West Seattle schools: Waitlists, including ones that NEED more

April 24, 2012 at 4:30 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 76 Comments

This time of year, the term ‘waitlist’ is a source of angst for hundreds of families around the city, once they discover that a spot wasn’t immediately available at the school of their choice. Today, WSB’er Kathleen pointed out that information on the length of waitlists around the city is finally available online. And the waitlist for West Seattle’s newest public school is NOT what it seems, it’s been pointed out to us. More on that in a moment. First, we’re not going to list all the waitlist numbers from West Seattle schools (you can see that here), but here are the ones with double-digit wait lists:

67 for 9th grade at Chief Sealth International High School
46 for kindergarten at Pathfinder K-8
26 for kindergarten at Alki Elementary
23 for kindergarten at Schmitz Park Elementary
20 for 6th grade at Denny International Middle School
17 for 10th grade at Chief Sealth
17 for kindergarten at Gatewood Elementary
11 for 1st grade at Gatewood Elementary
11 for 11th grade at Chief Sealth
11 for kindergarten at Highland Park Elementary
10 for 3rd grade at Pathfinder K-8
10 for 2nd grade Spectrum at Lafayette Elementary
10 for 3rd grade Spectrum at Lafayette Elementary

(Longest waitlist in the city is for Franklin High School 9th grade – 104.) Then there are waitlists that are unlike any others – the ones for the new K-5 STEM at Boren. Today we heard from two parents who both said, if you are even contemplating enrolling your child in the new science/tech/math/engineering school for this fall, PLEASE get on the list now – because (as we reported last week) the district has said that it could add extra classes IF there are enough kids to fill them. Right now, according to that same district data set, there are 8 waiting for kindergarten, two each for 1st and 3rd. Enrollment information is here.

76 Comments

  1. Also, according to the info on the link provided, there are 17 on the waitlist for Kindergarten at Gatewood.

    Comment by mtnpeak — 4:38 pm April 24, 2012 #

  2. Thanks, read through three times but feared I’d miss something. Adding.

    Comment by WSB — 4:39 pm April 24, 2012 #

  3. According to a STEM parent who called SPS today, the list for K at Boren is up to 9. Keep ‘em coming!!!

    Comment by StringCheese — 4:57 pm April 24, 2012 #

  4. STEM Design Team Meeting – tomorrow at Madison Middle School @6:15
    Hope some parents from the other wait lists come check out the meeting and sign onto the yahoo group.

    The STEM parents have already organized play dates, are working on starting a PTA/PTO, and continue to have conversations about how amazing this school is going to be. Personally, I have been floored by the interest and enthusiasm.

    Good luck – it’s hard making these decisions and I hope you get what is best for your family!

    Comment by WSMama3 — 5:54 pm April 24, 2012 #

  5. So no waiting lists for kindergarten at Lafayette? I wonder why? Does that mean the class sizes will be smaller?

    Comment by ML — 7:03 pm April 24, 2012 #

  6. Any word on why the district seems to be going back on it’s “new” policy of school pathways? There are current Denny students with siblings at Sealth who have been wait listed. Supposedly one of the reasons for co-location was smooth transitions from middle to high school, and predictable pathways.

    Comment by WSparent — 7:06 pm April 24, 2012 #

  7. Again, these are the DOUBLE-DIGIT waiting lists. If you follow the link, you’ll see ALL the waitlists. Lafayette kindergarten, since you mention it, is listed as 8 students waiting. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 7:27 pm April 24, 2012 #

  8. The one and only way to get onto Sealth is to sell your house in the north end and move south. My child with a sibling at Sealth is 6th on the list for 9th grade and has no hope of getting in. We were told that the 9th grade was already over enrolled by 40. My 2nd child will not be able to benefit from IB…shame on the district for putting the nail in the coffin for IB if out of reference area students can’t get into Sealth the program will die.

    Comment by slider — 7:42 pm April 24, 2012 #

  9. Is there a list or any kind of info on schools that are under-enrolled?

    Comment by add — 8:07 pm April 24, 2012 #

  10. Speaking personally: Just want to caution people to research very carefully if you decide to try moving because of school boundaries. There WILL be boundary changes in conjunction with the BEX levy in the next couple years, the district has said. And even the existing boundaries are not intuitive. While we are much, much, much closer to Sealth than to WSHS, when the boundary changes happened two years ago, coinciding with our child being about to enter high school, our home was first in Sealth, then in the final vote, suddenly redrawn into the WSHS zone. We applied for Sealth because of its proximity and that year, there were no waitlists, so our child got in. No school is perfect, so I would say that things might work out OK even for those who don’t get their first choice … just one small personal factor, our child turns out to have a particular interest that is barely a blip on the Sealth extracurricular radar but is robust at WSHS, so things would have been OK there too – aside from the distance! (Of course other schools’ zones have anomalies, as we have reported previously … there are people a stone’s throw from Roxhill Elementary who aren’t in its zone …) Good luck to everyone as the summer unfolds … TR

    Comment by WSB — 8:23 pm April 24, 2012 #

  11. TR- I assume you refer to Sealth’s lack of drama? It is a shame, perhaps soon. IB is a great draw but not for all. Word on the street is that four portables are on their way to Sealth for next year. (After the BEX crew laughed at staff concerns over the loss of classroom capacity after the remodel, now they have teachers on carts.) Consultants know best after all.

    Comment by WSparent — 8:35 pm April 24, 2012 #

  12. 67 are waiting to get into Sealth, and one into West Seattle High. I currently have an elementary age kid, so interested to understand the huge draw to Sealth. Is the IB program a huge advantage for college applications? Does Sealth offer more courses? Or is there a problem with WSHS?

    Comment by evergreen — 8:53 pm April 24, 2012 #

  13. So true!

    Comment by yo — 9:00 pm April 24, 2012 #

  14. Evergreen – You can’t truly compare those numbers without looking at some further breakouts that I don’t believe are currently available, such as how many people from outside each school’s respective zone applied. It was pointed out in the redraws a couple years ago that more potential students were being drawn into the Denny/Sealth zone than into the Madison/WSHS zone, and there were dire predictions of tumbleweeds blowing down the latter schools’ hallways as a result. So, just making this up, let’s say HYPOTHETICALLY – 100 out of zone students applied for WSHS and 100 out of zone students for Sealth. WSHS had room for them all because its feeder population didn’t max out the school, while Sealth’s feeder population DID max out its capacity, so 99 out of zone students got into WSHS while there was room for only 33 at Sealth. AGAIN, THAT IS A MADE-UP SCENARIO – MIGHT NOT BE THE CASE – we will watch for availability of those types of stats – but just saying, you can’t always judge a school’s merits or popularity on the waitlist; there are some other factors in play … TR

    Comment by WSB — 9:14 pm April 24, 2012 #

  15. Evergreeen -Under the old assignment process, middle and high school applications followed what was known as the big swirl – north end families chose Sealth, south end families chose west Seattle. sealth was known as the school that was better for the college bound, more rigorous curriculum, etc. The IB program made it that much more attractive.

    I have no doubt the schools and their offerings will look different by the time our elementary school kids are off to middle and high school. Yeah, it’s political and unequal, but there’s no way the Madison and WSH reference families are going to accept the status quo.

    Comment by Oliver — 9:26 pm April 24, 2012 #

  16. slider, I’m going to assume I’m reading your email incorrectly because you seem to be intimating that there aren’t enough IB qualified students in the Sealth reference area (i.e. south end of WS). You weren’t trolling in that direction were you?

    Comment by StringCheese — 9:42 pm April 24, 2012 #

  17. Why are there so many kids on wait lists for Kindergarten? Is it because they are applying out of their school zone? Is there a website that shows you where your child should/will attend? We have a few years before our child will be attending but was just wondering…

    Comment by Sunny — 9:46 pm April 24, 2012 #

  18. Slider so you live in the northend or did and you have your kids enrolled at Denny and Sealth, why?

    Comment by Lisa Y. — 9:58 pm April 24, 2012 #

  19. What is the IB program? (I have preschool kids : )

    Comment by ML — 9:58 pm April 24, 2012 #

  20. Our child is 6th (of 10) on the waitlist for Spectrum 2nd grade at Lafayette; we pretty much assume she won’t get in.

    What’s frustrating about the situation is that the kids who test into Spectrum in kindergarten are in until middle school without retesting. So very few kids ever leave the program, but everybody tests for it each year for very few spots. Has Spectrum or APP ever been done by testing every year?

    One off test day at age 5 after about three weeks of kindergarten means our kid will probably not have a crack at Spectrum, despite qualifying test scores, until middle school.

    Comment by J.J — 10:09 pm April 24, 2012 #

  21. J.J., I totally agree. The tests should be every single year. Not just ONE TEST in Kindergarten to show how smart they are for until they are in middle school. The system is flawed. My daughter did horrible in kindergarten so they wouldn’t test her. I can tell you she is very smart. She passed all the tests every year after. She didn’t know how to test in kindergarten. It is a flawed system. They need to change it.

    Comment by Bonnie — 10:46 pm April 24, 2012 #

  22. @Sunny – Baby Boom of 2007

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/03/18/baby-boomlet-us-births-in_n_176474.html

    ETA: my point was the “boomlet” not the teen pregnancy issues brought up in the article…You can Google Babyboom 2007 and find different articles taking a look at data.

    Comment by MercyMoi — 10:54 pm April 24, 2012 #

  23. My kids were born in 2000 and 2004 and every year after that has been more and more babies.

    Comment by Bonnie — 11:06 pm April 24, 2012 #

  24. Does anyone have experience with Highland Park Elementary? It will be our neighborhood school, but I hadn’t heard anything good about it so far. So, curious about there being a wait list (11) for kindergarten.
    Thanks!

    Comment by meg — 11:10 pm April 24, 2012 #

  25. A) I emailed SPS to see my child’s ID number at Alki with no response

    B) 26 wait on Alki now too? Our lines were redrawn since we bought our home and we’re moved from Schmitz to Alki

    c) General anger towards SPS. You closed schools two years based on what info? Are birth records not publically available? I ask this out of sincerity. What I am hearing is that one of the largest kindergarten classes in Seattle is entering this fall.

    d) Seattle wants to increase city population – that inevitably will include more than dogs. Take those dollars to provide a school for all those new junction residents. Not everyone is a yuppie childless couple with a dog you know!

    Comment by harmonic — 11:54 pm April 24, 2012 #

  26. Mercymoi – I have a 2007 baby and a 2009 baby

    Comment by harmonic — 11:57 pm April 24, 2012 #

  27. J.J. And Bonnie, couldn’t agree more about Spectrum testing. It is ridiculous to test kindergartners who are notoriously unreliable test takers whether it is using the CogAT, MAP, or any other standardized test. From what I have read, most districts do not test for AL until kids are in 2nd grade when kids are more mature. The SPS ALP testing system is hugely flawed. Differential education should be available for every child and should not only be available to those who test well early or whose parents can afford to make sure that happens. It needs to change.

    Comment by kayo — 12:01 am April 25, 2012 #

  28. Spectrum is way over rated.

    Comment by george — 12:11 am April 25, 2012 #

  29. @George: couldn’t agree more about the Spectrum program. We are leaving after this year.

    Comment by Done with SPS — 3:57 am April 25, 2012 #

  30. Kayo, differentiated education IS available to all students spectrum or not! Any teacher who knows their students will differentiate! Spectrum IS overrated! Do you even know what differentiation is?

    Comment by WS — 5:58 am April 25, 2012 #

  31. Spectrum is over-rated sometimes, or not… it really depends on the school. I suggest having your child retested every year for Spectrum then keeping them at your neighborhood elementary if you’re satisfied with it. That’s what we did, too. But having Spectrum designation on file can give you more choices for middle school and an opportunity to skip a year ahead in middle school Math. Good luck to all parents out there, this time of year is always so stressful!

    Comment by cruzer — 7:48 am April 25, 2012 #

  32. I do know what differential instruction is because we are fortunate to have a teacher who is good at it. This is not always the case in our overcrowded and underfunded classrooms. Being in a non spectrum classroom you will likely have a more diverse range of learners to try and accommodate (bottom to top) when compared to a spectrum classroom (which is supposedly the top 10% based on testing). I also know of too many kids who are advanced in one subject area and not another who are not being sufficiently challenged. Are the needs of those kids being met in a mainstream classroom? That depends on a lot of factors and I am not convinced our schools are able to do that effectively when I talk to other parents about the concerns they have about their kid’s education. It is a complicated issue and I don’t know what the solution is, but I am not convinced spectrum is the answer, especially when admission is based on testing in kindergarten.

    I also think Spectrum is overrated. ;). There are some amazing non spectrum teachers at Lafayette.

    Comment by kayo — 8:04 am April 25, 2012 #

  33. AH has spectrum – but I hear quite a few spectrum parents don’t want to go there because it’s new and not established as Lafayette, the school BUILDING is bad (not the teachers etc!) and AH is a “south end” school.
    _____

    Oh the irony! Now I read many of the North End parents want to get into Sealth because it’s more “college oriented” for their kids. Hmmmm, I hope YOU ALL are wait-listed behind the kids and parents who stuck it out for AH and Roxhill. Our elementary schools weren’t good enough for you, so you got in the north end schools now you want back into your ‘neighborhood’ schools, you flaunted your child goes here or there and not “THAT” school — Irony at it’s best!

    Comment by AHParent — 8:10 am April 25, 2012 #

  34. AHParent, you are so right on.

    Comment by evergreen — 8:53 am April 25, 2012 #

  35. @Sunny, the boomlet in addition to Seattle Public Schools, in their infinite wisdom, closing elementary schools :) Perfect storm for the problem(s) we currently have.

    Comment by WSratsinacage — 9:20 am April 25, 2012 #

  36. Lisa Y- The reason we selected Sealth over West Seattle when my older child was in 8th grade was because at the time West Seattle was not offering honors courses in 9th and 10th grade (which is no longer the case they are now). At that time a group of about 30 parents met with the principal at the time (he’s no longer there)and asked to have honors reinstated at West Seattle, he said no…So every single one of those 30 families enrolled our kids at Sealth which at the time was under enrolled and in the temperary location at Boren. The day we toured the school there were 5 police cars out in front of the school but we looked pasted the location and size and went with the better academic program that offered honors in 9th and 10th grade in every course that matters. We were also told over and over and over that 10% of the seats would always be set aside for out of reference area students. This year not the case, 0 out of reference area seats were set aside because the school is over enrolled with reference area students.

    Stingcheese- I’m not going anywhere, the reality of the the situation is that yes there are many kids that are willing and able to be in the IB program from the south refernce area but not enough to sustain the program over the long run. Right now the IB program is pulling kids from not only the north reference area of West Seattle but also a large number from Beacon Hill and the southeast reference area, which has even worse academic programs available to them.

    AHParent- I’d give anything to live in Arbor Heights it’s an amazing neighborhood but our house is under water in the north end and we can’t afford to sell it.

    Another problem at West Seattle is that they don’t have a music program. Currently Madison has a large award winning music program but when those students are looking for a music program the only viable option is Sealth and if they live in the north end they are out of luck. What a sad situation for a student that is thriving in music and wants to go furhter with it but can’t because their reference area high school doesn’t offer a program.

    There are so many problems with the way enrollment is set up now and those of use with 8th graders in the north end that need a more academically challenging program are just out of luck if we can’t afford a private school. We’ll hope for the best from West Seattle but in reality we will end up with a OK school that is not offering the same level of academics we could get at Sealth. I know it will get better as time goes by because they finally have good leadership but that doesn’t do anything for my child now.

    Comment by Slider — 9:23 am April 25, 2012 #

  37. Meg, I have had 2 at Highland Park. The multi arts teacher is laura drake, she runs stage struck which is a summer camp for drama. She is amazing and part of the reason we loved highland park. The name of the school or the location mean nothing. What matters is the teachers. My kids have had great teachers and ok teachers and only one bad teacher out of 10. said teacher is no longer there. The principal is from an alternative school so he has a bit different style from the last principal who we had for years. She was very strict which was great. There are some really great teachers there. The one difference between a school like alki or lafayette and highland park is the percentage of parent involvment. The former 2 have huge parent participation while at HP it is very minimal. So if you can be involved do it. You can actually have more control of what goes on because there is not resistance from so many other parents.

    Comment by cclarue — 9:39 am April 25, 2012 #

  38. Slider – it’s sad for ALL kids. Why should kids suffer/excel because of where their parents can’t/can afford to buy a home?

    Comment by AHParent — 9:58 am April 25, 2012 #

  39. Thanks Slider for the explanation, much appreciated. Having enrolled our child in reference area schools, switching from one to the other for a good fit I have never quite understood the reason some parents choose to send their kids not to reference area schools and send them across town. I can understand why some parents would choose because of special programs for their child but to choose another school other than the neighborhood or reference school because of the scores and thinking the other school is “better” seems really snotty to me.

    You are correct, music should be at all schools.

    Comment by Lisa Y. — 10:04 am April 25, 2012 #

  40. Re the IB program at Sealth, certainly the Sealth reference area has its share of qualified students. But the IB program was never intended to draw from just one reference area. It was put in place when there wasn’t any such thing as a reference attendance are. IB is at ONE school in the north end of Seattle, and ONE school in the south end of Seattle, with the idea originally being that students who wanted the program would sign up from all over the city.
    .
    WSHS DOES have a decent music program. It is smaller than Sealth’s but it’s not like it doesn’t exist.
    .
    Running Start is a great option for the college bound at both area high schools.

    Comment by Lura Ercolano — 10:23 am April 25, 2012 #

  41. 23 on the wait list for Schmitz Park — and that is after they have completely over-burdened the school and the shared classes (gym, music) with four kindergarten classes the last two years. SPS should be ashamed of their complete lack of planning!

    Comment by Yeah-me — 10:31 am April 25, 2012 #

  42. Thank you everyone for the incredible discussion. I have a little girl who will be entering Kindergarden in 2013 and I am nervously keeping my eyes on the public school situation. We are zoned for Arbor Heights and the building situation seems awful.

    If there are Arbor Heights parents that need some help/advocacy/volunteering from soon-to-be incoming families, let us know!

    The only way to make our WS schools better is to be vocal and united as a community. I think the WSB is an incredible asset in that fight.

    Comment by Harmony — 10:35 am April 25, 2012 #

  43. Harmony, YES!!!! Please join the AH PTA Yahoo Group here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ahptsa/

    or bookmark the AH wiki page here: http://arborheights.wikispaces.com/

    We are fighting for BEX money for a new facility.

    Please come to the PTA meeting tomorrow evening at 6:30pm at the school. Also, the principal holds monthly coffee chats (info can be found on the wiki page). We would love to hear from you!

    Comment by AHparent2 — 11:15 am April 25, 2012 #

  44. I see that one student is wait-listed for AH Spectrum 3rd Grade… I am wondering what the plan is for that in the upcoming year? So far it’s just “Walk To Math” — would be nice to see “Walk To Reading & Writing” too – at the minimum!

    Comment by An AH Mom — 1:04 pm April 25, 2012 #

  45. I have filled out a choice form for kindergarten, then again when we moved to the area in the middle of elementary school, and now for a middle school…NEVER once have we been placed in our first choice school. Every time SPS just put us in our reference area anyway…So frustrated. I even went on the first day of open enrollment…stood in long lines…they date stamped my form and told me it doesn’t matter that I was there on the first day. They were right. It didn’t help, didn’t help at all…I waste so much time going to all the open houses, school tours etc…thinking we have a choice right?? No not really, no choice at all in my world.

    Comment by Tuwanda — 1:25 pm April 25, 2012 #

  46. Lisa Y. – another reason a lot of people are waitlisted at schools other than their reference school is because, like me, they are just trying to keep their two children at the same school. We sent our son to his reference school in 2009. The next year, the redraw of boundaries changed our reference school, so now we are on the waitlist just trying to get our daughter into the same elementary school as her brother – a school that is a half-mile from our house. Sometimes it’s as simple as that, and not necessarily snotty reasons.

    Comment by Waitlisted — 1:49 pm April 25, 2012 #

  47. And on top of all this existing mess, the district is planning another big boundary change for 2014, which is the year my younger child will start school. So even more families will get to experience the pain that “Waitlisted” is going through in trying to get a younger child into the same school as an older sibling. It is not fair to kids or families to keep putting them through this! This is one of the reasons, we are trying to switch to an option school next year from Lafayette. The parent group there made it very clear they want my neighborhood of N. Delridge drawn out of the school and I fully expect that will happen right when we want our younger child to start. Better to move our older child next year than put her through a switch in 3rd grade.

    I also think the sense of entitlement based on address and school zone has been a very unfortunate byproduct of the switch to NSAP. Whether you live in North Admiral or Highland Park, all kids deserve better. It is the district we need to hold accountable. The district will listen if enough voices are raised. An example of the poor decision making going on that we all should be paying attention to is the current plan in the BEXIV levy for a new school in SLU at a cost of $32 million.
    http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/2012/04/new-bex-iv-scenario.html

    Meanwhile our kids have to deal with overcrowding, outdated and dangerous buildings and a lousy math curriculum. As parents, we need to make our voices heard and let the district know that there are much more pressing basic infrastructure needs in our schools than a new school in a part of Seattle that doesn’t need one. Let’s put our energy into holding the district accountable for poor decisions like this one. Write letters people!

    Comment by kayo — 3:36 pm April 25, 2012 #

  48. AHParent–tone down the rhetoric please. We’re all just trying to do the best we can.

    I agree there needs to be more options for Spectrum beyond entering in 1st grade, but retesting isn’t the best option. A kid who is already in spectrum, then for some reason doesn’t test well the next year, shouldn’t be put in general ed. The spectrum classes work a year ahead, so it would basically be like repeating a year. It looks like there are 10 on the wait list at Lafayette for 2nd grade next year–I wish there were actually a few more, and then there can be an argument for two classes per grade. It seems like there should be some flexibility to include all the students who qualify and want to go, but once you’re in, switching out is not a great option.

    Comment by Mary — 4:15 pm April 25, 2012 #

  49. What is an IB program?

    Comment by WS Dad — 9:14 pm April 25, 2012 #

  50. cclarue- thanks for that input! That really helps! We are going to keep all our options open & HP is our neighborhood school. Luckily, we have another year to sort it out!

    Comment by meg — 9:40 pm April 25, 2012 #

  51. @Mary
    Sorry but when there are such cut and dry entry requirements based on test scores and kids are qualifying but not getting in, then there needs to be strict requirements for remaining in the program. If they are supposed to be a grade ahead then there should be no problem meeting the test score requirements. As it stands now a child can test in and then score below minimum requirements grades 1-5 and yet still be considered “highly capable” – at the expense of kids who are consistently qualifying for spectrum, just not in grade k – the worst possible time to be testing kids.
    Fortunately for SPS, they have created an us vs them between spectrum parents and non spectrum parents, where the spectrum parents defend a broken program rather than demand a change.

    Comment by MarcO — 10:16 pm April 25, 2012 #

  52. Meg- My daugher is in the pre-K program at Highland park, but we don’t live in that catchment area. I have heard there are some good teachers there; also, just FYI, full day kindergarten is free there. They are charging for full-day K at all WS elementaries except for three of them, HP being one of them. Julie

    Comment by Julie W. — 8:15 am April 26, 2012 #

  53. Exactly MarcO! Everyone should test every year. Fair is fair.

    Comment by K — 8:16 am April 26, 2012 #

  54. Spectrum actually isn’t based entirely on test scores. Any teacher can recommend a kid and they will qualify for the next year, regardless of test scores. So kids that have trouble with testing for whatever reason can still get in if their teacher believes they should.
    I agree it isn’t a perfect system, but the solution is more advanced classes, not switching kids in and out every year. Since only some of this kids in spectrum are at their attendance area school, what happens if they were tested again and didn’t qualify? Does it make sense to then have them switch schools for a year, then maybe go back again the next? I understand being upset if your child qualifies and there isn’t room, but moving kids to different schools every year is ridiculous.

    Comment by Mary — 8:41 am April 26, 2012 #

  55. Mary, from what I’ve seen, kids can’t get into the program based purely on a teacher’s recommendation, they still have to test. The recommendation helps, but they still have to have the test scores. Have you seen differently?

    I definitely agree that more space is the best solution, and I don’t think kids should have to move back and forth between schools. Maybe each schools needs it’s own small Spectrum program? That’s probably been brought up and discussed before.

    It’s just crazy that one test in kindergarten gets kids into a program for 5 years with no retesting.

    Comment by J.J — 9:13 am April 26, 2012 #

  56. ML and WS Dad – IB stands for International Baccalaureate. More info here: http://www.ibo.org/

    Comment by Noelle — 9:14 am April 26, 2012 #

  57. That wouldn’t make sense at all Mary, I agree with you on that. However, even if your kid doesn’t test well and is recommended by a teacher, you still have the problem where if you don’t get in that first grade year, you are out of luck. The bottom line is that the district needs to rethink how they test for ALP and spectrum. Whether that is delaying testing until first or second grade or using other parameters. Also, the program should be expanded if, in fact, there are that many kids who need advanced programs here in West Seattle. Why not create a Spectrum magnet program that co-housed with STEM? The idea of moving Spectrum was resoundingly shot down by parents when it was brought up as a capacity solution for Lafayette in the fall. However, if it benefitted more kids in West Seattle by improving access for all kids, why would that be a bad thing? It would also solve some of the capacity issues at Lafayette which is hugely overcrowded. It will never happen though.

    Comment by kayo — 9:22 am April 26, 2012 #

  58. Just a point of information – teachers in the Spectrum program routinely recommend to parents that they reposition their child into regular Ed, if the child shows they are having difficulty academically, socially, etc….. But it is of paramount importance that the readers here understand that it is the PARENTS that demand keeping their children in the program….. Completely disregarding the recommendations of the trained professionals!…. Teachers are constantly told by parents that they (the parents…) know what is best for their child…… Well guess what folks?….. That is not always true. When parents go to a physician for advice on their child’s medical needs, they RARELY disregard it…. Yet parents do this to teachers all the time….. It doesn’t matter if you have 24 years of early childhood education experience, a doctorate in education, or (gasp!) all the evidence from the classroom to prove a change would be appreciate.
    There is one phrase that describes what is the parent trump card in these situations….. “Law suit.”

    Comment by Dano — 10:52 am April 26, 2012 #

  59. Why doesn’t K-5 Stem have a notice on the Seattle Public Schools Website that they will add another class if there are enough students on the waiting list? I don’t see how all those parents with children on the other waiting lists would know that if the info is only publicized in the West Seattle Blog. And when would they make a decision about adding another class? I moved my daughter to the STEM waiting list from the Pathfinder waiting list ( because she was 28th and so certain not to get in) for Kindergarten. She is the 9th and last child on the K waiting list for STEM, which I know is not enough to add another class……

    Comment by Julie W. — 11:19 am April 26, 2012 #

  60. Julie W, that would be a great question to ask the district or any place else you think the info should be found; we have tens of thousands of readers but certainly I’d agree, there are probably some interested who don’t read WSB! We only have the info because we are continuing to report on the new school and therefore seeking it out; it wasn’t in a news release – so it’s not that it’s being “publicized” here, it’s that we are reporting on it because we think it’s important news (and thanks again to the parents and others interested in the issue who we’ve heard from, too!) – TR

    Comment by WSB — 11:34 am April 26, 2012 #

  61. From what I hear the key to getting your child into spectrum is be a tenacious helicopter parent. If your child doesn’t test then have them test again, and again. And badger the SPS and teachers until you get what you want. Doesn’t sound like it has a lot to do with children being smart or gifted.

    Comment by Coco — 11:57 am April 26, 2012 #

  62. Good post, Dano. So how exactly do kids leave Spectrum? Is it only if they move or by the parents choice? Or if they drop below a certain ability level, will the school move them to reg ed? Or does the teacher decide?

    The idea of suing to keep a kid in Spectrum when the teacher says they should be in reg ed (which seems very good at Lafayette) is crazy. Those parents should go private.

    Comment by J.J — 12:18 pm April 26, 2012 #

  63. Much the same as we have had to say in a non-education thread, PLEASE do not demonize any particular group or school. Disclosure, we had a kid in Spectrum for three years. I won’t bore you with the story but it had NOTHING to do with helicoptering or badgering. We didn’t even KNOW about the program at the time we learned he needed something different, at which time it was months past the district’s testing deadline for the following school year, and his admission into the program (after a while on a waitlist) was a full year and a half after we learned it might be what he needed … Anyway, it’s clear many people are frustrated, worried, upset regarding a variety of things, and this is such an emotional topic because what EVERY parent ultimately wants is for their child to be appropriately served. Please don’t take it out on each other. Share information. Share experiences. Offer constructive criticism. Not sniping. Thanks. – Tracy

    Comment by WSB — 12:24 pm April 26, 2012 #

  64. Julie,

    My son is #40 for pathfinder K. He is now #10 on the STEM waitlist. Very frustrating. I have 4 elementary school aged children currently enrolled in 3 different schools :(

    1 in Pathfinder
    1 at stem
    2 at lafayette

    I doubt the appeals process will change any of that.

    Comment by c — 12:28 pm April 26, 2012 #

  65. Excellent point Dano – all the more reason to have and enforce strict requirements for remaining in the program. At the very least identify the kids that are not scoring the minimum MAP score requirement – for say 3 test cycles – and require they get a “testing exception” if they are to remain in the program (probably based on cognitive ability test or teacher recommendation).

    It just needs to be fixed – but unfortunately in order to do so the parents on the inside also need to be demanding change. Otherwise it’s just looked at as sour grapes by both the district and the spectrum parents.

    Comment by MarcO — 12:51 pm April 26, 2012 #

  66. We also experienced so many frustrations. Now the kids commute to Vashon for public school. It is an option we were relieved to find.

    Comment by EmH — 1:07 pm April 26, 2012 #

  67. Thank you Tracy! Not all spectrum parents are helicopter parents that just want to protect the program at all costs. The majority just happened to have kids that qualified and they wanted to give their kids an extra challenge. Many of us have one kid in spectrum and one that isn’t, so we’re not as one-sided as some seem to think. It’s frustrating to feel we constantly need to defend our choice to have a child in spectrum.

    Comment by Mary — 1:28 pm April 26, 2012 #

  68. P.S. Today’s weekly update, citywide list … first glance doesn’t look much different but I haven’t gone over it closely:
    .
    http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Departmental%20Content/enrollment%20planning/2012%20Waiting%20List.pdf?sessionid=11c542635f9e5c0fdb96c2eaa9a3eb3c

    Comment by WSB — 2:26 pm April 26, 2012 #

  69. Hi WSB.
    I think it is terrific you are reporting that STEM may open another class if it has enough student on the waiting list! I didn’t mean to imply otherwise:-). I just am a little frustrated it is nowhere on the SPS website, even in the section on the K-5 STEM. Some parents may be looking to that website to find out info about waitlists, etc.
    Thanks for reporting it, WSB.
    Julie

    Comment by Julie W. — 2:33 pm April 26, 2012 #

  70. Does anyone know what time the STEM school will start?

    Comment by c — 4:22 pm April 26, 2012 #

  71. Julie – please write K5STEM@seattleschools.org with this comment.

    Comment by wsmama3 — 4:26 pm April 26, 2012 #

  72. Julie, I agree that SPS does a rather poor job of communicating enrollment info, even to those of us who have kids now enrolled at STEM. The design team minutes on the SPS website and the yahoo group are currently the best ways to find info about the school. And the wsb, of course.

    Last night at the design team meeting, the SPS staff emphasized again that new classrooms could be opened if enough people apply. We parents are trying to get the word out.

    Comment by evergreen — 10:03 pm April 26, 2012 #

  73. My daughter is in K at Roxhill right now, and will be entering 1st this fall. There are fewer than 5 kids on waitlists for Roxhill, but despite what you might think that means, I can honestly say we’re happy at Roxhill and VERY glad we optioned for her to go there rather than our reference school, which is Arbor Heights.
    .
    We are a Title 1 school. Our building is old. We don’t have much parent participation (less than 10 PTA members). Our funding is pitiful. But the principal, teachers & staff are dedicated as can be, and I’ll take over fancy buildings and Spectrum programs any day.
    .
    We need to direct our ire at SPS and the other “powers that be” that continue to miss the mark when it comes to planning, being organized, and/or paying any attention to running the district as a business that is in the black (and producing quality results; ie well educated kids) across the board. THEY are the ones cheating our kids out of a quality and balanced education across the West Seattle peninsula.
    .
    Speaking of Roxhill… There will be a community meeting at our school on Thurs May 3rd @ 6:30pm to further discuss the BEX levy proposal of “merging” Roxhill with Arbor Heights. We hope all of our Roxhill families & those in the “neighborhood” will attend!

    Comment by Cheryl — 11:30 am April 27, 2012 #

  74. To reply to Dano’s comments. There should also be a testing requirement for spectrum teachers as they are not all ceated equal. We have personally had a spectrum teacher w/ 24 yrs of early childhod education & a doctorate recommend to us that our child not continue in the spectrum program. This recommendation has been made to at least 3 other parents that we are personally aware of. All of which have eiter continued in the spectrum program and flourished or transfered into the APP program (which is a big step ahead of spectrum) and flourished. Point being that all spectrum teachers are not good only appear to be. And in response to those that talk about getting out of spectrum if map scores were low – in our case our child’s map scores were consistently at 98-99 percent. We are so happy that we as parents trusted our gut rather then listening to this teacher because our child would not have gotten what he needed out of his Seattle schools education. He is getting what he needs now although that particular year was horrible – although now it’s in the past thankfully!

    Comment by Ann — 10:22 am April 28, 2012 #

  75. Ann, your comment is mean spirited…. But not surprising…. It just expresses an innocent ignorance…. Parents often have blinders on that result in momentary (or several years later….) justifications…. No matter when it occurs, honesty is a little difficult to swallow.

    The overwhelming majority of Spectrum parents feel that Spectrum is a valuable program, and like regular Ed, it is utilizing talented, hard working teachers.

    Clearly, this was not your experience…. That being said, Im so glad that your son is doing well, and that you are happy with where you finally landed. You have nothing but my best wishes, and aknowledgement that indeed, you needed to go elsewhere.
    MAP scores do not reflect work ethic, creativity, problem solving, or performance based higher level thinking skills. Nor do they display a student’s willingness to work hard, or live up to the standards presented in any educational track…. Be it regular Ed, or Spectrum.

    Comment by Dano — 10:11 pm April 28, 2012 #

  76. All of us pay for Spectrum and APP program even if you are not part of it, this special education for the few are paid for by the many. It is a private education for free through the Seattle School District. These special few get transportation paid for, entry into the best schools with ease, much easier than anyone else in the district. It is open for any student to try to get into applications are due early in the school year usually by October 31st so everyone have your child tested and test every year until you qualify.

    Comment by Really — 11:28 pm April 29, 2012 #

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