Community Post

Saturday School Meetings, Part I: Area 4, Madrona, and Stevens families bring questions

About 30+ parents and community members crowded around a table the 23rd and S.Jackson Starbucks on Saturday morning for a lively but rather scattered exchange regarding the boundary changes that Kay had proposed for Area 4.  (She had proposed that the area south of Madison in the Stevens assignment area, Area 4,  be reassigned to Madrona.) The contingency of parents from Stevens, Area 4, and Madrona expressed opinions, shared information or listened. In addition to parents and community members Madrona Principal Farah Thaxton  attended and listened, and  representatives from Hamlin Robinson were there to express their desire to continue the lease of the TT Minor School for 7 years if not indefinitely. 

(Oops, this paragraph was inadvertently deleted..) As Kay perceives the issue it is related to the fact that Stevens is never under-enrolled and that there are usually more families wanting to go there than the space allows.  In the meantime, Madrona tends to be under-enrolled with space for more students.  While this may not align with the number of students living in each area the situation has worsened as siblings of  Stevens students who do not live in the current attendance area desire admission to Stevens and the Area 4 families have embraced Stevens as their attendance area school.  If the siblings continue to be admitted the situation is not sustainable.  She advocates that  parents in Area 4 and Madrona work together for a solution, meaning that area 4 willingly make Madrona a choice and embrace that school so that the current families at Stevens can continue at Stevens.

While Kay clearly understands that TT Minor is the heart of where a most of the students live, she is not an advocate of reopening TT Minor  during the next three years.  Under the current enrollment patterns there is space in the central part of Seattle for the students living there for at least another 3 years.  She did note that Thurgood Marshall does not have many attendance area students.  Much the enrollment information is now on the District website.  Section 4 would be most directly related to this.

Madrona parents mainly listened and presented information about the school as questions were posed. Those from Stevens were a mixture of those in the assignment area, including Area 4, and those who have been drawn out the assignment area. who mainly listened and offered comments on the current situation.  Area 4 parents listened and some expressed that even though Kay withdrew the amendment, that they are disappointed in her bringing the amendment  that reassigned Area 4 to the School Board for a vote without community engagement.   Space and time did not allow for any substantive understandings or conversations.   Kay promised to bring all together for another meeting and to continue communication through email.  The meeting adjourned here so that she could be present for her meeting at Douglass-Truth.  She encourage all to contact  her by email, [email protected], or to contact  Erinn Bennett, Board School Board, Office Manager (206) 252-0041 for specific documents.

Just a few  side notes: I am not sure how this would eventually play out.  If  such a boundary change were to be made then there would be too many students living in the  Madrona area for the capacity of the school.  There would be too few actually living in the Stevens area.  Who then would be allowed priority for enrollment at Stevens?  How would this all be redrawn and balanced?  I suppose another way to balance everything would be to split area 4 off into more than one assignment area?  I personally think this last one would be unconscionable in terms of the effect on the community of families.  As currently drawn the Stevens and Madorna assignment areas are fairly well balanced regarding the number of students living within each.  The problem arises regarding where students are choosing to attend school. )

0 thoughts on “Saturday School Meetings, Part I: Area 4, Madrona, and Stevens families bring questions

  1. Thanks for covering this, Joanna. I was really encouraged by the wide turnout to the early meeting regarding Area 4, Stevens & Madrona Schools.

    I was also encouraged by what I heard from the current Madrona families and by seeing the principal present and eager to engage with the community. As an “Area 4” parent with an incoming kindergartner in Fall 2012, I am very invested in whatever happens to the boundary lines for this area. I’m eager to attend open houses at both schools and see where the school board and community decide to draw lines.

  2. I have removed the email address since my notes listed two different addresses and then mistakenly used the pattern for the school board. I have to admit that I generally have been able to confirm these things on the site and do not completely depend on notes. But, yesterday I searched the new District web site and could not confirm Erinn’s. Elected officials do not always get the email addresses correct and confirmation is a good idea. I tested the one you have listed along with erbennett@.. and nothing has bounced back. Unless you or others are certain I would recommend calling on Monday for it. The pattern that is normally used for staff seems to be the initials or fist two letters of the first name with the last [email protected]. I did send a comment regarding the new web site that the school board staff emails are not listed. General emails can be sent to:[email protected]

  3. The turnout was good. I am still a bit disturbed by the setting and lack of opportunity for any substantive dialogue, and the fact that this was not included in the normal meeting.

  4. Interesting how the Stevens open houses are fewer in number and already finished with. I’m impressed with how many Madrona is hosting!