Monday, January 30, 2017

February '17 Open Thread

It's open enrollment and school tour season. See: . The key dates are:  Open Enrollment for the 2017-18 school year is Monday, Feb. 13 - Friday, Feb. 24. I'll try to update with tour information as I find it.

  • 2017 School Information Evenings will be on Thursday, February 2 and Monday, February 6 from 6:00-7:30 p.m. in Cascadia's Lunchroom.
  • For those with students going to Jane Addams Middle School next year, this from the JAMS Newsletter:
    February 7 – JAMS Daytime Prospective Parents/GuardiansTour- 9:00 AM – call the school to be added to the guest list – (206) 252-4500
    February 7 – Evening Prospective Parents/Guardians AND Student Tours – 6:30 PM - all welcome! Reservations not needed!
  • Attention any possible future Ingraham families: Please come to the Ingraham RamFans Parent Social next Wednesday, February 8, 6:30-8 PM at the Blue Ridge Community Center (upstairs), 10040 15th Ave NW. The RamFans Social is an opportunity to meet other Ingraham
    parents who support Ingraham athletics and are interested in
    making your student’s high school experience the best it can be.
    The Blue Ridge Community Club is the same place as the pool, just north of Swanson’s Nursery on 15 th Ave NW
    (Parking in the lot is limited. Street parking is fine. Please don’t block driveways.)
    If you've been looking for a low-key way to meet some parents, this is one. We've got kids in sports, but other things too. (i.e. we have some perspective, hopefully)
  • Ingraham High School: February 2nd open House for all incoming students
    February 8th. International Baccalaureate open house -7:00 p.m.
    Roosevelt High School Open House: February 2nd. – 7:00 pm.
  • Hamilton Middle School Open House:  January 31 2017 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM

    Feb. HCS Advisory Meeting

    February 7,  6:30 PM Washington Middle School Library


    Since  the interminable discussion about HCC and equity continues elsewhere online I'm reposting a link to my editorial from earlier this year:  None of the facts have changed since then,

    What's on your minds?

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Cascadia/Decatur Split FAQ

New Cascadia
(at Wilson Pacific site)
Enrollment Capacity
Assigned Elementaries
All elementaries in the Hamilton, Jane Addams, McClure, Robert Eagle Staff, and Whitman attendance areas. Greenlake will be assigned to Cascadia.
These schools from the Eckstein attendance area: Bryant, Laurelhurst, Sand Point, View Ridge, and Wedgwood
27 total classrooms – once enrollment numbers and homeroom needs are known, decisions will need to be made about how any additional spaces are utilized
15 total classrooms – once enrollment numbers and homeroom needs are known, decisions will need to be made about how any additional spaces are utilized
Administration and Office Staff Allocation
Each school will be allocated only a Principal and Admin. Secretary
Teacher Placement
Executive Director for the NW Region Jon Halfaker and Principal Rina Geoghagan will meet with staff to ask for volunteers who are interested in moving to Decatur. If there are not enough people interested, sonority will also be part of the decision. The goal will be to create balanced teaching staff between both schools including teacher leaders and experience.
PCP – PE, Art, and/or General Music
PCP hours/FTE allocations are based on the number of classroom teachers and enrollment at a school. With the district’s budget crisis, it is likely PCP allocations will be reduced. PE is a requirement; other offerings (e.g. art and music) and how they’re scheduled, are site-based decisions.
Specialists – Math and Writing
Positions were based on WSS and the number of students enrolled at Cascadia– including for interventions – will be unlikely with the current budget crisis.
Resource Rooms and Staffing
Each school will need to allocate a space for a Resource room. The staffing is dependent on the number and needs of students at each school on Individual Education Plans (IEPs).
Library and staffing
Cascadia’s library books will be transferred to the new school. Due to budget constraints, Librarian FTE will be based on WSS
Decatur will receive a new library collection. Librarian FTE will be based on WSS
Other staff – Nurse, Counselor, Psychologist, etc.
Due to the budget crisis, nursing hours will be significantly reduced across the District. Psychologists and Therapists will still support students when required by IEPs.
Schedule/Bell Times
At the 1/18 School Board meeting, Bell Schedules were tentatively approved based on a 3-tier bussing system and including the extension of the school day by 20 minutes for all –10 minutes were added to the end and beginning of each schedule. However, District Staff are still working to try and get funding for a two-tier bus system for next year and so proposed a bell schedule reflecting only two tiers as well. If funding has not been acquired by May 1st, then the 3-tier system will be implemented. Current proposed Bell Times:
Under 3 tier: Cascadia = 9:25-3:55, and Decatur = 9:25-3:55
Under 2 tier: both Cascadia and Decatur = 8:00-2:30
A new play structure is included in the construction of the new school.
District Staff are working very hard at plans to remove the “Annex” structure and install a playground there by fall. In the event this is not possible, Decatur would need to share play space with Thornton Creek (brand new, large playground) until other arrangements could be made.

There is a space planned for childcare however, if enrollment numbers are too big, that space will likely need to be used as a classroom.
Decision to offer childcare is at the discretion of the new administration and is dependent on space available.
Instrumental Music
There is no dedicated space for instrumental music at Cascadia. It is possible the program will need to change to accommodate scheduling of space. Some ideas include offering it only to 5th graders, offering it only by lottery, and/or reducing choice of instruments.
These decisions will need to be made by Cascadia’s administration, in coordination with the BLT and PTA.
Decisions about instrumental music will need to be made by the new school’s administration in coordination with their BLT and PTA.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Winter Math Thread

Those readers who know me personally will attest I'm fairly math obsessed.   Last year I opened a math thread in the fall:  This year I've been busy but my focus has turned back again this month.  To start off, here's a grab bag of topics:

  • Proof School:  This is the holy grail for me. I really we wish we had something like this in Seattle (preferably public of course.) In general, I think we underachieve for our given talent pool vs. other local public school systems.
  • As far as I can tell the math pathways remain unchanged this year (in particular for rising sixth graders.)


"As sure as one plus one equals two, it happens year after year. Kids who have been bringing home A’s in chemistry and acing AP Calculus arrive at college with visions of STEM careers dancing in their heads. Then they hit an invisible, but very painful, wall."
So how's Math going for your students this year?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Student Assignment Plan is Approved

  1. There was no grandfathering allowed. All the HCC cohorts including next year's 8th graders will go to REMS as originally planned.  Note: its still likely due to available space that many of the gen-ed Whitman eight graders will opt back into it.
  2. The Decatur split for the NE HCC elementary school will occur as planned. 
  3. No changes were made in the middle school reference zone from the draft being voted on.

Update: A day later I wanted to add on a few thoughts:

  • The budget crisis still provides an opportunity to cutback and change plans.  Based on the superintendent's comments under-enrolled schools are particularly vulnerable but we may see other unhappy choices coming down the pipeline.
  • The Licton Springs - Eaglestaff M.S. capacity dilemma will continue to be an issue.  The choices made so far are ultimately not sustainable from the perspective of limited space.  L.S. was also explicitly called out in the Friday memo as the most expensive school in the system so I suspect the central staff will apply more pressure through the budget on this point. Bottom line: we need a consensus on a long term solution. 
  • Cedar Park will most likely not be opened next year for budgetary reasons.  This is probably an opportunity to adequately plan a focus for it and meet with the community to generate buy-in. On the other hand, the talk about option schools being non-viable adds a cloud over if its future which may deter potential families in the same way as has happened with Pinehurst/AE1 or the Center School.   
Going  forward there is a lot of space for parent input at both new HCC sites. What's everyone thinking about working on? 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Choosing a High School for Next Year

I had hoped that the SAP changes would be approved last night so there would be clarity. Sadly, we'll need to wait a week before the MS pathways and Cascadia split decisions are finalized (1/11).

In the meantime, this conversation had already started on the old thread.  What questions do you have about the various choices for High School:

  • Ingraham
  • Garfield
  • Roosevelt
  • Ballard
  • etc.