John Stanford Capacity Update

We’ve been covering the recent proposed boundary changes for John Stanford International School these last few weeks, and now Seattle Public Schools has released an official statement regarding the proposal:

On Tuesday, Seattle Public Schools announced proposed changes to the boundaries of the John Stanford International School in Wallingford.

The changes were presented at a PTA meeting and will be voted on by the full School Board on Jan. 18. These boundary changes also impact McDonald Elementary and B.F. Day Elementary School.

Seattle Public Schools has seen increased enrollment over the past two years and needs to make adjustments to ensure all students have a safe and productive environment to learn. The John Stanford International School (JSIS) is currently overcrowded and use exceeds the optimal use of the rooms.

At JSIS, there is room for 16 homerooms, but 18 are currently in use. The current boundary for the John Stanford International School is unsustainable. With no boundary change, the situation worsens and there will be a need for 23 homerooms by fall 2014.

The combined capacity for McDonald Elementary and JSIS can only support the population within the combined current boundary for two more years at most.

Also, demand for language immersion programming is greater than the number of seats available.

“Families have made it clear that language immersion programming is what they want for their students and they are moving to Wallingford/Green Lake for the program,” said School Board Dir. Sherry Carr.

In order to keep siblings together and alleviate overcrowding, the school district is proposing a plan that will offer predictability to all families. Once approved, all those impacted by the boundary change will know where their student will attend school in September 2012.

The proposal for the 2012-13 school year:

  • Ensures incoming kindergarten siblings of students attending John Stanford who live in Area # 1 or # 2 will be guaranteed assignment to John Stanford
  • Students who live in Area #1 and who are not entering kindergarten siblings will be guaranteed assignment to McDonald
  • Offers a plan to bring the number of JSIS homerooms back to a sustainable level.

The School Board will vote on this plan on Jan. 18.

See also:

John Stanford Capacity Update, January 3, 2012
John Stanford Capacity Update, December 22, 2011
Update on Wallingford schools boundary issues
School boundaries to change again for Wallingford?

  1. Curious said,

    You wrote:
    Students who live in Area #1 and who are not entering kindergarten siblings will be guaranteed assignment to McDonald

    Per your map, Isn’t area #1 going to BFDay, not McDonald?
    Area #2 goes to McDonald, does area #1 as well?

    Thu, January 12 at 1:41 pm
  2. geoff said,

    SPS is planning to move the JSIS West and North boundaries to Corliss and 45th respectively, and that there are plans to “grandfather in” incoming sibling affected by these new boundary changes. We applaud SPS efforts to keep siblings together with these new changes.

    However, we do not think it is just or fair that the same guarantee is not extended to those families between 46/47th and 50th with incoming kindergarten siblings that were pushed out of the JSIS boundary during the boundary changes 2 years ago for the first iteration of the NSAP!

    Thu, January 12 at 3:29 pm
  3. allison said,

    I second Geoff’s comment!

    Thu, January 12 at 3:47 pm
  4. wick said,

    @geoff, ideally, yes. But, more sibling guarantees mean making the boundaries even smaller. The difference between this plan and the one a couple weeks ago is the one year sibling guarantee, and the apparent cost was moving the boundary from Wallingford to Corliss. Families in that zone with pre-elementary kids lose out on JSIS.

    Thu, January 12 at 4:05 pm
  5. Allison said,

    @Curious – I think the idea with Area #1 is that if they don’t want to go to BFDay they will be guaranteed a spot at McDonald so they can attend a language immersion school.

    This whole situation is just a debacle. I know people who purchased a home in Wallingford so their son could go to Stanford in 2013-2014. The house is in the current boundaries, but no longer for next year so their new reference school is BF Day. Who knows what/where the boundaries will be in 2013.

    Thu, January 12 at 4:06 pm
  6. Laura said,

    @Curious – the language is a little confusing, my understanding is that Area 1 does go to BFDay but for 2012 only they are offering incoming kindergartners who are new to the school system and live in Area 1 a guaranteed spot in MacDonald if they want it.

    There is no right solution here. I too applaud keeping siblings together (and think that they should make the same effort for the siblings north of the boundary) but am very concerned that the same guarantee is not being made for future siblings . This is a one year only plan and these very restrictive boundaries (which are being made due to the large number of siblings generated by the overly large boundaries) have now moved additional younger siblings out of the enrollment area.

    The argument I have heard is that these boundary decisions are being made too late for the 2012 incoming kindergarten families to make adjustments so they need to guarantee the first year. But the truth is that most families don’t make housing decisions on a 1 year basis – they make them on a 5-10 year time frame. If they are going to guarantee siblings they need to think more long-term than one year.

    I have to admit that I also worry about the impact on MacDonald – how are they going to handle the siblings of these kids who are currently being offered a spot out of boundaries? As popularity of MacDonald grows – I suspect that this will open up new problems.

    Thu, January 12 at 4:08 pm
  7. wick said,

    @Laura – good question on McDonald siblings in Area 1. My read of the current plan is that if you’ve got a kid starting in 2012 and a kid starting in 2013, the first kid is guaranteed a spot in McDonald, but the second is not.

    Thu, January 12 at 4:19 pm
  8. jj said,

    Wow, that is going to be a lot of kids at McDonald next year.

    Thu, January 12 at 5:31 pm
  9. neighbor said,

    From what I understand, the new Principal at JSIS is having an unfavorable effect on the school. Recall the situation with Pledge of Allegiance in October? Oh, and remember the poor performance at Hamilton, where the current Principal, Alverez, was the Vice Principal?

    With Kelly Aramaki having left the school I have a sneaking suspicion that the demand for enrolment at JSIS will be going to go down. Over time this will increase the boundaries again for JSIS to include a more equitable share of Wallingford. The free market at work with our kids’ education… Why can’t all the schools, their administrators, and teachers be good.

    Thu, January 12 at 7:31 pm
  10. Stanford Parent said,

    @neighbor….you understand wrong. The current principal is doing a great job (she’ll never be able to please everyone and the majority of parents I speak with stand with her) and demand for JSIS will continue to skyrocket. It’s an immersion school and regardless of who’s in charge the education is unbeatable, the teachers are first class and the community is tight. Folks just don’t like change. When Karen Kodama left the school the exact same negative feedback was spouted regarding Kelly Aramaki and there is still a large pool of parents who were glad to see him go when he did. Just goes to show, can’t please all of the people all of the time and if you don’t like it….don’t let the door hit you on the way out!

    Thu, January 12 at 8:47 pm
  11. Lowell@Lincoln parent said,

    Where did you get the map? In this document from SPS, it shows the West boundary at Wallingford and not Corliss.

    Thu, January 12 at 9:08 pm
  12. Laura said,

    I second the feedback on the principal from Stanford Parent – I don’t feel that there has been a negative impact on the school from the new principal.

    This debacle has been in the works for years. My understanding is that there were many parents when the new boundaries were proposed a few years ago that said they were too large. The district, getting feedback from parents who were rightfully concerned about the impact on siblings and families, chose to increase rather than decrease the boundaries. In the first year of the new plan when the enrollment was 4 kindergartens – which is clearly unsustainable – they should have made a change. Instead, they went forward with the same plan perhaps hoping that the demand would drop. Surprise, surprise, it did not drop. Now they have three years in which they have 4 classes worth of students (because they also took in many additional first graders in the first year) – there is no room to make gentle adjustments because there is just no room – the school is not big enough to sustain more than 3 classes a year. And because they admitted so many children – there are 45 siblings to accommodate in the incoming class – about half of whom are outside of the new boundaries.

    I suspect, as neighbor suggests, that once we address the problem of having so many siblings, the boundaries may be able to grow once again – probably as far as Wallingford. But in the meantime we have sent new kids from that region to MacDonald and don’t have plans to accommodate their siblings.

    I would also like to point out that the new boundary rules stipulate that if you are newly out of boundaries and move from your address, you are no longer grandfathered in to the school and will get reassigned to your neighborhood school. Thus, people who had the boundaries switched on them are either going to have to hunker down in their current living situation or find a new place in the new, very small, boundaries if they would like their child to stay in the school.

    Thu, January 12 at 9:09 pm
  13. Margaret said,

    The map and the statement were sent to me by Lesley Rogers, Chief Communications Officer at Seattle Schools this afternoon.

    Thu, January 12 at 9:13 pm
  14. Chris said,

    The quality of education at JS has very little to do with the proven success of language immersion (of which there is still no evidence), Kelly, or even the staff and everything to do with who can afford to live here.

    The people that can afford houses in this neighborhood are smart, value education and are motivated. Not surprisingly, they’ve raised kids that are smart and motivated and these parents are involved in their kid’s homework and school community. The NSAP has seen to it that 90% of the kids that go to school here, live here.

    Involved parents and peer influence far outweigh any given teacher’s abilities as a factor in your child’s education (and there ARE studies to back that up), so your children will do well at any of the three elementary schools here in Wallingford, and there WILL be an active engaged community at that school because YOU will not have it any other way.

    Thu, January 12 at 9:58 pm
  15. Lesser? said,

    Is BF Day a lesser school? How would parents characterize their kids experience there?

    Thu, January 12 at 10:12 pm
  16. jj said,

    Laura — The same rule applies for everyone, not just people moved out of the boundaries. If a family moves from their current address, students must enroll in their new assignment area school.

    Thu, January 12 at 10:19 pm
  17. Julie said,

    I would like to point out, because it is not clear in the wording, that those families of kindergarteners who are either grandfathered in at JSIS or will be able to get a spot at McDonald next year need to specifically apply for either JSIS or McDonald during open enrollment. Otherwise they get automatically assigned to their neighborhood school. Whatever option people choose, they need to know how to go about it.

    Also, regarding Ms. Alvarez. When we started at JSIS I kept hearing how Kelly Aramaki was no Karen Kodama. As Stanford Parent said, people just don’t like change.

    Thu, January 12 at 10:24 pm
  18. a said,

    It seems likely that in years to come JSIS will become an options school. Buying into the neighborhood to be able to send kids there in the future is now wild speculation.

    Thu, January 12 at 10:42 pm
  19. Chris said,

    BF Day is a great school, and prior to the NSAP was (somewhat ironically) far more diverse ethnically than JSIS even though JSIS is the “international” school. We chose BF Day over JSIS as language immersion was not a good fit for our kids.

    AFAIK what has happened reputation-wise to BFDay is the opposite of the positive feedback loop JSIS benefited from. Historically, (Pre-NSAP) BFDay was an option school for the South end, so about 40% of the kids that attended came from there. They also had a program in the past that allowed a small amount of homeless kids to attend and get a fair shot despite their circumstance. That program ended years ago, but to some BF Day is still “The homeless school” ( said in a hushed tone with crinkled nose as if spreading a rumor of “cancer” )

    The test score discrepancies with JSIS are almost directly proportional to the amount of reduced/free lunch students (qualification is an indicator of poverty) which was as high as 42% at one point, most of that coming from South end. Those kids lived at or below poverty level and as such (either in a correlational or causational relationship) have parents that are unable or unwilling to be involved in their homework, and on top of that they came to school hungry. -Not an ideal combination, and those students caused the classrooms to lag behind in their curriculum and the peer influence motivation lagged as well.

    Couple that with not having a language immersion program (which was the school’s choice, btw) and BF Day was not a trendy helicopter parent’s first choice.

    Flash forward to now, the post NSAP-era, and all of those kids from the South End have to stay in the south end, and Wallingford residents who are now outside of JSIS boundaries *have* to attend there and that atmosphere is already changing. The new group of kindergarten parents are awesomely über involved, holding a fundraiser before the school year even started and bolstering the PTSA.

    BF Day has always had a fantastic anti-bullying policy and is very safe (and was pre-NSAP as well). Now we’re seeing test scores “magically” start to rise as the reduced/free lunch % dwindles as the 5th graders graduate each year) and the peer influence is turning as well.

    The only thing I miss though is the true diversity we had when we had economic heterogeneity at the school pre-NSAP.

    So a long answer to, no it’s not a lesser school.

    Thu, January 12 at 10:50 pm
  20. Fruitbat said,

    Chris–Thank you and amen. JSIS is not the alpha and omega of north end schooling. And schools are generally as good as the community wants them to be.

    And–BF Day has one of the best principals on the north end, possibly in Seattle.

    Thu, January 12 at 11:12 pm
  21. Laura said,

    I think one of the hardest things about this situation is the tension that it causes within the neighborhood. I think it would be better if we would refrain from judging each other. Not every parent at JSIS is a “helicopter parent” and there may even be a few parents at BF Day who are “helicopter parents”. Not all of us moved to the neighborhood just to get into JSIS. Some of us have lived here for years and would have gone to BF Day had that been our neighborhood school at the time of the assignment, but it wasn’t. Now we are faced with the idea of uprooting an older child who is thriving in their school or having children in separate schools (as other parents were when the new assignment plan that was supposed to solve this sort of thing and improve predictability was started).

    People are trying to make the right choices for their children and each child is different. Immersion curriculum is not right for every child but it might be right for some. Yes, there is a dearth of evidence – but it seems to me that there is a dearth of evidence for a lot of choices that are currently being made regarding education.

    I think that the bigger issues here are splitting families and how this impacts our schools (i.e. how does JSIS deal with the overcrowding and needs of family? how does MacDonald deal with a potentially large influx of students, and what about BF Day? – the new plan suggests that the new boundaries could be supported for a year or two before portables are needed). This community has already been hurt by the original assignment plan with families to the north of 45th waiting to find out each year if their younger child can get in. Now it is becoming even more complex.

    I think that it is wonderful to hear about all of the great things going on at each school but let’s refrain from judging other parents in the process.

    Fri, January 13 at 9:15 am
  22. aine said,

    I agree. I am curious as to the silence from those at BF Day. This plan will probably result in overcrowding there given how big the borders are. Why create more problems for a different school while trying to placate those at another? What ever happended to advance planning. Constantly moving the borders does not qualify as planning

    Fri, January 13 at 10:43 am
  23. Joshua said,

    I was at the Tuesday meeting. Just a couple of points.

    1. they SPECULATE McD will be at full capacity by ’14.
    2. I know this sounds nuts, but they said they are having 5 K classes coming into McD next school year.
    3. They responded well to the demands not to do portables or mess with the music room at JSIS.
    4. They are quite aware of the overcrowding issue, as people pour in to get their kids into JSIS. This is why they made McD immersion as well, to decrease the selection pressure. They also reluctantly admitted that they are trying to figure out what old school buildings in the area could become, at very low cost, another grade school to relieve the tension. Apparently, John Marshall, located near Ravenna & 65th (I think?) is on the list, and Sherry Carr just walked through it the other day to determine its potential. So they are not being so myopic.
    5. I had a side confab with Sherry Carr and the other woman in the hall afterward, and they realize that the so-called designer school theory about JSIS (it wont work all over was the original thought) is obviously debunked, and its necessary to start thinking more creatively about how to make it a more commonly offered program (not ubiquitous, mind you). So, if I understood correctly, they are trying to figure out how to extend McD’s immersion program through the years (right now, i think it goes through 2nd).

    Finally, I have a son in K at JSIS and a 3 yr old who could come in as early ’13 (two classes out), although being a July baby we could hold him til ’14. I spoke directly to my scenario with the presenters, and Sherry noted that they are very sensitive to the family splitting issue, and dont want to see that happen if at all possible.

    I agree strongly with Chris who noted that we are, and I am paraphrasing quite a bit here, crying about a poverty of wealth amongst the schools here. I like every other parent, wants my children to have the luxury of walking to a neighborhood school. But when we have two schools within a mile of each other with immersion programs (varied, though they might be), and another strong school like BFD that unjustly became the ugly step-child of the bunch, we should try to not lose awareness of the fortunes we have.

    All this said, I also feel that we need to seriously hold the authorities’ feet to the fire and demand a long-term solution that doesnt cause such strife within the community and families.

    Fri, January 13 at 12:01 pm
  24. Curious said,

    McDonald has a total of about 18 classrooms, which is 3 classes per grade. Other schools use a few classrooms for special ed or arts or music. Those would be part of the 18 if McDonald is able to use a room for that as other schools do.

    At McDonald currently there are 2 upper grade classes, 2 first grade immersion classes and 4 K immersion classes. If 4 K classes come in the fall, that’s using 12 of the classes, Short term thinking will allow for a 5th classroom, but project ahead a few years and that just doesn’t work. In 2 more years when the first immersion group is in just 4th grade the school would be at maximum capacity even if it cut back to just 3 classes per grade after that.

    That’s all long-term thinking, which isn’t something that SPS has proven to do very well.

    Fri, January 13 at 1:20 pm
  25. Joe said,

    There is no one solution the district proposed that will make every single family in the BF Day, JSIS, and McDonald attendance area happy. This latest version presented by the district this week is the most family focused option they have ever presented to date. For the past 3 years, the district has ignored the JSIS families and school administration plight about the impending doom of overcrowding at JSIS.

    Sorry to those who moved into the attendance area to gain access to the school and who missed that over capacity message for the past 3 years.

    JSIS is not closing the doors to keep children from coming in, it’s being done so the children don’t fall out…from overcrowding.

    Is this an ideal solution–NOPE… but I feel it’s the best short term fix the district can come up with given their budgetary constraints, the timeline, and their limited staff resources.

    Fri, January 13 at 1:25 pm
  26. Anthony said,

    I have to say we’re pretty angry about the whole situation. Wallingford residents for 16 years, and our first and only child is starting kindergarten this fall. We happen to be in area #1. We enrolled our daughter last year, prior to any of this mess being brought up in the press, with the full expectation that she would be attending JSIS.

    Now, AFTER she has been registered, we are told that she will very likely end up at a school outside of our neighborhood, at BFD. We are a multicultural family, and have planned for years for our daughter to attend an immersion school. It’s not only families with siblings at the school that are being screwed by this situation. I am furious.

    Fri, January 13 at 1:58 pm
  27. a said,

    Anthony, if you enroll your daughter during Open Enrollment, (keep your eye on the date) she is guaranteed a spot at McDonald. I know this isn’t what you planned, but your daughter does have a spot in an immersion school.

    Fri, January 13 at 2:15 pm
  28. Chris said,

    I did not mean to imply that only “trendy helicopter parents” have kids enrolled at JSIS, nor that there aren’t any helicopters at BFD.

    My remark (and contempt) is directed at those parents who imho did the most damage to BFD.–Crying with outrage at their school assignment because BFD lacked whatever the latest South Beach education fad is ( and without doing the research and really thinking about what might be best for *their* kid and whether it’s really going to matter much). And those that lazily paid a premium for their address to passively ride a wave instead of just getting actively involved to change things.

    While I personally think language immersion is tremendously overrated (a tradeoff at best where you are emphasizing a second language at the expense of other education), I do admire what the parents that got assigned to McDonald did. -They stopped complaining, accepted their fates and got off their butts and raised over $100k necessary to put the program in place at McDonald. (Just imagine how much they could have thrown into McDonald if they hadn’t paid too much to live in the JSIS zone in the first place.–But I digress)

    Meanwhile, BFDay’s PTSA has only raised ~$40k this year. –That’s for the entire fund, not an earmark for one project. -And I believe that is actually up quite a bit from this time last year as our new parents are getting involved.

    Fri, January 13 at 2:19 pm
  29. DOUG. said,

    Who’s having all these kids? I thought Seattle was a childless city.

    Fri, January 13 at 2:27 pm
  30. Nancy M said,

    What if intelligent buildings had been created at JSIS (and Hamilton) that had architecturally integrated flexibility? Behind the Board, the Facilities department has run the show for decades and more investigation is needed (it appears that the overt corruption has been swept out, but the same templates for schools keep being repeated, including placing some next to public parks when the designed footprint doesn’t allow room for recess). Case in point: the newly renovated Hamilton is now about 200 students over design capacity last time I checked, and spilling over in to Wallingford Playfield. Go to those design meetings and listen carefully and challenge architecturespeak and pr until what is being presented is fully understood.

    Fri, January 13 at 2:27 pm
  31. Chris said,

    and fwiw, here’s an article about Finland’s education system, which is top in the world. In Finland, there are no private schools, and you must go to the school you are assigned. Period. Requires everyone to roll up their sleeves and make the most of it, rich or poor, gifted or below average.

    “The Scandinavian country is an education superpower because it values equality more than excellence.”

    Fri, January 13 at 2:28 pm
  32. Wally Res said,

    It does not seem fair/right that they proposed changing the West boundary to Wallingford Ave earlier this month and then recently changed it to Corliss. Anyone know why they moved it more East?

    Fri, January 13 at 2:29 pm
  33. Chris said,

    Fair? What advantage was gained?

    Fri, January 13 at 2:59 pm
  34. Brian said,

    Wally Res – the original proposal did not guarantee enrollment to JSIS for younger siblings who are inside the boundaries now but will be outside the new boundaries. This latest proposal, as I understand it, would guarantee that younger siblings get in. The boundary was shrunk to make room for these siblings. And, SPS wants to make sure you understand that life is not fair.

    Fri, January 13 at 3:17 pm
  35. Immersion parent said,

    For all of you parents wanting to get into immersion at JSIS or McDonald, it’s useful to know that these schools require a lot of fundraising from parents. In addition to all the regular things PTAs fund, these schools also need to raise a significant amount of money to put an immersion assistant into each classroom. This costs $25,000 per classroom to have a half-time 2nd person, which immersion learning, particularly in the first year or two, really needs.

    This can be a shock to parents who haven’t fully understood what it takes to make immersion work, particularly in the earlier years, in these schools.It’s a significant burden to the parents. $25,000 per classroom for a lot of classrooms = a lot of money to raise and a lot of volunteer time to make that happen.

    Fri, January 13 at 3:20 pm
  36. Chris said,

    I would think that having to attend Rainier Beach is a better example that life is not fair…

    Fri, January 13 at 3:22 pm
  37. Allison said,

    Chris – what is your expectation for families that want to have their children attend an immersion program but don’t have one at their reference school? You called people who move to Wallingford for JSIS/McD lazy because they are not actively involved in changing things. I think this is a pretty unfair carachterization. Why shouldn’t the programs a school is offering factor in to the decision about where a family chooses to live.

    You stated you have contempt for these types of people: “And those that lazily paid a premium for their address to passively ride a wave instead of just getting actively involved to change things.”

    Fri, January 13 at 3:28 pm
  38. Anthony said,

    I think one problem that the district has not considered at this late date is that the registration deadlines for several non-public schools have already passed, including Meridian. Those of us who had enrolled our child and expected our incoming kindergartner to attend JSIS have run out of options.

    Fri, January 13 at 3:32 pm
  39. Chris said,

    I would expect those families to realize they are part of a larger school system, and that language immersion is a very very low priority compared to the drop out rate, on time graduation, college readiness, etc. Kids in 98103 will be ready, regardless. The money needs to go elsewhere.

    Let’s assume for the sake of argument that immersion is a good idea, and all schools should do it. What is *your* expectation for putting that system into Rainier Beach? Where does that priority fit when only 17.6% at RB passed the math test, and only 6% are at standard across reading, writing and math? When only 64% of freshmen graduate?

    Equal opportunity is what public schools are about, not a boutique experience depending on your zip code.

    Fri, January 13 at 3:41 pm
  40. Marley's Ghost said,

    Biggest mistake SPS ever made was when they changed the assignment plan from CHOICE from a cluster of schools to a GUARANTEE of attendance if you lived in a specific boundary. SPS created intense motivation for families to move, fudge addresses, temporarily rent a home, and otherwise try to game the system to get into a specific school. Previously, everyone in a cluster had a CHANCE at their school, but the District was not obligated to overcrowd a school and could say, “sorry, but the school is at capacity”.

    SPS severely underestimated the extremes parents will go to and are reaping the results at all levels of the schools system.

    Fri, January 13 at 3:45 pm
  41. Chris said,

    No Anthony, you have the option to make your assigned school rock. Man up.

    Fri, January 13 at 3:45 pm
  42. Allison said,

    Chris – I completely agree with you that the Seattle Public School system is anything but equitable. Schools in Queen Anne and Wallingford raise around $200,000 each year and that money goes directly back into those schools. Schools in poorer neighborhoods don’t raise that much and it directly affects the quality of their education. It is completely unfair and all kids don’t have the same opportunity.

    I just don’t see why the Wallingford families get the blame for that (or being called lazy, trendy, helicopter parents, passively riding a wave,etc). If it were fair all the money that is donated should be spread out to benefit all kids in the district. Do you donate money to other schools? Are you donating to Rainier Beach when they have their fund drive? It seems like you have a particular thorn in your side about JSIS and you are casting aspersions on Wallingford families when really your problem is with the system.

    Fri, January 13 at 4:07 pm
  43. Anthony said,

    >”Chris said,
    >No Anthony, you have the option to make your assigned school rock. Man up.

    How about you “man up” and not be so condescending. The district tells us years ago that we are in a particular area for our neighborhood school, and at THE LAST MINUTE, AFTER we have already registered, now says that our child can no longer attend school in the neighborhood we’ve lived in since the last century, and is no longer a priority for language immersion. And sorry, the deadlines for many non-public schools have passed. Oh, and we haven’t even finalized the details, since we’re going to have to vote on it just 6 months before school starts.

    I’m simply a parent trying to do the best for my child, and a great deal of effort has gone into it. Your comment is so insulting I’m at a loss for words.

    Fri, January 13 at 4:13 pm
  44. Chris said,

    I have a problem with people whining about access to language immersion when they choose to attend public schools for free. –That’s like expecting the Burger King franchise in our neighborhood to serve fillet mignon when your 27 other locations can’t pass the health code.

    Anyway, again, I was not saying EVERY Wallingford family is this way. It’s more of an open letter to the ones I’ve met, heard whisper about BF Day, and think that all of their obligations are met by buying into the right school zone.

    As for giving to Rainier Beach, no, not directly. But the company I’ve started plans to give 10% to after school tutoring and summer slide programs to provide “parental” involvement to kids that need it wherever they are.

    Fri, January 13 at 4:31 pm
  45. Julie said,

    Anthony, I understand your frustration as we were drawn out of bounds several years ago, not quite as late as yourself. I have lived in my current house for 12 years so I understand your frustration with having followed the rules and then the game changed. If the plan passes as stated, however, you will still have access to language immersion at McDonald if you choose to exercise that option, if you apply for McDonald during open enrollment for your kindergartener starting next year. Obviously I do not know your circumstances and if that will work for you.

    In the end, we in this part of Seattle are lucky that we have a variety of decent options. I will never forget meeting a woman at a community meeting three years ago, in tears because her “new” neighborhood school had been declared a failing school. And, no, she could not afford private school and moving was not an option.

    I am glad that, after three years, the school district is acknowledging that there are capacity problems at JSIS and trying to do SOMETHING for next year’s families – as they should, because it is late to plan.

    Having been involved in this boundary mess from the beginning, I would like to echo Laura and Joshua above – it is unfortunate how this divides the community and often pits neighbor against neighbor. We do need to keep the pressure on so that a long-term solution is found and not just ever-changing band-aids.

    Fri, January 13 at 4:40 pm
  46. Chris said,

    Anthony, I apologize, it’s not my intent to be condescending. But this entire problem is not from SPS being shortsighted. It comes from people thinking only about their own kids, and not ALL of the kids that have to attend public schools. I feel that if they were to think about the bigger picture, they would see where language immersion really fits in priority-wise.

    Fri, January 13 at 5:06 pm
  47. Floor Pie said,

    I think Chris raises a really important point here. Why IS foreign language immersion so crazy-popular? I’m not trying to be a smart ass, I just want to understand. I’d especially appreciate if anyone can link some studies about it.

    Also, I’ve said this elsewhere, but we’ve been having a great year at BF Day. I just wrote a post about it on my personal blog yesterday, in fact. Click on my “handle” if you’d like to read it…

    Fri, January 13 at 5:36 pm
  48. wick said,

    Chris – if I take your logic to its conclusion, why bother offering any public schools/program in Wallingford? Afterall, “kids in 98103 will be ready, regardless” and “the money needs to go elsewhere.”

    FWIW, also, my understanding is that the district does not spend more money on JSIS to support immersion.

    Fri, January 13 at 5:43 pm
  49. wick said,

    As a general comment, kudos to SPS for taking the capacity issues at JSIS seriously and for addressing the sibling issue more aggressively than before. The existing situation – 4 classes per grade in K,1,2 – simply didn’t add up.

    My family got drawn out of JSIS, and I’m not thrilled about that, but I’d rather be in the BF Day (a great school itself) zone than at a deteriorating JSIS.

    Fri, January 13 at 6:41 pm
  50. Lesser? said,

    @Chris – good points. I grew up in the south end, went to Franklin and Asa Mercer. My sister went to RB (Raineer Beach). I can tell you, that while Franklin was just fine, RB is a total disaster. I don’t want to be a troll, as it were, but I think that the fact of this much discussion indicates that odds are everyone’s kid will probably be just fine. Basically, I think this snl sketch sums it up the best:

    Fri, January 13 at 8:00 pm
  51. Joe said,

    It’s funny that no one remembers that JSIS enrollment for the 2008-2009 school year at JSIS under the old plan when only 2 incoming K classes were allowed and attendance was based on distance from the school.

    Guess what the western cut-off street was for 2008, 2 years prior to the implementation of the Student Assignment Plan? Bagley Ave N, exactly one block west of Corliss Ave the proposed new boundary for next year.

    So for the district to move the boundary to get JSIS back to 2 incoming K classes similiar to what it was 4 years ago is no big shocker when you know the history.

    Fri, January 13 at 8:55 pm
  52. Fruitbat said,

    Aine–about the “silence” at BF Day–have you seen the school? It’s a big building. Someday it might fill up, but right now, there’s room. And Fremont is less child-ed than Wallingford, so the boundaries can be much bigger than those of JSIS. So the sound you’re most likely to hear is “welcome.” Or maybe “please don’t hate us.”

    Fri, January 13 at 8:57 pm
  53. Chris said,

    Wick, no my logical conclusion is that we need the funding equivalent of water-seeking-its-own-level for SPS. If you pour money in the left side of the U for language immersion in a wealthy neighborhood, it flows back to the right side and funds those struggling to get a half decent education in a ppor neighborhood first. Only when all “Maslow” needs for education in SPS are met should the water level rise to cover stuff like language immersion, period. -Whether funded by the PTSA or not. -Allowing outside funding just exacerbates the problem.

    We need a baseline for quality education and a safe learning environment that is met and available to all kids in ALL areas of Seattle. When the metrics show a problem area, that’s where the resources should go so everything levels out. JSIS only needs the minimum money to maintain the facilities and pay the staff and any federally mandated special needs money. (Oh wait, special needs kids CAN’T go to language immersion schools, so they HAVE to go to BF Day.)

    In fact, lets step back from the deep inequalities across the ship canal. Just poke your head into BF Day’s gym and look at the floor. They can’t get that rubber floor fixed and it’s been that way for at least 6 years, meanwhile we’re worried about kids getting to learn Japanese immersion. ( -Which will be really useful on the Maslow scale btw because Japanese is spoken in, well lets see…Japan.)

    It is a sense of entitlement to elitist programs in a public education system by our residents that is causing the entire problem with zones changing, not SPS’s insensitivity. It’s time to recognize that many of us won the lottery when we were born, or when we worked at the right place at the right time in history, or both. (I count myself among the double winners btw, so this isn’t sour grapes). We are not entitled to a better education here in Wallingford than anywhere else in SPS and while we continue to demand more when others go with less the friction with SPS will continue.

    The deep irony here is that a good many of these same people upset by not getting immersion rightly worry about their carbon-footprint and eating sustainable foods and buying fair-trade goods and whatnot, but are blind to the problems they cause by demanding more from the state for THEIR children than anyone else’s.

    Sat, January 14 at 11:12 am
  54. Joe said,

    @Chris…I agree with you that all Seattle Public Schools should provide a quality and safe learning environment not just to the middle class. You seem very passionate about that subject so what solutions have you brought to the table with the district & school board, what advocacy group do you work with, how have you given your support to BF Day?

    I clearly hope that you are just not ranting about the subject on blogs and not taking an active role for positive change in support of equal access for all students.

    Instead of posting a lengthy response, e-mail BF Day’s PTA and see how you can support them. I’m sure they could use help with fundraising for their gym floor, a new playground or volunteers for a project.

    It takes a village more like an army to support our schools.

    Sat, January 14 at 4:43 pm
  55. impliedobserver said,

    I guess we can add to the list of drawbacks to B.F. Day is having to deal with such an opinionated lout. Can’t say I’m looking forward to dealing with this guy/gal on the PTA. And for those annoyed at my statement, I remained quiet for quite a few posts before enough was enough.

    Sat, January 14 at 4:47 pm
  56. Floor Pie said,

    What else is on the list of drawbacks to B.F. Day, impliedobserver?

    Sat, January 14 at 4:54 pm
  57. impliedobserver said,

    Nothing actually. I think B.F. Day is going to be a great school and I’m excited for my son to go there. But it doesn’t have language immersion which is an exciting perk for JSIS.

    Sat, January 14 at 5:13 pm
  58. Chris said,

    Joe. I certainly hope so too. :) I also hope that the intent of your post wasn’t to turn this back on me to solve singlehandedly since I brought up these inconvenient truths so I STFU. I agree wholeheartedly about it taking a village, and that village should support ALL the schools not just the one their kid attends.

    I’ve actually been deeply involved with the school and PTSA at various times over the years and realize that I would like to help more with the systemic issues I point out. And I’m working on a long term plan to be able to do so.

    As for BF Day, where would they get the money from for this fundraiser when the 98103 parents kick and scream to keep their kids from going there and don’t even recognize it as a neighborhood school? -The 42% on Reduced Free Lunch? If the 98103 neighbors continue to shun the school, there is no windfall for the PTSA to help out. -Fortunately that’s changing because the NSAP made it so. -But as I said that’s not really right either.

    As for the gym, I actually don’t think that fixing it is a priority, btw. Especially if you could use the money to keep one more kid from dropping out somewhere else. I was using it more as a visible example of the disparity between the three elementary schools. So if SPS doesn’t have the money allocated, so be it.

    Sat, January 14 at 5:29 pm
  59. Chris said,

    Impliedobserver, glad you broke your silence just to hurl an insult. Adding value. What’s “enough”? If you have a counter argument to anything I’ve said, fire away, but don’t just hit and run.

    Sat, January 14 at 5:35 pm
  60. Floor Pie said,

    Yes, the BF Day gym floor is a little messed up, but the gym teacher more than makes up for it! He’s terrific. BF Day also has Spectrum now (an advanced learning program open to kids who test in). Lots to like about this school.

    Sat, January 14 at 7:31 pm
  61. Laura said,

    Floor Pie – sounds like your experience at BFDay has been terrific. I am curious, how many kindergartens are there this year?

    Sat, January 14 at 8:30 pm
  62. Kimberly C said,

    @Anthony, I feel for you since we were also just drawn out of the boundary (and into BF Day) despite living here since 1998. However, my older child attended JSIS for kindergarten and it was not a good fit for him. So perhaps you can take some consolation in knowing that even though JSIS has lots to offer, it can’t meet every child’s needs. JSIS offers no advanced learning opportunities and isn’t as strong in math and science as it is in langauge and arts. Also for kids that find learning math difficult, trying to learn it in a foreign language can be nearly impossible and extremely frustrating.

    I have been impressed at how flexible and resiliant my son has been in the whole changing-schools process. Wherever your daughter ends up, if it’s not a good fit, you can try to get her in at JSIS for 1st grade or look into advanced learning programs or private schools if you need to. When you’re in the public system, unfortunately, you have to learn to let go of a lot of expectations and work to make wherever you end up the best it can be for your child (and others of course). But, it’s cheaper than private school!

    Sat, January 14 at 9:05 pm
  63. Floor Pie said,

    Laura, I don’t know the actual numbers, but there are three kindergarten classes. My son is in 2nd grade, but we’re new to the school this year. (We were at TOPS for K-1.)

    BF Day is having an Open House on Thursday, January 26 if anyone wants to come check us out.

    Sat, January 14 at 11:30 pm
  64. Steve said,

    Our kindergartener has had a great year at B.F. Day this year. Good teacher, great principal (I echo the thought that she may be the best in the District), and a welcoming community. The building is a classic, and it has been renovated recently. Their is a project in place to dramatically renovate/redesign the playground. The art, music, Spanish and PE teachers are the best we’ve had thus far in Seattle Public Schools. I think the school will benefit from the NSAP in that more parents will consider the school for their children. B.F. Day has long suffered from an outdated stereotype, and I think that is going to change. If you’re newly designated for the school, keep an open mind and check it out!

    Tue, January 17 at 3:33 pm
  65. Steve said,

    Oops. I meant “there is” not “their is.” Maybe I need to go back to elementary school…

    Tue, January 17 at 3:34 pm
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