Times: Some gifted students may be shifted to open Garfield’s crowded classrooms

As part of work on a new budget for 2011/2012, Seattle school officials are considering lightening the load on a crowded Garfield High School by shifting some students across the city. This and a slate of other proposals are outlined here by the Seattle Times:

To ease overcrowding at Garfield High, administrators are looking at opening a new program at Ingraham High aimed at attracting some of the gifted students who otherwise would be assigned to Garfield.

The proposed new program would be modeled after one at Interlake High School in Bellevue, where students finish the rigorous International Baccalaureate program by the end of their junior year, then do internships or take college classes as seniors.

With the shift to neighborhood based school assignment, Garfield has faced complaints of overcrowded classrooms this year. CDN has reported that currently all APP Students are guaranteed an assignment to Garfield if they choose to go there.  Garfield’s current enrollment is about 1780 and approximately 455 are APP students, while the capacity of the school is about 1680.

0 thoughts on “Times: Some gifted students may be shifted to open Garfield’s crowded classrooms

  1. The school board might want to think about another solution. Seems to me that shifting gifted students away from Garfield might be seen by some as another “dumbing down” of the south side. Why shouldn’t the central district gifted students stay close to home? Why shouldn’t they be there as role models for other CD students? It just seems that every time the school board makes this kind of change, south side pupils get the shaft.

  2. During the four hour work session yesterday it seemed that the Ingraham option is pretty likely to materialize as a voluntary optional pathway designed to overtime attract around 90 of the APP students. Two other points were also pointedly discussed.

    1.Kay Smith-Blum was an advocate for seriously looking at a staggered time schedule at Garfield. Both Sherry Carr and Steve Sundquist attempted to focus this idea as only a temporary mitigation for overcrowding. But, Kay insisted with some support from Harium Martin-Morris that this be researched as a possible permanent model for the school. Nationwide this model has proven successful for some schools. It allows the building to be used for an entire day, gives students more choices of when they take classes or how many, allows students that need to take an extra class in an area of weakness to do so without sacrificing other classes and interests, some students, and more students if they so desire can graduate early.

    Boundary changes:
    Original Document:

    The staff provided a draft of options that included selected Garfield Options which did not include areas “G” and “B.” Not including area “G” seemed acceptable to all. However, again Kay Smith-Blum questioned why area “B” is not included if we are truly looking at drawing boundaries according to neighborhoods and natural boundaries. The ship canal and the I-90 are natural barriers and the Garfield’s southern boundary comes very close to Franklin High School. The other options present the problem of transporting students north across the ship canal, which is one of the current problems driving a move to move the North End APP students to a north-of-the-ship-canal location. The South End high schools have space and this seems to be the common sense approach. Here Harium jumped in with the idea that boundary changes should not be considered until other options are allowed to play out. Most seemed to agree. However, Kay asked the staff to add area “B” to any serious consideration of boundary changes and never received an answer from staff on why it had been removed.

    I personally find the idea of including the voluntary Ingraham option, along with the staggered time idea to be the most interesting and creative solutions offered.

  3. Lots of research shows that high school aged folks generally do better without a super early morning start. Perhaps staggered start times would help some kids do a little better in school as well.

  4. Sorry about omitting the fact that having a later option as a start time would help at least some, if not many, students.

  5. My understanding is that the central district students WOULD stay at Garfield. Only the students from north of the canal would go to Ingraham. This would then be consistent with the APP programs for elementary (south go to Thurgood Marshall and north go to Lowell) and middle school students (south go to Washington and north go to Hamilton).

  6. Under this option any of the APP students would be able to opt for Ingraham. The idea is that the program would be attractive to a select group of students who otherwise are not planning to participate in some of the well-known programs at Garfield. This group would also include those who be a good fit for an IB program. It is possible that the students in the Ingraham area would have first dibs if that became an issue. High school students use Metro.

  7. I’m a little confused by joanna’s otherwise excellent reporting. Are District staff still proposing that Area B be assigned to Franklin? Or is it back to being within the Garfield, as it should be?

  8. Area “B” discussion:
    Only if boundaries are redrawn. At the moment all of Garfield’s original assignment area is with Garfield and most Board members seem to have little stomach for redoing them, especially Harium. Drawing boundaries was done in a promise to stabilize communities and families and is always difficult and contentious. Harium will also be up for reelection and may just not want the headaches that come with what may be perceived as broken promises.

    I believe the staff will have to address putting area “B” into Franklin’s area per Kay’s request. They were not able to address her question regarding why area “B”, which is south of I-90 should not be considered along with the rest of the area to go to Franklin. This was, of course, under the scenario where any boundaries are redrawn. Perhaps you can answer the question since you have an opinion.

  9. I do have an opinion, and have already expressed it to Kay, and to the rest of the Board, as well as to Tracy Libros. Specifically, of all the boundary changes, the Area B one makes the least sense.

    Here is the text of an email that I sent to them a couple of weeks ago:
    Hi Dr. Libros –

    Thanks for taking the time to chat briefly last night at Garfield High School. I don’t envy your job of having to address a large and passionate crowd, but as always you were absolutely clear and fair.

    I mentioned that I am a longtime Central District resident and neighborhood activist. I live about 10 blocks from Garfield. I noticed that at least one of the maps presented in the “Garfield Book”, Area B, does not seem to be drawn to reflect the natural , historic, and topological boundaries that determine the Central District. I know that Garfield isn’t necessarily just the Central District’s high school, but it seems to make sense that the boundaries shouldn’t be arbitrarily drawn in way that seems to ignore the surrounding neighborhood. This is especially true now that SPS has moved to a neighborhood school model.

    Attached ( http://jacksonplace.org/garfield/garfieldareab.pdf)is a tweaking of that Area B map.

    Note that my revised map contains two additional areas to be included in the Garfield boundary, CD #1 and CD #2. Both use the boundary of two major arterials, Rainier Avenue South and Martin Luther King Way Jr. South, which are natural and historic boundaries for the Central District. Another major arterial, 23rd Avenue South, bifurcates these 2 areas, and it is of course provides great bus and car access to Garfield.

    New Garfield area CD #1 on my map seems like a no brainer to include – it preserves access up to I-90, an obvious east west dividing line. But I would also strongly recommend adding the second area CD#2, because again, that area has long thought of itself as part of the Central District.

    Some considerations on why to tweak your current Area B map to include my additional areas CD #1 and CD#2:

    • Area residents have historically considered Garfield as their neighborhood school; that makes sense as they are only a mile from the school
    • Garfield is quite walkable all the way to Rainier along 23rd and parallel streets
    • Both areas are historically part of the Central District; Neighborhood groups in those areas are voting members of the Central District Council
    • 23rd Avenue South provides excellent bus and car access to Garfield all the way to Rainier Avenue South
    • Topologically speaking, the hills and geologic features in these area are associated with the Central District; Freeways, very large arterials, and steep hills define the area distinctly
    • With SPS now more of a neighborhood school model, the surrounding close by neighbors should be included

    Finally, it is only fair to point out that I am a resident of Jackson Place, and our family lives right on Judkins Park, 2 blocks from Washington Middle School. Having lived in the area for over 25 years, we know that both Washington and Garfield make sense as our neighborhood schools, and we believe your boundary maps should reflect that.

    Let me know if there is anyone else at the District level that I might be interested in this map.


  10. As sensed by the Board moving boundariews is probably the worst scenario and is very hard on communities often dividing people who should be working together. So far I have not heard any response from “A”, “C”, or “I.” “G” and “E” do not make sense to move. Again, I hope that the District is able to pair the staggered schedule with voluntary assignments to Ingraham.