(photo added 3:12 pm)
ORIGINAL 2:04 PM POST: Just a small note – we’re off to Seattle Public Schools HQ, where the “final recommendations” in the latest school-closure process are to be released within the hour. You’ll see them here as soon as we have them.
2:52 PM UPDATE: Just handed out. Cooper is still recommended for discontinuance. Genesee Hill building still recommended for closure, with Pathfinder K-8 moving to the Cooper building on Pigeon Point.
2:56 PM UPDATE: Full list: Building closures, Genesee Hill, Mann, TT Minor, Van Asselt, Old Hay (with subtext “may be temporary depending on enrollment.” Relocated programs: Half of Lowell APP to Thurgood Marshall. Half of Washington APP to Hamilton. NOVA to Meany. Pathfinder K-8 to Cooper (as mentioned). SBOC to Meany. TT Minor Montessori to Leschi. Thurgood Marshall EBOC to Dunlap and Hawthorne. Van Asselt to AAA. Also: New programs, New K-8 at Jane Addams. Discontinued programs: African American Academy, Cooper, Meany, TT Minor, Summit K-12. Again, the Cooper program closure/Genesee Hill building closure/Pathfinder move is the only West Seattle component of the list. This will now be introduced at the School Board meeting tomorrow night; final vote scheduled for January 29, and certainly the plan could change before then.
3:03 PM NOTE: Just FYI, we are in the board room at district HQ, where Superintendent Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson, Chief Academic Officer Carla Santorno, and other district officials will brief the media shortly and answer questions. We will add anything West Seattle-specific, and a full report later. A few more details about Cooper programs: The two autism self-contained and one inclusion program, as the district describes them, would “REMAIN at Cooper to become part of Pathfinder K-8,” according to the documents we’ve been given. The plan for other Cooper students is described in the summary as “reassign … to other schools in West Seattle.” District PR says this will be on the district’s website shortly – we’ll add the link when we see it.
3:13 PM UPDATE: Thanks to the commenter who found the link first: Here it is. One detail we omitted: West Seattle APP elementary students would go to the Thurgood Marshall half of the split program.
3:19 PM UPDATE: In case this part is not on the website yet, we are reading the detailed briefing book about the final recommendations. Here’s what it says about Cooper students:
Students who attend Cooper Elementary and live in the Cooper reference area are assigned to Pathfinder, Gatewood, Sanislo, or West Seattle Elementary depending on where in the reference area they live. Students who live within the walk zone for Cooper as well as some additional students who live near the Cooper building would be reassigned to Pathfinder where they could continue in the same building and become part of Pathfinder. The other reassignments (listed in the book) contemplate that the Cooper reference area would be merged with the Sanislo reference area, putting it in the West Seattle South Cluster.. Transportation would therefore be provided to students in the Cooper reference area who attend a school in the WS South Cluster. Transportation is also provided to WS Eleentary from both the West Seattle North and West Seattle South Clusters. Cooper studnets whose reference area is in the West Seattle North Cluster and who live close enough to walk would be reassigned to their reference area school. If not, they would be reassigned to West Seattle Elementary.
3:31 PM UPDATE: We just asked the superintendent about the fact that this would mean two buildings closed in the past few years in the West Seattle North cluster, which has had far less excess capacity than the south. She says a process is under development that will keep the district from getting to this kind of capacity imbalance in the future – no specifics yet, but it’s in the works.
3:38 PM UPDATE: The superintendent says there WILL be a “design team” process for Cooper if the final recommendation for program closure does get final approval – in which a group will be assembled to work through the transition of its students to other schools. As for what happens to its teachers – she says “the teachers go with the students” in general since enrollment isn’t declining, students are just moving; as for how it will be determined where teachers, like those at Cooper, go, she says that will be determined “by existing labor contract” terms.
3:44 PM UPDATE: The briefing has just ended. More links with long and short versions of the recommendations, as well as an updated FAQ and the official news release, are all now linked to the “Capacity Management” page that the district has used as a central repository for information on the ongoing process. Here’s that link. We’ll be writing a more detailed update a bit later; the superintendent had some comments about why the final list, citywide, was so dramatically different from the original “preliminary recommendations,” and also the role advocacy played or did not play in the final determination of what’s on this list.
5:16 PM NOTE: Before we get to that update – leafing through the full report, we see the “why the preliminary recommendation changed from Arbor Heights to Cooper” explanation is in it – if you want to read that, follow this link and click ahead to page 20. In part, it says:
In general, the Cooper building is a more logical choice for the relocation of the Pathfinder program. The building is nearly 30,000 square feet larger than Arbor Heights, and the building layout is more suitable for a K-8. Typically, K-8 programs prefer to physically separate the elementary and middle school students and the Cooper building allows for this. Cooper also has a full size field suitable for middle school PE. Cooper is also located on a large site that has a natural area that can be used by the Pathfinder program in support of their environmental education focus.
6:43 PM NOTE: One more link’s been added to the SPS website – the final report with appendices added – click ahead to page G-9, which is actually about 50 pages in, in order to get the specifics on where current Cooper students would be reassigned, depending on what “reference area” they’re in now.