Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Editorial: We need both Maps with and without HCC Pathway(s)

The current High School Boundary Advisory committee has been working with a set of scenarios and maps that don't clearly indicate whether they assume an HCC pathway in the numbers. This has made evaluating them and the effect of the pathway on capacity harder to determine.

If you believe that minimum cohort sizes are need, or preservation of peer groups is important, or capacity requires the cohort to move in order to balance numbers in various buildings these need to be discussed and generated right now while the decision making process has not gone down one path blindly.

From a pure process standpoint, until the pathway choice is made, its broken to not chart out all the possibilities. Further, its not that much work to generate such maps.

I'd urge readers to contact board members and staff asking them to do the right thing here.

Flip Herndon, Associate Superintendent, Facilities & Operations-ltherndon@seattleschools.org
School Board+senior staff - schoolboard@seattleschools.org


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post Benjamin. I have critiqued (and posted) about how enrollment staff made assumptions about ending the pathway in the maps. In all reality, they should have also presented maps assuming an HCC pathway program for high school, as this is what exists. The enrollment staff and the task force made some broad assumptions in their work. This needs to be brought to everyone's attention.

NNE Mom said...

Also, shouldn't they be using the numbers of students who **will** be in high school (like 5th through 8th graders or whatever) and not the number of students who are currently in high school (and will have long since graduated by the time the boundaries go into effect)?

Anonymous said...

How do people feel about the role SPS will be taking in further segregating the city and the potential increase to our housing affordability crisis if they lay down strict high school boundaries limiting choice?

Want advanced learning? Move to the neighborhoods feeding into Garfield, Roosevelt, Ballard and maybe Ingraham. Want science? Move to neighborhoods feeding into Garfield, Ballard, and Cleveland (?). Want IB and/or language? Sealth, Beach, Ingraham and Lincoln (tbd). Want project based learning or an inclusive and noncompetitive environment? Lincoln, Hale.

Live near Hale and hope to continue the learning sequence from HC at JAMS? Take out a loan and move. Queen Anne and Magnolia families who have participated in HCC-- maybe they will squeeze a few of your students in at Ingraham, or Ballard, but no guarantees, it depends on if they need butts in seats at Lincoln--not on your desire for a logical pathway or sequence in courses. Maybe Lincoln will offer what you need if the Principal decides that fits her innovation school model, who knows!

Certain neighborhoods are going to become even more expensive as SPS continues down the path of rationing learning and gate keeping choice to those living in neighborhoods with schools that are less supportive of advanced learning students (Spectrum and HC).

Anonymous said...

Last night's Lincoln planning meeting was painful. While the goal was to get families thinking about the school they envisioned for their children, the clear tension in the air was around program and boundary uncertainties. Most concerning was the vision for a school that seems anti-academic. Notes from a video montage of "educational visionaries" -

...content is free [so are they not going to teach it??]...it's no longer about what they know but what they do with what they know...innovative thinking not industrial thinking...that's a blue collar model of education...higher order thinking skills...not about cranking out an answer...creativity cannot be taught...old model forced people to find answers efficiently [isn't efficiency a good thing? doesn't it come from a solid understanding of the problem?]

And so on. My bigger question is why is the principal in charge of academic programming? Where was a representative from Teaching and Learning??? This is not some option school. It sounds like an experiment, rather than an effort to create a comprehensive high school experience.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why but it seems like the district does things backwards. They have a principal meeting with parents, yet nobody knows boundaries or which programs will be placed at the school. They did the same thing with Eaglestaff etc. This causes anxiety and people have no idea if they should attend the meeting etc. Boundary and program decisions should have been made a long time ago.

I really hope they do get boundaries finalized this Fall & HCC program decision in November, because families need to know and plan for impact in advance. However as this is such a massive undertaking, I fear that final decisions will not be made until next Fall or even near Feb 2019 open enrollment.
-no time management

Grouchy Parent said...

Unless the reason they tell people whether they're going to be assigned to a school or not long after all the meetings about what will be offered at that school are completed is that they don't want anyone showing up at the meetings or having any say in what their kids will learn at school. Then the whole thing makes perfect sense. Makes you wonder why all these people chose careers in education, for sure, but it makes sense.

Anonymous said...

I had watched a few of those videos and had similar concerns about the apparent unimportance of learning the basics. They seem to see it as an either/or, wherein you're either just "cranking out an answer" or you're learning higher order and innovative thinking. It's true we should not STOP at just being able to crank out answers, but don't you have to get there FIRST and be able to do that--to possess fundamental understandings--in order to analyze and innovate and such?


juicygoofy said...

To Anon at 9:34.
Along the same lines of your thinking, there is a 79 "tiny" unit apartment building slated to be built across the street from Ballard High. If it opens in 2019, I wouldn't be surprised if families rent (but not occupy) these relatively affordable units in order to keep an address in the Ballard reference zone.

Anonymous said...

Reposting from the Seattle schools blog:

From a reader:

This was in the Roosevelt Newsletter this morning.

2019 High School Boundary Update - To relieve pressure on Roosevelt and Ballard High schools, some RHS families will be moving to the new Lincoln HS opening in 2019, the Ingraham HS with a new addition also opening in 2019, or Nathan Hale HS. The High School Boundary Task Force voted to recommend Boundary Map H2 to the School Board at the November SPS Board Meeting.

SPS Community Engagement Meetings - The district will be hosting open house style meetings to share SAP updates, recommended adjustments to Advanced Learning and gather feedback on 2019 High School Boundary scenarios. This is the last chance to have input before the November SPS Board Meeting. The closest meetings are:

Eckstein Middle School, Northeast Region
Oct. 23, 2017, 6:30-8 p.m.

Ballard High School, Northwest Region
Oct. 26, 2017, 6:30-8 p.m.

McCLure Middle School, Central Region
Oct. 30, 2017, 6:30 – 8 p.m.

Wed., Nov. 8, 6:30 to 8 p.m., Cleveland High School, 5511 15th Ave. S.

Thurs., Nov. 9, 6:30 to 8 p.m., West Seattle High School, 3000 California Ave. SW

I think a lot of people are going to be very surprised by these boundaries as well as the extent of multiple geo-splits. Meetings at the every end of October for a vote happening in early November. I have been paying a lot of attention to this and I completely missed this.

End of reader update

NESeattleMom said...

Does anyone know one way or the other if they are ending the high school HCC pathway in 2019? If so, how will Hale provide services to my then-high school junior? Where does the info come from?

Anonymous said...

@NE SeattleMom-- As far as I know, we are waiting to hear it go before board in early Nov. They hope to make decisions this Fall I believe prior to open enrollment. They are making HCC high school pathway recommendations alongside the high school boundary decisions.
-NW mom

Anonymous said...

More like the Task Force is forcing the end of HCC pathways through boundary adjustments, without any transparency or discussion.

observer said...

The Boundaries Task Force report including its preferred H version 2 map recommendation make clear the proposal to the Board in November is to split the entire high school HC cohort into their neighborhood schools all around the city. http://www.seattleschools.org/cms/one.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=28262696

Apart from the stated attendance figures that others have already pointed out, the Task Force accompanies each of the three maps that it considered with its list of pros and cons. For Map Hv2, two of the five "Advantages" include: "Helps to right size the high schools, and creates a boundary for Lincoln that right sizes the school given it has a capacity of 1,600 seats." Followed by: "Creates space at the attendance area school if Highly Capable (HC) students were to be served in all attendance area high schools." In the same vein, for Map Hv2, one of the three "Considerations" is: "Makes no changes to Garfield's boundary. If the HC pathway remains at Garfield, Garfield would continue to be overcrowded."

More cryptic reference to the future of the HC pathway is also made in the "Advantages" and "Considerations" of the two disfavored alternatives. The three "Advantages" of Map E include: "Makes no changes to Garfield's boundary. If the HC pathway remains at Garfield, Garfield would continue to be overcrowded." And another "Advantage" of Map E is: "Helps to right size the high schools, and creates a boundary for Lincoln that right sizes the school given it has a capacity of 1,600 seats." The three "Advantages" of Map F include: "Makes a small reduction to Garfield’s boundary, which will provide some relief if the HC pathway remains at Garfield." Map F also: "Helps to right size the high schools, and creates a boundary for Lincoln that right sizes the school given it has a capacity of 1,600 seats." But among the four "Considerations" for Map F is: "Does not provide enough relief for Garfield if the HC pathway remains at Garfield."

Perhaps others with a numbers bent can study the projected attendances in Maps E and F more closely to decipher whether those proposals would keep the HC cohort together or would split it in one way or another.

Anonymous said...

It still blows my mind that there is no map that explicitly retains an HC pathway or that attempts to "right-size" the cohort at Garfield by creating a north-end pathway. Blows my mind. Please tell me the board is aware of this shenanigan?


Anonymous said...

There was a long thread on the Save Seattle Schools blog yesterday noting that the 3 choices for updating high school boundaries and adding Lincoln do address HCC capacity. It seems the boundary task force allowed for 2 scenarios: keeping the high school HCC cohort at Garfield or dispersing HCC students to their attendance high schools. Lincoln as a north end pathway was not discussed in the boundary planning.

The SPS-posted boundary recommendation pushes for HCC high school students to be assigned to their neighborhood schools. SPS is never straightforward with HCC plans but this decision seems pretty out in the open. Staff wants high school kids back at their neighborhood schools. The question would then become for those of us with HCC students attending out-of-area Garfield, what happens to them when Lincoln opens and boundaries change in 2019? Doesn't that have to get resolved at the same time as boundaries are finalized?


NESeattleMom said...

Planning, Yes, it is a concern for families living in areas where the high school doesn't have a large number of higher level classes.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if they would lift the 90 student HCC cap at Ingraham so that more students could enroll? These maps do not make clear how Ingraham would fill those additional 500 seats in 2019. Someone should ask this question at the meeting. They could add portables in 2018, it would relieve the other schools. There would be room they would want to fill in 2019.

If students are to return to neighborhood schools, keeping an option of IB/IBX at Ingraham where there is room and a demand for advanced classes makes sense.

Anonymous said...

@ Planning, I don't think that's correct that they allowed for two HCC scenarios... If you look at the change maps, for each neighborhood school they include both HCC eligibles and those receiving HCC services. It does not appear that ANY of the three options retain the high school HCC pathway.

Also, in case people missed it, the announcement of the upcoming community meetings on the SAP included this language [emphasis added]:

The district’s Open Enrollment process begins in February. Our goal is to have changes to the SAP in place by January. The Enrollment Department is scheduling a series of opportunities for our students, families and communities to engage with key staff leading the work. The district will be hosting open house style meetings to share SAP updates, recommended adjustments to Advanced Learning and gather feedback on High School Boundary scenarios.

Recommended by whom, and based on what data? Have they done a comprehensive analysis looking at the feasibility and costs of providing a continuum of services to HC services at each school (since legally once they start services they are required to provide a continuum of appropriate services thru grade 12--and having to repeat course or go off-site doesn't meet that requirement)?

Finally, WHERE IS THE HCS ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON THIS? Has anyone heard a peep from them? Are they just rubber stampers of whatever the district wants to do, or are they looking out for the needs of students? Have they pushed for assurances that sufficient advanced courses will be available to all HCC students under the proposed plan, even if there aren't many HC-identified students at school?

Anonymous said...

By the way, people should also note that if staff has this mysterious new goal of aligning elem and middle school feeder patterns with high school boundaries, that doesn't bode well for HCC elementary and middle school HCC service delivery, either. HCC sites, whether standalone or integrated, would mess up those feeder patterns...

This is not just a high school issue.

Anonymous said...

@7:36 PM, they are counting neighborhood residents in those change areas, not projecting building enrollment, so it's possible they allowed for a modified HCC pathway scenario. About E and F, they say: "Reduces Garfield’s boundary, which will provide some relief if the HC pathway remains at Garfield." Garfield isn't left with much extra room, but some.

That's a good point about the continuum of services. I wonder how that would work at Hale.


Anonymous said...

@Counting-- Oct 18th anonymous at 7:36PM is likely correct if you look at the additional data they are referencing. Look at the additional meeting documents in their totality on the task force webpage and H2 E,F. None of the three options indicate HCC pathways.

Also, I agree...but I think the HCS advisory committee has had several vacant positions for quite some time. I know they have not had parent representatives. In contrast the dual language advisory has been advocating for their pathway at Lincoln.

Someone posted on SSS blog that 1/2 of HIMS needs AP advanced learning courses, but the planning principal has different ideas of a project based learning school. HIMS reference would have a majority of HCC pathway kids. If HIMS feeds into Lincoln this is a big issue!


Anonymous said...

@ counting, a couple other things that suggest they are NOT allowing for a modified HCC pathway scenario under any of these options:

1. In Option E, for example, the numbers moved from Ballard, Roosevelt and Garfield include those receiving HCC services, and those three figures add up to the projected capacity of Lincoln--meaning HCC students are included. It's not likely, however, that the intent behind that is to make Lincoln a new HCC pathway, since they're only talking about 127 kids--spread over 4 grades. That would mean the rest of the HCC students would continue to have the Garfield pathway, which would make it pretty odd for Ballard, Ingraham, Hale and Roosevelt HCC students to feed into Garfield but the much smaller Lincoln to be it's own HCC pathway? Doesn't make sense.

2. Option E change map indicates that 211 kids currently in the Garfield zone would be reassigned to Lincoln. 211. However, Option E overview map shows Garfield's projection at 1352. Garfield currently has about 1850 students, so losing 200 doesn't get you nearly that low. They are assuming that several hundred other students are somehow mysteriously removed from Garfield in the process. That can only be the HCC kids.

3. If by "allowing" for the possibility of modified HCC pathways you mean that it's possible to continue as we're going, sure. They could keep Garfield overcrowded, with at least a tiny bit or relief by moving those 211 kids out--although then they'd likely need to add back in most of those 127 (from my #1 above), so it wouldn't amount to much relief in the end. It would also make HCC an even larger proportion of Garfield's pop', not something the school wants by any means.

I think the modified HCC pathways idea is wishful thinking, not supported by the evidence before us.

(Ahh, "evidence before us." Wouldn't it be great if they'd put actual evidence before us? As in, show us the analysis that says this proposed advanced learning "adjustment" is feasible, will work for kids, etc.? As in, show us the draft SAP? As in...sigh.)

By the way, the above Anon were me. Sorry.