Saturday, November 16, 2013

Give SE a Chance to Be Heard -- Vote Yes on Betty Patu’s Amendment 8

Please email schoolboard@seattleschools.org and growthboundaries@seattleschools.org -- encourage them to vote YES on Betty Patu's plan for the Southeast. Feel free to copy and paste the text below. Thank you!

Give SE a Chance to Be Heard -- Vote Yes on Betty Patu’s Amendment 8

This Wednesday, the Seattle School Board will vote on a new Growth Boundaries plan that has been developed without the input of the diverse communities of Southeast Seattle. Many of these changes will take kids out of the walk zones to their neighborhood schools, and force them to bus to faraway schools.

Unlike most of the city, there are no imminent capacity issues in the Southeast. Therefore, we should take the time to listen to local families in their native languages and get boundaries right for Southeast Seattle. Please support Southeast Director Betty Patu’s Amendment 8, to rescind these proposals while she engages our diverse communities about these changes.

1) Since there are no capacity issues for 2014-15 in the Southeast, we can take the time to engage families on future changes.

2) On Nov. 12, Superintendent Jose Banda announced to the Seattle Council PTSA that “we missed the boat” on outreach to racial and linguistic minorities in the Southeast.

3) For the 5 lower Southeast grade schools with boundary changes, only 11 total comments were received. This is only 0.11% of the nearly 10,000 comments received. It’s clear that our families, particularly non-English-speaking ones, are not aware of the changes in store for them.

4) Only some of the boundary materials were translated, in only a handful of languages, only halfway through the process.

5) Beacon Hill has the worst boundary plan in the whole city: Mid Beacon Hill students living in the walk zones for both Maple and Dearborn Park would be forced to bus to Van Asselt, the eighth school from their homes.

6) Kimball students would be bussed out of the Southeast district up to the Central District for middle school at Washington.

In conjunction with Michael DeBell’s Amendment 7, to add language immersion to Dearborn Park for a year while allowing the community to decide whether to be a neighborhood or option school, these are the right choices for Southeast families. Please vote yes.

Growth Boundaries: 5 Lower SE Grade Schools Send in 11 Comments Total

The latest version of the Growth Boundaries Board Action Report lists all the community input that the district has received about the growth boundaries plan. They say they've received 1,285 meeting comments, 400 "walk the boundaries" survey responses, 3,984 survey responses, 122 postcards, and "several thousand" emails.

If you count "several thousand" as 4,000, that's a total of 9,791 responses.

Given that the district has not done any outreach to the low-income and racially and linguistically diverse families in the Southeast, I was curious what percentage of responses came from the 5 lower Southeast grade schools in particular. All of these grade schools will have boundary changes by 2017, so all these communities will experience the kind of disruption that has the rest of the city up in arms.

The answer? The total number of comments from lower Southeast schools was 11. This represents 0.11% of responses citywide.

Based on the near-total lack of response, it's clear that the city has not engaged these communities about all the changes in store for them. In fact, at the Seattle Council PTSA meeting on Nov. 12, Superintendent Jose Banda announced to the group that "we missed the boat" on outreach to the diverse communities of the Southeast.

That is why the School Board must support Director Betty Patu's Amendment 8 to rescind all proposed changes for the Southeast, until she has time to work with the district to inform these communities and collect their input. There are no imminent capacity issues facing the Southeast, so there is no need to rush through any changes without engaging the affected communities.

Grade SchoolTotal Comments% White StudentsFewest % of White Students Among City Grade Schools
Wing Luke22.41
Van Asselt22.73
Dunlap23.74
Emerson54.57
Rainier View06.68

Note: Racial data from the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction

APPENDIX: Summaries of Public Input

May 28 – October 8
Dunlap: 0
Emerson: 1
Rainier View: 0
Van Asselt: 1
Wing Luke: 2

October 1 – 14
Dunlap: 1
Emerson: 2
Rainier View: 0
Van Asselt: 0
Wing Luke: 0

October 11 - 30
Dunlap: 1
Emerson: 2
Rainier View: 0
Van Asselt: 1
Wing Luke: 0

November 1 - 13
Dunlap: 0
Emerson: 0
Rainier View: 0
Van Asselt: 0
Wing Luke: 0

November 13-14
Dunlap: 0
Emerson: 0
Rainier View: 0
Van Asselt: 0
Wing Luke: 0

Friday, November 1, 2013

Misrepresentation (or error?) about outreach to communities of color in Southeast Seattle

Dear Superintendent and School Board Members–

I’m deeply concerned about a serious misrepresentation (or error?) on p. 4 of the Nov. 1 version of the “Growth Boundaries for Student Assignment” Proposed Action Report. Paired with a list of meetings that specifically calls out Southeast Seattle, this statement implies that the administration reached out to the racial/linguistic minority communities in the Southeast: “Several community-based meetings (included above) were held after the five large community meetings. These targeted meetings provided more direct opportunities for families that might not typically respond to e-mail and/or English language based opportunities for input.”

To be clear, the district has NOT engaged in any special outreach to Southeast Seattle, home to the city's largest minority populations. Here are the meetings listed (my notes in parentheses):

--“October 2, 2013 - Meeting at High Point Community Center” (outreach from the district to a racially diverse group, but in West Seattle)
--“October 7, 2013 - Meeting with Seattle Council PTSA” (not a racial/linguistic minority group at all)
--“October 8, 2013 - Seattle Council PTSA Meeting with Southeast Schools Representatives” (this was not outreach from the district, but rather a meeting hastily assembled in response to the utter lack of outreach from the district)
--“October 10, 2013 - Gatzert Open House” (outreach from the district to a racially diverse group, but in the Central District)
--“October 15, 2012 - Facilities and Capacity Management Advisory Committee” (not a racial/linguistic minority group at all)
--“October 28, 2013 - Meeting with Special Education PTSA” (not a racial/linguistic minority group at all)

It’s ironic that the only mention of outreach to Southeast Seattle is a meeting that was assembled in response to a lack of such outreach. The district had nothing to do with the meeting; no one from the district was even in attendance. And the published outcome of the meeting (http://rainiervalleypost.com/seattle-council-ptsa-low-income-minority-communities-cut-out-of-process-to-change-school-boundaries/) was that, on our own, we were unable to assemble a representative group to provide feedback: “We are acutely aware that the coalition of parents giving input here were disproportionately white and middle class. We believe that the timing and outreach associated with this process have been inadequate for meaningful engagement and dialogue within our community. Any new proposals should be presented to the full SE community, with adequate outreach efforts, in multiple languages, and with enough time built into the process to allow for the fostering of true understanding and meaningful dialogue with our diverse community.”

Some of us have been trying to let minority voices be heard. At the last School Board meeting, my Mid Beacon Hill (Zone 36) neighborhood was represented by members of the Chinese, Vietnamese, and Japanese communities (and we donated one of our speaking spots to an East African woman who hadn’t made the speakers’ list). Our neighborhood is being shut out of our walk zone for Maple, and is not being allowed into the zone for nearby Dearborn Park (which we’re also in the walk zone for), either. Instead, despite our continued protests, the administration wants to send our mostly non-English-speaking community to the EIGHTH grade school from our homes in terms of distance. (Maple, Dearborn Park, Hawthorne, Kimball, MLK, John Muir, and Orca are all closer.) No other group in Seattle is being kicked out of multiple walk zone schools to be bussed away to the EIGHTH grade school from their homes.

We are stunned by the lack of equity in this process. Please understand that despite the commentary in the latest version of the Board Action Report, there has been NO outreach to the communities of color in Southeast Seattle. The district has only done special outreach for minority communities in West Seattle and the Central District. Even though Southeast Seattle is home to the city’s largest racial minority populations, there has been no special outreach here.

Friday, October 18, 2013

SPS Wants to Send Us to the 8th Closest Grade School

We live in the burgundy-circled area on the map. We're currently at Maple. Maple and Dearborn Park are the only two that make sense. In terms of distance, there are SEVEN grade schools closer than the one they want to zone us to, Van Asselt:

1. Dearborn Park
2. Maple
3. Orca K-8
4. Hawthorne
5. Kimball
6. John Muir
7. MLK
8. Van Asselt and Wing Luke

Two-Question Survey to Help Beacon Hill’s Children of Color Walk to School

In both their latest boundary map, Seattle Public Schools wants to kick Mid Beacon Hill out of the official Maple walk zone (an area so close to a school that bus service is not even provided) and instead make our kids bus miles to school every day.

We’ve been working hard to rally the neighborhood to oppose this change, but the majority of our neighborhood are not native English speakers, and none of the boundary materials have been translated into any other language. At the Oct. 16 School Board meeting, we were supported by members of our local Vietnamese, Japanese, and Chinese communities, and we spoke about retaining our Maple walk zone, and also the need for native-language outreach in these important decisions. Together with an East African woman (to whom we donated one of our speaking slots, as she was also speaking out for the need for cultural and native-language outreach), we were the only voices speaking about the lack of racial and linguistic equity in this process. (See this blog post, containing a bar graph depicting the lack of diversity in feedback the district has received so far.)

If you also feel it’s unjust that SPS is kicking a majority-non-English-speaking community of color out of its local school walk zone without even notifying affected families in the languages they understand, please fill out this two-question SPS survey before Oct. 25 at 6 p.m.:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/7BKFRS3

Choose Zone 36 for the area of concern, and provide a comment like "Let kids in the Maple walk zone walk to Maple. For a racially equitable process, notify affected families in their native languages."

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Racial Equity Inquiry About Maple Elementary Boundary Change Proposal

To: Bernardo Ruiz, Director of School Family Partnerships and Equity and Race Relations at Seattle Public Schools
From: Julie van Arcken, Maple Elementary School parent
Date: October 13, 2013
RE: Racial equity inquiry about Maple Elementary boundary change proposal

Dear Mr. Ruiz:

I live in Mid Beacon Hill, within the walk zone for Maple Elementary, where my daughter attends kindergarten. With its majority Asian population (26% white, 21% Filipino, 20% Chinese, 17% Vietnamese), Mid Beacon Hill benefits enormously from its zoning at Maple Elementary. Under the expert guidance of Principal Pat Hunter, the school has spent years developing protocol to help children who only speak Asian languages learn English.

As part of its Growth Boundaries Project, on Sept. 17, the district released a draft proposal that would shut children from racially diverse Mid Beacon Hill out of its district-defined Maple walk zone, and start bussing those children to faraway Van Asselt. Because this proposal was so clearly contradictory to the project’s stated objectives of equity, walkability, and data-driven decisions, as well as the district’s overall policy of racial equity, I believed I only needed to explain the issue to the Growth Boundaries Project leaders to get the changes made.

At the Sept. 23 community meeting at Mercer, and again at the Sept. 30 meeting at Meany, and again at the Oct. 2 Seattle School Board meeting, I asked the district to revise their boundary proposal to let families within the Maple walk zone in Mid Beacon Hill remain at Maple. A number of parents from Georgetown, a 78% white community outside the Maple walk zone, also attended these meetings and asked to remain at the school.

In the new Oct. 11 Maple boundary proposal, I was surprised to see that the district continued to shut out Mid Beacon Hill families who live within the Maple walk zone, while allowing back in Georgetown families who do not live within the Maple walk zone. The only reason I can imagine for this is that that the district received more comments from Georgetown than Beacon Hill.

To understand why the district would receive more comments from Georgetown than Mid Beacon Hill, please see the chart below. The majority of Mid Beacon Hill residents speak languages other than English. A racially and linguistically diverse neighborhood will never be able to coordinate a feedback blitz the way a majority-white, majority-English-speaking neighborhood can.

Racial and Linguistic Diversity of Georgetown and Mid Beacon Hill

GeorgetownMid Beacon Hill
Has families in the Maple walk zoneNoYes
Speak only English at home66%44%
White78%26%
Filipino4%21%
Chinese0%20%
Vietnamese0%17%
Black5%6%

From the US Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) 2011 5-year estimates, released December 2012. Based on data collected from January 1, 2007 to December 31, 2011, and centric to mid-2009. The census tract used for Georgetown was 53033010900, and Mid Beacon Hill was 53033010402. See http://proximityone.com/tracts11dp1.htm (race) and http://proximityone.com/tracts11dp2.htm (language).

To test my assumption that the district has not effectively engaged non-white families in the boundary process to the extent they’ve engaged white families, I created the bar graph below. I took the all the Growth Boundaries community feedback comments from the table in Appendix C of the Oct. 16 School Board agenda (http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Departmental%20Content/school%20board/13-14%20agendas/101613agenda/20131016_GrowthBoundaries_AttachmentC.pdf), and isolated the comments classified as pertaining to existing neighborhood K-5 schools. In the cases where the classification named two schools, I counted each separately but weighted them both as 0.5 comments. For comments that named a grade school along with a middle school or high school, I counted it as if it were only about the grade school. I then correlated the number of comments received with the percentage of white students at that school, as reported by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction’s Washington State Report Card website (http://reportcard.ospi.k12.wa.us/summary.aspx?year=2012-13 - October 2012 data).



In the chart, you’ll notice that the number of comments about a school’s boundary rarely exceeds the percentage of white students at that school. Basically, it seems when the district conducts a process using only English-language materials and only communicated in English via websites with no direct outreach, a disproportionate number of white families provide feedback.

Notably, with the three non-white schools that received a lot of feedback, the comments presented at the Mercer community meeting and the School Board meeting were almost entirely from white parents. This is based on my own visual observation; you can also review the School Board meeting video here: http://www.seattlechannel.org/videos/watchvideos.asp?program=schools). In the case of Maple, most of the comments were from the 78% white community of Georgetown, which did have its voices heard.

Meanwhile, schools with a white population of less than 10% received literally no feedback, or virtually no feedback. In the case of Dearborn Park, which most radically would be changed to a language-immersion-only option school, with all the families being rezoned for Van Asselt, the district received just two comments. (And at least one, if not both, of those comments were from me personally, so they do not count.) Using the district’s feedback mechanism as a guide, you would think that no one at Dearborn Park cares in the slightest that their entire school is going to be taken away from them.

Based on my findings above, I’m concerned the district may not be ensuring racial and cultural equity in the boundary planning process. Mr. Ruiz, can you answer the following questions for me, about racial equity in the boundary planning process for my daughter’s school, Maple Elementary?

1) How has the district considered racial equity when determining which families get to remain within the Maple attendance zone? Why would a neighborhood of majority-white, majority-English-speaking families who live outside the walk zone be prioritized over a neighborhood of majority non-English-speaking families of color who live within the walk zone? How does this support the project’s stated objectives of equity, walkability, and data-driven decisions, as well as the district’s policy #0030 of racial equity? The area being shut out of the walk zone is a relatively small chunk of Mid Beacon Hill – the ask was not larger than Georgetown’s.

2) Can you explain specifically what racial equity analysis tool has been applied to soliciting and reviewing feedback on the new Maple boundaries? According to the “Racial Equity Analysis” section of Seattle Public Schools’ Policy 0030, “The district shall review existing policies, programs, professional development and procedures to ensure the promotion of racial equity, and all applicable new policies, programs and procedures will be developed using a racial equity analysis tool.” What racial equity analysis tool is being used for the community feedback process, and how is its effectiveness being tested?

3) Did the district announce its original draft Maple boundary proposal through direct outreach (ie, flyers sent home with students) in Maple families’ native languages? My daughter attends Maple, and I have not gotten a single handout that even announces that any changes are happening, let alone that we would be assigned to a different school. I only got one email, back in September.

4) Has any of the Oct. 11 boundary revision information been translated into Maple families’ native languages and directly circulated? If so, how much time will be allowed for feedback after those translated materials are circulated? Will the feedback mechanism require access to computers and an understanding of English?

5) Was racial and cultural equity considered when the most-diverse local community meeting (Mercer Middle School, the only meeting in Southeast Seattle) was scheduled first of all the meetings, taking place just two days after “improved” maps were posted to the district website?

I understand that the boundary planning process has been a monumental task, and truly representative feedback may be difficult to attain. However, in the absence of effective tools to ensure representative feedback, the district should not assume that silence equals consent. The district should not assume that only white, English-speaking families want to keep their children to keep going to their current schools, and non-English-speaking families of color don’t mind being shut out of their walk zones to be bussed to faraway schools.

Mr. Ruiz, I’d be very happy to meet with you and the Growth Boundaries Project leaders to discuss this issue together as soon as possible. The feedback timeline is very short, so I would appreciate a quick response.

Julie van Arcken
Maple Elementary Parent

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Beacon Hill parents seek city mini grant to implore school district to retain walk zones

For a full table of the data used to determine these findings, see: http://www.midbeaconhill.blogspot.com/2013/10/title-1-beacon-hill-schools-losing-most.html

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Beacon Hill, Seattle, Washington
Sunday, October 6, 2013

Beacon Hill parents seek city mini grant to implore school district to retain walk zones

District proposes shutting 67% of neighborhood’s grade schools out of walk zones during International Walk to School Month


BEACON HILL, OCT. 6, 2013 – Today a parents’ group on Beacon Hill applied for a Seattle Department of Transportation mini grant for funds to implore the Seattle School District to let their children keep walking to their local neighborhood schools.

In its draft Growth Boundaries Proposal, the district has proposed removing families at 67% of Beacon Hill neighborhood schools from their district-designated walk zones, and instead bussing them to faraway schools. The Beacon Hill group compared all the city’s current grade school maps to the school district’s proposed maps for 2014 and found that:

--Citywide, families at 28% of Title 1 (low-income) schools would lose official Seattle Public Schools-designated walk zones, compared to 12% of non-Title 1 schools.

--Under the new proposal, 67% of Beacon Hill schools would lose walk zones, compared to 13% for the rest of the city.

--All of the Beacon Hill schools losing walk zones are Title 1 (low-income) schools.

--Beacon Hill is the only neighborhood where children would be taken out of walk zones to cross interstate-feeding arterials, or, in the case of Beacon Hill International, I-90 itself.

“The district shouldn’t be removing kids from walk zones anywhere, but it’s especially unfair that the district is targeting low-income schools in Southeast Seattle to stop walking to school,” said Julie van Arcken, a Maple walk zone parent whose child would be bussed miles away under the new proposal.

The group applied for funding under the City of Seattle’s Safe Routes to School Mini Grant Program, which provides grants of up to $1,000 for education and encouragement programs for walking and biking to school. The group, which only asked for $28, would use the funding as reimbursement for funds already spent on signage, photocopying, and other lobbying materials to implore the school district to let Beacon Hill children remain in their current walk zones, and not be bussed to faraway schools.

“It’s ironic that the city is encouraging children to walk to school, while the district wants to make it unsafe for them to do so,” said van Arcken. “We’re really hoping that this Tuesday, Oct. 8 -- International Walk to School Day – isn’t the last day that many Beacon Hill kids are able to safely walk to their local schools.”

After hearing from parents up and down Beacon Hill, the North Beacon Hill Community Council voted unanimously to advise the School Board to reject the district's boundary proposal.

In a letter to the school board, Council President Melissa Jonas wrote, "Community response in the brief time since the proposal was announced has been overwhelmingly negative to every aspect of the plan as it applies to S Seattle. ... We are confident we can help develop a proposal that keeps neighborhood students in our neighborhood and within safe, realistic walk zones."

For more information about:

Beacon Hill, low-income schools losing walk zones: Julie van Arcken, midbeaconhill@gmail.com, http://midbeaconhill.blogspot.com

Seattle Department of Transportation Safe Routes to School Mini-Grant Program: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/ped_srts_grant.htm

Seattle Public Schools Growth Boundaries Proposal: http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/cms/pages.phtml?pageid=294923

North Beacon Hill Community Council: http://www.northbeaconhillcouncil.org

International Walk to School Day: http://www.walkbiketoschool.org/

END

####

Friday, October 4, 2013

Title 1, Beacon Hill Schools Losing Most Walk Zones (with Table and Downloadable Spreadsheet)

For the last week I've been considering how the Seattle Public Schools' new boundary proposal affects school walk zones throughout the city, with special attention on equity for our Title 1 (low-income) schools. Below is a table representing my findings about which neighborhood grade schools would lose "walk zones" -- SPS's own designated areas where children can and should safely walk to their local school. By "losing their walk zone," I mean that children who live within the walk zone for their local school would be reassigned to schools that the city and district believe are too far and/or unsafe for them to walk.

Here's what I've found:

--Citywide, 28% of Title 1 (low-income) schools are losing walk zones, compared to 12% of non-Title 1 schools.

--Under the new proposal, 67% of Beacon Hill schools would lose official SPS walk zones, compared to 13% for the rest of the city.

--All of the Beacon Hill schools losing walk zones are Title 1 (low-income) schools.

--Beacon Hill is the only neighborhood where kids would be taken out of walk zones to cross interstate-feeding arterials, or, in the case of Beacon Hill International, I-90 itself.

Based on my review of the data (presented below), these are the neighborhood grade schools where families will be losing their walk zones:

• Maple (Title 1)
• Beacon Hill International (Title 1)
• Dearborn Park (Title 1)
• Graham Hill (Title 1)
• Kimball (Title 1)
• Northgate (Title 1)
• Roxhill (Title 1)
• BF Day
• Green Lake
• John Stanford
• North Beach

P.S. Please comment below if I have gotten anything wrong. The district makes it extremely difficult to understand how the boundaries are changing (the changes are not overlaid on the maps). Also, the new maps do not include walk zones. I did the best I could to parse all the data. Thank you!

Here is the below information in a downloadable spreadsheet.

Schools Keeping or Losing Walk Zones:
Neighborhood Grade SchoolLosing walk zone?Title 1 SchoolCity of Seattle School Walk RouteCurrent Map w/ Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapNotes
AdamsNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapLost Adams walk zone would become part of Loyal Heights walk zone
AlkiNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapAlki retains its walk zone
Arbor HeightsNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapArbor Heights retains its walk zone
BagleyNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapBagley retains its walk zone
Bailey GatzertNoTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapGatzert retains its walk zone.
Beacon Hill IntlLosing walk zoneTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapBeacon Hill families in D6 of the Thurgood Marshall growth map would be forced out of the Beacon Hill walk zone to be bussed to Thurgood Marshall..
BF DayLosing walk zoneNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapBF Day students in east Wallingford will lose their walk zone and need to be bussed to Green Lake
BlaineNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapBlaine retains its walk zone.
Broadview Thomson K-8NoTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapBTK8 families moved into Viewlands would be in the Viewlands walk zone.
BryantNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapNorth Bryant families would be in the walk zone for Wedgwood
Cedar ParkNoNoN/AN/AProposed Growth MapCedar Park not yet open
CoeNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapCoe retains its walk zone.
Concord IntlNoTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapConcord Int'l retains its walk zone.
Dearborn ParkLosing walk zoneTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkN/ADearborn Park would become an option school, and its entire attendance zone would be bussed to Van Asselt.
DunlapNoTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapDunlap retains its walk zone.
EmersonNoTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapEmerson retains its walk zone
Fairmount ParkNoNoN/AN/AProposed Growth MapFairmount Park not yet open
GatewoodNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapGatewood families who would be moved to Fairmount Park would be much closer to Fairmount Park than Gatewood
Graham HillLosing walk zoneTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapGraham Hill families in C2 of the growth Emerson map are in the Graham Hill walk zone but would be bussed to Emerson
Green LakeLosing walk zoneNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapGreen Lake students in E-F 1-2 of the Green Lake growth zone will lose their walk zone and need to be bussed to Bagley
GreenwoodNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapGreenwood retains its walk zone
HawthorneNoTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapHawthorne retains its walk zone
HayNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapHay retains its walk zone.
Highland ParkNoTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapHighland Park families in the SW corner of the zone will be in the walk zone for Roxhill
John MuirNoTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapJohn Muir retains its walk zone.
John RogersNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapJohn Rogers retains its walk zone
John StanfordLosing walk zoneNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkN/AJohn Stanford families must bus to Green Lake as John Stanford becomes an option school
KimballLosing walk zoneTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapKimball families in B-C 3-4 of the Kimball growth map are in the Kimball walk zone but would be bussed to Maple
LafayetteNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapLafayette retains its walk zone
LaurelhurstNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapLaurelhurst retains its walk zone
LawtonNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapLawton retains its walk zone.
LeschiNoTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapLeschi retains its walk zone.
LowellNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapLowell retains its walk zone.
Loyal HeightsNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapLoyal Heights retains its walk zone.
Madrona K-8NoTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapMadrona retains its walk zone.
MapleLosing walk zoneTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapMaple families in F-G 6 of the Maple growth map are in the Maple walk zone but would be bussed to Van Asselt
McDonaldNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkN/AMcDonald walk zone families enter the Green Lake walk zone
McGilvraNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapMcGilvra retains its walk zone.
MLKNoTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapFamilies in the southern end of the MLK walk zone would be moved into the Dunlap walk zone
MontlakeNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapIf any Montlake families move into Stevens zone, they would be in Stevens walk zone.
North BeachYesNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapNorth Beach families just north of Golden Gardens would move to Loyal Heights and not be in that walk zone.
NorthgateLosing walk zoneTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapNorthgate walk zone families in E7 of the Northgate growth map would be bussed to Viewlands.
Olympic HillsN/ATitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapUnclear if Olympic Hills is technically losing its walk zone, since no new city walk zone has been established for Cedar Hills. Some families will need to travel further to get to Cedar Park, up to about 10 blocks total and across LCW.
Olympic ViewNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapOlympic View retains its walk zone.
Rainier ViewNoTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapRainier View retains its walk zone
RoxhillLosing walk zoneTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in Pink Roxhill families in D3 of the Roxhill growth map would be in the bus zone for West Seattle Elementary
SacajaweaNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapSacajawea retains its walk zone
Sand PointNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapSandpoint retains its walk zone
SanisloNoTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapSanislo retains its walk zone
Schmitz ParkN/ANoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapSchmitz Park is moving 3 blocks south to Genesee Hill, so the previous walk zone no longer applies.
StevensNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapStevens retains its walk zone.
Thurgood MarshallNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapThurgood Marshall retains its walk zone.
Van AsseltNoTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapVan Asselt families being moved into the Wing Luke zone would be in the Wing Luke walk zone
View RidgeNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapView Ridge retains its walk zone
ViewlandsNoTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapViewlands retains its walk zone.
WedgwoodNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapWedgwood retains its walk zone
West Seattle N/ATitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapWest Seattle Elem. Families in D-E 3 of the West Seattle growth map will be moved to Fairmount Park, which does not have a walk zone established yetpublished on the SPS site
West WoodlandNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapWest Woodland retains its walk zone
WhittierNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapWhittier retains its walk zone.
Wilson Pacific ElemNoNo N/AProposed Growth MapWilson Pacific is not yet open.
Wing LukeNoTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapWing Luke retains its walk zone

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Beacon Hill Would Lose the Most Walk Zones of Any Seattle Neighborhood

With Seattle Public Schools' new boundary proposal, Beacon Hill would lose the most grade school walk zones of any Seattle neighborhood.

--Out of the 11 schools citywide that are losing walk zone areas, 4 are on Beacon Hill.

--All 4 (Kimball, Beacon Hill International, Maple, Dearborn Park) of the neighborhood grade schools in North and Mid Beacon Hill would lose walk zone areas.

--Including the entire Beacon Hill area, 4 out of our 6 neighborhood schools (67%) are losing walk zones, compared to 13% for the rest of the city.

--Currently, 100% (2 out of 2) of Beacon Hill's freeway onramp feeder arterials serve as natural boundaries between neighborhood grade school zones. The district now wants our grade school zones to overlap the freeway onramp arterials of Spokane and Graham.

Instead of moving forward with the current boundary proposal, the District should:

(1) increase children's fitness levels, save transportation dollars, and limit diesel pollutants by retaining their own established Beacon Hill walk zones, and

(2) retain the busy I-5 arterials of Graham and Spokane as natural boundaries between school zones to keep our children safe.

Besides Dearborn Park (which loses its entire zone if it becomes an option school), here are maps of the lost walk zones at Maple, Kimball, and Beacon Hill International.

This Maple walk zone needs to stay at Maple, not cross the I-5 arterial of Graham to go to Van Asselt over 2 miles away:


This Kimball walk zone needs to stay at Kimball, not cross the I-5 arterial of Spokane to go to Maple and replace Maple walk zone kids' seats:


This Beacon Hill International walk zone needs to stay at Beacon Hill International, not cross under I-90 to go to Thurgood Marshall:

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Seattle Public Schools to Shut Low-Income Students Out of Walk Zones?

Seattle Public Schools' proposed new boundaries would push many children out of neighborhood grade school walk zones and onto buses. And these changes would disproportionately affect Title 1 (low income) schools, with 28% of Title 1 neighborhood grade schools losing walk zones compared to only 12% of non-Title 1 schools. As usual, Southeast Seattle is also disproportionately affected, with most of the schools losing their walk zones located here.

While Seattle Public Schools should not be shutting any children out of walk zones and onto buses, they should be trying especially hard to keep low-income communities within city-approved walking distance of their local schools. Higher family income is already correlated with higher performance in school, and recent studies also suggest a connection between fitness and academic success. As recently noted in the New York Times Well blog, a University of Illinois study found that nine and 10-year-olds did better at memorizing facts if they were physically fit, and the Journal of Pediatrics reported that a study of about 12,000 Nebraska public school students in fourth through eighth grade showed that fitter kids did better on standardized tests.

Nevertheless, Seattle Public Schools is pushing students at seven Title 1 schools out of their official city-approved walk zones to their nearby neighborhood grade schools and onto buses to faraway schools. Yet another layer of inequity is that this will increase the use of diesel buses in areas already disproportionately plagued by diesel exhaust and other pollution (as near I-5 and Boeing Field on Mid Beacon Hill).

Based on my initial review of the data (presented below), these are the neighborhood grade schools losing their walk zones:

• Maple (Title 1)
• Beacon Hill International (Title 1)
• Dearborn Park (Title 1)
• Graham Hill (Title 1)
• Kimball (Title 1)
• Northgate (Title 1)
• Roxhill (Title 1)
• BF Day
• Green Lake
• John Stanford
• North Beach

Shutting all these Title 1 schools out of walk zones violates almost all of Seattle Public Schools' guiding principles:

• "Ground decisions in data." (No. The data, presented in tabular format below, shows that the changes disproportionately shut low-income schools out of walk zones.)

• "Create boundaries that reflect equitable access to services and programs." (These SE Seattle boundary changes do not improve access to existing services and programs, but definitely create income and racial INEQUITY in terms of walkability.)

• "Maximize walkability." (No -- the exact opposite.)

• "Enable cost-effective transportation standards." (No -- this will take children out of walk zones and put them on buses the district has to pay for.)

• "Maintain key features of New Student Assignment Plan (e.g. opportunities for creating diversity within boundaries, choice, option schools, feeder patterns)." (There is no evidence this will be the case. SPS is proposing changing Dearborn Park into a language immersion option school, but they admit they have no plan in terms of funding, curriculum, or timeline. I asked this question several times at the Mercer meeting.)

• "Minimize disruptions by aligning new boundaries with current attendance area boundaries when feasible." (No -- the exact opposite.)

• "Be mindful of fiscal impact (costs and savings)." (No -- it will cost more to bus students to faraway schools than to let them walk to their local school.

• "Be responsive to family input to the extent feasible." (We can only hope! Absolutely no one at the Mercer meeting approved of these changes. There is huge outcry from SE Seattle about how bad these changes are to our community.)

Based on the turnout at the Mercer community meeting on Monday as well as School Board Rep. Betty Patu's monthly coffee chat today, there will be too many of us banding together against this plan for the district to ignore us. Make your voice heard, and email these groups with your comments today: GrowthBoundaries@seattleschools.org; schoolboard@seattleschools.org

P.S. Please let me know if I have gotten anything wrong below. The district makes it extremely difficult to understand how the boundaries are changing (the changes are not overlaid on the maps). Also, the new maps do not include walk zones. I did the best I could to parse all the data. Thank you!

Schools Keeping or Losing Walk Zones:
Neighborhood Grade SchoolLosing walk zone?Title 1 SchoolCity of Seattle School Walk RouteCurrent Map w/ Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapNotes
AdamsNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapLost Adams walk zone would become part of Loyal Heights walk zone
AlkiNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapAlki retains its walk zone
Arbor HeightsNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapArbor Heights retains its walk zone
BagleyNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapBagley retains its walk zone
Bailey GatzertNoTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapGatzert retains its walk zone.
Beacon Hill IntlLosing walk zoneTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapBeacon Hill families in D6 of the Thurgood Marshall growth map would be forced out of the Beacon Hill walk zone to be bussed to Thurgood Marshall..
BF DayLosing walk zoneNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapBF Day students in east Wallingford will lose their walk zone and need to be bussed to Green Lake
BlaineNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapBlaine retains its walk zone.
Broadview Thomson K-8NoTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapBTK8 families moved into Viewlands would be in the Viewlands walk zone.
BryantNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapNorth Bryant families would be in the walk zone for Wedgwood
Cedar ParkNoNoN/AN/AProposed Growth MapCedar Park not yet open
CoeNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapCoe retains its walk zone.
Concord IntlNoTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapConcord Int'l retains its walk zone.
Dearborn ParkLosing walk zoneTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkN/ADearborn Park would become an option school, and its entire attendance zone would be bussed to Van Asselt.
DunlapNoTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapDunlap retains its walk zone.
EmersonNoTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapEmerson retains its walk zone
Fairmount ParkNoNoN/AN/AProposed Growth MapFairmount Park not yet open
GatewoodNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapGatewood families who would be moved to Fairmount Park would be much closer to Fairmount Park than Gatewood
Graham HillLosing walk zoneTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapGraham Hill families in C2 of the growth Emerson map are in the Graham Hill walk zone but would be bussed to Emerson
Green LakeLosing walk zoneNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapGreen Lake students in E-F 1-2 of the Green Lake growth zone will lose their walk zone and need to be bussed to Bagley
GreenwoodNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapGreenwood retains its walk zone
HawthorneNoTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapHawthorne retains its walk zone
HayNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapHay retains its walk zone.
Highland ParkNoTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapHighland Park families in the SW corner of the zone will be in the walk zone for Roxhill
John MuirNoTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapJohn Muir retains its walk zone.
John RogersNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapJohn Rogers retains its walk zone
John StanfordLosing walk zoneNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkN/AJohn Stanford families must bus to Green Lake as John Stanford becomes an option school
KimballLosing walk zoneTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapKimball families in B-C 3-4 of the Kimball growth map are in the Kimball walk zone but would be bussed to Maple
LafayetteNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapLafayette retains its walk zone
LaurelhurstNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapLaurelhurst retains its walk zone
LawtonNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapLawton retains its walk zone.
LeschiNoTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapLeschi retains its walk zone.
LowellNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapLowell retains its walk zone.
Loyal HeightsNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapLoyal Heights retains its walk zone.
Madrona K-8NoTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapMadrona retains its walk zone.
MapleLosing walk zoneTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapMaple families in F-G 6 of the Maple growth map are in the Maple walk zone but would be bussed to Van Asselt
McDonaldNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkN/AMcDonald walk zone families enter the Green Lake walk zone
McGilvraNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapMcGilvra retains its walk zone.
MLKNoTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapFamilies in the southern end of the MLK walk zone would be moved into the Dunlap walk zone
MontlakeNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapIf any Montlake families move into Stevens zone, they would be in Stevens walk zone.
North BeachYesNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapNorth Beach families just north of Golden Gardens would move to Loyal Heights and not be in that walk zone.
NorthgateLosing walk zoneTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapNorthgate walk zone families in E7 of the Northgate growth map would be bussed to Viewlands.
Olympic HillsN/ATitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapUnclear if Olympic Hills is technically losing its walk zone, since no new city walk zone has been established for Cedar Hills. Some families will need to travel further to get to Cedar Park, up to about 10 blocks total and across LCW.
Olympic ViewNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapOlympic View retains its walk zone.
Rainier ViewNoTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapRainier View retains its walk zone
RoxhillLosing walk zoneTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in Pink Roxhill families in D3 of the Roxhill growth map would be in the bus zone for West Seattle Elementary
SacajaweaNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapSacajawea retains its walk zone
Sand PointNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapSandpoint retains its walk zone
SanisloNoTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapSanislo retains its walk zone
Schmitz ParkN/ANoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapSchmitz Park is moving 3 blocks south to Genesee Hill, so the previous walk zone no longer applies.
StevensNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapStevens retains its walk zone.
Thurgood MarshallNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapThurgood Marshall retains its walk zone.
Van AsseltNoTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapVan Asselt families being moved into the Wing Luke zone would be in the Wing Luke walk zone
View RidgeNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapView Ridge retains its walk zone
ViewlandsNoTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapViewlands retains its walk zone.
WedgwoodNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapWedgwood retains its walk zone
West Seattle N/ATitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapWest Seattle Elem. Families in D-E 3 of the West Seattle growth map will be moved to Fairmount Park, which does not have a walk zone established yetpublished on the SPS site
West WoodlandNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapWest Woodland retains its walk zone
WhittierNoNoWalk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapWhittier retains its walk zone.
Wilson Pacific ElemNoNo N/AProposed Growth MapWilson Pacific is not yet open.
Wing LukeNoTitle 1Walk routeCurrent Map with Walk Zone in PinkProposed Growth MapWing Luke retains its walk zone