West Seattle schools: Fairmount Park Elementary reopening as soon as fall 2012?

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Reopening a closed West Seattle public school is virtually inevitable, Seattle School Board president Steve Sundquist confirmed during this morning’s community-conversation meeting at Delridge Library, as the district deals with overcrowding issues in the second year after the last round of closures. And though no decision’s been made yet, Fairmount Park Elementary at 38th/Findlay – shuttered for four years – seems likely to be that school, he acknowledged – with one caveat. Read on for details of the discussion, which also tackled issues including sibling waitlists:

Nine parents attended the meeting – one of two that Sundquist is hosting this week – all identifying themselves as having students (or incoming students) at various West Seattle public schools, except for one whose student is at Lowell Elementary in the north end. School crowding was the major topic – here is how it played out, leading to the Fairmount Park discussion:

One West Seattle parent started with a question about sibling assignments; siblings coming into the system are no longer likely to be assigned to the same school as their older sibling, unless the latter is already in the family’s “neighborhood school” (and many aren’t, since they entered the district before the “choice” system was abandoned).

She said she lives two blocks from Lafayette Elementary but is no longer in its district as of last year’s neighborhood mapping – and this fall, the assignments have her children at two different schools, Lafayette and Schmitz Park Elementary (whose area her home is now in).

Sundquist said that she should be able to get her older child into Schmitz Park – but she explained that student is in the Spectrum gifted program, and would not be appropriately served at SP, since there’s no Spectrum program there. “I think the challenge you’re going to have,” said Sundquist, “is what’s the most important value to you as a family – to have both kids in the same location … together, or (to have the older child remain in the Spectrum program at Lafayette)?”

“Are those acceptable options to you?” the parent asked. “I don’t like them,” Sundquist acknowledged. “There’s a lot of things I don’t like about (current scenarios),” but, he indicated, there’s no way around it with the new policy – you have to make an “educational or lifestyle choice.” He noted that similar situations had arisen under the previous “school choice” assignment system as well.

Both Schmitz Park and Lafayette have waitlists, another parent noted, urging Sundquist, at summer’s end, to monitor the situation in any way possible, because she said, she knows of some families in the reverse situation – with one student at each of those schools, but wanting both to be at SP.

Lafayette has a 10-student sibling waitlist and SP has an 8-sibling list at the moment, said the first parent. (Editor’s note: We have asked the district to make available the waitlist numbers in general, and we have been told that could happen as soon as the end of this week.)

“What is the district going to do” about the siblings-in-different-schools situation? another parent pressed.

“We’re going to push schools as hard as they can to make sure all their space is used,” Sundquist replied. “The lists will be worked very hard again (this year) … as they were last year …” Last year, he recalled the district managed to accommodate roughly 80 percent of the families who wound up in that situation district-wide. But, “enrollment is continuing to trend up and up,” he warned. “I expect the staff will work very hard to make this happen,” but it cannot be guaranteed.

The other parent there to discuss a similar situation said she also wants both of her children to be at the same school – but doesn’t want to move her older child, a Gatewood Elementary student, to the reference-area school into which her younger child has been assigned, because that school happens to be West Seattle Elementary School, which Sundquist acknowledged is one of the state’s worst-performing schools – while adding that steps have been taken toward performance, including a principal change. “If you visit that school, I think you will find a much better situation for teaching and learning,” he added.

However, he also noted that each August, families whose children have been assigned to schools at a certain low-performance level have the option to seek a different assignment, under federal “No Child Left Behind” law. “One of the difficult things about (NCLB) is that it sets up a punitive framework for schools,” he lamented, saying the law was written in such a way that within a few years, “a majority of the nation’s schools (may be) failing.”

Saying that relief for the area’s overcrowding would likely help with the sibling-separation challenge, Sundquist said, “Clearly we’ve got capacity issues in West Seattle- we need to open one more school year, pronto, but we’re going to be even tighter next year before we can make that happen.”

“What about the boundary redraw for Lafayette?” pressed the parent who opened the topic, saying she knew of students miles away who were going there, while her children two blocks away were not. The current boundaries are “not perfect,” Sundquist allowed, recalling some turned out to be particularly unnatural because of the history involved in the last school-closure round – particularly the Cooper program closure, “because it was the least likely to be successful as a neighborhood reference area school,” with Pathfinder K-8 moving into that building on Pigeon Point, “and now at capacity … serving many more kids than they were at the (now-closed) Genesee Hill building.”

As a result, though, he said, Lafayette wound up as the school with reference-area students who do indeed live some distance.

Boundary changes also were the topic of yet another parent’s question – whether any are in the works. Sundquist said the board had originally hoped it wouldn’t have to change boundaries for at least five years, but “we are unlikely to make” that goal because of problems around the city – though “it’s a very difficult thing to make all the parties happy” when they absolutely have to make a change, so, he cautioned, “the district isn’t going to want to mess with boundaries if we can avoid it.”

And a boundary change won’t solve the West Seattle situation, “with multiple schools full,” he added.

If you are in the sibling-waitlist situation, what do you do? asked one of the affected parents. Send mail to every board member, to senior district management (including Tracy Libros, who’s in charge of the enrollment), to make sure they understand “the pain that is out there,” Sundquist suggested. The enrollment team has the final accountability for figuring out who can be moved where without causing further problems, he clarified.

The next board meeting will include a preliminary report on waitlists and how to handle overcrowding, he also noted (that meeting is next Wednesday, June 15th). He also says he hasn’t seen specific information on sibling waitlists, just a “first cut” at overall waitlists. Another trend: Students coming back into the district, counter to original projections – the district is now projected to have 53,000 students by 2015, according to Sundquist, an increase of six thousand over the span of just a few years.

What West Seattle school might reopen? He couldn’t say for certain, but: “No one has said Fairmount Park is the building but it seems like the building,” he said. “The question the staff is working through is, if we choose it, and the school board is prepared to make (a decision) on fairly short notice – we’re prepared to take the risk, I think the most likely candidate is Fairmount Park. There was worry that the amount of work needed for it to reopen would exceed the time allowed or the money available,” since it’s been closed long enough to require code upgrades – possibly requiring $7 million to $9 million estimated upgrades (it’s being reroofed this summer). He said a district team was going to Fairmount Park as of about a week ago to evaluate it.

Sundquist then again speculated that Fairmount Park will be designated as the school to reopen – but if it isn’t ready by fall of 2012, Boren Middle School (closed since the end of Sealth’s temporary use a year ago) might have to be pressed into use as an elementary for a year, until Fairmount Park is ready.

One other point of note: A reopened elementary in West Seattle might be designated as an “option school” – chosen, not assigned by reference area. (Fairmount Park was closed in the first round of school closures three-plus years ago.)

Factoring into the evaluation process, Sundquist later said – the district has “essentially fired the entire Facilities staff” recently, so “consultants” have a prominent role in the process that’s under way right now.

Now that capacity is going up, also, “I don’t think you’ll see the district selling any more property,” Sundquist said. West Seattle could eventually see another elementary school built – the site where Denny IMS is about to be demolished has been designated publicly as a “future elementary school site,” but Sundquist said that’s not a sure bet for a future levy (in opening remarks, touching on the crowding issue, he talked about the 2013 BEX levy as one way of addressing it); Genesee Hill has been mentioned too – closed more than two years, since Pathfinder moved to Cooper – and the district of course also still owns the Boren and EC Hughes properties (the latter has been leased to Westside School [WSB sponsor]).

Timetable for a decision on reopening a school (theoretically Fairmount Park Elementary)? Soon, Sundquist indicated – maybe a matter of weeks.

Also discussed at today’s meeting: One parent’s philosophical observation about whether the district might move to a point where many distinct academic programs, Spectrum among them, might not be necessary, reducing some of the problems caused by the demand for specific schools where they are offered. In the ensuing discussion, Sundquist reminded those on hand that at least regarding Spectrum, he is proud that there are now “viable programs” available at more schools than there used to be – Arbor Heights Elementary in south West Seattle and Madison Middle School, for two. … On a separate issue, an Arbor Heights parent told Sundquist the school communities are happy that parents are involved in the selection process for their new principal (replacing Dr. Carol Coram, who is moving to Denny International Middle School as assistant principal, as first reported here) … That led to a suggestion that parents be involved someday in the feedback process for evaluating school staffers. That’s an “aspirational goal,” Sundquist observed, and not likely to happen any time soon, though he said the evaluation process is evolving …

Before the Q/A portion, Sundquist opened with an FYI on three topics he “wanted to bring to (the group’s attention).” One was capacity management, aka crowding, and since we’ve already reported on that, here are the other two:

Topic 1, the superintendent’s evaluation: “This of course is an odd year because in fact we fired the superintendent in early March – so Dr. (Susan) Enfield, who is serving in an interim capacity, has only been on the job three months … so we’ll offer an evaluation of how the district is doing … and also give some guidance on Susan’s performance as we see it,” at the board meeting next Wednesday night. Topic 2: “…the ongoing budget challenges we have, … the third winter in a row we’ve had to go through serious budget adjustments in a downward direction.” He said the district’s facing a $45 million budget gap because of how the state legislative session turned out, with a $4 million gap remaining, since their previous plans/actions had covered about $41 million. The district is negotiating with employee groups, he said, in “conversations … that will certainly last through June,” and is hoping to conclude talks before the July 6th School Board meeting.

If you have a Seattle Public Schools question/concern, Steve Sundquist’s next neighborhood-chat meeting is this Saturday at High Point Library (35th/Raymond), 11 am.

36 Replies to "West Seattle schools: Fairmount Park Elementary reopening as soon as fall 2012?"

  • stb June 8, 2011 (1:43 pm)

    Thank you for the very detailed reporting on this meeting. I really appreciate being able to read a factual, nonbiased account.

  • pam June 8, 2011 (2:39 pm)

    Yes thank you so much for this awesome reporting!! Hope they are SERIOUSLY considering making fairmont park (or whatever school they reopen) an option school, rather than redoing boundaries and inevitably splitting up families, AGAIN!

  • J June 8, 2011 (3:03 pm)

    I urge EVERYONE in a similar position, with an incoming Kindergartener not assigned to their older child’s school, to be VERY VOCAL and active about this issue. The district needs to know that keeping siblings together is a HIGH priority for our community, and the ethical thing to do. Please e-mail these concerns to all the Seattle Public School Board members, the superintendent, and Tracy Libros (Manager of Enrollment and Planning).

    Thank you WSB for covering this event.

  • destinyabound June 8, 2011 (3:20 pm)

    excellent reporting!

  • ccs June 8, 2011 (4:31 pm)

    “The next board member will include a preliminary report on waitlists”
    -nice freudian slip!

  • WSB June 8, 2011 (4:55 pm)

    Sorry, it’s not freudian, it’s sleep deprivation. Thanks for catching – I read this through three times and didn’t see it till your comment. And thank you, because that led me to check the filings, and I see that Steve Sundquist now has an election opponent, which is separate news – TR

  • Carla Rogers June 8, 2011 (5:30 pm)

    Speaking of the election… I’d love to hear interest in a School Board Candidate forum this fall. I am the Legislation Chair at Alki ES and would love to host an event such as this at Madison or WSHS. Speak up if you’d be interested in a ‘debate’ of sorts. Thanks!

  • former SSD parent June 8, 2011 (7:30 pm)

    Does anyone find it ironic that when school closures were first threatened in WS, the district insisted that the number of children in WS families (they believed) was trending downwards, when anyone looking around them, or in a co-op preschool, playgroup, etc., could notice the very obvious: more families, more children. This observation was voice to deaf ears at many school district meetings. And now a PORTABLE on the playground at Gatewood? Please! When is there going to be a school policy that is longer than the next budget cycle?

  • chris June 8, 2011 (8:05 pm)

    Is the policy of letting parents weigh in on principal selection new? We were not afforded that opportunity at sanislo when the school last changed principals.

  • Melissa Westbrook June 8, 2011 (8:59 pm)

    All very interesting. How is it that the district, in a span of two years, closes and opens schools? Can’t forecast within 3 years even as parents in their neighborhoods look around and KNOW there are more kids?

    The policy on principal selection is still anyone’s guess. You saw what happened when the Superintendent tried to unilaterally fire Ingraham’s principal but at the high school level it’s easier to fight. You should ask why you can’t have parent reps on your hiring committee.

    Where Steve thinks we can find the money to reopen another school is a mystery. They are already borrowing out of capital funds to close the budget gap. Cleveland kids get free laptops out of capital funds. We are rebuilding the playfield and tennis courts near Denny…again. The capital dollars are not endless.

    Oh and those “viable” Spectrum programs? Beware West Seattle because in the Northeast they are systematically being changed…without any notice.

  • AHmom June 8, 2011 (9:22 pm)

    AH parents are VERY involved and VERY vocal.

  • alkigirl1 June 8, 2011 (9:36 pm)

    I can’t believe that Fairmount Park would require 7-9 million dollars to renovate! I worked there for 6 years prior to it’s closing, and it was not in bad shape at all, other than the leaking roof, which has been repaired. I don’t understand the district at all. Closing schools, reopening schools, changing boundaries….it’s crazy. Lets cut some of the “administrators downtown” and use that money to increase teachers pay, and to hire more teachers to fill the closed schools! Smaller class sizes, more schools, fewer executives downtown! Sounds pretty sensible to me.

  • Oliver June 8, 2011 (9:37 pm)

    I think the district needs to hear it’s not a “lifestyle” choice to keep your kids together and the problem is not solved by saying you can all be reassigned to a school that is different from the one that you have been actively involved in. This is my first year as a parent at Gatewood and a distinguishing characteristic of our school is the strength of our diverse community. We’ve spent a year in the trenches fundraising for and working toward a community vision. I would be devastated if this were two years later and was told, sorry your your child can’t go here, but why should you care when they can both be reassigned to a failing school?
    Does no one else fail to the completely inhumane nature of that response from the district?

  • Oliver June 8, 2011 (9:40 pm)

    Sorry, edit feature doesn’t work well on iPad. That should say, does anyone else fail to see the completely inhumane nature…

  • J June 8, 2011 (10:15 pm)

    @Oliver – Definitely me! I’m that parent at Gatewood and I’m heartbroken, shocked, and enraged about the situation our family is in.

    **** Please help advocate for keeping our siblings together (without ripping the older one of of their school)! The more voices, the better!!!****

  • AIDM June 8, 2011 (10:21 pm)

    We will probably be assigned to Fairmont when it opens, so I’m curious whether it was a good school before it closed? Was it better or worse than Gatewood? How were the WASL scores? How much did the PTA typically raise each year? What percentage of kids were on free lunch?

    Also does anyone know how schools that are reopened are repatriated with teachers and staff? Does it get all teachers that are new to teaching and new to the district or are a portion of the teachers who are proven to be “good” assigned to the new school from other successful schools?

  • WS Parent June 8, 2011 (10:34 pm)

    The SSD paid a lot of money for the DeVore population projection to be off by 9,000 students (moderate projection) two years ago. West Seattle got the perfect storm: school closures with inaccurate data, redrawn boundaries with inaccurate data, then the economy tanked so that opening a new school here won’t happen like it did up North without painful foot dragging. GET VOCAL West Seattle parents, or get ignored!

  • Public School Advocate June 8, 2011 (10:36 pm)

    The ONLY viable way of re-opening Fairmount Park as an “option” school would be for there to be a compelling enough program in place (whether it be language immersion, arts, science, APP/Spectrum, etc…) to draw students away from their neighborhood school to relieve capacity issues otherwise it doesn’t alleviate the situation.

    Lafayette/Schmitz Park families (currently the 2 most overcrowded), what type of program would it take for you to leave your neighborhood school?

  • Christine June 9, 2011 (2:42 am)

    Public School Advocate, our family would love to see a full Spectrum at Fairmount Park (our assigned school before closure, now WSE). An International Elementary in WS (English/Spanish) would be our second choice followed by an alternative school (Emergent curriculum). I once met some parents at Steve Sunquist’s neighborhood talk that worked on all these options, but it turned out to be a secret circle. I sincerely hope they have all families in mind while presenting ideas to SPS board members, as it seemed hard to get in even as an informed and involved parent. Time to speak up as a parent what school options you would like to see!

  • Mat June 9, 2011 (8:07 am)

    Living close to Fairmount and with a new baby I can’t say that I’m not jazzed to hear about it’s possible reopening. But even without a kid that might be going there in a few years it’d be nice to see some life around that building and more kids playing at that great new playground they just built!

  • cherylc June 9, 2011 (8:58 am)

    We sold our house and moved six blocks, so our child (age 3 currently) wouldn’t have to go to West Seattle Elementary and would go to Gatewood. We are excited about Gatewood, but we are are really close to the Fairmont Park building. This stuff really messes with people and I really wish there was better long-term planning. As many people have said, I could have told them there seemed to be more kids coming. I could go on, but other commenters have covered it. Except, firing the Facilities staff? What? Why?

  • M_ June 9, 2011 (9:18 am)

    I have to agree about the lifestyle choice comment. If you have two children attending different schools and want a guarantee that they will go to the same school – you need to send them to your neighborhood school.

    As an aside, I would would prefer to see the Spectrum program go away and distribute those kids across all classrooms in the school. It is creating an environment of elitism in the school with parents falling all over themselves trying to get their kids in the program or getting them in the “good kid” crowd. All of the kids would be better served at this age by leveraging the abilities of the “Spectrum kids” to elevate the learning levels of all of the kids in the classroom.

    I’d also say most of these kids are not truly “gifted”, by definition they only need to score above 85% in reading and math. That is not gifted, it’s above average.

  • TFP June 9, 2011 (9:55 am)

    My child is number 40 something on the “waiting-list” at Pathfinder. It seems SPS must have been using discovery math to determine they needed to close these schools.

    It’s good news the district is considering addressing the crowding in WS. Would it be dreaming to hope the district would offer another option, or magnet school in West Seattle?

  • pjmanley June 9, 2011 (10:10 am)

    M_: I disagree with you entirely.

    It does not work well having children working above-grade level in the same class with children working at, or below, grade level. Its not about elitism. Its about the best possible allocation of resources to meet student needs. Expecting a teacher to manage 30 kids with 10 each working at 3 different grade levels (10below/10at/10above) is unrealistic and short-changes every child in the class.

    The children socialize just fine outside the 3rs, while having targeted concentrations to build their strengths within them. So-called “differentiated teaching” is just another code word for dumping ever more responsibility on teachers while cutting their budgets and resources, supposedly to save money, which of course, never occurs. Instead, the money goes into the pockets of outside consultants and “coaches” (which of course wouldn’t be necessary if we adequately supported teachers and schools in the first place).

    If Spectrum parents are acting elitist, call them on it. But don’t pull the rug out from under their kids thriving in the program. It’s wrong to punish kids for the offensive attitudes and behavior of their parents.

    As Spectrum gets diluted in the NE, we are already seeing more and more families go private, because the demand for self-contained, peer-level work is incredibly high amongst Seattle parents. We need to keep those families in our schools. If anything, rather than eliminating Spectrum, we should grow it to make it available to every kid who wants it. This relieves teachers working with kids at or below grade level from the burden of dealing with kids at such disparate levels and enables them to teach more effectively to more kids.

  • Another WS parent June 9, 2011 (11:26 am)

    M: I disagree with you as well. The 85th percentile on the MAP test is only the first step, then the kids need to do around 90-95th (I don’t remember the exact cut-off) on a separate cognitive test. Why wouldn’t we want kids that are performing at a higher level to be challenged more? If the district could afford more teachers and space and therefore have smaller class sizes, maybe Spectrum wouldn’t be necessary. But with classes that are approaching 30 kids, the kids who are doing fine don’t get challenged. The kids who are struggling are given more attention (which is appropriate), but that leaves the other kids bored in school.
    Spectrum should count as a service that allows siblings to be placed in the same school. Parents who move their children for that program are doing so only because it isn’t offered at their neighborhood school. Taking your child out of Spectrum to keep siblings together is not a good solution. Spectrum expects kids to work a grade level above. If they move into a general ed class, they will already have completed that level of work, making the year a waste.

  • M_ June 9, 2011 (11:54 am)

    EXACTLY – WS Parent, the kids who are doing fine don’t get challenged. Only the kids in the Spectrum classes are getting challenged. The problem is that Spectrum is serving only 10 -15 percent of the population (by definition).
    The kids who are “doing fine” (the majority) are getting lost in the two extremes – between the Spectrum kids and the kids who are struggling that demand of the attention. It seems we have settled for the race to the bottom for most kids, except those that have tested well.
    Only offering a good education to a small population of the children is not the right answer, don’t leave capable kids behind just because they didn’t meet a bar set at an early level . Fix the problem, don’t just make it someone else’s.

  • AH Parent June 9, 2011 (12:36 pm)

    A few weeks ago the Arbor Heights PTSA sponsored a screening of Race to Nowhere — http://www.racetonowhere.com/ at Chief Sealth. There were parents, teachers, students and concerned citizens from just about every West Seattle public and private school in attendance. The post-film discussion was fabulous and brought the community together to talk about what the educational system is doing to our kids; and to stimulate discussions and foster actions to change that culture. We will be hosting 2 more screenings this coming Monday — June 13th in the Arbor Heights School Library. One from 3:30pm-5:30pm (childcare provided) and another from 6:30pm-8:30pm. It’s a film that anyone concerned about education show see. Tickets are available online 1) 3:30pm showing — http://rtnarborheights330pm.eventbrite.com

    2) 6:30pm showing — http://rtnarborheights630pm.eventbrite.com/

  • J June 9, 2011 (6:26 pm)

    @M: I entirely disagree with your “lifestyle” comment, and for that matter, Sundquist’s as well. Some of us have older children that entered the SPS under the “school choice” system, a system that GUARANTEED that your younger child could attend your older child’s school. At no point, in 2008, when my daughter was assigned to Gatewood, did any of us have any idea that this new assignment plan was looming. We all assumed that our younger children would be able to attend, in this case, the school we have been so dedicated and involved in for 3 YEARS! Now my son is assigned to the worst performing school in the district, while my daughter is at Gatewood. And this is a “lifestyle” choice?? Really? The district played a dirty trick on these families, and these are not equitable schools here. I’m sure if you were in my position, or the position of any other parent with siblings split, you would have an entirely different opinion.

  • More WS Family June 9, 2011 (9:20 pm)

    “I think the challenge you’re going to have,” said Sundquist, “is what’s the most important value to you as a family – to have both kids in the same location … together, or (to have the older child remain in the Spectrum program at Lafayette)?”

    Honestly — that statement in a nutshell summarizes how Seattle Public Schools feels about families and kids: they just don’t care.

  • wsparent June 9, 2011 (10:02 pm)

    We need a language immersion elementary and Montessori option school! That would draw families and solve a number of problems. I agree with previous posts – the district just wouldn’t listen to our concerns about closures and wouldn’t do any research about the baby boom in West Seattle.

    Steve Sundquist seems to have good intentions, but has allowed the district to just devastate West Seattle while pouring money into all other areas of the district (SouthEast initiative, opening schools in the North, new APP and other programs in Central, etc.) We got a rock.

  • pam June 10, 2011 (7:02 am)

    I would love to see a debate happen with west seattle school board candidates. This is an awesome idea and I think a good turn out would put a bit of pressure on, showing that we are a community of involved families who strive to learn about the issues in effort to implement positive, well-thought out change. This is especially important now as there are several contenders for the job (going by the most recent wsb post this morning!) Let’s make sure we get the right person for this job. I would definitely attend and would bring everyone I could! Thanks and great idea.

  • pjmanley June 10, 2011 (9:38 am)

    M: I understand your frustration and agree with your “caught in the middle between the two extremes” dilemma, but its unfair and misdiagnosing the problem to lay that at the feet of Spectrum. The solution isn’t to eliminate a Spectrum program that works very well for other kids and families because you don’t experience it. Talk about the race to the bottom!

    The answer is to fight to get your program to do the same for your child. As you say, the problem isn’t the Spectrum kids, its the struggling kids peeling time and resources from your child. That’s what needs to be dealt with. But watch everyone go nuts over stigmatizing, “tracking” and hurting kids’ self esteem when you try to do it! Next thing you know, you’ll be labeled as Privileged and Elitist Too! But you know what? Squeaky wheels get the grease in SPS, so do it anyways!

    We shouldn’t have to fight for such basic things, but SPS is very talented at doing the wrong things, so you just have to fight, day after day, year after year. It’s exhausting, but its the only thing that works.

  • M_ June 10, 2011 (11:57 am)

    @PJManley – It may surprise you to know that my child did experience it but we made a decision take him/her out of it. I found it laughable that some of these kids were considered high achievers at such an early age. Think about it, some of these kids tested in the second week of kindergarten, in many cases the kids that got in were simply the oldest kids in the class. And why can’t they be tested out? They’re future success is almost determined from the outset.

    It’s a flawed program in many ways in an even more flawed system and sadly it probably won’t be fixed because as soon as someone starts discussing the flaws – the parent’s first reply is “don’t get upset because your kid is not in Spectrum…”

    The answer is to fix the district – but by placating 10% -15% of the parents (and arguably the squeakiest wheels) they’ve reduced the population demanding change.

  • More WS Family June 10, 2011 (3:20 pm)

    @J, by the way, I think you’re exactly right. People rooted themselves in homes in communities within West Seattle years before Maria Goodloe Johnson came and went, and years before the SPS decided to screw those families by forcing siblings to attend multiple different schools. Would people have even made the decision to get houses in certain neighborhoods had they known they would be stuck with the awful school nearby? They wanted to close Roxhill not long ago, after it ranked near the bottom of virtually every public elementary school in Seattle — then made it a mandatory local school. They let people in that zone choose before to go to better schools, and people did. But midstream, with other siblings on the way, SPS said we had to either split up families or send all kids to the rotten schools. Period. It is a dirty trick, as you put it, but honestly, even that assessment gives SPS too much credit. They just don’t care.

  • Noelle June 15, 2011 (9:39 am)

    With a child starting kindergarten in 2012, we would love to see Fairmount Park reopen as a language immersion school. We would be first in line for it!

  • Robin June 17, 2011 (3:31 pm)

    Is there a group of parents out there interested in getting a language immersion school going? I want to join such group and could help find a potential principal!!

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