Friday, February 1, 2013

Latest on capacity and APP

By request, a new thread to discuss last night's board meeting ([1] [2] [3] [4]), the vote not to immediately add a Jane Addams middle school and instead to move Laurelhurst to Eckstein (instead of Hamilton), and the implications for APP.


Anonymous said...

I'd like to know if this means that Hamilton APP will definitely be moved or split next year. I'm not sure I want to sign my soon-to-be 6th grader up for the challenges of moving into a brand new operation after only one year. She hasn't been in APP before so that would be a big change on it's own, this coming year. Then a new move after that.


Anonymous said...

I don't think anybody can say anything definitely. I don't think it will be split the following year(though I think it is marginally more likely that it will be in 2015), but you are right that it is a possibility. I think the greater possibility is that 6th graders will end up over at Lincoln this fall, but that might not bother you. And no one has planned for that- it's just what I would worry about more than a split the following year.

Honestly if your neighborhood school is workable I would probably try to stick with it and rejoin the pathway in high school. Do you have advanced math access? A good LA program? Good elective choice to keep her engaged if the core academics are a little slower?

There is a lot of upheaval coming. If I had an APP qualified 5th grader right now I wouldn't sign up for it. It's not certain enough for me to opt OUT of the program if I was in with a 5th grader(and guarantee us upheaval and transition) but it would be enough to keep me from opting IN. I have so far kept my older child out because of the upheaval, who's not yet a 5th grader. We'll just have to see what it looks like when he gets there next year.

APP x 2

Anonymous said...

Thanks APPx2. Yes, she can be placed as high as algebra, based on the recommendation of her 5th grade teacher. LA is mostly good. Science is weak, according to current parents. Good electives, yes.

Can she get back onto the pathway later, say for HS? What is the last on-ramp to APP? And is APP even needed in HS, as our large High Schools probably have advanced classes for her.

Thanks again.

Lori said...

I agree that no one knows what might happen at Hamilton this coming fall.

With Laurelhurst now going to Eckstein, it takes some pressure off Hamilton's numbers, so theoretically, there's room for current Lincoln APP kids plus those who opt into APP for 6th grade. Theoretically.

The wild card will still be how parents choose during open enrollment, given all the uncertainty. Maybe more kids than usual will choose APP because Eckstein now looks just as crowded next year as this year. Or maybe the fear of an unknown APP pathway keeps more kids at Eckstein, thus worsening its overcapacity. If fewer NE families choose APP at 6th grade AND Laurelhurst kids now go to Eckstein too, the Eckstein numbers could be well over 1300 this fall. And then what happens? Do some kids get forced to an annex at Jane Addams after all?

It's really truly a shame that the district is doing only 1-year solutions. It's just impossible to make a good and reliable 3-year decision for your child by March 8, 2013 when the district will only dole out their plans 1 year at a time.

I don't have a kid in middle school nor do I have a 5th grader, so I can only say generically that I'd have to visit each school, write out pros and cons, focusing on the academic environment, and discuss the options as openly and honestly as possible with my family. Unfortunately, people are going to have to tell their kids that there is just no way to know this spring whether they will finish their middle school experience in the same building that they started at.

And everyone needs to keep in mind that the current 4th grade cohorts in the N and NE are larger than the current 5th grade cohorts. If everything works out this fall, that would be awesome. But we have to go thru this all again next year for 2014/2015, and I suspect with new boundaries, bigger cohorts, etc, someone is going into the John Marshall building until new sites come on line. Will it be a roll up with just 6th graders? Or will a group of 6/7/8 graders move en masse? I don't know. But I don't think Hamilton has room to take all of our current Lincoln 4th grade kids plus others who opt in for 2014/2015.

Anonymous said...

I think it's important that EVERY family who is considering APP for their child understand that this is what APP is going to be like for the next several years. You can go on school tours and ask what's going to happen, but no one will be able to tell you. You need to go in understanding that.

We entered the program before all of this uncertainly began, and I am glad we did. Would we do it again? We truly believed that APP was something our child needed. I know other parents who have said their kid was happy at the neighborhood school. If my kid were happy, I would likely leave them there. For my child, who was unhappy, we would likely do either APP or try and figure out how to do private. The neighborhood school was not an option.

-been there

Anonymous said...

If your child plans on attending the neighborhood high school, then choosing APP for middle school becomes a tougher choice. When you are chooing APP, you are choosing a pathway. Right now, the pathway leads to either Ingraham IBX or Garfield. You always have the choice to go to your neighborhood school, whatever that may be at the time.

In middle school, APP also means accelerated science - physical science in 7th grade and biology in 8th grade - which makes it different from Spectrum.

The last chance to apply for the Garfield pathway is as a 7th grader. A student needs to be enrolled in APP as an 8th grader to attend Garfield. The last chance to apply for the Ingraham IBX is as an 8th grader. A student does not need to be in APP in middle school in order to apply for Ingraham IBX.

Of course the rules and options could change after you make your choice...

There is no guarantee that a 6th grader starting in APP next year will in the Hamilton building the year after. There isn't even a guarantee that they'll be there next year.

Anonymous said...

I am having trouble imagining the JA community allowing that annex to happen, or the board making them. The board was pretty clear last night that JA K-8 is priority number one(I'm not exactly bitter, but ok, message received. I get it. The rest of the NE and NNE just has to work around them as best we can and try to get the new middle school started.). It seems like mostly Eckstein gets told they just have to deal no matter what, right? Especially since the principals are putting on brave, professional faces and trying their hardest- "we can make it work." which gets misinterpreted as "it's fine."

I don't say that to vent, but to say it seems much more likely to me that in that scenario either it would just be that overcrowded- 50 kid classes, etc- or Laurelhurst would get moved BACK, and then APP(or some part) gets pushed out. But if Eckstein enrollment is high, maybe it's more likely that APP enrollment will be lower(people will have rolled the dice on one bad year at Eckstein as a price for 2 years stability after instead of the next 3 years possibly including 2 moves and 1 split for APP middle)? And Hamilton would fit? I guess it's reading tea leaves to say at this point. But I do really, really doubt the annex would happen, no matter what.

APP x 2

Anonymous said...

I didn't know that about the Garfield pathway closing off in 7th grade. Sorry Anon. That does make the choice harder. If it helps I have my eye on the Ingraham IBX program for our family anyway, but foreclosing one option of two does seem hard. Now I don't know what I'd do in your place. Wail and gnash my teeth, I guess. I probably will next year.

APP x 2

Anonymous said...

I didn't get the impression that JA K-8 was top priority for the Board. My take-away was that starting JAMS in 2013 to please the families that get to remain at Eckstein is not fair to the students of the three schools who will feed the new JAMS. I never heard one person from any of those three NNE feeder schools say that their preference was for a 2013 startup, given how much smaller their population would be compared to Eckstein's. Smaller population = fewer choices. Those three NNE elementary populations prefer more planning and a bigger feeder area/bigger population and prefer their new school be started a year later. JA K-8 is losing its building and will be moved twice or co-housed with a middle school in 2014 (with tons of portables by 2015). I wouldn't consider that preferential treatment.

Anonymous said...

I'm NNE(on what will be the JAMS/Eckstein border, I think.), and it's mine, along with a lot of my neighbors. I would rather go ahead and start it now when there would have been some focus and help from our neighbors rather than in the middle of the melee that will next year. Confirmation bias at work for you, I suppose. I did certainly hear from the people whose preference was to wait, though that was 99% JA K-8 people.

I really was just trying to figure out the most likely scenarios, and unfortunately that means betting on politics. Which is to say it's very, very hard. Good luck to anyone deciding this year.

APP x 2

Anonymous said...

To APP x 2 - Do you have a 5th grader attending John Rogers, Sacajawea, or Olympic Hills? Or are you saying that when boundaries are redrawn in 2014, your house might reside in the JAMS feeder area? From what I understood, the only people wanting JAMS to start in 2013 were the people who wouldn't have to send their kids there.... the people craving the much-needed relief that Hamilton and Eckstein folks deserve.

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that a (non currently APP enrolled)student's Spring 7th grade MAP scores need to (both) be 95% or above in order to be allowed to test for IBx at Ingraham. I'm not sure if APP enrolled students have any MAP cut off for IBx.

Anonymous said...

No, 4th. This is our future neighborhood middle school, so I'm invested in how it starts.

From what I understand most of the people who did not want JAMS to start this year were hoping to get grandfathered in to Eckstein and want the music program there. My kid is not musical, and I'd rather have our own, regular, neighborhood middle school than stay at overstuffed Eckstein, and I don't want a k-8.

This is the APP blog, though. They don't need a survey of NNE families opinions of JAMS. I didn't want to leave that misunderstanding out there, but I'm not going to reply again on the topic. It's water under the bridge at this point. It's starting next year, and my guess is the chaos coming this year is going to make us less likely to go to it than if it had started this year, since we have a choice, though I was excited about a neighborhood option when I first heard about it. That's just us, though. Obviously you know people who will choose differently.

APP x 2

Anonymous said...

@ APP x 2

Ah, but there's the rub: it's NOT 'water under the bridge.... just yet...

BEX might fail, Eckstein might get stampeeded with sixth graders looking for a life boat (crowded or not, it is still a "name brand" education, and NNE fifth grade parents have said they'd rather go there for a year and risk the possibilty of getting geo-split out and off into JAMS the following year). If either one or both of those things happen, then the District may be forced to revert back to their most recent proposal OR hold back the APP fifth graders, although why they'd do the latter I don't know. I can't imagine anyone would want to opt-in to APP 6th grade now. If they made due in their ALO, spectrum or general ed program until now, it may be far more stable to sit tight for another year before deciding to cast their lot in with ours.

Honestly, I would rather my (young-ish) kid stay at Lincoln for sixth grade, which is several years away, because at least there I know there will be a focus on gifted ed which is what we need provided to our child. Sure, our first choice would be a comprehensive middle school with 40% APP population in a building that's not overcrowded and doesn't have a portable farm (e.g. Hamilton), but, that's not going to be our experience, so we may as well now start figuring out what will work best. A sixth grade roll up in a stand alone building with the 6th grades from 4 other schools parked in Marshall is too isolated and won't be a model that could ably speak to the needs of highly capable, so yes, we would rather stay put at Lincoln under the circumstances and trust Lincoln's administration to make it all work. It's not perfect, it is not ideal, but nothing will be perfect or ideal for most of the kids north of the ship canal regardless of which school they are coming from. Shared pain.
-Lincoln, but the younger years

Anonymous said...

How is a roll-up of 6th graders at Lincoln any less isolating than a 6th grade academy? If anything, it's more isolating. They wouldn't be a part of APP@Lincoln, just sharing the building. They would lose out on the middle school experience in a way that potential 6th grade roll-up JAMS families were balking about. Would they then phase APP out of Hamilton and those students always be the class that takes the hit? They've taken on more than their share of the pain.

-no thank you

Gramps said...

Lori said...
I agree that no one knows what might happen at Hamilton this coming fall.
With Laurelhurst now going to Eckstein, it takes some pressure off Hamilton's numbers, so theoretically, there's room for current Lincoln APP kids plus those who opt into APP for 6th grade. Theoretically.

That's not only true, it would have been true if the Board had voted to start JAMS this fall, as that proposal also had Laurelhurst feeding into Eckstein instead of Hamilton.

If projections are right, APP will enjoy another year with grades 1-5 at Lincoln and 6-8 at Hamilton. If projections are wrong...

...6th Grade APP at Lincoln?

Well, it certainly clears Occam's Razor: APP @Hamilton is running out of room; APP @Lincoln, practically next door, has room. And the District has already proposed it once.

But what if, instead of letting District Staff and the Board mandate how to use the capacity surplus at Lincoln to mitigate the capacity deficit at Hamilton, the Lincoln and Hamilton APP communities got together and brainstormed how the capacity in these two buildings could best serve APP grades 1-8?

Maybe 6th grade at Lincoln is the way to go, but maybe other ideas are better. What if they moved the 8th grade homerooms to Lincoln? Moved certain labs or subjects? Segregated the middle school by sex (e.g., boys at Lincoln, girls at Hamilton)? Really I am just throwing a few ideas out there, I am not saying they are any good ;-)

But I'm just one old man. I think if the Lincoln and Hamilton APP parents, teachers, and maybe even our their smart, problem-solving kids got together they could arrive at a brilliant way (or ways) to use the Lincoln surplus to manage a capacity shortfall at Hamilton -- should one arise. (And remember, until the new schools at Wilson Pacific are built, we shall be involved in capacity hassles year after year).

Could the two APP north communities start this conversation now? So we're not blindsided again in June?

- Gramps

Anonymous said...


Potential new to APP parent here with some questions for those in the "know."

I just enrolled my kid in SPS for first grade, with APP as the first option on the choice form, because I assume that if she met the eligibility requirements for APP she would be assigned. (waiting for the appeal to be approved, but she has the required scores and I submitted on time, and got confirmation that they have the appeal so it would be an arbitrary denial if they deny it...)

After all the the school choice plan states: APP eligble kids get assigned to APP, and Spectrum eligible kids are Not gauranteed a spot in Spectrum.

However, I get a little nervous about the possibility that APP will be over enrolled and they will start waitlisting kids like they do for Spectrum at Whittier.

Am I worrying for no reason?

The very nice woman who helped me at Enrollment services told me that tiebreakers for APP are first sibling then "distance." This seems very odd to me. I wonder if she is not informed, or if there is something to this.

What does happen if they have way more kids eligible for APP than they have spots for? Do they waitlist kids, and if so, how do they decide who gets waitlisted?

-nervously waiting

Evan said...

Hi nervous,

The Seattle Schools web site says, "Newly-eligible APP students who enroll on-time (during Open Enrollment) are guaranteed an assignment." ( Of course that policy could always change, but I don't think it's been an issue in the past.

This blog post from last fall implies that Lincoln has around 25-26 kids in most of the classes:

I'm in a similar boat; I have an APP-eligible kindergartener rising to 1st grade and trying to decide whether to make the switch or not. My wife and I will be at the Lincoln tour tomorrow.

Good luck.

Lori said...

I think the waitlist information and tiebreaker information is for APP families who chose a different APP program than the one in their geography.

So, if you live near Thurgood Marshall but really wanted to be at Lincoln for some reason, you could list Lincoln on your form but there is no guarantee you'd get in. That's when capacity, tiebreakers etc are used.

In the past, as long as you enroll on time, the elementary APP spot at your assigned school is guaranteed.