Seattle Public Schools Evicts Northwest Center Kids

Comments

1
I thought the District was going to bus middle school students to Van Asselt for the next three years until renovations on the Meany building were complete?
2
Jose Banda is as cold as ice.
3
Seattle Schools have a high school in the old Center House. Maybe the seattle center should end their lease and give them 6 months to find a new location. I wonder how well that would go over?
4
(1) Can the city just expel students out of the entire school district? Wouldn't that violate WA law? Or is this just at the pre-school level?
(2) It's shady as fuck that the landlords waited until the tenants had done renovations before kicking them out. Do long-term tenants often do substantial renovations, and if so, what kinds of contractual mechanism are available to protect them?
5
I don't even care what their contract says. If SPS kicks them out, SPS should reimburse them for the cost of the renovations that Northwest Center paid for and the district will now benefit from.
6
Don't blame Seattle Schools. Blame Seattle voters, for whom paying more taxes for schools is like fucking pulling teeth. I grew up in 1980s Massachusetts, where we had amazing public schools that were funded by a 2.5% (that's right) property tax.

We are not going to have great schools until we put a crowbar in our collective wallets and pay for them.
7
@6 We had the same tax in our MA town and the schools were losing accreditation because they were in severe disrepair. The property values matter a lot, and your community must have been relatively wealthy. As a denizen of one of the poorer towns in Western MA, I would have preferred your town pay those taxes into a state coffer to help everyone out instead of converting wealth inequality into educational inequality.
8
The $250K grant was awarded to Northwest Center and SPS had full knowledge before and after, NAIOP donated hundreds of hours to replace 96 windows, fix the parking lot, the plumbing, the list goes on. SPS employees toured before and after the renovations occured. SPS has been considering this location since last summer but only mentioned it for the first time to NWC on 12/20, they called the lease with 6 months notice on 1/10 after 28 years in the location.

Many of the children have special needs and the Van Assalt location is only a temporary offer, which would require a population of children that thrive in consistency and routine to move twice in one year. 6 months in not sufficient -- SPS needs to give the school more time to find a replacement/permanent location in North Seattle, that is all that NWC is asking for as SPS refused to sell the building to them.
9
Do you disagree with this SPS decision? Sign this petition asking for more time for Northwest Center Kids.
https://www.change.org/petitions/seattle…
10
How shameful that they have been planning to steal this space from special needs children after a grant improved the building conditions for disabled children's' needs. These people need to do the right thing and not move the kids until their new facility is ready for them to walk into- and the location, building etc needs to be approved by the school and parents.
11
Thanks for the great article telling this story. We have a special needs daughter who attends and there is not another childcare center that will meet her special needs.

If you agree that the school district needs to go us more time please sign this petition. Thanks!

https://www.change.org/petitions/seattle…
12
Thanks for the great article telling this story. We have a special needs daughter who attends and there is not another childcare center that will meet her special needs.

If you agree that the school district needs to go us more time please sign this petition. Thanks!

https://www.change.org/petitions/seattle…
13
...Wait. They're kicking out a program that supports disabled kids in favor of one that mollycoddles fuckin' *homeschoolers*?

That is some 24 karat bullshit right there.
14
I thought homeschooling meant that parents provided what their kids needed. So these parents can avoid public (i.e., secular) schools and still get SPS property and support? What a scam.
15
The claim that this was voted on in November isn't true from my recollection of the growth boundaries vote. This building was not mentioned in any of the board discussions. This decision was made internally by the district and was not presented to the board. Please ask them to tell you where the board voted on this. It was not voted on. This is a superintendent/ staff decision.
16
The claim that this was voted on in November isn't true from my recollection of the growth boundaries vote. This building was not mentioned in any of the board discussions. This decision was made internally by the district and was not presented to the board. Please ask them to tell you where the board voted on this. It was not voted on. This is a superintendent/ staff decision.
17
Ms. Henderson: Thank for this fantastic write-up and for taking the time and effort to come listen to our parents talk last night. This is good investigative journalism and we are lucky that our situation has caught your attention. Unfortunately, it appears that our only chance to gain enough time to make a proper transition is to grow awareness in the community. It needs to become painfully apparent to the SPS Board that the taxpayers/voters of Seattle won't tolerate these careless decisions that put some of our most vulnerable children at an even more disadvantageous situation than what life has already dealt them.

Regardless of the outcome of this situation, you and The Stranger have gained a new devoted reader.
18
ill start pulling money out of my wallet when the asses who run SPS make it about whats best for the kids, may i remind those speaking about giving funding to this district about the millions that went missing into someones pocket! the schooling system is a crock of crap, my 14 year old has been struggling and all they care about is the money, they want her at school everyday even with her medical issues because its money to them. my 4 year old is on the autism spectrum, my 5 year old has problems and i have NO faith in the school system, and yet my taxes go to pay for something that isn't helping my child or anyone else that learn differently. this school system in particular treated me like i was stupid and a teacher who wanted and strikes for more money told me that i was stupid and lazy, d and e grades until 4 years later my mother spent money she didn't have to get me tested because the Seattle public school didn't give a rats ass found out that as a 6th grader, i wasn't stupid, i had a learning disability and i was testing college level, i just learned differently. this is not out of the norm, lots of kids learn different, there are so many different learning styles. the school is putting so many kids at risk and this is why i roll my eyes when they start in with their money woe's. i think that i would be willing to fight to pay them more if there were some type of grading system on the teachers as well as the system.

Don't even get me started on the bully issues and the lack of acceptance to others differences that the school doesn't enforce until its to late

it has been difficult to find a place that fits the needs of all 3 of my kids, because they all have different aspects that require help that public schools don't address, and there are not many places to go. sps was just ridiculed for their lack of effort to help disabled students and here they are making it worse. i think all of those who grew up in SPS system....most would agree. this is bs and they need to look at it from all sides!
19
Hey, parent from Cascade here. I'd just like to correct some misinformation.

Cascade Parent Partnership Program isn't a 'homeschooling' program. There are homeschoolERS who take classes at Cascade, but Cascade is an ALE. All full-time enrolled students are Seattle Public School students. So we're not a bunch of molly-coddled homeschoolers; our community is rather much more diverse.

In fact, some of the kids in our program over the years were graduates of the wonderful and amazing NW center program. They graduated from the subsidized program and were unable to make co-pays to continue the program, and ended up at Cascade. Cascade has a large population of special-needs kids with IEP's. In fact, Cascade is a bit of a catch-all for the SPS. Our population includes children for whom regular school or a regular classroom on a regular campus does not fit their needs. It includes a large population of Muslim adherents who find a place free of religious or idealogical persecution, where they can wear their hijab in peace. It includes low-income children who depend on the free subsidized lunches and breakfasts.

It also includes families who, for whatever reason, had a bad experience with public school and need the support to 'homeschool' their children. Instead of going it alone, they have resources they can turn to. And this actually *benefits* the city; federal subsidies are given for kids enrolled, which means that every public-schooled child whose parent pulled out to pursue a more individualized education is still a public-schooled child, and therefore the district receives money for.

Cascade is currently housed at the Wilson-Pacific campus, and has been promised a permanent move for several years now. Wilson-Pacific is being demolished. Unfortunately, Cascade has nowhere else to go, and the district has run out of time and options for the program's whereabouts.

Because of the very unique purpose it serves, the very diverse and wonderful community that makes up Cascade, and because of the unique needs of the program and requirements of the program, there really aren't any better locations. There are many low-income families that depend on public transportation or have fragile transportation that could not make it to the very, very few other options that exist. Sharing a location with another regular school would be difficult for myriad reasons, most notably because families remain with the children on campus. There is a lot of coming and going on the campus, and would be a nightmare for security. Also, we do have several students who were bullied or had such a traumatic experience in a 'regular' classroom that they are unable to participate on such a campus. Those kids deserve to have their educational, emotional and community needs met.

Cascade is a small but warm community that provides excellent education and resources for kids and families from a very diverse variety of backgrounds and needs. There are wonderful, vibrant children who are deserving of a safe place to call home. SPS has already done them a disservice by keeping them at Wilson-Pacific so long, with its crumbling absestos, unsafe water and open campus. We have kids across the spectrum; from yes, homeschoolers or home-based-educating families to kids with autism to kids with sensory disorders to religious to unreligious to the bullied and disenfranchised. Wonderful, amazing children who come into the community and thrive thanks to the caring and dedicated professionals there.

So please don't write off Cascade as a program that doesn't deserve a space, a safe and appropriate place. The fragile, delicate, amazing, beautiful, thriving children deserve all that and more.
20
@MaidenVoyage Parent at NWC here. No one is questioning the value of Cascade and the importance of you having a fantastic location for your program. In fact, NWC community understands that north QA elementary is a SPS building and it will need to leave given the growing enrollment. But the district has been shockingly unethical in the manner in which it went about this process. It started discussing (internally) evicting NWC in late 2012, then when NWC asked the district about the plans for the building, SPS indicated NWC would have the building for many more years. SPS then worked tirelessly with your principal to find a new place (admirable) for much of 2013. No one ever told NWC. In fact, the head legal counsel of SPS explicitly told the facilities staff to keep NWC appraised. Nothing. After NWC invested $250K into the building with full knowledge of SPS...then the eviction letter arrives. Unfortunately, given the nature of the NWC program, 6 months isn't enough time to locate/license a new facility, so this means the death of the program and putting 100+ children, many of them special needs on the street. Shame on the district for treating both programs so poorly.
21
Three years ago Seattle Home School Center changed its name to Cascade Parent Program to disguise it true purpose. Then when to many Somali students enroll in its high school program, it eliminated it.
22
mattkl, I was responding to some of the comments on here that seemed to be misinformed about our program, and WERE questioning the value of our program. I have no idea what was or was not told to NW center, but I agree with you that both programs need to be well served in this decision. My heart is in my throat over this whole thing.

boland...uhhhh...wut. lol. Are you a troll? Should I even bother responding, or will it just be feeding the troll? Neither of those things are remotely true.
23
Not really, in 2011 the Seattle Homeschool Resource center change its name. The reasons were; to secure state funding and not be identified with homeschooling. The high school program was eliminated in 2012; a year or two after the demographic change.
24
Mmm...the program changed its name to reflect what it was, what it already was and the direction it was heading. I know, I was there and was part of this discussion. A long time ago, when Cascade was the HRC, it really WAS just a supplemental program for homeschooled students. It hasn't been that way for a long time, years before the change even. My siblings attended it as the HRC and graduated from its high school program, and I watched it grow and change during that time. Then, my kids have attended as part time or full time students for the past seven years, and I've seen the program grow but always heading toward what it was meant to be in the first place, an alternative learning environment that is inclusive of the homeschooling community but not exclusive to it. I've sat under two different principals and watched the community blossom and go from having a great art, music and sports program but only half of the core subjects to a full and complete educational experience.

Bottom line is, Cascade is the ONLY alternative school for elementary and middle school grades in the SPS. It serves a very necessary and unique function.

As for the idea that the demographic change was what affected the high school program being eliminated, that's complete malarky. Several years before that it was already tenuous whether it would be able to continue due to funding. There ARE other ALE's for high school students, which I think factored into the funding issue, but our funding was very deeply cut for several years and the main factor in deciding to close the program was funding. The secondary factor as to why the high school program was eliminated had to do with the district rules changing on how ALE's interact with high school students and credits and whatnot. It had absolutely nothing to do with the students there. We still have Somali students at Cascade. We just don't have high schoolers, because there are NO high schoolers there. Btw, yet another thing that Cascade didn't have control over and was rather heartbroken about. We did not want to cut the program at all, and we hope to bring it back. We just don't have the funding for it right now, or the space.

I would also like to put it out there that if there is another option, Cascade would be happy to take it. If there was another North/Centrally located space that met our needs, we would be happy to locate there instead.
25
Oh, also, the high school program was eliminated in 2013, not 2012. Last summer, June 2013, was our last graduation with high school students.
26
Hello!

My kids attend cascade parent partnership program. It's a SPS ALE program. It's a wonderful program that helps special needs (and not) students as well. My son has sensory processing disorder and dysgraphia. A regular classroom environment is impossible for him. His sister does not have any learning issues but also thrives in this program. A large percentage of kids in the program have learning and/or medical issues that make a regular classroom a bad fit and/or impossible for them.

There are a couple questions that I'd love to see answered:

There is an email from school board member Phil Brockman to the principal of Cascade, from October 2012, where he states that NW Center was notified. In October 2012. I want to know who he notified, and what happened on NW center's end since then. Cascade has been in talks (meetings, visits, emails, etc etc) with the school board and district since October 2012 to move into the North Queen Anne building. It should not have been a surprise in December 2013. Unfortunately, there are no other building options available. SPS has a capacity problem. The North Queen Anne building is the only permanent option that the school district has offered.

The current building for this program is the Wilson Pacific building (slated for demolition). The water is poisonous and undrinkable, the walls are crumbling, a quarter of the gym is fenced off (large bump and water damage), there's no playground, fence, or sign, junkies walk on the grounds so parents have to scan the grass for needles and poop before kids can play outside, there's asbestos, the boiler regularly fails (school was canceled Wednesday because there was no heat, sometimes the boiler issue just knocks out the modest computer lab). When the heat does work, the radiators bang very loudly. The small library is 100% donated by parents. Despite all these issues - the community has made it homey inside and a place where many kids have thrived. The teachers are amazing.

"A program for homeschoolers" is not enough to do this program justice. But, it's not about one program against another - NW center is also an amazing program.

What has the school board done to handle the transition? What have they said vs what have they done?

I'd just like to throw that out there - there has to be more to the story.....
27
Hello,

I want to make the point that Cascade Parent Partnership Program is a public school program.

I was a homeschooler when my son was younger, for five years. However when we entered into the Public School System through the Cascade Parent Partnership Project - I understood that we were becoming a Public School Family.

Our school just looks different than most public schools.

For one thing - we have a Certified Teacher that we see multiple times a week, but I meet with her monthly to go over our Student Learning Plan. I have to meet the goals of the student learning plan within the guidelines set by WA state for my grade. Additionally, we take official classes with certified teachers. AND my children take the tests required by the state. Just like any other public school student in this state.

When we were homeschooling, our rules were a lot different then now that we are at Cascade.

I feel like every time "homeschool program" is used, it is used to denigrate and reduce the value that this program provides to its students and families. This is not fairly stating the program's role in the City of Seattle public school system and seems to have persisted in a variety of media sources even though it has been corrected more than once.

I would ask "why". What benefit is received by continuing to spread this misinformation?
28
Hello,

I want to make the point that Cascade Parent Partnership Program is a public school program.

I was a homeschooler when my son was younger, for five years. However when we entered into the Public School System through the Cascade Parent Partnership Project - I understood that we were becoming a Public School Family.

Our school just looks different than most public schools.

For one thing - we have a Certified Teacher that we see multiple times a week, but I meet with her monthly to go over our Student Learning Plan. I have to meet the goals of the student learning plan within the guidelines set by WA state for my grade. Additionally, we take official classes with certified teachers. AND my children take the tests required by the state. Just like any other public school student in this state.

When we were homeschooling, our rules were a lot different then now that we are at Cascade.

I feel like every time "homeschool program" is used, it is used to denigrate and reduce the value that this program provides to its students and families. This is not fairly stating the program's role in the city of Seattle and seems to have persisted in a variety of media sources even though it has been corrected more than once.

I would ask "why". Who is perpetrating this misstatement and to what benefit?
29
What Cascade means to us:

It seems like people don't really understand what Cascade PPP means to the City Of Seattle Public's School System. I want to show you my experience of this school.

My child is disabled. It kills me to say it - but - he has a mental illness (OCD and Anxiety). We have all heard stories of what happens to people with these conditions when you don't get out in front of them. We have all heard of the people who can't leave their home because they can't stop washing their hands or they can't complete their ritual perfectly.

In addition, he has ADHD - which is a learning disability. Prior to this year, he had an additional physical disability but we were really lucky. His physical disability is the type that can be reversed through hard work. So we worked really hard for a year and a half and corrected that.

However, now we have lost one and a half years of school!

The Principal and Teachers at CPPP were able to facilitate me along the road to diagnosis for the Anxiety, OCD and ADHD. In addition, they were able to enfold him into the program so that he could start being in a classroom successfully.

Plus, the community is very supportive to children with special needs. He completes his rituals in class. And he wiggles and moves inappropriately. No one makes fun of him! The other kids like him and accept him for who he is - with his weirdnesses. And believe me - they are weird. He is so happy. He feels good about himself.

Plenty of the other mothers are able to give me advice because their kids are also dealing with special challenges. We are all helping each other.

The parents are involved and engaged. The children are involved and engaged. This school achieves what the ideal is. Active engaged parents and children. It is beautiful.

We still have a long way to go. Another evaluation is looming on the horizon. I am sure we are going to have to learn to deal with at least dysgraphia if not Sensory Processing Disorder as well.

But with the support of the staff of Cascade behind us - I am sure that he will succeed in school and learn to successfully deal with his challenges.

So, what this school means to me is a welcoming and warm community where my child, with all of his differences, can be accepted for who he is.

30
@lemonlavender Parents at NWC filed a public disclosure request an received all ~1600 emails from the district that have ever been sent about this issue. Unfortunately, SPS talked internally about telling NWC in 2012, they never did. They also talked internally about telling NWC in late 2013, they never did. It's really incredible how poorly they handled this whole thing. If they had told NWC 2 years ago, NWC could have found another spot. If there's some way for us to connect, happy to share all 1600 emails with you or you guys can just do same thing and get same emails.
31
As a parent of a child at Cascade Parent Partnership I am frustrated, as many others, by the lack of foresight in planning by the District. As a Magnolia resident, I find the elitism that has crept into this topic alarming. From what we have seen the media coverage is 100% biased and now City Council is following suit….I guess it is true MONEY TALKS. As a Magnolia resident I am ashamed by our community taking sides in an issue when they are clearly not looking at the best interest of ALL children involved…..has the Stranger taken any time to educate themselves on the students at Cascade and what makes up that population??? We don't parade out kids around to play on the sympathy card but you want to talk about a special needs population…..come visit our school and take a look! But again 35% of our kids are on free and reduced lunch and we don't have a PR team like NWC to help us fight our battles…..most of our parents are making sure there is food on the table and hopefully a roof over their heads when they go to school.
32
Excuse me morons there is something you need to understand before you feel sorry for these people northwest center pays for its programs with sweat shop labor they own several industries of which they hire immigrant workers that cant read or write english and exploits them for profit can you survive on a 400.00 paycheck for 80 hours of work and worse they have a rule which states they have to hire disabled people only so they get 37,000 from the state per month