Thursday, June 6, 2013

June Surprise at Hamilton

Still no firm information, but there is a rumor that APP may get partially or fully moved out of Hamilton starting this year (as in at the end of summer). By request, starting a new thread to discuss.

Please see also the April 2013 thread, "Capacity at Hamilton", and the discussion there.

Update: In the comments, a letter apparently just sent to Hamilton parents from Superintendent Banda saying, "We are not planning to relocate any 6-8th grade students to other schools for the upcoming school year."


Anonymous said...

It would be great if anyone who has information would share it. Seems like a rumor, but we're all so gunshy it's hard not to freak.

-Mom of 5th grader

Anonymous said...

The growth in APP in some ways represents the lack of confidence in a local school. Elementary schools with high achievement have fewer parents that feel the "need" to place their child in a distant APP program. There are many incoming 6th grade students in the APP program that parents have chosen to delay their enrollment until 6th grade. It would be interesting to know how many current 5th graders make up the incoming APP 6th grade class.
If the district has made promises to parents it needs to find a resonable way to live up to it. Power plays and last second command decisions will negate the progress that has been made. Between Hamilton and Lincoln there is plenty of capacity.

Anonymous said...

I'd argue it's not just lack of confidence in a local school, but lack of confidence in the general education program in general, that's driving more families to APP.

What process? What decisions? Are you referencing the AL Task force? Rumor or not, I'd just wish we'd get a final decision or statement. I don't want a July or August surprise. Students can still register for Hamilton over the summer. Numbers can still increase. We don't know the tipping point.

Anonymous said...

When the district moved APP from Lowell, they stated the "drop dead date" for a summer move was July 8. They announced the last day of school that they wanted to move APP out of Lowell.

I think it's too soon to feel safe. I Know there is serious concern now at HIMS about not having enough classrooms to handle the kids. Losing/gaining a few kids here or there in any grade won't make a difference. It really sounds like HIMS needs to lose a classroom of kids in the same grade and the same program in order to make any kind of difference with the capacity issue. That is not likely to happen.


Anonymous said...

June 7, 2013

Dear Hamilton International Middle School community,

As many of you are aware, enrollment is on the rise throughout our school district, including at Hamilton International Middle School. At every school we must balance the safety and security of our students with the need to ensure all of our students receive a high quality education.

For the 2013-14 school year, we are planning for 1,100 students at HIMS – an increase over our current enrollment of 975. We believe we can serve this number of students in our current space. We are not planning to relocate any 6-8th grade students to other schools for the upcoming school year. The maximum capacity of the building is 1,294, and we will continue to work with the City of Seattle to ensure we are meeting all the safety codes.

I know supporting this increase in students will present some challenges, so we are working with HIMS staff to ensure there is enough space to continue the quality teaching and learning. We have already increased the staffing allocation for HIMS, so the necessary teachers will be in place for the start of school. If needed, we may also add staff such as hallway monitors. We will also work with the City of Seattle on traffic safety in the area, and look at solutions for staff parking and drop off/pick up for families.

In addition, any students who are testing into APP during the summer will be placed at Hamilton only if there is space available. All current APP students who live in the Hamilton APP pathway will have a seat at HIMS for the fall.

For more detailed information about enrollment at Hamilton, please visit:

I want to thank Principal Cindy Watters and the HIMS staff for their ongoing work to ensure the needs of students are met. I know they will do an excellent job next year serving and supporting all of our students.


José Banda

Anonymous said...

Ok...why am I still skeptical? The building capacity is not the same as functional capacity. Just because you can fit 1294 students does not mean you can schedule that many students/classrooms. With the separate classrooms for both Spectrum and APP, scheduling does get more challenging. Once again, 1294?? I have heard the functional capacity of HIMS is just under a 1000. Will assignment to self-contained Spectrum classes at HIMS changes as they did for Whitman?

Anonymous said...

I was thinking about this new number of 1294 also as I heard it before as 960. I wonder who can change this number, why is it different every year?
And I am also worried that if it is going to be safe for the students at HIMS next year at all? In case of a fire for example, will the students have enough time to run out of the building in those tiny staircases?

Anonymous said...

I got the impression the 1296 number was about Health and Safety Code limits. If so, the question is more about logistics and scheduling. Will class sizes be bigger than contractual limits in order to make scheduling work?

Meg said...

I am really glad that HIMS will be allowed to keep all assigned students in the building for 2013-14.

The thing is, I strongly suspect that 2013-14 will be the last year that HIMS can guarantee assignment for both assignment area schools and APP. What's the plan? To my eye, the district's current "plan" of further dividing APP north and serving students closer to home will actually worsen capacity issues throughout the north end for all students.

So what's the optimal situation given the less-than-optimal circumstances - not just for APP, but for all students? I have my opinions, but I'm curious to hear what others have to say.

Jon said...

I think the optimal solution is less about APP and more about Spectrum. They should open good and attractive Spectrum programs in multiple schools across the district working 1-2 years ahead in reading and/or math for anyone who can do the work.

That will take the pressure off APP. Parents will have a good option close to home and many will pick that. If we then tighten the entry criteria on APP slightly, APP should shrink a little, and APP should then fit in its existing locations.

The best part about this solution is that it serves all goals. 10-20% of children might be able to work in at least one of math or reading at at least one grade level ahead compared to a mere 2-3% able to be served by APP. Reviving Spectrum would help many more children than APP ever could.

Better access, more convenient, helps many more children, and helps manage capacity, what's not to like? Create good Spectrum in many schools, that is the optimal solution.

Anonymous said...

Jon, what you propose would be great. How would you change the entry criteria for APP?


dw said...

TC, I also agree with Jon (I've been preaching this for the past few years).

As for entrance criteria, you remove the MAP from the achievement portion and replace it with something else more reliable and bump the achievement #s back up to 98%. Non-verbal scores should be used only in borderline cases, never as a 2 out of 3 with reading and quantitative.

But FAR more important than adjusting entrance criteria is shoring up the support for kids who are working ahead but don't need a standalone program like APP -- i.e. Spectrum. Or possibly ALO if the district could ever get their act together on that.

If Spectrum programs were actually supported around the city, APP would not be in the mess it is right now because MANY people would be happier in their own regions. Closer to home, less transportation costs, better fit for more students, APP wouldn't need to be stupidly growing out of its shell every couple years giving ulcers to the district, parents and kids.

But the district doesn't see fit to offer programs to serve these kids. The kids who are ready for more challenge than a regular curriculum offers, but don't need the specialized services that APP used to provide. What the hell is wrong with our administrators?!

Anonymous said...

dw, if I could have pasted your post into my advanced learning survey, I would have!

Anonymous said...

Meg - I think we'll see a NE/NW split in 2014-15 with half of APP staying at HIMS and half going to JAMS or Eckstein. The district's 2017 projection (yeah, yeah, I know, they're so god at them - not) say that half of APP middle has Eckstein as their attendance area middle and the remaining half have HIMS or Whitman as theirs. Then another split down the road with the NW part peeling off to Whitman or the WP. I'm not opining about whether or not these splits and locations are good just that I think they're consistent with what's been put out there about upcoming boundary shifts.
HIMS APP parent

Anonymous said...

There won't be room at JA or Eckstein. My bet is on a 2014-15 split from Hamilton to Wilson Pacific (to "seed" the new school, in part), and then another potential split to JA in 2016, after the k-8 moves out.

I am so sure of this, that despite years of district insanity, I would actually be surprised if it is NOT what happens. The capacity argument for this order is too strong,