By Florine Gingerich
The Edmonds School Board on Tuesday heard the details of a proposed lottery redesign for Maplewood Cooperative K-8 and Madrona K-8, the Edmonds School District’s choice schools, effective for the 2012-2013 school year.
Dr. Ellen Kahan, assistant superintendent for elementary education, said the purpose is to bring the demographics of those schools (ethnic, financial and geographic) in line with the district as a whole, without changing the unique educational approach of those schools. The proposal is also intended to address concerns that Sherwood, Westgate and Edmonds Elementary enrollments are impacted by the choice schools, and that the choice schools siphon prospective parent leaders away from the neighborhood schools.
Under the proposal, which is designed to create gradual changes, the kindergarten lottery will be divided into four separate mini-lotteries, each representing a quadrant. The number of slots for each quadrant will be based on the total number of elementary students living in that quadrant. After staff and sibling placements, the remaining available slots will be divided proportionately. Families would still need to tour the schools before placing children’s names in the lottery.
According to Kahan, parents at Maplewood and Madrona expressed the concern that families in the Southwest quadrant, which has fewer elementary students, would have a lower probability of getting into these schools. They believed the district could achieve its goals more fairly by increasing awareness of the choice schools through better communication. Those same sentiments were echoed during the public comment session later in the evening, when a Madrona parent urged the board and administration to reconsider proposed changes to the lottery.
The district will enhance its communication efforts, including placing information on the websites and newsletters and in multiple languages, but believes that it cannot compete with the neighbor-to-neighbor communication by which most current families became aware of these schools. It will continue to monitor the situation to see whether the new lottery structure is, in fact, increasing diversity.
Also during the meeting:
– The board approved final designs and budgets for roof replacement at Westgate Elementary and Mountlake Terrace High School, expected to occur as soon as this school year ends. Capital Projects Director Ed Peters said of the Mountlake Terrace project, to board applause, “We will have a new roof, and it will work.” Peters also reported that Meadowdale Middle School, which opened to students in September, is expected to be completed on time and significantly under budget. An open house will be held Saturday, Nov. 5, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., with a program beginning at 11 a.m.
– According to Peters, the risk management pool has completed its investigation of the frozen water pipes at Lynnwood High School, which burst on New Year’s Eve, and is taking formal legal action against the contractor and architect. In accordance with contracts, the dispute will be mediated. Going forward, the district has put anti-freeze in the system and set up a notification alarm so that if a break occurs, the system can be shut down quickly.
– Cynthia Nelson, district technology director, reported on the cause of a district email outage that began on Sept. 16 and continued for a week. The outage resulted from a double failure of the system’s storage area, which caused corrupted data. The district currently hosts its own email system, but going forward is considering a system hosted by Microsoft. This would enable it to offer student email accounts sooner.
– Marla Miller, executive director for business and operations, came to the board meeting directly from a City of Lynnwood open house featuring the draft Environmental Impact Statement for development of the old Lynnwood High School site. Miller introduced to the school board representatives of Cypress Equities, developer of the site. If approvals of the EIS and construction proceed smoothly, Costco could open for business at the Alderwood location by November. Miller, turning to the financial reports, noted that the district ended the school year with reserves higher than anticipated and could be in a position to weather mid-year legislative budget cuts with its reserves still at the board-targeted level.
– With a standing-room-only crowd of family members and other supporters looking on, the board celebrated students whose art appears in this year’s school calendar. DJ Jakala, community relations manager, recognized the adults instrumental in the design and production of the calendar, and Jennifer Piplic, community relations specialist, presented certificates to the student artists.
Here’s the list of those students whose artwork is featured in the calendar:
Maren Gould, Madrona K-8; Olivia Donelson, Hilltop Elementary; Lua Stee, Madrona K-8; Sophia Austvold, Spruce Elementary (now at Brier Terrace Middle); Jeong Hyun Yoo, Meadowdale High; Melvin Banuelos, Mountlake Terrace High; Vinh-Nghi Nhan, Mountlake Terrace High; Espi Garcia, Brier Terrace Middle; Megan Meadows, Hilltop; Eugene Yang, Beverly; Ethan Dunne, Brier Elementary; Maya Morehouse, Oak Heights Elementary; Hailei Viar, Edmonds Elementary; Naomi Tschenega,Westgate Elementary; John Ryan Newsom, Cedar Valley Community School; Eduardo Arceo-Calderon, Mountlake Terrace Elementary; Carlos Casillas-Andrade, Seaview Elementary; Kai Miyata, Edmonds Heights K-12; Ebony Lopez, Beverly Elementary; Lucy Lee,
Chase Lake Elementary; Luke Pickar, Meadowdale Middle; Ashley Both, Lynndale Elementary; Katherine Gustafson, Brier Elementary (now Brier Terrace Middle); Kayla Andrews, Meadowdale High; Kenny Nicely, Lynndale.
My Edmonds New school board contributor Florine Gingerich has a son who attended Edmonds public schools, where she volunteered in roles ranging from pouring juice in kindergarten at Madrona K-8 to serving as president of the Edmonds-Woodway Music Boosters. With her husband, Doug Purcell, she practices law at Purcell & Adams, PLLC, a South County firm emphasizing business law, real estate and estate planning. Visit them at purcelladams.com, or contact her at [email protected]