Latest school boundary proposals for NE Seattle could spell big changes for local students (UPDATES)

The latest round of potential school boundary changes drawn up by the Seattle School District will be presented to School Board members this Wednesday, November 6. And for many Northeast Seattle families, there are some big differences to be spotlighted:

  • Under these new changes, if accepted by the School Board on November 20, students across the street from Eckstein Middle School would no longer be attending there. Instead, all students currently attending Wedgwood Elementary would begin attending Jane Addams Middle School.
  • North Seattle Accelerated Progress Program (APP) middle school students would be moved from Lincoln Hamilton into Eckstein.
Proposed Northeast Seattle  middle school boundaries. If accepted, most of these changes would be implemented in 2015.

Proposed Northeast Seattle middle school boundaries. If accepted, these changes would be implemented in the next two years.

The documents outlining these proposed changes were last updated on October 31, and released the next day, at 7 PM. On a Friday night. So many families in the affected areas may just be hearing about them.

Wedgwood Elementary PTA President Terri Green has weighed in about these proposed changes, in a message that started circulating over the weekend. It reads, in part:

SPS boundary changes as they impact the Wedgwood community

On Friday, November 1 at 7 pm, SPS released a third iteration of their plan they think may be final to address growth boundaries. There are major modifications which will significantly impact your children and our community in two ways:

  1. Starting next school year, ALL Wedgwood students would be assigned to the new (as yet unopened) Jane Adams Middle School (6-8), even kids who live across the street from Eckstein.
  2. Former Wedgwood students currently attending Eckstein will be moved to the new Jane Adams Middle School for 7th and 8th grade. (Part of the Northend APP middle school program is proposed to move into Eckstein.)

A full copy with details of the plan is available on-line here. This plan was devised after community feedback to the previous October 16 proposal. No major changes were proposed for our school at that time and thus there was no call to action. Now our community needs to respond quickly if we wish to impact this process before it is too late.

Green goes on to say a Call to Action meeting is being held at 6:30 tonight, Monday, November 4th, in Wedgwood Elementary School’s library. (We will be attending, and will provide LIVE COVERAGE below, if possible.)

Green will also be attending Wednesday’s School Board meeting (4:15 PM at the John Stanford Center, 2445 3rd Ave S), but families should contact School Board members themselves before then. The Seattle School District is divided into seven parts, each one represented by an elected member. The representatives whose areas are affected by these changes in North/Northeast Seattle are:

In addition to expressing thoughts/concerns to School Board members, parents should also email feedback to GrowthBoundaries@seattleschools.org, the official Seattle School District boundary plan address. Put your school or issue in the subject line.

For the full list of information about these proposed changes (including the data used to create them), visit the Seattle Public Schools — Growth Boundaries page.

UPDATE (12:09 PM): Thanks to some commenters on Facebook, we have learned the APP @ Lincoln PTA’s official stance on the proposed changes to their program:

PTA Responds to New Boundary Proposal

On Friday evening, the Seattle Public School district released their latest proposals for updating school boundaries. The district will present this proposal to the Seattle School Board on Wednesday, November 6th. If you would like to speak directly to the board regarding this proposal at the meeting, you may, but you must call the district and sign up on Monday (11/4) morning.

The SNAPP PTA maintains its position that splitting the APP Middle School and co-housing with attendance area schools is not in the best interest of our community or helpful with the overcrowding in the north end. Although many APP MS students come from the Whitman and Eckstein reference area, putting APP in these schools would only serve to further crowd them and keep reference area kids out.

You can read the entire APP @ Lincoln PTA statement here.

UPDATE (Tuesday, November 5, 7:52 AM): Correction/Clarification from elementary school APP parent and Roosevelt resident Elena Waite :

Current APP middle school students do NOT attend Lincoln- in the North, they go to Hamilton and will continue at Hamilton in the proposed plan, for now, as well as Eckstein and then Whitman. I would also like to note that APP has advocated for its own Middle School site – at Wilson Pacific and never advocated to be at Eckstein as we know that school is already crowded as a neighborhood school.

UPDATE (Tuesday, November 5, 7:03 PM): Those that emailed Seattle School Board Member Harium Martin-Morris received the following email in return, outlining an amendment Martin-Morris plans to introduce at Wednesday’s meeting.

I am writing in response to your email regarding the November 1st version on the Growth Boundary Plan. As written, I do not support the plan and along with Director De Bell will be offer an amendment that will go back to the previous version of the plan with the following changes:

* Assign NE APP students to the new James Addams Middle School starting in 2014
* Have a maximum of 3 classes per grade level at James Addams Middle School
* Assign others APP to Hamilton until Wilson Pacific Middle School is online. At that point Hamilton would also go to the 3 classroom per grade and all others go to Wilson Pacific

That would mean that the middle school and elementary attendance areas in the NE would go back to October 16th revision with some minor changes basis on community input.

Regards,

Harium Martin-Morris

————————-

NOTE: While most local residents probably assume (correctly so) that most Ravenna neighborhood students attend Bryant Elementary, many in the North Ravenna area (including those here at Ravenna Blog Headquarters) are located within the Wedgwood Elementary attendance area. In fact, the boundary for Wedgwood itself is planned to expand further into Ravenna in the coming years (reflected in the image above).

APP students are scattered throughout neighborhoods, and all currently attend school at old Lincoln High School in Wallingford (see Elena Waite’s note above). Lincoln was closed in 1981, and is used as an interim location for Seattle schools and programs.

Rebecca November 4, 20138:12 PM

Keep Wedgwood neighborhood kids at Eckstein Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/217025035145286/

One stop shopping for info and events on this topic.

Rebecca November 4, 20137:49 PM

Anyway, meeting adjourned. Try to get some sleep tonight, parents.

Rebecca November 4, 20137:48 PM

One parent with a school district employee connection spoke to me after the meeting, and shared a strong feeling that the Board may be interested in breaking up the APP program for that reason alone. Not related to overcrowding in the NE, but wanting to split the program and dilute it.

Rebecca November 4, 20137:45 PM

There’s a Facebook group that was started to collect info for interested Eckstein folks, but I am not able to find it just yet. I’ll add it into these live blog bits when I know it, and add it to the Ravenna Blog Facebook page as well.

Rebecca November 4, 20137:32 PM

Concern from current Eckstein parents that they didn’t hear about all this business until midday TODAY.

Eckstein PTSA president says her hands are tied: Can’t use the official school channels, and don’t get much parent involvement.

Rebecca November 4, 20137:30 PM

Green: Thanks for coming tonight, but we are NOT done. Sign up at the Wedgwood ES website for the weekly emails.

Copy of the petition will go up on the Wedgwood site (PTA involvement page).

Rebecca November 4, 20137:26 PM

Another: No meaningful opportunity to respond. Previous plan out for months. No reason for new changes. Huh.

Rebecca November 4, 20137:23 PM

Another: Priority to neighborhood school. Applause.

Rebecca November 4, 20137:23 PM

Green just said that the school district has never released information like this in this fashion (late on a Friday not a week before a School Board meeting) in 40 years.

Another speaker talked about this timing deal being so very very poor, to much applause.

Rebecca November 4, 20137:20 PM

Another speaker: Wedgwood Community Council will be submitting a letter in OPPOSITION to this latest plan. They never do that.

Rebecca November 4, 20137:19 PM

Thornton Creek parent.

Board Member Harium Martin-Morris’ meetings are heavily attended by APP and Hamilton folks who want more diversity at JAMS.

Rebecca November 4, 20137:16 PM

New speaker (missed his name).”You’ve kicked a sleeping tiger here.”

Present a united front.

Board took the October meeting comments very seriously and, in his opinion, went a little overboard. Eckstein crowding is a big concern. Legally, could be an issue.

Comments also showed strong interested in kids moving in same directions: JAMS students move onto Nathan Hale, Eckstein to Roosevelt.

Splitting Wedgwood between middle schools may warrant discussion.

Rebecca November 4, 20137:12 PM

Sen. David Frockt is here. Saying a few words. Wearing a Sounders scarf.

He was at the Nathan Hale meeting. Thought like most that the latest version of the plan would resemble that one. Nope.

His understandings: Decision driven by APP needs in the north end. One Board member will be offering an amendment on Wednesday (a “him). Sense from School Board President is that amendment would allow Eckstein students to continue at Eckstein. (No further details now, hopefully before Wednesday’s meeting).

Be ready to offer an alternative to the Board, not just say no.

Rebecca November 4, 20137:07 PM

Same guy: There is room now at Lincoln for the middle schoolers — an unused south wing. They do not need to move to Eckstein.

Rebecca November 4, 20137:05 PM

APP @ Lincoln dad of 2 speaking. Facility Management group with the district has the reasons, and they’re not sharing the info.

Don’t want to further crowd Eckstein. Doesn’t want to see APP kids shuffled yet again. Put younger kids at Wilson-Pacific when that building is ready (Lincoln does not have facilities for younger kids — it was a high school).

Rebecca November 4, 20137:02 PM

Q: Parents here heavily invested in the school partnership. Fundraising, volunteer hours, etc. And the partnership on the other side just doesn’t seem to be there.

A: Green: Yeah. Shocking.

Rebecca November 4, 20137:02 PM

I’d guess about 200 folks in here now.

Rebecca November 4, 20137:01 PM

PTSA President of Eckstein speaking now.

This is a completely new proposal. We’re in this together. We need to be there (at the Board meeting). Show up if you can.

“No rhyme or reason to this. None.”

Rebecca November 4, 20136:58 PM

Q: Who are those Voices of NE Seattle people?

A: A different PTA board member speaking now. Group is made up of one or two parents from various schools in the NE Seattle area. Community group.

Rebecca November 4, 20136:55 PM

Q: What was the big change made?

A: Another speaker now. Thinks that Ecksteiners to Jane Addams would make more of a complete school than just moving over 6th graders alone. Reasons for the Wedgwood shift alone not known.

Rebecca November 4, 20136:54 PM

Q: Any point in meeting with other elected officials?

A: Green is in contact with a few who are interested in advocating on our behalf (state legislator. But feel free to email others.

Rebecca November 4, 20136:52 PM

APP families at Hamilton meeting now, too, we’ve heard.

Rebecca November 4, 20136:50 PM

Someone mentioning on twitter that Board meeting speakers should be posted on their website by 5 PM Tuesday. Thanks, Brad!

Rebecca November 4, 20136:49 PM

Show up to the School Board meeting on November 6 if you’re able. Be a presence.

Changes could still be made to the proposed plan on Wednesday, so get feedback into School Board members NOW.

Vote on November 20 is to be a yea or nay.

Rebecca November 4, 20136:46 PM

Full text of the petition here: http://twitter.com/RavennaBlog/status/397555152200036353/photo/1

Sorry. It’s sideways.

Rebecca November 4, 20136:42 PM

To speak at Wednesday’s School Board meeting, potential speakers needed to have called in by 8 AM this morning. And the list of speakers will not be known until the meeting. (Really? That’s suspicious. Normal?)

Rebecca November 4, 20136:41 PM

Pic of tonight’s agenda here: http://twitter.com/RavennaBlog/status/397552267844255744/photo/1

Rebecca November 4, 20136:40 PM

Petition now up on the overhead.

“We cannot accept the current proposal because:

* Students will be forced to travel greater distances to middle school. …
* Students will be torn from their current educational environment with potentially sever consequences on their academic, social, and extracurricular development. …
*Eckstein will be come a very economically and ethnically homogenous institution. …

… means more info on the petition to further explain each bullet.

Rebecca November 4, 20136:36 PM

No time to write a counter proposal before Wednesday, but a petition has been drawn up. (Three lawyers on the PTA board, she says.)

Rebecca November 4, 20136:36 PM

Wedgwood ES PTA President Terri Green starting things now.

Keep this simple, keep it inclusive. 100s of emails in the last 48 hours.

Sense is general agreement about:

1. Boundaries released on Nov 1 are unacceptable
2. All Wedgwood students together at local, walkable middle school.
3. No current Eckstein students pulled.

She cannot endorse a split of the attendance area in her position as PTA president.

Rebecca November 4, 20136:31 PM

At 100 folks in attendance now. More coming in. Couple of kids, too.

Rebecca November 4, 20136:30 PM

O HAI, KOMO 4 camera guy. Thanks for coming.

Rebecca November 4, 20136:30 PM

Alrighty then. Here in the cafeteria (new location due to the crowd size), and seated next to sign-up sheets posted on the doors already asking for folks who can attend/make signs for the November 6 meeting and meet with various School Board members in the coming weeks.

Comments

  1. Beth says

    Waah! I don’t mind the Jane Addams’ change, but if I’m reading this map correctly, some of us in the Wedgwood attendance area would be slated to go to Nathan Hale instead of Roosevelt, which stinks since Roosevelt is WAY closer than Nathan Hale :-/ If I had my druthers my kids would go to Jane Addams or Thornton Creek for elementary/middle school, but I guess we’ll stick with private school options for now :-( I really wanted my girls to go to Roosevelt – we’re walking distance from it, but not so much with Nathan Hale. Bummer.

    • Kristen says

      @Beth…high school boundaries will change. Lincoln will come online in 2017 and with the surge of kids (my 5th grader being one of those), there is no certainty about where kids will go for high school.

  2. Stephanie says

    Just a quick clarification…The APP middle school kids attend Hamilton MS in Wallingford now. It is only the elementary APP kids that attend Lincoln.

    A new elementary school is being constructed and is supposed to be ready by the 2017 school year. The elementary APP kids will move to this new building at the Wilson-Pacific site. SPS may start a HS roll-up at the Lincoln building in the 2017 school year, or may do two years of renovations and open a HS at Lincoln in 2019. Boundary changes for HS would occur then.

    Neighborhoods being split is happening all over the city. In this proposal the Maple Leaf neighborhood would be split among three middle schools!

    To improve the odds of walk ability and neighborhood togetherness the best chance might be to advocate for geographic boundaries for middle school assignment. Just like are used for elementary and high school.

    I think it is beyond crazy that kids that literally live across the street from Eckstein are being assigned to a school two miles away.

    • says

      Thank you, Stephanie. I receieved the same info from another parent a little earlier in the evening, but have not had a chance to clarify that bit.

  3. Leann says

    If this proposed change goes into affect… my 7th grade daughter who walks to her Eckstein MS… would then be bused to Jane Addams for her last year of Middle School?! Are you kidding me? We live between both Roosevelt and Eckstein… yet are now placed in Jane Addams and Nathan Hale reference area. This is crazy! No more walking to/from school. She would need me to pick her up after school sports activities that ended beyond school time. We need to keep with our neighborhood schools.

    APP didn’t ask to move? If you want a special school… then make the sacrifice to get there. Otherwise walk across the street and attend your neighborhood school.

    • Stephanie says

      Bad news: If you live within 2 miles of the middle school (as the crow flies) you are considered in the walk zone and no bus transportation.

      Good news: High school boundaries are not changing this year. If you live south of 85th you are still in boundary for Roosevelt.

      • Leann says

        Wow really? Well according to google map it’s 2.8 miles on the road… who knows regarding bird flies distance.

        Good news about Roosevelt. We are most definitely south of 85th… by about 14.5 blocks.

  4. Lin says

    Does anyone know if the “new” Jane Addams will have Spectrum? Music programs? When they split APP at MS the district funded additional music. ?

    • Stephanie says

      Yes to Spectrum.

      I believe yes to music as Jane Addams MS will be a comprehensive middle school. Just not certain or what offerings.

      • Lin says

        Wondering where we can find out info about this new school? Do they have a building planning committee (or whatever those groups are called) yet?

        • says

          There is a committee and a meeting scheduled for November 7, 2013, 6:00-7:30 PM

          We received an Invitation From SPS:

          Seattle Public Schools invites you to a Community Meeting on the
          Jane Addams Building BEX IV Construction Project

          Date: Thursday, November 7, 2013,
          Time: 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
          Location: Jane Addams Building, 11051 34 Ave NE
          Room: Cafeteria
          Dear Jane Addams area communities,
          Because you live in the greater Jane Addams building area, you are receiving this letter.
          Seattle voters approved the Seattle Public Schools Building Excellence IV (BEX IV) Capital Levy in February 2013, which includes the construction project to repurpose the Jane Addams building to become an attendance area Middle School.

          The meeting will be presented by representatives of Seattle Public Schools BEX IV Capital Projects Team, the Jane Addams Middle School planning principal and Hutteball & Oremus Architecture, who will provide information about the project’s early construction design progress. You will be able to learn more about the construction project’s scope, schedule and design exploration. You will be able to ask questions and give us input and feedback. We hope that you will be able to join us!

          This meeting is not related to boundaries issues, but only to the construction project to repurpose the building to become a Middle School. As you may know, boundary changes have not been made: the Board is scheduled to vote on any possible changes at its November 20 Board meeting.

          For more information, please visit http://bex.seattleschools.org

          Sincerely,
          Seattle Public Schools Capital Projects Team

  5. Hilary says

    I am a NE parent with an APP kid at Hamilton. I do not know one APP family that supports this crazy plan. We signed up for lots of things when we decided to go APP, but close to home wasn’t one of them. It is ridiculous to bump neighborhood kids out of their school. Under this plan, APP kids are removed from their school (Hamilton) and sent to Eckstein – and Eckstein kids are removed from their school to go to JAMS. Seems crazy. APP needs a stand alone school that is NOT a neighborhood school so they won’t displace local kids. Let us limp along at Hamilton until WP is ready. Tell the board members! All kids deserve better.

  6. Wedgie says

    Do not try to reason with Harium Martin-Morris. He is involved in the Bryant school, sometimes Thorton Creek, and really little else. What Bryant wants, he does. Carr is sometimes a little better in listening to community concerns but don’t try to talk to her without a spreadsheet. She is strictly Boeing Middle Management-speak. . DeBell is about to quit the board, so he’ll do whatever he wants. But he seems to vote with Carr.

    Peaslee appears to loathe those three directors and vice versa. Her board buddies aren’t the rest of the north enders. So either we’ve got to get to Peaslee and get her to propose something better to her friends, or we’ve got to work with Martin-Morris, Carr and DeBell. Bad odds for a reasonable resolution either way but I’m throwing my lot with Peaslee. She seems to have a wider view of the north end than HMM.

    Proposed on the Seattle Schools blog is Wedgwood, Olympic Hills, Bryant and Sacajawea to Eckstein and the east part of the area to Jane Addams. Is Cedar park opening soon? For sure that would be John Rogers, Laurelhurst, Sand Point and View Ridge.

    That is what I am am going to take to Peaslee as it offers a solution to the Wedgwood problem and puts some more affluent and less affluent communities at both schools.

    The latest I’ve read is just leaving APP middle at Lincoln or Marshall. Doesn’t seem good for the long haul, but fine for next year. Leaving it as a program by itself allows space for Wedgwood at Eckstein.

    • Moani says

      So you’re proposing that View Ridge kids, who live within walking distance of Eckstein, go to Jane Addams??? Isn’t that contrary to the idea of children going to schools they can walk to?

  7. Meg says

    Here is an email we just sent to the members of the school board regarding how upset we are about the proposed boundary changes for Eckstein. Feel free to use it- the school board members’ email address are below.

    Dear School Board Members,

    I am deeply alarmed about the proposed new boundaries for Eckstein Middle School. Our family lives a short walk from Eckstein, which is our neighborhood school. It is extremely important to us that our kids go to school in their neighborhood, with their neighbors. Under the proposed new boundaries, our kids would have to go to school to the far north of our neighborhood, no longer within walking distance.

    We chose our home based almost exclusively on the neighborhood schools. Forcing our sixth grader to switch schools next year is not only disruptive to her social and educational development, but it’s unconscionable to ask her to leave a school she loves to be transported to a distant school in a different neighborhood.

    Please do not vote for these proposed boundaries. Please keep the neighborhood surrounding Eckstein within the Eckstein boundary.

    Sincerely,

    Email addresses:
    sherry.carr@seattleschools.org
    michael.debell@seattleschools.org
    kay.smith-blum@seattleschools.org
    martha.mclaren@seattleschools.org
    betty.patu@seattleschools.org
    harium.martin-morris@seattleschools.org

  8. Charlie Mas says

    The decision to place NE middle school APP at Eckstein instead of JAMS was driven largely by the policy that’s supposed to determine program placement (Policy 2200). I know people don’t typically bother with the rules when making decisions at Seattle Public Schools, but there are rules for this and they pretty much call for that program placement.

    Regarding the proposed amendment described by Director Martin-Morris (“James Addams”? Really? He doesn’t even know the name of the school?) it is outside the Board’s authority to dictate program placement. That authority was delegated to the Superintendent. This would be a prime example of Board micromanagement – the kind that Directors Martin-Morris, Carr, and DeBell so commonly bemoan.

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Trackbacks

  1. […] On Monday at a Call to Action meeting at Wedgwood Elementary that over 200 parents attended, many voiced surprise over the revisions made to the previous Growth Boundary maps (released on October 16), as well as bewilderment over why the November revisions were made in the first place. And no explanation for the changes — released last Friday at 7 PM ahead of a Wednesday meeting — were given by the School Board. […]

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