K5 STEM at Hughes suggested in Seattle Public Schools capacity recommendations

December 18, 2012 at 7:47 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 35 Comments

Seattle Public Schools staff is suggesting consideration of the former EC Hughes Elementary School in Sunrise Heights as the permanent home for K-5 STEM at Boren, once Westside School (WSB sponsor) moves out. That’s one of the capacity-management – as in, crowding relief – recommendations on which the School Board will be briefed at a work session tomorrow night, according to a document made public today. The document also says staff is NOT recommending moving kindergarteners to Boren to make room, an idea explored in earlier drafts.

Read on for more West Seattle recommendations:

With Hughes suggested for STEM – as reported here last month, Westside plans to buy Hillcrest Presbyterian in Arbor Heights as a permanent site – Fairmount Park Elementary is to be recommended to reopen in fall 2014 as an attendance-area school. (It can’t reopen sooner because it needs renovations, including an 8-classroom addition.)

One portable is suggested for Pathfinder K-8, and 1 or 2 double portables each for Schmitz Park and West Seattle elementaries.

Highland Park and Arbor Heights recommendations are for repurposing existing rooms to be new homerooms, while it’s noted that AH has a homeroom available.

For middle and high schools, Denny International Middle School is recommended for “two double portables” and “reduce the number of choice assignments”; Chief Sealth International High School next door is not recommended for more portables, but it’s recommended that Sealth “reduce number of Open Choice seats in alignment with new program capacity.”

The School Board work session tomorrow is open to the public (6 pm at district HQ in SODO), though there is no public comment period (the district is continuing to accept comments at capacity@seattleschools.org). The final proposal is to be formally introduced at the January 9th board meeting, with a final vote two weeks after that.

35 Comments

  1. Putting the STEM school at EC Hughes is very exciting.

    Comment by Amanda — 9:35 pm December 18, 2012 #

  2. FINALLY some info about our fate from SPS. I would take any building, and hopefully EC Hughes has the capacity for a growing STEM school. Love the location.

    Comment by Evergreen — 10:15 pm December 18, 2012 #

  3. Isn’t our STEM school enrollment already to large for EC Hughes to handle? It would thrive at Fairmont park.

    Comment by father of student — 10:32 pm December 18, 2012 #

  4. yay! this is great news! Fingers crossed it really happens.

    Comment by Jack — 10:37 pm December 18, 2012 #

  5. What’s this? Good, reasonable ideas coming from the district? Color me impressed.

    Comment by monosyllabic girl — 10:44 pm December 18, 2012 #

  6. It will cost a lot to make Hughes useable

    Comment by Jim Clark — 11:35 pm December 18, 2012 #

  7. Hughes was re-opened about 5 years ago and used for an interim site before Westside moved in. My understanding is Westside replaced the roof and possibly the boiler in return for reduced rent on the property.
    Someone who has a child currently attending could better speak to the buildings condition.

    Comment by west seattle steve — 1:21 am December 19, 2012 #

  8. By district criteria in this draft report from earlier this year, doesn’t seem to score too well:
    .
    http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Departmental%20Content/school%20board/11-12%20agendas/021512agenda/20120215_FacilitiesMasterPlan.pdf

    Comment by WSB — 1:36 am December 19, 2012 #

  9. My son goes to Hughes/Westside. The building is in great shape, they did a lot of hard work. It is move in ready.

    Comment by Tony — 5:58 am December 19, 2012 #

  10. @WSB- can you summarize the SPS report, in regards to Hughes?? The 109 pages are a bit much for 6am. Thanks

    Comment by Tony — 6:02 am December 19, 2012 #

  11. Thrilling! Hughes is in great shape- we would be the perfect school for that location. Good solution for all around capacity issues and for keeping STEM as an option school. Nice work SPS!

    Comment by Stemama — 6:24 am December 19, 2012 #

  12. Tony, here is a link to a summary from Save Seattle Schools Blog.

    http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/2012/12/seattle-schools-capacity-management.html?m=1

    I am happy for the stem program. It is unfortunate for Westside, but the public school kids of West Seattle need that building more. I think the stem school will be wildly popular in the future assuming the district gets its act together. They would be stupid not to. My only concern is whether the stem school will fit in the building given the size of the early grades there this year.

    It will be interesting to see how boundaries change in 2014/15. I hope families with younger kids are paying attention. That will be a mess, especially if the district continues to not offer guaranteed grandfathering for siblings.

    Comment by kayo — 7:11 am December 19, 2012 #

  13. I was told that the westside lease is over in 2016. If thats true, you will see capacity issues before the transfer occurs.

    Comment by wsea — 7:54 am December 19, 2012 #

  14. As a parent at westside – it is a lovely school and so much work has been done. I am very sad to leave it. The building itself is not that big – perhaps the plan is to leave all the portables we put in (very nicely).

    Comment by CJ — 8:30 am December 19, 2012 #

  15. Remember, Westside is buying its own building and will be moving.

    Comment by J — 9:37 am December 19, 2012 #

  16. How can they reduce the number of open choice seats at Denny and Sealth from the current number, which is 0?

    Comment by Slider — 9:49 am December 19, 2012 #

  17. In terms of the building condition in that report…EC scores the same as AH, Roxhill, and Alki. Schmitz Park scores a fraction worse, Lafayette a fraction better. Fairmont is also in worse condition.

    Does the building fit more than 350 or so? According to the building history, it has been numerous schools and once even had 900 or so kids, but that was with the use of multiple portables. Personally, portables are fine with me as long as they have temperature control. I just want to see a strong school that operates as designed this past summer.

    Comment by Evergreen — 10:23 am December 19, 2012 #

  18. I see this as a better short and long-term plan: Open Hughes as another neighborhood school for the south and keep the Schmitz Park building open as a neighborhood school in the north after the Genessee Hill building is opened. Fairmount Park (in the middle) becomes the STEM option school with enough seats to actually meet the demand and assist in capacity issues throughout WS. (Again, pulling 5-10 kids from each school at each grade would go a LONG way on keeping class sizes reasonable). My two cents. OK, bring on the dissent…

    Comment by StringCheese — 10:58 am December 19, 2012 #

  19. Just saw that “educational adequacy” page 82 had a worse score, but was this measured in 2010? The report itself is from 2011….also, capacity without portables is 404 (page 106).

    Comment by Evergreen — 10:59 am December 19, 2012 #

  20. I think that is a typo. All other documents show capacity at 304.

    pg. 42
    http://district.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Departmental%20Content/school%20board/10-11%20agendas/062911agenda/20110629_Presentation_WorkSessionCapacity.pdf

    pg. 20
    http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Departmental%20Content/facilities/bex/BEX4boardworksession05092012.pdf

    BEX handout
    http://district.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Departmental%20Content/bex/bexcommunitymeetinghandout.pdf

    Comment by StringCheese — 11:18 am December 19, 2012 #

  21. I 100% agree with Evergreen.

    Comment by WSMama3 — 11:18 am December 19, 2012 #

  22. StringCheese, that would be a better option. Let’s discuss it with Carmela at the next PTA meeting…however, the Schmitz Park families probably don’t want to be split b/twn a new neighborhood school and the proposed new location. The SP building holds 200-something kids.

    Comment by Evergreen — 11:56 am December 19, 2012 #

  23. The page 106 capacity of 404 is apparently a typo, it’s 304 without portables.

    While I would personally benefit from EC Hughes as STEM’s permanent location since it is a couple of blocks from me, my goal is to advocate for all children in WS for the most equitable access and a facility that can truly support education in STEM. To that end, problems that I see with E.C. Hughes:

    - It doesn’t have the capacity to equitably allow access to all families who want a STEM based education. We are already close to 304, had a wait list in our first year, and the school will become more popular.

    - The limited capacity likewise means that STEM won’t relieve overcrowding in other schools, which was one of the stated purposes of opening the school.

    - There’s no room for our developmental/special ed. preschool, which was recently re-located from Roxhill. What will happen to that program?

    - My understanding is there’s no space for a real science lab. Creating one would further reduce actual class space.

    - Where would the money come from to make adjustments to support a STEM school, such as the science labs we currently have?

    I continue to believe that Fairmount Park is the most equitable and cost-effective option because (1) it will have the greatest capacity to accommodate the demand, (2) current construction and funds from the levy can address STEM specific needs, and (3) the central location should reduce bus/transporation related expense. The need for additional neighborhood schools could be met by opening Genessee Hill and keeping Schmitz Park open.

    Comment by Heidi A — 12:22 pm December 19, 2012 #

  24. Heidi, brilliantly stated!

    Comment by StringCheese — 12:59 pm December 19, 2012 #

  25. I think it is simply a map issue. The borders can be drawn around Fairmount to relieve SP, West Seattle Elementary and possibly Lafayette. It can also feed into Madison taking some (albeit small) of the burden off Denny. SPS knows it will have Hughes to utilize and the surrounding area just doesn’t have the same issues. It is a domino effect, if you redraw the WSE boundary, you can also skim off a little of the Roxhill boundary possibly giving room back for the preschool.

    This is a sound plan from SPS. I am pleasantly surprised. You can never make everyone happy all the time.

    Comment by Laura — 1:10 pm December 19, 2012 #

  26. I called Chris Richardson, a Senior Facilities Planner at SPS listed on the document cited by WSB, and let him know about the typo. Hopefully this is taken into account prior to the final Jan recommendations.

    Comment by Evergreen — 1:18 pm December 19, 2012 #

  27. Why wouldn’t Fairmount relieve Gatewood of its overcrowding with lines redrawn??

    Comment by E — 1:26 pm December 19, 2012 #

  28. Laura, you are forgetting that the original Schmitz Park will be available as well for the north end. Keeping it open as a neighborhood school would make more sense and prevent drastic boundary changes.

    Comment by StringCheese — 1:54 pm December 19, 2012 #

  29. evergreen, thanks! I also sent emails to Pegi McEvoy and Lucy Morello. In fact, I also mentioned in it that the final version of the Facilities Master Plan from 2/15/12 has never been published. Odd…?

    Comment by StringCheese — 1:55 pm December 19, 2012 #

  30. I agree it would be nice if STEM continues to grow, but it is an option school. Neighborhood schools need to come first for capacity issues, because no matter what options may be out there, the neighborhood schools must take the kids in their area. Hopefully STEM helps with overcrowding, but if parents don’t choose to go there, the neighborhood school has to have room for all their kids.

    Comment by Mary — 2:39 pm December 19, 2012 #

  31. This raises a lot of questions that I’ve emailed to the decision makers. I am hoping that crucial details of these latest Fairmount Park and E C Hughes proposals will be clarified at the work session tonight. Specifically:

    If K5STEM is to be located at EC Hughes:
    What will be the move-in date?
    What will be the maximum enrollment with and without portables?
    What middle school pathway will be provided to allow the K5STEM cohort to stay together and continue an enriched math and science curriculum?

    If Fairmount Park Elementary is opened as a neighborhood school in 2014:

    What grades will be enrolled in 2014-15?
    How will the offerings and staffing be made equitable to other neighborhood elementary schools?
    What program features will be offered at Fairmount Park to attract students to transfer into the upper grades to make immediate use of some of the 400+ nonkindergarten seats opening there in 2014-5?

    There has been strong community opposition to an involuntary relocation of kindergarten students away from a full K-5 campus every time this has been proposed by SPS in West Seattle and this seems like another version of that same plan for Fairmount Park, except now without the critical mass of students that provides funding for PCP positions such as the PE teacher.

    Comment by fiverson — 3:22 pm December 19, 2012 #

  32. Pathfinder has limits on its population too, many, many people on its wait list. Why would STEM be different? Hughes makes a good choice also, we can’t always have everything that we want.

    Comment by george — 3:29 pm December 19, 2012 #

  33. EC would leave STEM at Boren until 2016 per WSB info from capacity meeting.

    Comment by Evergreen — 8:09 pm December 19, 2012 #

  34. I have a kindergartener at STEM, but also toured the Hughes building extensively when considering Westside (great school, couldn’t afford the tuition). Hughes is a lovely old building with tons of character. Westside has done a lot to it, and it would certainly be a nice school environment, BUT… I have 2 concerns. 1. Based on current kindergarten enrollment at STEM, the eventual student population will be approximately 500 (there are currently 3 K classes with around 24 students to a class, plus a K/1 class with 12 kindergarteners in it). From what I’ve seen of Hughes, it does not have the capacity for 500 students. Also, this would take the possibility of a K-8 expansion off the table. 2. I don’t remember seeing science labs at Hughes. It is an old building, and it seems that it might be better for STEM to have a new building (the newly-renovated Fairmount Park, for example) since we need to be on the cutting/edge of technology.

    Comment by Brontosaurus — 11:31 am December 20, 2012 #

  35. I hope there is room for my kid at STEM next year

    Comment by Nick — 7:36 pm December 20, 2012 #

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