Community Post

Letter to Kay-Smith Blum

The letter below is a response to her presentation at the Squire Park Community Council.  It was generally informative, and her enthusiasm for developing good programs is heartening.  Nonetheless, as noted in the letter, he thought to once again redraw our assignment boundaries was a bit alarming.

Kay, thank you for attending our meeting and sharing your vision and informative comments.   Your desire to develop programs to serve all our families here is shared by all.  While it is difficult to hear that a private school program will be using the TT Minor building, we appreciated the information. Residents here also want to be included in decisions around the use of the Mann building. Your energy, enthusiasm and attention to responding to emails is respected.  Nonetheless, a more solid strategy of involving families and citizens here in developing your vision should be developed. 

For instance,  if you surveyed the families here you would find most who have been assigned to Stevens prefer  maintaining that assignment until or unless they are empowered to particpate in the development of the program at TT Minor.   Stevens is a known, trusted and respected program.  Many breathed a sigh of relief after years of chaos in the neighborhood choices.  As you know these had been constantly destabilized by the constant shifting of programs at TT Minor and then its closing, one-year reassignment, and then new boundaries.  If, as you projected, TT Minor will  reopen in 3 to 5 years, consideration of changes to the new student assignment plan before then would not serve this community well.  While the assignment boundaries are odd, bringing Madrona’s assignment boundaries much further west would only again destabilize this community.  During the constant program and leadership changes at TT Minor many families either  fled the school  or were not allowed to enroll into the school and chose to attend Stevens.  Until a true and desirable neighborhood school program is developed at TT Minor, Stevens is probably the most acceptable assignment.  Students will have to bussed or transported, not walk, to any of the schools.

Yes, the new census figures will help firm up numbers, but even the old method of projections indicated a growth in the number of families with childrenin this area. TT Minor was a hot-spot of current and projected growth.  Projections for Madrona were also quite high.  In fact, the student population in Madrona’s current assignment area could easily fill the school.

Your interest in taking on the challenge developing a better and more functional per student funding formula is appreciated, as is your passion for identifying long term resources to serve the many needs of our families and students.  I am sure that many would offer to help support you in this effort.

There are also parents here that are concerned about the programs at Meany and the future of Nova.  Issues around how families and school communities can be included in the  choice of school leaders are also topics for future meetings. 

Most  can understand why you might hold monthly community meetings, but since the Squire Park Community Council  general membership meets only quarterly, and the agenda time for schools is limited there is a desire for opportunities for more in depth conversations.  The success of  meetings specifically held by School Board members is largely dependent on the outreach, frequency, and timing.  One community member also suggested that you could post the schedule of  the community meetings that you are attending so that all would have an opportunity to hear and share many of, what I am sure, are common concerns.  I do not know exactly what would work for you but urge you to consider more frequent opportunities for our community to have conversations with you. 

Thank you again for your thoughtful presentation at our meeting. 

0 thoughts on “Letter to Kay-Smith Blum

  1. Did she state that the Board was considering redrawing boundaries– specifically the Stevens boundry?? Are these her thoughts or the Board’s thoughts? What area would be cut out of Stevens boundary and where would those children go? Thanks!!

  2. She said she thought the Madrona boundary should be extended to this area rather than the Stevens so that children don’t have to cross Madison etc. My perception is that most parents west of 23rd would prefer to keep the Stevens assignment. While there maybe unhappy families just to east and west of Stevens, this community should not have to suffer further change until the District is ready to do something significant with TT Minor.

  3. It might be interesting to compare the number of Madrona students who have transferred to Stevens vs. the number of Stevens students who have transferred to Madrona. That might provide an indication as to how the preferences are trending.

  4. Her comments rather contradicted the understanding of those currently participating in the choice of leadership there now. I have no idea what that means.