Thursday, April 28, 2016

Cascadia PTSA Round Table with Flip Herndon and Rick Burke

I'm just back from the general PTSA meeting tonight at Lincoln. Very generously, school board member Rick Burke and Flip Herndon the assistant Superintendent in charge of facilities and capacity came out to answer questions and hold a community round table after the general business was completed. For those hoping for new information about all of the impending capacity issues, the short answer is that not much has shifted since the last time I saw Flip in person.  All the key decisions, geo-splits, boundary zones etc. are still up in the air and won't be resolved until next Fall at the earliest.

However, there were a few interesting points raised. During  the principal talk, Rina announced next year's confirmed enrollment for Cascadia is currently at 732 which is actually down from this year although the window to join is still open.  We talked again after it was over and she made a special plea for those families who haven't officially committed to enroll as soon as possible. This will make the staffing and budgeting process easier for the staff.  She also mentioned that she is involved in the K-5 English/Language Arts curriculum adoption process. I hope to look into the materials further at some point and post about it.

I had mentioned here that Flip had three children enrolled in the district. He added on tonight that one of his kids was involved in the HCC qualification process this year. If its any comfort to those of you who also went through the process, the senior staff share your pain: Flip mentioned missed screening deadlines and late status notifications.

On the subject of whether Cascadia will split, there was little new information but his tone made it seem likely.

  • Apparently the district is trying hard to avoid portables on the new site. This was stressed.
  • The new K-3 teacher student ratios have further reduced the capacity of the building absorbing all the flex spaces that were planned.
  • The 660 capacity numbers are the "right size" for the building.
  • If there is a split, the district will try to identify a cohort of  around 150 students. Note: for comparison Fairmount Park has about 164 HCC students.
  • The only possible site that came up by name in his talk was the Decatur Building

There was a brief mention also of the Hamilton Capacity issues for next year. The district is still trying to get permission from the city Landmark Commission for a one year placement of 2 double wide portables on the blacktop. This will be decided hopefully by mid May.

High Schools were talked about as well. Flip mentioned Garfield is projected to reach 2400 students in a few years without adjustments being made. He also said conversations were being had about whether to make Ingraham the default High School placement for the north end rather than an option despite this year's enrollment issues.

Finally, in a brief comment Rick Burke mentioned that the district is 11 curriculum adoptions behind and doesn't have the budget to get those done as quickly as he would like. So any HCC specific materials are very unlikely and that instead the adoptions are being done with an eye towards textbooks that will serve both the gen-ed and advanced learning communities.


One editorial note: If you're planning ahead its best to make peace with the lack of certainty and assume that you will be geo-split. The capacity  and budgetary constraints are only getting more severe.


70 comments :

Anonymous said...

High Schools were talked about as well. Flip mentioned Garfield is projected to reach 2400 students in a few years without adjustments being made. He also said conversations were being had about whether to make Ingraham the default High School placement for the north end rather than an option despite this year's enrollment issues.

So your address would determine whether you went the AP or IB route?

Finally, in a brief comment Rick Burke mentioned that the district is 11 curriculum adoptions behind and doesn't have the budget to get those done as quickly as he would like. So any HCC specific materials are very unlikely and that instead the adoptions are being done with an eye towards textbooks that will serve both the gen-ed and advanced learning communities.

Lame. Why not just put them in the same gen ed classes, too, and make them learn at the same pace, or repeat material they already know?



Anonymous said...

Only 150 kids????

Anonymous said...

If Ingraham is a default HCC placement, students should have AP options and not be forced to do IB. There is a reason it's a choice. My guess is north end students choosing Garfield over Ingraham would choose Ballard and Roosevelt over Ingraham. It's about wanting access to strong music programs and having the flexibility that AP classes offer. Hard to believe it could be a forced placement at Ingraham after families had to work with the district to get an option placement.

Anonymous said...

It's best to consider the options available to non-HCC students before complaining about your own. Students are already assigned by default to Ingraham - and they have no right to a seat at an AP school. Students assinged to an AP school have no right to a seat at an IB school.

Anonymous said...

I assumed it would be a NE split, but that would be a lot more than 150 kids.

-drawing the line

Anonymous said...

A while back, there was a posted document showing HCC attendance across the district. It showed where students enrolled, along with their attendance area. Does anyone have a link?

SPS Mom said...

I believe 150 was what was determined to be the smallest "viable" size for an HCC cohort a few years ago. I think maybe when they were looking at the Hamilton/Jane Addams split at middle school?

Lynn said...

Are you thinking of the Enrollment Report?

Anonymous said...

The 150 number was meant as a minimum for middle school, not elementary. At the elementary level, 150 would be around one class per grade (hmm...like Spectrum).

Anonymous said...

Thanks Lynn, but the document I remember showed attendance at a particular school broken out by home attendance area. The table showed Ingraham enrollment, for example, broken down by # of students from Ballard, Hale, Roosevelt, etc. Perhaps it wasn't HCC specific.

Anonymous said...

I'm looking a Friday Memo from Jan 2016 that shows JAMS's HCC enrollment at 296 https://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/School%20Board/Friday%20Memos/2015-16/January%2015/20160115_FridayMemo_HC%20DATA%20as%20of%201.4.16_withsource%20(3).pdf, which I think is a much better estimate of the number of HCC students in the NE area available to peel off Cascadia and fill a new school.

However, Flip repeatedly discussed the split as peeling off 150 students and finding a school that could fit them in. Only when pressed did he admit that the Decatur site was being considered. My impression was that the district's priority is to co-locate HCC wherever possible, not surprising.

Anonymous said...

My link didn't work, so search for Highly Capable Numbers as of January 4, 2016 at https://www.seattleschools.org/.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 12:25, the issue is that HCC students are already ahead in certain areas, whereas non-HCC students are taking the more typical classes for their grade. This means that a neighborhood high school might not offer an appropriate sequence of courses for HC students, requiring them to repeat years worth of work. For example, Nathan Hale requires all 9th and 10th graders to take physical science and biology, since most students don't take those in middle school. HCC students, however, do take them in middle school, and most will have already passed the district's Biology End-of-Course exam, which is eligible for high school credit. Similarly, many HCC students take Algebra 1 in 6th grade, meaning appropriate high school math classes would be Pre-Calc, AP Calculus AB, maybe AP Stats, but no option for 2nd year Calculus (like Garfield and a few other high schools do offer). The whole reason for HC pathway schools is to ensure that HC students have access to the next classes needed. For students working closer to grade level, that's not a problem.

Anonymous said...

See page 32, "Students in High Schools by Attendance Area: Summary," 2015-16

http://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/Enrollment%20Planning/Reports/Annual%20Enrollment/2015-16/Section%204.pdf

Anonymous said...

I don't understand how they can peel (this word is sounding grosser by the second) 150 kids from Cascadia.

There are currently 270 kids from the Eckstein service area at Cascadia in grades 1-5. There are 65 from the JAMS service area. That's 335 NE kids.

If you just add up Cascadia grades 1-3 from those two service areas, who will be the 3-5 graders the year of this potential split, it is more than 150 kids (it's 169).

I can't find the exact numbers but Bryant and VR alone send around 150 kids to Cascadia.

I can't even think about the dynamics of splitting 650 to W-P and 150 to Decatur. Or the dynamics on the TC site between TC and Decatur.

Sad

Anonymous said...

Ah, it's on page 10 of that link. Bryant and VR had 151 in Cascadia this year.

http://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/Enrollment%20Planning/Reports/Annual%20Enrollment/2015-16/Section%204.pdf

Anonymous said...

Given the expense of the IB program and that the district is not funding it, Ingraham as a northend HCC site would have to do a tremendous amount of fundraising and grant writing to be able to serve all northend HCC students in an IB program. Maureen noted that it costs $250,000 currently to run the IB program, and those costs will go up with each body added. The demands on each family to raise those kinds of funds would make Ingraham into a semi-private school. Or the district would have to dedicate a tremoundous amount of money to support HCC at Ingraham IB, which would open a whole other can of worms.

What about Lincoln as an alternate AP site? A third high school pathway?

Anonymous said...

Cascadia students from the View Ridge, Sand Point, Laurelhurst and Wedgwood attendance areas could fit into Decatur at a current enrollment of 162. Bryant could be geosplit? It's so many kids and a huge attendance area, especially after the new boundary changes. It will extend from very close to the Thornton Creek site all the way west of 15th over to Green Lake.

Anonymous said...


Again the best plan is to have QA, Magnolia Cap Hill/Montlake/Mad Valley south of Madison go to Lowell with a mix of gen ed and HCC. Also, I think that to have a self contained building is wrong headed so I would think to have another NE building perhaps at Sand Point.


2 1/2 cents

Anonymous said...

What about Lincoln as an alternate AP site? A third high school pathway?

...kind of like JAMS, but it's high school.

If Ingraham were to become a default north end pathway, they might also choose to add AP classes, rather than have the expectation that all HCC students would seek the IB diploma. If students had the choice of IB or AP at the same school, would the IB cohort grow, dwindle, stay the same? They could also teach some IB classes in a way that would allow students to sit for the AP exams - isn't that how Interlake operates?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know who is on the Lincoln H.S. "design team" which I think is already meeting related to opening Lincoln? It seems like it would be a no-brainer to have Lincoln be the north AP/HCC high school. Who is it that we advocate with? Although it would also be a no-brainer to have it be IB-related given that kids from JSIS and McDonald are in Lincoln's catchment zone.
Lincoln thinking

Anonymous said...

IB-only options in the north end sites and AP in the south end? That does not seem like a no-brainer to me. Don't students from the international middle schools get preference to Ingraham, which is actually "Ingraham International School?"

Benjamin Leis said...

You should bear in mind that while Flip is a senior member of the administration he is not responsible for program placement. So w.r.t. Ingraham it will take more information to know if this is likely to occur.

That said, in the same section he mentioned that discussions were also underway about the focus for Lincoln H.S. which included whether to make it an international school. From the outside that makes particular sense since its the same cluster as JSIS, and Hamilton. The realignment of the high school feeder paths and programs is going to be significant one way or the other.

Anonymous said...

What about the Olympic Hills site for NE APP?

I'm not familiar with the neighborhood around the new Cascadia site? Is there a need for neighborhood seats in that area (if APP was split in half and didn't fill the building)?

Anonymous said...

Based on everything that has been communicated by various SPS leaders this year and most recent comments during Highly Capable Work Session*, the writing is on the wall:
The only way to fit in 150 at Decatur and remainder at WP w/o portables and maintain that fit is by tightening criteria next year.

Eligibility criteria will increase to 99%+ so that HCC schools only admit the outliers among the outliers and no more appeals.

Everyone else will be served by their neighborhood school.

Is there research available on what % of HCC attendees who scored 99% for both COGAT and achievement tests?

- NN

*see http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/2016/04/highly-capable-work-session.html

Anonymous said...

Huh? There is nothing about that from the HC work session. I've never seen that solution mentioned and it makes no sense. Go look at surrounding districts if you want to see how other qualification matrices work. But they are not tightening their criteria, sorry.

Shauna Heath lead the discussion which I found interesting given the presence of Mr. Martin who spoke very little. She did say that HC was "big" part of her department. They say they are dedicated to "everyone who wants to get in, gets in."

From the thread you cited.

Anonymous said...

A few comments - 1) Appeals are a required part of Washington code for Highly Capable. They don't have to consider private tests as part of an appeal, but they are required to have an appeals process. 2) Even if they did "tighten" criteria (unlikely), would they create a program appropriate for those outliers of outliers? Unlikely. I would hesitate to predict what SPS has in store for HCC/AL in terms of future program and service delivery.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 11:43a:

The first part of my sentence was "based on everything...communicated..this year", so the work session was not the sum of my sources.

HC services are not guaranteed as a stand-alone school, just that they'll be provided by a school in any way that school chooses to define it. So they'll get in, but...to differentiation at their neighborhood school - not the stand-alone site.

Did you read between the lines to Heath's comments about the score difference between HCC-eligible vs. HCC attending students?

- NN

Anonymous said...

By appeals, my implication was "private".
-NN

Anonymous said...

Cedar Park and Decatur are both obvious options for HCC elementary. Decatur will be empty this fall, has a capacity of 325 and there are no plans to use it for anything else. Cedar Park will be available at the time Cascadia opens, has a capacity of 400, and all of the students currently planned for the building would fit into the roomy new Olympic Hills. (I think staff hopes to add HCC students to Olympic Hills but don't think anyone else thinks this is a good idea.)

Other buildings with no planned use:

Webster 450 seats available fall of 2021
Schmitz Park 250 seats (without portables) available fall of 2016
John Marshall 800 seats available fall of 2020

Anonymous said...

Is there research available on what % of HCC attendees who scored 99% for both COGAT and achievement tests?

Does AL keep a record of test results? Parents don't even get the full score reports from district administered CogAT tests.

I think the opposite of anon@11:36. I think HCC is headed toward a more Spectrum level delivery, and the increased numbers for HCC could lead to the dissolution of the cohort model. It's just that the cohort allows for greater flexibility in dealing with capacity issues.

Anonymous said...

A simple solution to some of the HCC textual issues is simply to provide higher grade level texts to the lower cohorts. For example 7th grade texts to 5th or 10th to 8th. It isn't perfect but it will serve and it wouldn't be an additional adoption.

Anonymous said...

Texts? What texts? Also, upper level texts may or not be age appropriate. It really depends on the subject. Middle school APP used to read some higher level literature, but with the high school LA adoption years ago, were told they couldn't read books on the high school list.

Anonymous said...

Additionally, texts written to grade level may not be terribly complex. Have you looked a the SPS adopted text for high school biology? What you suggest is already being done for math, and the materials generally do not offer higher level problems to challenge advanced students.

Anonymous said...

No, that doesn't work for texts because what's covered differs by year. 8th graders, for example, study US History. They can't just give HCC kids the 8th grade US History texts to use in 6th grade when they're covering early civilizations.

Anonymous said...

Think about the recent middle school SS adoption. While the district is sure it will work for HCC too, they aren't providing the supplementary materials that would be needed for advanced learners. And one of the selling points of the 6th grade materials was that they "offer more supports for younger students" as opposed to increased rigor. How exactly does that make the case for one-size-fits-all texts???

Anonymous said...

@ NN, Shauna Heath's comments about the score difference between HCC-eligible vs. HCC attending students suggest she has no understanding of either the basis for HCC services or how to meaningfully interpret data. Numerous posters above have illuminated some of the key problems in trying to use the data as she did.

Of course, Ms Heath would probably like us to believe that the reason for the small difference is that the program just isn't needed... Why? Because the alternative--that it isn't serving families well and isn't producing the outcomes it should--makes her look bad. Who wants to be responsible for an ineffective program?

It's like taking two groups of adults who want to lose weight, and assigning one to a new weight loss program and another to nothing. If both groups maintain their starting weight, would you declare the pilot program unnecessary, because those not in the program "lost just as much weight" (aka none)? Or would you conclude that your pilot program was ineffective?

Anonymous said...

The new middle school SS texts haven't even made an appearance in my child's 8th grade class. They are reading the Young People's Zinn at a very.slow.pace, and they read another "philosophy" book, "All the Right Stuff," that apparently all 8th graders classes read.

Anonymous said...

Of course, Anon @ 2:26, the students in HCC at JAMS (which is what I think you're talking about) were given the option to read the regular Zinn or the young people's edition. If your kid is reading the young people's version, it was because he or she chose it.

The class in question is less of a survey of US history than it is a critique of a typical survey. We could certainly discuss the merits of that approach, but also be aware that the students have read a whole bunch of primary sources. My guess is that the regular textbooks would be much duller in comparison and more geared toward memorizing "facts" than developing analytical tools. So, in a way, this is exactly the "good" social studies that people on this blog have wanted.

What is true at JAMS is that all 8th graders are doing this, so this is not a different or accelerated course.

--Cappy

Anonymous said...

Continuing the off topic tangent...some would argue it shouldn't be an either/or. You need to know the facts in order to do serious analysis. True, students were given a "choice" about texts, but my child was loath to read either version.

Anonymous said...

What is true at JAMS is that all 8th graders are doing this, so this is not a different or accelerated course.

How does this fit with the WAC 392-170-012, which says that "for highly capable students, access to accelerated learning and enhanced instruction is access to a basic education"?

Anonymous said...

A sampling of 2015 enrollment data by school (not HCC specific)

To Ingraham, from
Roosevelt - 153
Ballard - 111
Hale - 84
Garfield - 12

To Garfield, from
Franklin - 107
West Seattle - 85
Roosevelt - 66
Ballard - 53
Ingraham - 14

Ingraham enrollment is 69% attendance area students, Garfield 75%.

Anonymous said...

Those transferring into Garfield from out of the attendance area are, I believe, all HCC. The days of attending from outside the boundaries are long gone if you aren't in HCC.

Anonymous said...

How would it work to split a cohort of only 150 in an area (around TC) that is so dense with HCC students? Can anyone hazard a guess on how that might be done?

Deciding

Anonymous said...

...good point. SPS map of "Where Grade 1-5 students live who are enrolled in HCC"

http://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/Enrollment%20Planning/Maps/datamaps/pdfs/Heatmap_HCC_Enr_15.pdf

Anonymous said...

Does this map illustrate where we have concentrations of bright kids, or point to areas where our schools are not meeting the needs of their HCC population?

Questioning ALO

Curious said...

It would be interesting to compare that map to the neighborhood schools that have kept their HC eligible kids.

Anonymous said...

I was the person who pressed the issue about the split at last night's meeting, and at the Ballard PTA meeting, AND at October's HC Advisory Committee meeting. In October, the head of AL was there (barely) and he seemed surprised when I asked how they plan to fit 800+ students into a school with capacity for ~660 students. In fact, my feeling was that everyone in the room was surprised by my question. The response at that time was that the new Wilson Pacific site was designed with plenty of "plug ins" for portables and they could just rotate lunch and make due, and there was generally no concern about managing for the growing HCC population. At the Ballard meeting, Flip was more forthcoming about the slate of sites being considered for the split and explained that there may be some bizarre boundary lines. I think he has retreated from discussing Olympic Hills or Cedar Park as options publicly because there are equity issues in moving students from those schools to make room for the HCC students. I also asked at the Ballard meeting when the north end HCC elementary capacity planning discussions and decisions would take place, and Flip told the group there would be meetings this spring, including community dialogue. I suppose the meeting last night counts? :-/

-Danielle

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Danielle.

You would need bizarre boundary lines to draw Bryant out of a Thorton Creek site for a split. I don't see how the size of the Bryant HCC cohort is workable with the Decatur building.

Or there could be a geosplit of the Bryant reference area.

Either way, it could really suck for Bryant kids if some of them are sent to the bigger W-P site with none of the other feeders to JAMS.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting the heat map 5:42. Flip mentioned he would be looking at that data and looking for places that have about 150 HCC kids that could integrate into a neighborhood school. Looking at that map I think we've been wrong about assuming this would be a NW/NE split. Each side has way more that 150 kids. Makes me wonder what the plan is for the new Magnolia Elementary building. Because that part of the map, Magnolia/QA, looks to be exactly what he was hoping to find.

Anonymous said...

I still don't understand the 150 number. Once again, that was the suggested minimum for a middle school cohort.

Maureen said...

Is the discussion to integrate a HCC cohort into the new Thornton Creek building, or to place it at the old building? If the old building, I would split the kids by grade level, say HCC 1st and 2nd, maybe 3rd, grade ftom the ne area. That building was designed for small people.

Anonymous said...

Maureen, it was the older Decatur building he was talking about. Your idea gets me thinking. This year there are 3 first grade classes and 6 second grade classes at Cascadia. What if ALL of north end HCC was placed in the Decatur building for 1st and 2nd grade? Possibly co-housed with city preschool?

Compared to the negative effects that would come with a geo-split, this is significantly less disruptive:
All 1st graders and about half the 2nd graders are entering the program at those grades. They are prepared for a transition anyway.
Next year's first grade families are coming into the program knowing there will be upheaval in second grade. For those 75 (or so) students who would move, moving with the entire grade band for one year would be preferable to splitting up for good, after just making new friends at a new school.
The new school would open with experienced teachers because they would move with their grade.
Cascadia 3rd-5th would not lose any of their experienced grade-level teachers to the new program.

The drawbacks are things our community would be dealing with anyway: potential division of PCP teachers and administration, and the teachers that move out may not be happy about it (but being able to stick together with their grade-based teaching team may also be appealing to them).

Everyone will be moving in 2017. In the above scenario, only a very small group of kids (about 10% of the school population) would actually move to a different building, and only for one year. The rest of that cohort would be filled with students new to the program. This could end up being a very positive solution affecting the fewest number of students.

Decatur 1&2

Anonymous said...

A similar proposal was made when Lowell was over capacity just after the first split. One scenario had just 4-5th graders moving to Lincoln. There was very little support for splitting off grade bands of students. A proposal to just move 6th graders from Eckstein and Hamilton, and "roll up" a middle school was ultimately rejected as well.

Anonymous said...

I remember that Lowell proposal. This scenario has some key differences. ALL students will be moving out of Lincoln anyway. Splitting off 1st and 2nd graders, 75% of whom are new, is very different from moving 4th and 5th graders out of an established program into a brand new school. The kids we are talking about haven't even entered the program yet. And there's no comparison to a 6th grade roll up. This wouldn't be a roll up at all. Both cohorts would open full at all grades.

Decatur 1&2

Anonymous said...

Well, first, it wasn't a brand new school. Parents were in the Lincoln building scrubbing and painting walls, scrambling to find shelves and books for a library area, and so on. Splitting off 1st and 2nd graders, and their teachers (not so straightforward, as they are part of a school, not a program), has many of the issues of splitting off the 4th and 5th graders. The general sentiment was one of sticking together and not making one group have to "take it for the team."

Anonymous said...

The Decatur building is awfully east for an all-north draw. Little kids on a bus for an hour+?

Anonymous said...

3:19, it's closer to more people than Lowell was. Bus rides would be in keeping with the district standard of no more than 1 hour for non-attendance area schools.

Anonymous said...

12:57, I said "brand new" but should've said "starting from scratch." I apologize if that statement diminished the work the first families put into getting Lincoln ready for students. It definitely wasn't a brand new school.

That said, unless the program shrinks below 660, there is no possible outcome where someone isn't "taking it for the team." Someone will be affected negatively, whether it's the kids who splinter off, the kids who are left behind (losing friends, teachers and resources) or the kids who all stick together and as a result end up moving into a new building just as overcrowded as the last one. The scenario I described has a negative affect on the smallest number of students. Further, those students would actually be getting a better deal than any other scenario offers. They don't get separated from their friends and they get a right-size school for all of elementary.

Even the teachers may see this as preferable. In a geo-split, teachers are likely to be pulled out anyway, and with much less predictability (Who stays? Who goes? They can't all stay if 150+ students leave). In the Decatur 1/2 scenario, the nine teachers that leave are already a cohesive team with a similar vision, experienced with working together and with our population. They would be creating a new school, vs trying to shoehorn HCC into an existing neighborhood school. These are huge benefits when starting a new program.

Decatur 1&2

Anonymous said...

@ Decatur 1&2, so you mean Cascadia would then be only 3-5? That seems like building in a lot of transitions for kids: K somewhere, then a switch to Decatur for 1-2, then a switch to Cascadia, then MS, then HS. Since HCC elementary students already have an ES transition built in, building in two doesn't sound idea. Especially when things often change and additional transitions pop up all the time due to more overcrowding and splits.

Anonymous said...

Splitting off grades also splits families between even more schools.

Anonymous said...

HCC has doubled in the last 5 years, from 1500 in 2010 to over 3000 in 2015. It will keep growing and splits and capacity problems will continue to plague the program. It may not double again (or maybe it will if all the high tech folks start having kids and stay in Seattle) but it will certainly grow. The only thing you can know for sure is that as the HCC population is not stable, change is a certainty. What is true today re Cascadia, Decatur, etc, will not be true in two years.

Anonymous said...

We are in Ballard and my 1st grader is on the bus for over an hour. Getting to Decatur would be well over an hour. Just because you like your idea doesn't mean it is a good one. I am guessing you live close so an insane amount of time on the bus wouldn't impact your family.
-No 1/2 Decatur

Anonymous said...

Let me back up a bit here. At the meeting, Flip said they were seriously considering splitting out 150 kids and cohousing them in a neighborhood school. When pressed on possible sites, the only one he was willing to mention by name was Decatur. (Probably because it will be empty).

If you look at that heat map posted above, it is blazing orange and yellow near Decatur. NE Seattle has far more than 150 kids, so deciding who would go there would be difficult logistically. The border could end up being very close to the school, forcing kids from the same neighborhood to bus over to Cascadia.

Are you thinking of advocating for a geo-split of 150 students? Sending a small handful of kids away from the school some 5th graders have been at since 1st grade? Even if Decatur doesn't end up being the chosen site, a program with 150 kids can't be as robust as one with 660. So painful geo-split year aside, it just ends up being a lot of uncertainty and upheaval for something less. And existing Cascadia would likely need to share some resources, so students who don't split out would lose something too, besides their friends. Don't get me wrong, despite the upheaval I would support a geo-split if I believed a) it would be into a school big enough to take every NE kid east of I-5, and b) if I believed they wouldn't co-house several small cohorts vs opening a second new HCC school.

Are you thinking of advocating for no split? For adding portables to the site? That has its own set of problems. Cascadia has been overcrowded for years. Because of that, we've lost beloved teachers and entire programs (no more music). We don't have a walkathon anymore. Kids eat lunch in several shifts, and only get to play on the playground with their grade. Next year we will have to have two of each assembly because the kids won't all fit in one. Passing times, recess, lunches are loud and stressful. Busses leave school late because the loading system takes so long. My own child won't even be at the new school, but I will tell you the growth has been rough and if you can right-size the program, I would sure try to.

As for the bus, it is 5.2 mi from Laurelhurst to the new Cascadia site and 5.4 mi Golden Gardens to Decatur. For comparison, Lowell was 8.3 miles from Golden Gardens. Most people choosing HCC have an expectation of some travel time, they weigh the benefits and decide a 15-min longer bus ride is worth it for the education. Crosstown is crosstown, and the regulations say 1 hour or less for us, so if your bus is taking longer than that, complain. FWIW my kids were assigned 1 hr bus rides for half the elementary years. I get it.

"Just because you like your idea doesn't mean it is a good one." I see you don't like it. That's not a very kind way to respond. I hope you appreciate that people like me are thinking with empathy and creativity about ways to make the transition as smooth as possible for your kids, because SPS is not.

Decatur

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your time and willingness to share ideas, Decatur! I've floated this one myself with the two main arguments against being 1. too many transitions (from neighborhood school to Decatur for 1-2 to Cascadia for 3-5) and 2. the location of Decatur being too far flung for bus rides.

IMO, it's OK if these two factors mean that the program isn't overly attractive to grades 1-2. At those young ages, I think it would be OK to narrow the program to serve only the kids who are really outliers in the neighborhood schools. BUT, it would not be good if Decatur just became a satellite location for Bryant/View Ridge first and second graders. (I am also in favor of restricting appeals for kids this young; not allowing IQ tests from age 4 for a kid entering second grade, for example).

If they are really going to splinter 150 kids, the critical mass is just going to be happy that they are heading to Cascadia. It is going to be hard to get any broad support for a solution that would impact the entire cohort.

Is it set in stone that it's going to be 660 vs 150? I don't know if there are neighborhood kids that would fill the W-P site if we didn't send 660 HCC kids, and made the split more even.

Benjamin Leis said...

Reminder: please use an authenticated ID or alias to make it easier to reply to each other and follow the flow.

Generally, nothing is set in stone. This was a snapshot of what is being considered right now and is not binding. Its quite possible a mistake was made when folks were speaking off the top of their heads etc.

Wallingford mom said...

Jill Hudson, Nathan Hale HS principal, is planning principal for Lincoln. Lucy Morello from capital projects at the district is listed as contact, lmorello@seattleschools.org

2 people from Wallingford Community Council are also on the design team: Carl Slater is one of them.

Looks like they were due to wrap up meetings already for this design team, but I haven't seen any minutes or recommendations or documents related to what they've discussed and/or decided.

Mike Finnegan is construction manager.

Benjamin Leis said...

Added a note about the Fairmount Park cohort sizes for comparison.

Anonymous said...

Ben - Where do we find your note about cohort sizes at Fairmount Park?

-blog challenged

Anonymous said...

So the new site will be an optional program too?