the current Hamilton APP numbers but isn't more than 400? Marshall could be too small.

I wouldn't worry about pollution too much. We have bigger concerns as APP parents - like keeping the kids together. Just think about all the carcinogens allowed in the food and the containers that hold that food. A little air pollution is nothing.


Anonymous said...

To parents concerned about their dreadful 6th grade APP teachers looping next year: we heard the same rumors last year when our kids had served their tour of duty with Chacon and Thurik. The teachers were telling the kids all kinds of plans that were not, in fact, sure things.

I suspect that no one knows the answer right now and Carter, with his let's-push-this-problem-under-the-rug-approach will decide at the last minute. Maybe they'll decide to take the easy way out and have them teach 6th grade again. Why not alienate another new crop of parents and kids?

What about boycotting the MAP and MSP tests until Hamilton's principal deals with these horrible teachers and raises the instructional bar? How many parents would do that??

I get the impression that they are so happy with the how the changing demographics have raised the school's overall performance so much that they are happy to cover their ears and hum...and hope that they are fooling someone, somewhere into thinking that they are really a school of distinction.

-sick of kid's boredom and terrible teachers at HIMS

Anonymous said...

A little air pollution is nothing.

My child's long term health and well being are important. I don't think intellectual prowess protects against air pollution. If my child were to develop respiratory problems, should I say, "at least you were together with your cohort."

The linked studies formed the basis of California's rule on siting schools 500 ft from freeways. There were significant and measurable health effects associated with proximity to the freeway.

Anonymous said...

I have two north end APP kids - one in middle school and one in elementary school.

On elementary school - I would greatly prefer John Marshall over Charlie Mas' plan to split APP into two or three co-horts. I don't know why he keeps pushing Broadview-Thompson - but that location absolutely wouldn't work for us.

On Hamilton - apart from Thurik, our 6th grader has had a great year. We really like McClurg (and am very grateful we didn't get Chacon). I would be very upset if my child had Thurik two years in a row. I have an elementary school kid who will likely end up with Thurik - so it's not like I'm trying to foist her off on incoming 6th graders. It's that I can live with one year of mediocre math - but two years in a row will really damage my child's interest in the subject. Jane


Anonymous said...

Distance wise, JM is a convenient location, B-T is about as far away as you can get, and there is merit to keeping the cohort together - but at the cost of our children's health?

no thanks

Anonymous said...

Here's an article about how air pollution is a damaging as far as 1.5 miles from the freeway. Lincoln is .8 miles from 1-5. RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

These things need to be kept in perpective.

Anonymous said...

Yes to the post above. We live in an urban environment after all.

Anonymous said...

The general rule to minimize health effects is to be about 3 football fields away. Yes, this is an urban environment, but there is a significant difference in the concentration of pollutants when you're 0.8 mi away (over 4000 ft) vs being only 100-200 ft away.

...the whole "the solution to pollution is proper dilution" concept. Distance provides the dilution.

Please don't put your desire for convenience ahead of my child's health.

Anonymous said...

What about Aurora? That's a 4-6 lane roadway that looks like a freeway to me. It's certainly less than "3 football fields away" from Lincoln.

-parent who doesn't care about the health of children

Anonymous said...

Lincoln and Hamilton are still over 1000 ft from Aurora, beyond the CA specified minimum distance of 500 ft. And just because an existing school falls within that distance, doesn't mean it's wise to put additional school children in similar locations.

no thanks

Anonymous said...

I-5 also has a higher traffic volume than Aurora. More traffic means more pollutants.

Average daily traffic:
I-5 - 250,000
Aurora - 34,000

Seattle traffic flow data:

Anonymous said...

Is there a difference between how close the John Stanford school is to I-5 and how close John Marshall is? When I look at a map, they both seem quite close to I-5. Kids seem to be doing ok at John Stanford and its proximity to I-5.

Yes, if I had a choice between a school not immediately next to a freeway but still centrally located and a school right next to a freeway, I'd pick the first one. But that may not be an option.

I am genuinely interested in hearing what locations for a North end APP school people who are opposed to John Marshall would support instead.


Anonymous said...

Isn't it the District's job to figure that out? Why not push to stay at Lincoln?

Karen said...

I'm not a scientist, but I think it is a bit alarmist to post studies done in California. Our air quality is different since we get virtually non-stop rain and they get none. Health effects from freeway air are probably much worse in Cali. And, even though we think our traffic is bad, it is generally not stagnant next to the Marshall building unlike Cali traffic.

Anonymous said...

The linked study for health effects on school children was done in the East Bay (Northern CA) not Southern CA.

Lori said...

I'm ambivalent about John Marshall right now, but I did post on the other blog a few days ago that I had concerns about the proximity to I-5 based on my own cursory review of the published literature. I studied epidemiology and environmental health in grad school, so I have some experience reading these sorts of papers. It's not just California but all over the world that researchers report a relationship between traffic pollution and reduced lung function in children.

For our community, right now, there's not enough information to know whether there are legitimate risks to siting an elementary school there or not. But, I'd like to know that the district is performing due diligence and thinking about these issues. And, if necessary, coming up with a mitigation plan, that might be as simple as upgrading the HVAC system and installing HEPA filters.

A number of states have laws that consider proximity to highways and traffic when choosing school sites, so California is not alone.

When you stop to think about it, placing a K-8 or 1-8 program there means that some kids might spend 30 hours/week, 10 months/year, for 8-9 years at the location. Longitudinal studies show that proximity to highways reduces lung function (you can see that in the links that someone else posted earlier in this thread), and the big unknown is what those changes mean later in adult life. Out of an abundance of caution, I think we owe it to the kids to fully assess the site and make sure it's as safe as it can be before returning it to long-term occupancy.

That's all, really. Let's find out if there's anything to worry about first and proceed from there.

Anonymous said...

From the East Bay study:

The findings from this study are consistent with previous investigations in Europe. The results of this study helped support the passage of a School Siting Bill authored by Senator Martha Escutia in 2003.

The highways were the I-880 and I-580 in the East Bay. Average traffic volumes on I-880 are somewhere around 200,000 vehicles a day (less than I-5). I-580 has a lower traffic volume than I-880.

Anonymous said...

I understand that proximity to a freeway isn't great. But if the response is just "we're against it and we have no alternative" then I think we're likely to end up with something even worse.

It's not like the District has an unlimited number of options to choose from in terms of a new location for a north end APP school. There's John Marshall, there's Wilson-Pacific - not sure what else.

While I can live with John Marshall, if there's a better option, I'd be happy to support that instead. But just coming out against John Marshall isn't going to lead to a better result.

Again, I am genuinely interested in finding out if there are better options than John Marshall.


p.s. John Stanford's proximity to I-5 doesn't seem to dissuade families from sending their kids there.

Anonymous said...

p.s. I'd be happy to stay at Lincoln but I can understand why the District needs a building that they can rotate schools through as they renovate various schools in the central and north end. So I don't think Lincoln is a realistic long-term option. Unless John Marshall could serve that need instead. I don't know enough about the two buildings to know if they are comparable in size. It could be that John Marshall's proximity to I-5 wouldn't matter as much if kids were only going to be there while their school was being renovated. Jane

Melissa Westbrook said...

HI, this is Melissa Westbrook from the Seattle Schools Community Forum blog.

One of my special interests is facilities (although I spend more of my time on other issues).

I am trying to work out what will come under BEX IV which is our capital building program levy that will be on the Feb. 2013 ballot (along with the Operations levy).

It's too long and complicated to explain all the moving parts to BEX. Suffice to say that normally, it is about the oldest/worst condition buildings. But capacity management has thrown that whole scenario off.

But one of my goals is to find a permanent homes for APP 1-5, SBOC and Nova. That really does have to be goal #1 for BEX IV and I hope to keep that front and center.

So first, it is unlikely that Lowell at Lincoln could stay there more than another year or two. Why? Because the district needs interim schools for BEX IV projects. Our district moves entire populations out of their current building to Lincoln (or Boren). It is faster this way than building on-site but other districts do tend to build on-site (as we did with Hale).

Keep in mind - these are MY ideas based on my knowledge about facilities and what is available.

I have two ideas for APP 1-5 (or maybe 1-8).

One is John Marshall. This is my neighborhood so I know the area. Marshall is by the freeway but I would consider how convenient that will be for many parents. Also Green Lake Elementary and Roosevelt, while further away, are still close. As well, JSIS and TOPS are right next to the freeway.

You are right to address the air condition as an important issue so if John Marshall is considered, ask the district for a measure.

Marshall does need fixing up, no doubt. But frankly, it is worth the district's while to do so. I'd have to go look up its site size but it could be just 1-5 or maybe 1-8.

Okay, so say John Marshall was APP 1-5 North. What about the capacity issues at Hamilton?

Another capacity issue is the overcrowding at Eckstein and the coming need for more middle school capacity in the north end. I suspect that Wilson-Pacific will be rebuilt but as what?

It could be a middle school containing an APP-North program. That would take some of the pressure off Hamlton and Eckstein (as well as Whitman).


the district could split APP 1-5 (and possibly 1-8)and send half the program to Jane Addams and half to Salmon Bay.

Hear me out.

Jane Addams is on a large site and could have an addition built on for more room. Advantages include buses already going to Jane Addams, near-by community center pool, a horticulture program at Jane Addams and, if it were 1-8, classes for 6-8 at Hale across the street.

Salmon Bay needs rebuilding and could support a larger capacity. Again, there is a nearby community center pool and, if it included 6-8, Ballard High school is nearby for classes.

Now, would Addams or Salmon Bay want to co-house a program? I have no idea. Addams already has a Spectrum program so maybe.

Either plan - new program at a new middle school or co-housing with Salmon Bay and Jane Addams - there would appear to be room for growth.

I know you are tired of being buffeted around and, most of all,living with uncertainty. My personal feeling is that the district has never had a champion for Advanced Learning in any senior leadership and it has allowed it to operate in an underwhelming manner.

Keep in mind - the district facilities personnel is already planning - it's their job. But sometimes they have very different reasons for what buildings they pick for BEX IV and where programs are placed. Keep in mind that program placement is the Superintendent's duty but the AL Taskforce is interested in any and all comments and ideas.

Anonymous said...

Make John Marshall the interim site, so no single group of kids is under I-5 for 8 years. Place APP 1-8 at Lincoln (i.e., leave 1-5 alone, add 6-8). No more splits.


Jon Sloan said...

Now that's a really good idea Constanze...limiting JM to be an interim site, along with HVAC improvements, could possibly mitigate the air quality health risks. And north end APP can stay right where it is, without the disruption of another move, and without undoing all the parents hard work to make it a warm environment. This pains me to say, though, since I can walk to JM and it would be ideal for our family.

Anonymous said...

Melissa, mitigating for indoor air quality (which I see as unlikely) will do nothing for the outdoor air quality.

The risk for younger kids is that their lungs are still developing and the exposure effects are measurable and long term, though usually asymptomatic until lung function is reduced 10% or more. Being outside, running around and breathing at a higher rate, the kids receive more exposure to air pollution than the adults.

Despite what the position paper states (only 3% don't want JM, leaving one to assume 97% do), the support for JM is mixed. 40% of those that responded said "maybe," which doesn't mean full support.

Knowingly twisting the survey results is as dishonest as it gets.

Anonymous said...

To Constanze:
I like your idea also, I think this would be the best option for us. I would change the set up of the Lincoln building though: I would put the elementary classes on the lower levels and the middle school classes on the higher levels, because of the size of the stairs and the building, so that might mean a smaller scale move (only inside the building).
- Another option?

Anonymous said...


I appreciate that you have always been a strong supporter of APP and you have defended it many times on the SSS blog.

My family has been in the APP program for many years which has encompassed a split and a summer move. The north program cannot support another split. The L@L teachers got together and wrote a powerful letter to the district about this very topic - I imagine you saw this as part of the ALTF. Not only are APP teachers not required to have a gifted certification, most of the Lincoln teachers are brand new to the program (after our long-term teachers were chased off last year). We are still waiting for the APP curriculum that the district promised us as part of the 2009 split. With the continued lack of support from the district, the APP program will become even weaker. I will not believe any "promises" from the district that come with another split. Once bitten, twice shy as they say.

I can't believe how much APP has changed in the years we have been in it. These changes have not been for the better. Middle school has also proven to be extremely poor for APP north. I wouldn't choose the APP program for my kids again knowing what I do now. The neighborhood school didn't work for us, so we'd be yet another Seattle family who didn't use the public schools.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Anonymous 9:45 (this is why we don't allow anonymous comments at our site - it gets confusing), I am not negating your concerns about air quality.

I am just saying that the argument to the district might fall on deaf ears given that TOPS and JSIS are literally right next to the freeway.

"Knowingly twisting the survey results is as dishonest as it gets."

I'm confused about what this means. I didn't quote the survey at all in my comments.

Tired, I understand how you feel. The original reason I became active in the district was to make Spectrum a better program and you can see how far I have gotten with that.

I do not understand why advanced learners are treated this way - it certainly is not the norm in other districts and states.

Anonymous said...

Melissa - As part of the AL task force, you simple need to be aware that the support for JM is mixed, not 97% as one might assume from the position paper. As a task force member, the hope is that you won't allow this misleading statistic to guide discussions.

The district has stated the JM site is unsuitable for elementary students. Given that JM's open play space is so close to the freeway, how does one consider it suitable?

Melissa Westbrook said...

"As part of the AL task force, you simple need to be aware that the support for JM is mixed, not 97% as one might assume from the position paper."

I wasn't aware of this but I thought I understood that it was a open survey and that a good number of parents participated.

I can only tell you that the district facilities staff says many things at varying times and honestly, almost nothing they say is written in stone.

I have no advance knowledge of why they are fixing up John Marshall.

Because of capacity management issues there are very few available buildings just for APP (if that's what people want).

Pallas said...

Just to clarify the survey information. The entire survey results were given to the ALTF. These results show that 40% said 'maybe' to the site and it included their issues, one of which was proximity to the freeway.

There was no 'hiding' or twisting of the information.

The survey data is also posted on the SNAPP website:

Anonymous said...

I have to agree that the position paper was misleading. If I read "only 3% would not be satisfied" with JM, I'd assume 97% were. Yes, it's a truthful statement and the details are in the report, but a more accurate summary would be to admit that the support for JM is mixed.

I appreciate that the PTA sent the survey to get parent feedback, but you'd hope the results were fairly presented. I feel like the wording of the question was odd to begin with, and then "maybe" was used as support.


Anonymous said...

Looking at the PTA survey resultson the SNAPP web site, here's the actual question asked (italics mine):

"Thinking about currently available buildings north of the Ship Canal, and the John Marshall building (former middle school near Greenlake, currently leased to community groups) in particular, would that type of building be acceptable for your child?"

3% of the respondents answered "no", and 97% either said "yes" or "maybe".

This survey question is worded with both a general inquiry ("type of building" and "currently available buildings") and a specific example (John Marshall). Given this, I don't think it's valid to say that there is support for John Marshall based on responses to the question as asked. Some may have been thinking about John Marshall specifically, while others may have been thinking about other buildings north of the Ship Canal.

- Survey Says!

Karen said...

When taking the survey I probably said yes to the JM question but, at the time, I didn't know the district said it was inappropriate for elementary kids and I didn't have the air quality studies to help inform my decision, either.

Great idea, Constanze!!! Other than the playground dilemma...

Anonymous said...

Salmon Bay is currently in the middle of a two year expansion (district numbers that I have seen for SB enrollment do not reflect this expansion). I see no way another program could be housed in the building even with renovations unless the entire building was rebuilt (the expansion is requiring some facilities work that is being done without district help). And in that case, why not give the APP program what it deserves-- a real home?

Anonymous said...

I really like Melissa's idea of splitting into a NE and a NW 1-8 APP. I don't know much about Salmon Bay, but Jane Addams is a great location despite being farther north than some of the other options. The traffic is so much less congested as you get past Greenlake that it does not add significant commute time. And the neighborhood is very nice for a school, with proximity to many play fields, Hale and the community center and pool.

We weren't in APP for the first split so that certainly makes it easier for us to consider another split. It seems that the program is growing enough that it will need to split no matter what. If a split occurred with a solid plan in place in two to three years, resulting in two north APP groups close to 300, it could be a positive for the entire program for the long term.

--NE Parent

Anonymous said...

This is a shockingly demoralizing discussion to students entering APP in 6th grade. We originally chose spectrum and it was summarily removed from our school. My child has repeatedly complained about being used as the "buffer child" for problem kids. Her teacher even admitted - "yep. you're the buffer child". She wants to be back with her cohort of APP eligible kids (or nerds as she calls them).

Lack of teaching cohesiveness aside, for my child entering APP I would appreciate her being in with the other APP kids. This doesn't mean I would be completely happy with JM or JM as an interim site for APP kids solely. It's a cruddy building. We already toured Hamilton, she likes it, moving to JM would be another promise broken by the SPS. BUT if that's what it takes to be with her cohort......but I feel that even that is up in the air.

-North Beach E. parent