Community Post

Major Changes to the School District Plan for Student Assignments Proposed by the Seattle Schools

Major Changes are Proposed for the some Central District Area Students.  Don’t be shy about offering suggestions to the district via the information below.

The Seattle School District staff presented the first draft of proposed boundary changes for student assignment on Tuesday, September 17 during a Board Work Session.  The draft will be updated again after a series of community meetings noted below.  The proposal will then be an introductory item on the Board agenda for October 16, and presented for a final vote at the November 20, 2013 Board Meeting.

Many families especially in  the Squire Park area  will be affected by the Seattle School District’s proposed changes to student assignment at both the elementary and middle school levels.  No students south of E. Madison will be allowed to attend Stevens Elementary and  a second middle school will mean major changes to those assignment patterns as well. So far the proposed boundaries have been presented with no data regarding the projected number of resident students or enrollment at the schools. Committees and parent groups are requesting that information.

Elementary students currently assigned to Stevens  west of  19th, between E. Madison and Cherry  would be assigned to Lowell and those east of 19th to Madrona.  A portion of the current Gatzert area will also be  reassigned and split between Thurgood Marshall and Madrona.  The Stevens boundary will be extended north just north of the school itself.

The new proposal would shift a  vast majority of all middle school student assignments in the Central District.   Students from Stevens, Lowell,  Gatzert, Madrona (K-8), McGilvra, and Montlake would be assigned to  Meany Middle School.  Currently, they all all feed into Washington Middle School.  Only Muir, Leschi and Thurgood Marshall would feed into  Washington.

The District encourages all to give feedback and not to be shy about making suggestions either online or at the community meetings.Email: [email protected]

The following Seattle Schools Community Meetings are from 6:30 to 8:00 PM:

  • Monday, Sept. 23, Mercer Middle School, 1600 South Columbian Way;
  • Tuesday, Sept. 24, Nathan Hale High School Commons, 10750 – 30th Ave NE;
  • Wednesday, Sept. 25, West Seattle High School Commons, 3000 California Ave SW;
  • Monday, Sept. 30, Meany Middle School, 300 – 20th Ave E;
  • Tuesday, Oct. 1, Ballard High School Commons,1418 NW 65th St.

Maps and further information, along with where  students can walk or can not walk to school can be found:



14 thoughts on “Major Changes to the School District Plan for Student Assignments Proposed by the Seattle Schools

  1. Washington vs. Meany. Looks like the CD is gonna have a lively middle school rivalry on it’s hands. I had heard about the general plan to add Meany, but seeing that dividing line on the map brings the future into focus. Thanks for the scoop Megan.

  2. I’m concerned with how they’ve chosen to divide the middle school boundaries (Washington and Meany). If you look at the SPS student data summaries, all three schools slotted for WMS are lower-performing schools–while Meany will be 50% highly-performing schools (Montlake, McGilvra, Stevens). It seems like the potential is high for creating inequitable programs.

    There has to be a better way to draw boundaries, more of an east-west dividing line rather than north-south.

  3. Krikky that is because Washington is the APP school so draws kids from all over seattle. You can’t just look at the feeder school there.

    • The other consideration is drawing boundaries that will include enough students so that Meany will actually welcome around 800 middle school students. Remember Northend APP students no longer attend Washington.

    • I am aware of the APP draw as I have two kids at WMS. APP is self-contained, so those kids don’t inter-mingle much with the gen ed kids (except for music and language). So APP’s contribution to making the school equitable and diverse is minimal, as those kids are essentially in a separate school from the gen ed kids.

      My concern has to do with the inequity that will most likely come from splitting this large group of kids along north-south lines. I didn’t make this clear in my first post. There is a lot of affluence and minimal racial diversity on the north end of the current WMS draw area, and the converse on the south end. Since SPS allows individual schools to keep all of the money from their fundraising efforts, wealthier schools have $200k+ to supplement services and cut class size–while poorer schools can barely collect 25k for their school. These wealthier neighborhoods often have at least one stay-at-home parent who contributes considerable time to school involvement. Add to this SPS’ poor track record in “closing the achievement gap” for AA kids. Therefore, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that the lower-performing elementary schools are on the south end of the WMS draw area.

      Just saying that in my opinion, this plan won’t ensure “equality of programs and services” when SPS is essentially splitting the schools along class and racial lines.

      • Don’t assume that all the children who go to Stevens, Montlake, McGilvra, Lowell, and Gatzert are of all the same demographic. Meany had a similar draw a couple years ago and was diverse in every way.

      • “My concern has to do with the inequity that will most likely come from splitting this large group of kids along north-south lines.”

        Inequity? APP/Spectrum kids are some of the cheapest kids to educate, per student, in the entire SPS.

        “wealthier schools have $200k+ to supplement services and cut class size”

        Poorer schools get Family levy funds that more than match.

        “These wealthier neighborhoods often have at least one stay-at-home parent”

        You don’t know northsiders every well do you – virtually all I know have two working professional parents (as opposed to only one parent in the house).

        “this SPS’ poor track record in “closing the achievement gap” for AA kids.”

        There’s no achievement gap with African immigrant kids, how come?

        ‘Alarming’ new test-score gap discovered in Seattle schools

        African-American students whose primary language is English perform significantly worse in math and reading than black students who speak another language at home — typically immigrants or refugees — according to new numbers released by Seattle Public Schools.

        District officials, who presented the finding at a recent community meeting at Rainier Beach High School, noted the results come with caveats, but called the potential trend troubling and pledged to study what might be causing it.

        Michael Tolley, an executive director overseeing Southeast Seattle schools, said at the meeting that the data exposed a new achievement gap that is “extremely, extremely alarming.”

  4. Gatzert is included in the Meany group which would contribute to socio economic diversity, but certainly does not provide equitable access to a nearby school. Waiting for the resident and student enrollment projections will certainly facilitate a reasonable discussion. APP is self-contained only in Language Arts and Social Studies. But, yes they and Spectrum student do often dominate some other classes as well.

  5. Thanks, Joanna, for the updates on these issues. One thing that may not be entirely clear to everyone: these changes would start happening NEXT YEAR. Even though Meany won’t be ready for several years.

    I’ll also share a concern (which hopefully will be mitigated when the detailed maps are released) around the relative walkability of many of the boundaries (not just in the CD). Locating a school at the edge of a reference area does not seem the smartest way to minimize transportation costs.

  6. Monday, Sept. 23, Mercer Middle School, 1600 South Columbian Way; The meeting was packed. Quote from someone else: “Hawthorne, Maple, Mercer, and Beacon Hill. Hawthorne brought the heat with spirit, enthusiasm, and shear numbers. They really got behind their cause and I think the SPS staff took notice of them.” Boundary changes and new middle school assignments were the source. Everyone wants neighborhood schools that are walkable and stable, and all pleaded with the District to stop disrupting neighborhoods and families.

    Former area 4, now 42 and 43 also pointedly introduced the staff to the idea bringing TT Minor on as a neighborhood school under the basic guiding principles. The numbers represent the various times that the area has been a number on a map when plans to change the boundaries there have been proposed and the constant disruption of that neighborhood.

  7. November 20, 2013 Board Meeting is the date that the Board is scheduled to vote on the new student assignment plan. Please note the update in the text.