Wednesday, December 13, 2017

What's Next (officially)

This is the official statement from the district on the HCC High School Pathway process:

Note: Its not mentioned but given these proposals are brand new and the extremely tight timeline, its very possible the dates will be pushed back to allow better community engagement despite the start of open enrollment for next year.

Student Assignment Transition Plan and High School Boundaries

This means that options for programs and enrollment outlined in the 2017-18 Student Assignment Transition Plan will carry forward through next school year.

Next Steps

In 2019-20, new high school boundaries will be implemented with the opening of Lincoln High School in North Seattle. Our intention is to integrate any changes to high school highly capable pathways with the new high school boundaries. Any anticipated changes to highly capable pathways would occur at the same time as boundary implementation in 2019-20.
At the Dec. 7, 2017, Operation Committee meeting, School Board Directors requested staff present the following highly capable pathway and boundary scenarios to the High School Boundary Task Force for feedback:
  • Four regional pathways with Ballard, Roosevelt, Garfield and West Seattle as pathways;
  • Two guaranteed pathways with Lincoln as the north end highly capable pathway (with Ingraham continuing to be an optional site), and Garfield as the south end highly capable pathway;
  • Two guaranteed pathways with Ingraham as the north end highly capable pathway, and Garfield as the south end highly capable pathway;
  • Complete decentralization in 2021-22 with every attendance area high school offering highly capable services.
A public meeting of the High School Boundary task force will be held from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., on Thursday, Dec 14 at the John Stanford Center (2445 3rd Ave S) in room 2750. You are invited to attend and listen as staff presents possible related high school boundaries and highly capable pathways. Read more about the High School Boundary task force.
The School Board will deliberate and vote on 2019-20 high school boundaries and any new high school highly capable pathways in January.


If you have questions about next steps for high school boundaries or high school highly capable pathways, please send them to .

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

2017-2018 Cohort Demographics

I finally have a complete picture of what happened this year across the cohort. Hopefully this will help inform the discussion.

First there is an overall backdrop of cohort growth.  The 9th grade cohort is beginning of the bubble with the number of kids jumping  30% in a single year.  This can make individual increases at a school look a little deceptive. Numbers were up everywhere except Ingraham which is capped because the pool increased so much.

[Note: the data below has only IHS / Garfield #s in 9-12]

[2016-2017 cohort size data]

So where do the kids originate from now?

Things vary a bit year to year but the largest two draw zones  are Roosevelt and Ballard which are more than half of the entire cohort by themselves.   The north end of  Seattle actually has half the city's population anyway but if you add it up it makes up 68% of the kids in HC cohort.  This is key: if the north end stopped feeding Garfield entirely you'd be left with a pool of around 100-140 kids per year (depending on W. Seattle). This would be a shrinkage from recent years. [I need to find the historical numbers but I think within the last 10 the program was once about this size.]

So what's happening at each school:

First oddly the number of kids actually rose in the total cohort since last year's report. There is no evidence of private school flight.

As you can see Roosevelt had a dramatic shift +43, Ballard +13 but Garfield still was up +62.  This is the root of the alarm at the district level. Although the north end is pulling more kids than initially projected this is still not a sustainable level at Garfield.

Secondly: looking at 9th grade as a whole about  22% went to Ingraham 43% to Garfield and the rest stayed in their neighborhood. The pathways as a whole remained the majority choice. In the north end in specific, the retention rate rose to about 50% which is a new trend versus the previous years.

Monday, December 11, 2017

What's Next?

After the recent student assignment plan votes where the the board eventually voted no to the entire plan the path forward has become murky.

One potential and likely possibility is that the next version of the plan moves forward with no reference to HCC pathways in it at all. That would be a reversion to the staff's first plan and there was one vote during the process where the directors almost all expressed support for that view. Dir Geary would very much like that to happen.

However, the further discussion at the end of the meeting and the Operations Meeting the next day gives a bit of hope. At that meeting, Dir. Mack asked the staff to come up with boundary plans linked to program placement evaluating:
  • A 4 pathway option: Garfield/Ballard/Roosevelt/West Seattle
  • A 2 pathway option Garfield/Lincoln.
Dir. Burke asked in addition for: 

HC Pathways:
N: Ingraham
SE: Garfield
SW: West Seattle

( Note: a pathway doesn't presume programming. Sending an additional several hundred students to Ingraham doesn't necessarily mean they would need to be IB.)

IB Pathways:
N: Ingraham
SE: Rainier Beach
SW: Sealth

(IBX as option based on local demand and student readiness)

Dual Language Pathway:
N: HIMS to Lincoln


The new maps will be discussed at a meeting of the high school boundaries task force on December 14th.  

The BAR on boundaries will be introduced at the January 3rd board meeting,
There will be a work session on January 10th
The final vote is scheduled for January 13th.
Open enrollment begins on February 5th and runs through the 16th.

Looking at the previous votes there is barely a 4 directory majority to be had for these alternatives. The key swing vote is probably Betty Patu. Now that Franklin is off the table she may be more amenable to arguments for continuation.

Given these time frames, the holidays and the completely new scenarios there is no way to do adequate community outreach. So another potential possibility is the dates are pushed back even if that means beyond open enrollment.

Nevertheless. Its key in the next few weeks that folks who are concerned reach out to the board and make their case.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Late Fall Math Thread

This is my annual thread for all things math related.  (or alternatively this is what happens when you have a math-junkie moderating the blog.)   (Last year's discussion)

In positive news I am aware of Math Clubs running at Hamilton, Jane Addams and Eagle Staff this year. I'm hoping this is the start of a trend.

Sixth grade placement is usually a popular topic. I never followed up on last year to see what happened in the various buildings if folks want to add some details.

I'm also willing to answer any math partial home schooling questions folks have based on my experiences trying it out for the first time. 

So how is Math going for you in your building?

Monday, December 4, 2017

December '17 Open Thread

There were a couple interesting threads over on the saveseattleschools blog recently about High School and changes to the science curriculum and overall scheduling to deal with 24 credits. I personally haven't decided yet what the potential impact might be of some of these shifts.

HCS AC meeting tomorrow 12/5

The next meeting of the  Highly Capable Services Advisory Committee will be on TuesdayDecember 5, JSCEE, Auditorium, 6:30 to 8 pm (2445 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98134).

 The agenda will include:

- An update from Advanced Learning
  • Changes to appeals process

- Updates from new sites
  • Decatur, Eagle Staff and Madison

- High School Boundaries/Student Assignment Plan Discussion

NWGCA Annual Workshop

Annual Parent & Educator Workshop
Risdon Middle School in Newcastle/Renton, WA
Saturday December 9, 1 PM - 4:30 PM

Enjoy two insightful presentations back-to-back, in the longer workshop format, with opportunities to discuss with fellow parents and educators. 
  • What Parents & Educators Need to Know About Smart Kids, presented by Austina De Bonte, President
  • Teaching your Gifted Child Social-Emotional Resilience, presented by Tracy Moncrief, M.A., ABD PhD, M.Ed

Math Camp / Competition Talk 12/21

Dr. Titu Andreescu, professor of mathematics at UT Dallas, former Head Coach of the USA International Mathematics Olympiad team (and the first team ever to get a perfect score in IMO), former director of AMC (American Mathematics Competitions), chairman of the USAMO, founder of AwesomeMath, and author of large number of Mathematics Olympiads books will be visiting Microsoft in Seattle for a talk on the topic of math competitions for middle school and high school students. The session is free and open to everyone, so please come join this rare opportunity to listen for tips from the best in the world! 

The presentation will be at Building 30/1087 on Thursday 12/21 at 2-3pm.  Register using this link:

What's on your minds?