Recommendations and Next Steps
• Engage stakeholder groups in exploring HCC services and AP/IB course offerings at the high school level
• Study the AP/IB offerings and participation rates at all comprehensive high schools
• Develop an action plan that would detail the required steps to meeting a shared vision for advanced learning opportunities at all SPS high schools
• Integrate changes into 2018-19 SAP in sync with new high school boundaries
link: Board Agenda
I'm looking for more details but to shift the Ballard and Roosevelt students in 2018-2019 to their reference area schools before Lincoln H.S. opens would be a capacity disaster of its own regardless of any programmatic considerations.
Some more thoughts
Currently 3 high schools Roosevelt, Garfield and Ballard are beyond their capacity and straining to handle their student bodies. [We need this year's data to fully quantify the situation] By 2019 Lincoln H.S. will come online as well as the 500 student addition at Ingraham which should relieve a lot of this pressure. As currently framed in the slides it sounds like the staff is attempting to make changes a year earlier. A permanent solution to the 1 year gap would be poor planning since it would shift the capacity problems from Garfield to Ballard/Roosevelt. [We lack this year's data but I assume we're talking 40-60 students ]
Assuming that none of the permanent changes will occur until 2019 when there is more space to make adjustments I still have doubts about this plan. The internal logic of the slides is that advanced learning is in conflict with racial equity. The effect of using reference area schools would only be to further segregation in the districts not improve it.
At the same time the atmosphere at Garfield has ranged from neglect to active hostility towards HCC. Last year the honors classes were effectively removed in 9th grade English and Social Studies. This year there are accounts of failure to schedule core math classes like AP Calculus.
There has also been a steady drumbeat of articles like this latest one below:
I also don't believe the current options of AP/IB/Running Start are a great fit for all Advanced Learners and I think there is plenty of space for brainstorming better curriculum.
Ultimately, I think something needs to be done specifically at Garfield to improve the situation. But I'm not sure dissolving the pathway is the best way forward. Among the issues with this idea are
- The difficulty of monitoring a program at 10 different sites. Given the realities of site based management a coherent, consistent experience is harder to maintain every time we add schools.
- The vastly different cohort sizes between schools. The low number sites will have trouble scheduling sufficient classes and they will likely be smaller. i.e. more expensive. This scenario is very different if you go to Roosevelt versus Nathan Hale for example.
- The monkey wrench this throws into the capacity decisions in the north end. As I last understood Lincoln actually needs imported HCC students to fill the building. In fact, using the voluntary movement of AL parents out of their reference zones is one of the best tools for relieving pressure and filling under utilized buildings.
The most obvious one is to stay the course. Hold out in all 3 buildings one more year and let the new space come online in 2019. The split of the north end students to Lincoln should relieve Garfield which is the immediate impetus for this change. If Garfield really can't accommodate students next year, we already have a wait list for Ingraham and some space there for portables. It would make a lot of sense to grow the cohort in advance of its new wing especially if its a one time change.