This fall, my daughter started school at B.F. Day. Monday through Friday, we wait on the corner for the school bus to pick her up. Across the street, a couple of children wait for the bus to McDonald Elementary. Other families walk past us on their way to John Stanford. On my block, the second grader goes to John Stanford, the first grader to McDonald and my daughter to BF Day. And next year’s kindergarteners are currently slotted to go to Green Lake Elementary.
It’s pure craziness. It makes having any sense of neighborhood school impossible. It costs a lot of money to transport students from the same corner to three different schools. And it looks to undermine all of the progress that’s being made at BF Day by stripping away its student population while overcrowding Green Lake Elementary (so that in 2 more years they can start reassigning students to yet another elementary school).
If you have a student currently at BF Day or Green Lake, or if you have a younger child whose fate has yet to be determined, the BF Day parent community asks for you to make your opinion known. Carol Magallanes wrote the following plea for action. Take a minute to read it and act!
If you scan every other email sent to you by the PTSA, I beg you to read this one carefully.
Seattle Public Schools is in the process of defining new boundaries and if adopted, the current proposal will greatly impact B.F. Day and neighboring schools. A summary of the situation follows, along with an FAQ about the changes in boundaries and how it will affect current and future B.F. Day families. Last, but not least, we’ve got information on ways you can help lessen the blow for our school.
This year, enrollment at B.F. Day is 337. If the current boundaries remain intact, the projected enrollment for our in school in 2017 is 574. (The official capacity for the building is well over 700.) However, and this is the perplexing bit, under the proposed new boundaries, our enrollment would instead be only 287. In 2022 this disparity in number grows.
So where are these 274 children going instead? Children who are living in the current B.F. Day boundaries will be assigned to neighboring schools. West Woodland for one, will need to use portables.
These shrinking numbers have serious repercussions on our school. The reality is that larger schools get more money than smaller schools. Operating a school with 287 students means fewer programs, less resources, and fewer teachers. Equity in numbers means equity in programs.
I am not an administrator, I am speaking to you as a parent, and I don’t know that doubling our student body is the only option, but we must be allowed to grow, not shrink. We must progress, not cut back.
Parents in the B.F. Day community have always been, well, pretty quiet. Right now, I am asking you not just as a parent of a B.F. Day student, but as a neighbor, friend and citizen, do not remain quiet now.
This is OUR neighborhood school, and really, it works best when our neighborhood actually goes to our neighborhood school.
Do not remain silent. These are only drafted proposals, but you MUST act now, and you MUST be heard. The last parent meeting was last Tuesday. Please send an email to Principal Katie Pearl so she can fight for our school, and do it today! Also, call or email the following staff of Seattle School District.
We’ve put together a short FAQ about the district’s Growth Boundaries program:
What is the Growth Boundaries Program?
Seattle Public Schools (SPS) is working on creating new attendance area boundaries (Growth Boundaries) to accommodate enrollment growth and new construction. In order to use this increased capacity efficiently, school attendance boundaries must be re-aligned.
What Are The Proposed Boundaries For B.F. Day? You can find the proposed boundaries for B.F. Day here.
New boundaries would send siblings of some B.F. Day students living near Gas Works Park (and north) to Green Lake (30 blocks north) instead of B.F. Day
– Information on school capacity is inconsistent and confusing. These new draft boundaries were made public on Sept. 17 (you should have received an email). Recommended changes will be presented to the School Board on Oct. 16. THIS IS URGENT
How Will The New Growth Boundaries Affect Me? Families currently enrolled at B.F. Day may remain at the school through fifth grade. Younger siblings and families who don’t yet have children enrolled at the school will be affected if they reside outside of the boundary lines.
But My Kiddos Are Already at B.F. Day. How Will This Impact Us? The new attendance area being proposed for B.F. Day is significantly reduced in size and if implemented would result in fewer students and potentially 2 less teachers by 2017. Fewer teachers means less money for the school and reduced programs.
WHAT CAN YOU DO? – Please email or call the following District personnel to let them know it’s not acceptable to shrink boundaries of our growing school. – Copy Principal Katie Pearl on your emails. [email protected] – Take action by October 10 – date Principals are meeting with District staff to discuss. – Please share this email widely. Our PTSA directory is still being finalized so we are not sure if we are communicating with all B.F. Day families.
Attend District II Board Member Sherry Carr’s community meeting on Saturday, October 12 at Bethany Community Church, Christian Education Room, 8023 Green Lake Drive North.
Flip Herdon [email protected] Assistant Superintendent – Capital Facilities and Enrollment Planning 252-0644
Joseph A Wolf K-12 Planning Coordinator [email protected] 252-0551
Sherry Carr School Board Member, District II sherry.carr @seattleschools.org 252-0040
Tracy Libros Manager Enrollment & Planning [email protected] 252-0511
Your friend and neighbor, Carol Magallanes
Thank you for posting this. As a B.F. Day parent, I am absolutely heartbroken and dismayed to learn that SPS would rather cram Wallingford and Phinney students into portables at currently popular schools than to support B.F. Day’s growth.
Under principal Katie Pearl’s leadership, we are on the verge of becoming an AMAZING school whose popularity might well eclipse that of the surrounding schools in the next few years. We could be the next TOPS. But not if our enrollment is cut dramatically just as our success is beginning to take shape.
I hope lots of Wallingford families read Carol’s letter and let SPS know that we want them to support B.F. Day. (Even if your child attends a different school, this affects you too! The students B.F. Day doesn’t get could fill up a lot of portables on what should be your own school’s playground.)
When I first read the Growth Boundary proposal, it really jumped out at me that the district was proposing that kids below 45th go to Greenlake rather than BF Day. It does not make any sense since they already decided a few years ago to send kids below 45th not going to JSIS to BF Day. I just do not understand why, as Kimberly states, they would create a mess where kids on one block could be attending 4 different elementary schools. I also hope if they make JSIS and McDonald option schools that they follow some logic and give them each a separate, smaller geozone. I just feel like the school district is really making a mess of things for Wallingford parents. It also hurts parent involvement when they make changes every year.
I heard that SPS is setting aside 2 classes for special education, which can’t be accommodated at the international schools. Is that already included in the projected enrollment #?
wouldn’t fewer students mean smaller class sizes? I thought most people worried about their schools being overcrowded. Not under.
B.F. Day already has 2 extra classrooms for special education (SM3) in addition to the standard resource room (SM1). The SM3 program only has about 10 students in each class. I can’t imagine SPS is planning to grow our special ed programs by 200+ students by 2017.
Why can’t special education be accomodated at international schools? They’re still public schools, right? Isn’t that against the law?
impliedobserver: The way the district does things, it would mean large class sizes but fewer teachers. And yes, we are worried about that.
For many years, people in the west part of Wallingford said they did not want to cross Stone Way and Aurora to go to BF Day. Among other things, it made walking to school difficult. This came up at multiple meetings about boundaries, when the JSIS boundaries grew and shrank again. Possibly this had something to do with the decision to send kids to Green Lake?
Forgive me for shifting the conversation to John Stanford for just a moment, but I’m confused–are the boundaries for it outlined in this PDF? I see plenty of blue lines for “Elementary school boundary” that look like JSI, but are much bigger than the current boundaries. Is there a map for that school as well?
I would hate to see attendance DOUBLE at BF Day – what a rotten deal for kids and teachers alike.
Maggie – There are no current boundaries set for JSIS – under the proposal the school would become an option school with a geozone to be determined later. The way option schools work is through a lottery with the first tier being siblings, the second tier is people in the geozone, and finally anyone in the city. The geozone is different than a neighborhood boundary because it is not a guaranteed entrance to the school. They fill to a set number of seats so if there are lots of siblings or lots of kids in the geozone not everyone in the geozone will be assigned to JSIS.
I do not understand why they switched such a large swath of south Wallingford from BF Day to Green Lake. It is the 3rd change in 5 years for the area west of Corliss and South of 45th. It makes absolutely no sense to change that part of the neighborhood again since they weren’t assigned to JSIS anyway. Wasn’t a goal of the new assignment system predictability? It seems like they forgot about it in this region of the city.
Maggie – I think that the BF Day community would actually prefer to have attendance double than to lose students. Currently, we are under-enrolled, with roughly 350 students in a building that can house 700. More students makes for a more vibrant and engaged community. We get more families who feel ownership of the school, join the PTA, volunteer in the classroom, and help advocate for the school. We also can build better programs because we qualify for more money from the district for things like support staff, counselors, specialists, and so forth. A school with under 300 kids doesn’t get many resources, which makes it difficult to offer the enrichment that many families want. Those families go elsewhere, and then enrollment drops again.
Ms. Pearl is a terrific principal who is ready to bring BF Day to the next level. Where we have a growing school population, enthusiasm and support is growing as well. West Wallingford brings a fairly high population of educated parents who are willing to invest their time and energy in making the school successful. With a strong principal and a strong parent base, BF Day is on its way to being a top notch school.
Green Lake is a small school that I predict would be overcrowded within a couple of years if the proposed boundary changes are passed. It seems silly to bus kids to 3 different schools and to have there be no sense of neighborhood school, when there is a school that is already a neighborhood school with room and energy to grow.
I agree. Neighborhood is best. SPS are looking increasingly confused when they change their minds every year. They want to encourage people to walk to school, then change boundaries so that becomes impossible. They designate BF Day as the alternative to JSIS, then change that plan to Green Lake. I can’t imagine what the bus budget looks like. What are they doing???
So SPS changed B.F. Day’s boundaries and cut enrollment so dramatically because people don’t want to cross the street? Come on, Wallingford. Are we part of a major city or are we a wimpy little suburb unto ourselves?
I can understand how crossing Stone Way and Aurora would be unappealing, but is crossing 50th and 65th any better? At least Aurora has that pedestrian bridge…ugly, but a lot safer than trying to cross 50th during peak commuter traffic.
Floor Pie, you do realize “the street” is Aurora? The footbridge across to Fremont is not stroller friendly and there is frequently broken glass and hypodermic needles littering the stairs. I have personally walked (with my children) by people passed out with heroin needles literally still in their body! Thankfully, I here the porn store at the base of the footbridge may be closing. So, the answer is YES. Crossing 50th and 65th is way, way, way better.
Yes, I realize it’s Aurora. I’ve crossed that crappy little bridge every day for years. With children. It’s gross and I wish the city or somebody would do something to clean it up. But I’ve never felt unsafe. Back when I still used a stroller, we’d cut down to Bridge Way and just walk under Aurora instead. So, that’s always an option.
Glad to hear that the porn store may be closing! How are they even allowed to operate a porn store that close to a school in the first place?
But check out that bridge back in its glory days. 1936! Those are B.F. Day students up there. I believe yo-yo’s were involved.
I would like to hear more about how BF DAY is changing to better accommodate the bright children of Wallingford and Fremont and how it is encouraging parent engagement.
All I have heard of BF DAY is how the last principal thought all children should be taught the same way, that this person was not receptive to parent volunteers, and that everyone who wanted their child to get the well-rounded education that creates the foundation for the journey to the top universities and colleges in the country were required to go find other schools (SPS or private) for their child to attend because this former principal was so out-of-touch with the families of Wallingford and Fremont. This may all be false, but this is what I hear. I would prefer for our school community and our neighborhood community to be the same, but I also have to look out for what’s best for my child. So, please, sell me on BF Day so that I can support your petition to have my child attend it in a few years. 🙂
If you see people passed out with hypodermic needles in their arm on the pedestrian bridge, please call the police. I live near there, and I call when I see something. Reporting puts the area on SPD’s radar which leads to increased patrols. I’m sorry you’ve had negative experiences with the bridge. I have had some strange encounters, but luckily most the times I cross without worry.
Miranda, I don’t know if I’d characterize our former principal exactly like that…but I do believe that our new principal has a much more ambitious vision for our school. I encourage you and any future B.F. Day families to visit and schedule a meeting with Ms. Pearl. Even if you’ve toured the building before — even as recently as last spring — come check it out again. She is whipping that place into shape!
And parent volunteers are very, very welcome. There were a few teachers who were not receptive to volunteers back in the day, but those teachers have since retired.
Perhaps they could create a ramp for the footbridge which would be easier for strollers and disabled people. Because of the Americans with Disabilities Act I would think that at some point they must do this anyway. BF Day just seems so much closer and if you look at a map it confirms that.
Miranda, I don’t know where you heard all of this misinformation about B.F. Day’s former principal, but I have to chime in and say that none of it could be further from the truth. Susan McCloskey was instrumental in creating B.F. Day’s “Family School” moniker, and she did this by knowing each and every name of every child, parent, and even younger siblings. She stood outside to greet families each and every morning and afternoon, and was always accessible. Not only is parent volunteering encouraged (and needed) but she asked that if parents could sign up for at least 8-10 hours per year. It wasn’t mandatory, but it certainly was encouraged. And for folks like my husband, who really wanted to help on the academics side of things, she was open to parents’ suggestions to help reduce summer slide, and raising test scores.
I know it may seem like a pretty moot point now, with the school’s new principal in place (who is also fantastic in her own right), but in the six years that my children have been at the school, I know first hand how tirelessly Susan worked to make B.F. Day a great school. I would hate to see her name dragged down by a second-hand comment.
I’m anxiously awaiting a response to Miranda. Please sell me on BF Day!
We live in a neighborhood that is currently in BF Day but is slated to change to Greenlake. We breathed a huge sigh of relief when we found out about the re-zoning.
Why are BF Day’s test score sooo bad and, more importantly, getting worse?
KitKat, Personally, I’m not going to try and “sell” you on B.F. Day. There are so many factors that parents need to consider whenever they’re choosing schools for their children. What works for one child may not work for another, and so forth. I happen to love B.F. Day and last year my son’s test scores (who now attends Hamilton), jumped 20 points in math and 16 points in reading…and he was doing just fine before that jump, too. My daughter is in second grade in special ed there and she is receiving targeted intervention in reading and already one month into the program, she’s moved up a reading level.
But this is my family’s experience where my husband and I are very, very involved in our children’s academics.
If you’d like to do some more reading, I encourage you to take a look at this post from last year, including some very helpful comments as to “WHY” so many people give B.F. Day a bad rap when it comes to test scores:
Specifically, please note the following comment from “Chris”:
So before we all go through the yearly ritual of the uninformed throwing BF Day under the bus rather than celebrate the positive changes that are happening, due to our awesome new crop of engaged parents, I’d like to point out a few things on this topic.
1. People constantly misread these reports. These are NOT scores, they are percentages of students that passed the test.
2. For all of the complaining that happens here on Wallyhood on this topic each year, you very rarely hear an actual BF Day parent from Wallingford complain about the school. We like BFD. It’s a great school.
3. The kids actually from Wallingford are doing just fine. BFD still has a huge 38% Free or Reduce Price Lunch (FRL) from back before NSAP when they bussed in from south of the ship canal.
FRL means you are living at or below poverty level, and in all likelihood, your home environment (the #1 determiner of educational success –check most any educational study) is not good. No warm meals waiting, few parents willing/able to help with homework. Contrast this to JSIS which is only at 7%. FRL.
4. Do the math before you speak. I assure you the kids that actually live in Wallingford are doing just as well as JSIS, but don’t trust me, do the math yourself using this year’s report to see the impact of poverty/FRL:
e.g. 38% of BFD’s population is FRL. 37% of the FRL kids are proficient in reading. Let’s assume that’s evenly distributed across each ethnicity. BFD is 52% White. With a total student population of 321, that means 167 White students and 38% of those White students are FRL, so that’s 63 White FRL Students. Of those 63, 37% are proficient in Reading. So that means 40 FRL White Students did not pass Reading proficiency. Let’s assume all of the Non-FRL kids passed for simplicity’s sake.
If we subtract off the FRL White students that did not pass we get 123 White students that passed the test. That’s 123/167 =73% and BFD’s actual reading proficiency score for White students was 78%.
This is overly simplistic, but I think you can see there’s a very tight connection between poverty and the proficiency gap. If you run the same math for JSIS you see the same correlation for poverty, but their impact is much, much lower because they draw almost entirely from Wallingford so their FRL is only 7%
So please give BFD a break. If in 3 years after NSAP geography has reduced our FRL% down to JSIS’s paltry 7% and our scores stil don’t match, please by all means, come after the teachers and administrators at BF Day, but for now please hold your tongue, and do your homework before you speak.
Fri, November 2 at 7:49 pm
Sorry, small math error, but fixing it actually makes my case for the impact of FRL even stronger: (167 -40) White Non-FRL students that passed reading is 127, not 123. So the % of White Non-FRL Students that passed is 127/167= 76%, and BFD’s actual was 78%
Miranda and KitKat, we were worried about the test scores, and the ‘reputation’ of BF Day as well, in 2010 when we sent our child to kindergarten under the new assignment plan. The test scores don’t reflect the students under the new plan yet, as the testing you’re referring to starts in 3rd grade. So there is sort of a transition period going on right now.
But really, the scores are beside the point. Talk to parents – in person – and find out what they like and don’t like about the school. If I were to talk to you, I’d say that my daughter has had some great teachers (and one who was average), has developed a love of reading during her time at BF Day (reads greek myths for fun), and is challenged in most subjects. She has bright friends who share her interests and the parents we’ve met are involved in their kids’ education. There is a core group of really dedicated parents who run the PTSA.
BF Day will only improve from having more neighborhood families invested in the school. Hopefully the district will see that and revise their boundaries.
I hope that parents who live close to JSIS understand the sea change that is about to take place. There is a very large number of siblings that will be entering the school in the next couple of years, and there will only be (as far as I understand) two kindergartens. What this means for you is that very few non-siblings will be getting into the school. Your neighborhood school is Green Lake.
There has been so little noise about this at the work sessions that I suspect many parents are going to learn about it when the enroll their kids for kindergarten in the spring when it will be too late to have a voice in the process. The decision isn’t final, so if you feel strongly about this and would like a neighborhood school in your neighborhood, make sure to contact SPS administration and school board directors. Current JSIS parents are not going to have any motivation to push back on the decision because they want their younger children to get into the school.
Hello Wallyhood families (I am a proud mom of a newbie BF DAY kindergartner),
I am forwarding this email that I received as a BF DAY parent:
Hopefully by now you have come across some of our recent and urgent outreach regarding the proposed new boundaries for BF Day. If not, the short version of the story is that the new boundaries would shrink enrollment at BF Day, a school with plenty of room, during a time that the Seattle school enrollment as a whole will be growing. Because enrollment numbers are directly related to funding, the result would be some drastic cuts to BF Day’s programs for our children. So, let’s speak up for BF Day so that our kids don’t get short changed in this deal!
Want more information in person?!:
Monday, Oct 7th: Seattle Council PTSA General Meeting, held from 6-8 pm at John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence (2445 3rd Ave S, NOT the school in Wallingford). This open to all PTSA members. The agenda states that, “Representatives from the boundary proposal committee will be available to hear concerns and bring high-level perspective on the timeline and process. They are particularly interested in hearing how the boundary proposal affects an entire school. Please come with questions, suggestions and feedback for them!”
Tuesday, Oct 8th: Parent Meet-up at Pecado Bueno from 7-9pm. This informal gathering will serve to help spread the word to more families in our community. BF Day PTSA members will be on hand to do our best to answer questions and share what we learned at the above-mentioned Monday night meeting. Feel free to stop by any time and invite friends and neighbors that may be affected by a change to BF Day’s future enrollment and funding.
Can’t make it to either of the above, but feel ready to act?! Here, again, are some talking points you can cut and paste or change to your liking in emails/phone calls to some key players in this boundary changing proposal. Please cc Katie Pearl, our principal, so she can bring our full support and power of numbers to an upcoming principal’s meeting regarding this topic.
Who to contact?:
1) Flip Herdon, Assistant Superintendent – Capital Facilities and Enrollment Planning
2) Joseph A Wolf, K-12 Planning Coordinator
3) Tracy Libros, Manager Enrollment & Planning
4) Katie Pearl, BF Day Principal
What to say:
In a recently circulated document, entitled “SPS Linked Elementary Schools for Student Services: Grades k-5, DRAFT September 17, 2013” the new boundaries proposed will lead to a drastic decrease in BF Day enrollment in 2017, while most other Seattle Public Schools will experience marked increases.
1) This will lead to empty classrooms at BF Day while neighboring schools will need portables because they will be above capacity. This is impractical and fiscally irresponsible.
2) The decreased enrollment will decrease funding to BF Day, creating an inequitable educational opportunity for students attending this school.
3) A boundary map that has families living in southwest Wallingford (near Gas Works Park) heading to Greenlake Elementary, instead the much closer BF Day. This is contrary to SPS’s goal to increase walkability and decrease commuting distances for students.
4) Like other Seattle Public School families, BF Day families care deeply about the quality of education and experience our children receive at school. Let our voice be heard at equal volume to the voices of our neighboring schools.
I am so please to see this discussion both with active participation in discussing the impact the proposed boundaries will have on our neighborhoods and sense of community, and some enthusiasm for BF Day. I am also a representative of a happy BF Day family who is looking for more and more passionate, involved families to join our school. I could say a lot more, but for now I want to pass on this information:
1) Two of the above emails for contacting people to voice your concerns are incorrect. They should be: [email protected] (Flip Herndon) and
[email protected] (Joseph Wolf).
2) If you want to chat about this in person, we are having an informal gathering at Pecado Bueno on Tues (tomorrow) night from 7-9. Just look for some BF Day t-shirts and we’d love to all chat about what we know and how we would like to speak up for BF Day.
Thanks for getting involved, everyone!
PS A quick comment on “selling” people on BF Day: I agree that each family, even each child, has a different set of priorities when looking for a school that is a good fit. What sold me on BF Day is that it is my neighborhood school. I don’t mind that there are kids from disadvantaged backgrounds that get lower test scores than my own child. EVERY kid in Seattle (ok, everywhere, really) deserves a good education and I think it is hypocritical to take that stance while simultaneously saying “well, as long as it’s not along side my kid”. Personally, equity is high on my priority list. And my work as an involved parent at BF Day will not only improve my own child’s education, it will benefit children who don’t have the same advantages as my child.
Does anyone know when the geozones for the option schools will be determined?
I find the shrinking of the BF Day boundaries baffling, when the surrounding schools are overcrowded.
But I have a theory. The shrinking makes sense if the district is trying to make room for something else.
My (completely speculative) prediction is that the district is planning to put at least part of elementary APP-North into BF Day. If they want to co-house APP with a neighborhood school, they need a big school with a small attendance area, so that APP doesn’t crowd out the neighborhood.
This would be a disaster for BF Day. Our school does an amazing job serving kids from a wide variety of economic backgrounds, SpEd needs, and english language abilities. If APP came in, our free and reduced lunch percentage would drop to the point where we would lose Title 1 funding (as happened when APP-South moved after Lowell broke up). This funding is essential for supporting our diverse community.
(FYI, this is not meant as APP bashing — it’s just that the implications of bringing APP to BF Day would be horrible for one of the things that BF Day does really, really well).
And hopefully, I’m wrong, and the district just wasn’t thinking straight.
SaraP and others, I corrected the email addresses for Flip Herndon and Joseph Wolf in the post. Thanks for sending those!
J – Your post made me realize what it is that makes me uncomfortable about BF Day. It sounds like BF Day is not truly a neighborhood school whose purpose to is to serve the entire community, but rather it aims to support targeted populations with special services. When diversity only includes certain groups (esl, special ed, reduced lunch) I must question if “diverse” is an appropriate word to describe the school. Do you think your perspective is typical in the BF Day community?
Pat — It’s more that many of us are proud that our school can do some of the hardest things well. It sounds like we emphasize the hard parts more, because we’re frequently in the position of having to explain why our test scores don’t look like those at West Woodland or John Stanford. When put in that position (which if you remember is exactly how this started — i.e., “sell me on BF Day”, “why are the scores soooo bad”, etc — and which is a recurring question whenever school boundary issues are raised here), we have to explain for the nth time that (1) the demographics of the school are very different and (2) that that’s not a bad thing. This naturally focuses all subsequent discussion on explaining some of the challenges. Perhaps as a result we also forget to talk as much about the fact that BF Day serves spectrum students as well, and really walks the walk on differentiated learning for all kids, both those who are struggling and those who are overachieving. The kids I know who have graduated from BF Day are currently sailing through Hamilton, including some who started Albegra as 6th graders.
And truly, these are not “targeted populations”. These are your neighbors. These are us. Not everyone in Wallingford/Fremont is financially stable, or is college educated, or speaks english at home, or has a child comfortably in the middle of the bell curve. Is it “targeting” to make sure that kids in your neighborhood get the services they need, and to be proud of your school for doing so? Honestly, I never thought I’d care whether or not my neighborhood school served SpEd kids well — hey! I’m financially stable and college educated! Of course my kids will sail through school! — but with the way the dice rolled, I’m very glad I am.
I’m sorry that I probably sound a bit defensive about this, to the point where I’m hardening attitudes. The short form is that it’s a great school.
J, thank you to speaking to BF Day’s full spectrum of diversity, as I was just about to chime in after seeing that questioned. But, I’m still inspired to do so– at BF Day we have spectrum/ highly capable kids, ELL kids, special ed kids, general ed kids, and combinations of the above. Some kids are 3rd generation BF Day, some just arrived in our country within the year. Some are being raised by grandparents, or a mom and/or a dad, or 4 moms, or 2 dads, or a foster family. Our parent community is made up of college professors, house cleaners, business owners, doctors, nurses, lawyers, bar tenders, baristas, etc. Some were educated at Ivy League graduate schools, some didn’t finish high school. Some speak several languages, some only English. And while BF Day still draws from outside the neighborhood, this kind of diversity can be found within our school boundaries as well. I think it can be challenging to meet the needs of a truly diverse student body, so I applaud both principals and the teachers for working on that every day to meet the needs of our ENTIRE community. I wonder what specific elements of diversity Pat may have been referring to, or if perhaps it is just another “targeted population”?
Thank you for your thoughtful responses, J and Sara. I just don’t understand the concerns about losing special funding – it strikes me as a priority that serves “targeted populations” rather than the health of the entire school. To me, having APP students would enrich the environment and add to the diversity of the student population.
It maybe have sounded like I (as a representative of “BF Day” parents), wouldn’t be welcoming of high achieving kids. While I have issues with how the district has frequently bungled program placement, school closures, and boundary placement, I don’t have any issues with APP, or high achieving kids — one of my kids did end up needing a ton of support to succeed in school, but the other wound up in APP, which offered a different kind of, but equally necessary, support. But, I didn’t say any of that, so may have come off as “anti high achieving”.
Pat — I was involved during the first APP split, and when APP-south was moved to Thurgood Marshall, T-M lost way more in Title 1 funding than they gained in PTA donations. This means they lost (or had severely curtailed) access to counselors, psychologists, language specialists, etc, all of which were paid with through Title 1 funding. The enrichment provided by having APP, while good in many ways, doesn’t replace those services, which are frequently far more key to having students succeed. My kid has beloved friends who are in Spectrum and/or are APP qualified, and who enrich her life, but the immediate academic challenges she fights with daily have needed the intervention of skilled staff — staff who will disappear if the school become further underenrolled, or loses Title 1.
And heck, this was all just idle speculation on my part anyways. It’s just that through years in the district, I’ve learned to expect the unexpected…
I can’t speak to the “special funding” part because I am not fully versed on what special funding we receive, and from my experience in the PTSA, that funding never really comes up in conversation. (I think there is some money associated with folks on free and reduced lunches, as I heard one teacher refer to help with field trip funding, but that’s all I can think of at the moment.) When our principal spoke to the funding issues that would result from decreased enrollment at BF Day, it was aimed purely at number of kids enrolled– more kids equals more money and less kids equals less money. In a building that can easily accommodate more kids, it doesn’t make sense to leave empty classrooms and put us at risk of losing a full-time art teacher, PE teacher, etc. (And before people get too carried away with those examples, no I don’t know what exactly we’d lose if our enrollment went down by 2 classrooms. It’s purely speculative.)
Also, I should mention that I have not heard any murmurings about moving APP to BF Day, although I suppose I could be out of the loop.
But, after attending a Counsel PTSA meeting tonight, I can say that BF Day is on the re-zoning folks’ radar and they will be re-examining our capacity. Keep speaking up, BF Day! There are still a lot of questions, but giving our community a voice is an important step!
Pat, my son and several of his friends are APP-qualified. Our families chose to stay at B.F. Day for a variety of reasons, but we have been very happy with how our children’s academic needs have been met there. The 3rd grade teacher in particular really fostered a love of math, science, and literature. And he has chess as part of the curriculum. Our boys absolutely blossomed in his class.
I would personally LOVE to see APP at B.F. Day! I’ve been squawking for years about how APP and autism services should be under the same roof. There’s a neat little ven diagram of needs in those two communities, IMO. But….I don’t think it’s going to happen. It sounds like SPS is going to put APP at Olympic Hills and the new Wilson Pacific school (and at John Marshall until Wilson Pacific is ready).
BF Day is an amazing school with a warm atmosphere and good (even some GREAT) educators. Susan McClosky was a loving, smart, savvy principal who understood that ALL our children deserve a good education and strove–with increasingly limited resources to create an equality in education for all. For a “north end” school its relatively diverse, giving children an opportunity to make friends and learn perspectives across cultural and socioeconomic lines. It was truly our children’s best experience in SPS. We cried when they graduated, not because they were growing up, but because we had to leave such a lovely school for overcrowded middle schools. Both our girls are “gifted”–92nd and 98th percentile–and got a perfectly fine education at BF Day. Our eldest is now in accelerated IB at Ingraham (also a good, underrated school) and is doing great. As for the busy street issue, bussing would be a more appropriate fix than fussing with the boundaries. I encourage Wallingford and Fremont parents–especially those whose children do not have special needs (which I cannot speak to first hand)–to support your community, your kids, and equity in the education program by sending your family and your PTSA dollars to BF Day if it is your neighborhood school!
Not suggesting it, but I do wonder what would happen if JSIS and B.F. Day simply swapped buildings. Would Aurora still be a dealbreaker?
I’d like to reiterate what jsisparent said. The current proposal to convert JSIS into an option school is EXTREMELY unfriendly to neighborhood kids. I too have heard that if converted to an option school, the majority of spots in the next few years will be almost completely taken by siblings, who get priority over neighborhood kids. The GeoZone will probably be drawn so small that it excludes a number of families. And those living within the GeoZone will be entered into a lottery, and likely many will not get in. This means you could be living a block or two from JSIS, and not be allowed to attend that school; instead, you’ll be driving your kid up to Greenlake, which is miles away. This proposal also leaves Wallingford without a single attendance school, which is ridiculous for such a densely populated, child-friendly neighborhood. Again, if this is unsatisfactory to you, please email your views to the following:
1) Growth Boundaries Proposal general feedback line, [email protected]
2) Flip Herndon, Assistant Superintendent – Capital Facilities and Enrollment Planning, [email protected], 252-0644
3) Joseph A Wolf, K-12 Planning Coordinator, [email protected], 252-0551
4) Sherry Carr, School Board Member District II, [email protected], 252-0040
5) Tracy Libros, Manager Enrollment & Planning, [email protected], 252-0511
Thank you, all, for taking the time to explain so much. As a novice to SPS, this has been really helpful.
FYI– if anyone wants to continue this conversation in person, many of us are gathering at Pecado Bueno (a restaurant at 4307 Fremont Ave N) to talk more about what we’ve learned about the boundary issue so far. BF Day families will be on hand to answer any questions you may have about our experience with our neighborhood school. Stop by any time between 7 and 9pm. Thanks for getting involved, everyone!
Hi Kimberly, Rachelle:
Would you please write a post about what makes BF Day such a “great school”? I think your case would be strengthened if you did some marketing on the school’s behalf. Most other posts I’ve read describing BF Day seem to be trying to excuse or qualify away the school’s poor scores.
I have a vested interest in learning more because my family was previously in the BF Day – now Green Lake – district. I, too, was initially very hesitant about BF Day. I understand that BF Day historically served very poor and “special needs” students. However, I also feel there has to be some accountability – and by every single metric available, BF Day ranks among the poorest performing schools in Seattle.
So please share about what makes a BF Day education great, or why someone should send their kid there instead of Green Lake. Thank you!
WallyDad, if you scroll back up I think a lot of people already weighed in on what they believe makes B.F. Day a great school for them.
Overall the test scores aren’t very sexy, it’s true. Is it an “excuse” to say our new principal is kicking everybody’s butt across the room to fix it? The results won’t show up overnight. They just won’t. It doesn’t work that way. But those of us who already attend the school are seeing the positive changes happening, and we know we’re on the ground floor of something extraordinary.
Would it help if I told you that MY kids’ test scores are consistently through the roof? And that’s without any extra help. No tutors, no Kumon, no flash cards, nothing. They learned it all at school. So just because the average test scores are low doesn’t mean *your* kid’s test scores will be low.
Personally, I believe benefits of attending a diverse school like B.F. Day are immense. Why would I live in a major city and then shield my children from what a major city actually looks like? I’m proud that my kids can work and play among students of different ethnic, racial, and class backgrounds with comfort and ease. THAT’s what real leadership requires.
I love that my kids share their classrooms, playground, and cafeteria with a diverse array of students. I think it makes them smarter, better people. I see “greatness” in that fact alone. And I know I’m not the only one who feels that way.
I thoroughly agree with So Very Tired and many of the others who have taken the time to positively speak out here, show their school pride, and defend B.F. Day.
I have a 1st grader who attends B.F. Day and we have been satisfied with her education and with our experiences there since she started going there last year for Kindergarten.
Her teachers– Mr. Zillig in Kindergarten and Mrs. Papineau this year– in my opinion, have been top notch. Not intending to criticize John Stanford, but I find it so ironic how language immersion is the main draw to John Stanford when you get actual ethnic, social, and economic diversity at B.F. Day. I find this real-life learning to be priceless for my daughter and she gets all this “immersion” at B.F. Day!
The Principal and many of the support staff seem to all be passionate about their work. I, too, feel like we are “at the ground floor of (the beginnings) of something extraordinary.” And for the suits at the Seattle Public School District who keep wanting to redraw the school boundary lines without understanding (or caring???) that they would put an end to the progress B.F. Day has been striving for is just devastating to me and I can’t help but feel that they are intentionally sabotaging our efforts for some reason. Their boundary change proposal makes no sense to me and looks more destructive than constructive.
To understand more about the so-called low test scores, you’d have to be part of the heart of this school. Outsiders will most likely focus on aesthetics and computerized test scores. As many have mentioned above, the majority of the schools population are a mix of immigrants coming from another country, many have special needs (and have wonderful staff to support them), and/or come from a low income bracket. A school like John Stanford doesn’t have many students that fall into this category and; therefore, the *average* test scores for the school will reflect that. My daughter is not part of the above and my husband and I are very active with her education. However, she developed her love of learning, reading, and math from her teachers at B.F. Day.
I feel lucky to be part of B.F. Day and proud that we did not buy into the rumors and hyped “low test scores”. We love our truly neighborhood school and walk the 3/4 of a mile to school on a nearly daily basis, rain or shine. It’s really not a big deal to cross Stone Way and we walk on Bridge Way under Aurora because I often have my 2 year old son in his stroller with us. We often play at the park next door after school which is another way we connect with our community and build relationships. I find this feature another bonus with this school to have a park we use so much right there, conveniently at our disposal.
It was one thing when we were cut out of the boundaries of John Stanford. At first it was hard because on paper it gas all the criteria of an exceptional school. However, being part of the B.F. Day community and seeing what I’ve seen, I feel B.F. Day is actually the better fit for my family. There’s just something about the tapestry of diversity and smaller class sizes, wonderful staff, strong PTSA, etc.
Choosing to attend B.F. Day and having to leave because of another poorly thought out boundary change by SSD will make me feel robbed of all these experiences and we’re forced to go to Greenlake, which I’ve heard is a fine school but it will make it unrealistic for me to walk to school every day and feel that sense of home and community because of the distance.
For the families who love B.F. Day, I hope the boundary change does not happen.
Oh how I hate when I make typos! I mean has not gas and SPS NOT SSD.
Please be careful labeling JSIS as ethnically homogeneous. 2012-13 data show the school’s population as 13% Asian, 1% Black, 12% Hispanic, 1% Native American, 60% White, 12% Multi-ethnic, and 0% Pacific Islander.
I’ve got a kindergartener at BF Day. We’re in the attendance area for John Hay but asked for BF Day instead because of its class and race diversity, services for special ed kids (not something my kid needs, but many of our nearest and dearest do) and great community. It’s definitely the right choice for us.
Only 1% black at JSIS? And only 12% Latino at a Spanish immersion school?
Wallydad – I’m not going to write anything up about BF Day, as plenty has been shared here and on previous posts/threads about BF Day. I’ll leave you with this: I’ve yet to meet a parent who is unhappy with the experience/education their child is having or has had at BF Day.