New Seattle Public Schools assignment plan: WS projections

The school year has a month and a half left to go, and we are getting a look at how the new Seattle Public Schools assignment plan, moving away from “choice” and toward “neighborhood schools,” is likely to affect West Seattle. First, thanks to Oliver for the tip (in this comment) that – for those who are still waiting, recent district arrivals, or those applied for something besides their “neighborhood school” – the district website says the district expects to send assignment letters this Friday. Next, the district has made enrollment projections for next fall. We’ve broken out the West Seattle numbers – here’s how to read them: The first number after each school is what the district says the school had enrolled as of last October; the second two numbers start with “number assigned” followed by “how many expected to be enrolled on October 1st.” Note that three elementaries are expecting higher enrollment: Gatewood, Lafayette, Schmitz Park.

Chief Sealth International – 996 last Oct; 1109 assigned for next year, expect 959 enrolled Oct. 1st
West Seattle – 1138 last Oct.; 1099 assigned for next year, expect 1006

Denny International – 704 last Oct; 764 assigned next year, 663 expected
Madison – 906 last Oct; 905 assigned next year, 842 expected

Alki – 363 (362, 349)
Arbor Heights – 343 (373, 339)
Gatewood – 418 (469, 431)
Highland Park – 415 (437, 407)
West Seattle – 332 (361, 329)
Lafayette – 522 (556, 525)
Roxhill – 312 (325, 302)
Schmitz Park – 355 (409, 394)
Sanislo – 325 (315, 295)

Pathfinder 464 (490, 452)

If you applied for a school different than your “neighborhood” assignment, you can check the charts here to see if there’s a waitlist, as pointed out by Charlie Mas at at (an always-excellent source for discussion of district-related issues).

18 Replies to "New Seattle Public Schools assignment plan: WS projections"

  • dsa May 11, 2010 (11:14 am)

    Is West Seattle Elementary the rename for High Point?

  • add May 11, 2010 (11:30 am)

    Yes – it was renamed about 2 years ago when Fairmount Park closed and the students merged into High Point.

  • marco May 11, 2010 (1:17 pm)

    Interesting that the numbers have almost not changed at all, despite the big shift from choice to assigned. Only Schmitz Park is supposed to go up significantly.

    Oh and look at that: WSE doesn’t have any wait list!!
    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

  • wsparent May 11, 2010 (5:48 pm)

    Cooper IS being re-opened! In portables on the playgrounds at Schmitz Park and Lafayette. Schmitz Park is on target to be 50% over capacity in just a few years. This is really unconscionable.

  • karen May 11, 2010 (5:58 pm)

    Important to note, though. Last year Gatewood had 290 students (according to schooldigger) and this year they had 418. So going up another 13-50 is a huge increase in a school already stretched to it’s limits.

  • Oliver May 11, 2010 (8:53 pm)

    can you provide any insight into the comment that Gatewood is stretched to its limits?

  • karen May 11, 2010 (9:23 pm)

    This year every room is being used as a classroom. The community room that had been used for projects, parent information and PTSA has also been turned into a classroom. The after school activities were severely affected because there was not enough space to have them. Some after school clubs simply did not happen because there wasn’t anywhere to have them.

    I understand the need to maximize space. I think the staff is doing a wonderful job of integrating all the new kids and we got some really great new teachers this year, too. I am simply pointing out that the numbers don’t show the whole story for every school.

  • Oliver May 11, 2010 (9:40 pm)

    Thanks, Karen, I appreciate the insight. Our son will be in one of the kindergarten classes next year, so it’s nice to hear what parents think.

  • karen May 11, 2010 (9:48 pm)

    I LOVE the school. The teachers are great, so are all the other staff from the office to the lunchroom. Everyone there cares about and knows the kids. There is also a huge amount of parent involvement at this school. All of the K teachers are really great, too.

  • EAO May 11, 2010 (10:18 pm)

    It’s interesting to look under the hood at the K assignments totals at each elementary in WS to see the huge variance. Schmitz Park has enrolled close to 2 1/2 x’s as many K’s as Sanislo. The distribution of seats seems out of balance which goes directly back to the way the new assignment areas were created.

    K assignments per/school for Fall 2010:

    Schmitz Park = 95
    Layfayette = 81
    Gatewood = 87
    Alki = 65

    Arbor Heights = 81
    Concord = 61
    Highland Park = 69
    Roxhill = 66
    Sanislo = 40
    West Seattle = 63

  • Lura Ercolano May 11, 2010 (10:21 pm)

    For many years, Gatewood always had some empty classrooms. That was part of the system-wide surplus-capacity issues that lead the district to close some buildings.
    The Gatewood school community put those empty classrooms to excellent use as special meeting rooms, activity rooms, project rooms, etc. My girls had many years of after-school piano lessons in the empty space.
    But it is not normal for a school to have empty or under-utilized classrooms like that. Yes, it was nice for some purposes, but it was always clear that the district would close some other site, and increase enrollment at Gatewood. Either that, or close Gatewood.
    Not having empty classrooms does not inherently mean that a school is too crowded. It is pleasant, but not normal, for a school to have extra classrooms available for use by the PTA, scouting groups, etc.

  • (required) May 11, 2010 (11:17 pm)

    So … has anyone crunched numbers to see what your odds are of getting a kindergarten-bound child accepted into an out-of-area school when you have other siblings in that elementary school already? The school district’s irrational refusal to allow out-of-area siblings to be able to attend really rubs me the wrong way.

  • Girasol May 12, 2010 (7:49 am)

    I find the numbers interesting, and inaccurate. These are not the numbers we’ve been told, or expect at the building level. I believe they are grossly under-predicted, and time will tell. The hardest thing, again at the school level, is being able to shuffle and prepare when (not if) it is proven that those numbers are inaccurate.

    It is also unfair how much it plays havoc with the families. I’m sure its frustrating to keep hearing, “whoops, we made a mistake”.

    • WSB May 12, 2010 (8:08 am)

      Just to be clear for anyone who didn’t follow the link – we link to the source – didn’t pull the numbers out of thin air. Doesn’t mean they are or will be accurate, but that’s the source, what the district has published on its website. Anyone who would like to publicly disclose what they’re being told at “the building level” (or forward, for attribution or not, any documents countering the public numbers), we’d certainly write about that too, as I’m sure would the great folks at the saveseattleschools website … TR

  • Oliver May 12, 2010 (8:39 am)

    I don’t think you can look at the total number of incoming kindergarteners, compare that number to another school and reach any conclusion such as whether there is an imbalance or inequality. What you have to know is what the school is doing with those numbers, such as how many kindergarten classes that will translater to and how teachers will be assigned. You also have to know how the school allocates its funds. Some schools have made a priority to hire enrichment teachers (art, music, p.e., etc) but that means less funds for more regular teachers and larger class sizes. Other schools have made smaller class size a priority over enrichment, so they cut music/art to have more regular teachers.

    Current parents at Gatewood, please correct me if you have heard something else. But the school has told me that they will have 4 Kindergarten classes, so if you take the assigned number it translates to a smaller class size than perhaps some of the schools with larger incoming classes. Gatewood also said this is not a big change from their K/1 program because they currently have 4 -1st grade clases and 3 kindergarten classes for a total of 7 in the K/1 band. Next year, it will be the reverse with 4 kindergarten classes and 3 first grade classes. They also said that will likely hire at least one other teacher they just don’t yet know whether current teachers will be moved around and what grade the new teacher would be for.

    As for other schools, I’m just making an educated guess to say that some of the assumptions behind the numbers are likely to be off. Lots of people want to go to Schmitz Park yet the District has assumed there there will be a large number that won’t show up, same appears to be true for Pathfinder – they did that to Lafayette a couple of years ago, everyone showed up and it resulted in kindergarten classes of 28 kids which was way too many. The numbers also don’t include families that move into a school’s assignment area. I’ve heard many people say on this blog and elsewhere that they’re going to move into Schmitz Park’s area over the summer. So, take it all with a big grain of salt.

  • wsparent May 13, 2010 (9:20 pm)

    It will be interesting to see the “actual” numbers, but it is pretty clear the district closed at least one too many schools in West Seattle. EVERY elementary in West Seattle has a wait list (per the district’s published info – though some wait lists are small) except, of course, West Seattle Elementary (aka High Point). Schmitz Park and Lafayette are so overcrowded already! It is a disgrace to close schools and essentially re-open them in portables on the playgrounds of other schools, all requiring busing, too – not very “green”. Meanwhile North Seattle gets three new schools this year.

  • wsparent May 13, 2010 (9:34 pm)

    I didn’t notice before, but those Middle and High School numbers indicate about 200 “missing” HS and MS students next year in West Seattle. Madison + Denny “expected” 2010 ~ 100 less than 2009, and WSHS + Sealth “expected” 2010 ~ 100 less than 2009. That seems odd. Any ideas? Are they leaving for private, Vashon, other?

  • me on 28th Ave SW May 18, 2010 (7:10 pm)

    Probably both? At least 10% of my children’s friends at Madison did not go to either Sealth or West Seattle High Schools.

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