Thursday, January 31, 2019

EAP Program Placement

First, a little background. In fall 2018 the Enrollment Demographic Task Force submitted draft boundary changes to ease overcrowding in the north Bothell schools when the new building on the Canyon Creek/Skyview campus and the new elementary school on Maltby are done. The draft proposal included an assumption that EAP students would be serviced at their neighborhood schools. The draft is available here. In general, there are not enough students qualifying for EAP at each grade level at every neighborhood school to fill a classroom, or even split classroom. Thus this assumption seemed incorrect.

In early 2019 the cabinet drafted a proposal about program placement under the new boundaries, including EAP, PACE, and FSA programs. You can see the proposal here. The proposal suggests creating 4 EAP sites (Sunrise, Moorlands, Lockwood, and Canyon Creek) to align with the four NSD regions (East, South, West, and North).

The HiCap Parents Council had mixed feelings about the proposed EAP changes. We have responded to the EDTF and cabinet with the following letter:

Cabinet and EDTF members:
The HiCap Parents Council represents HiCap students and families from the entire school district, both those placed in EAP and AAP classrooms and those receiving services in their home schools, giving us a unique perspective on program placement. We were surprised earlier in the school year when the recommended boundary change draft did not include consideration about program placement, particularly EAP. Thus the cabinet proposal presented in the study session on 1/14/19 was a welcome step towards a more equitable and considered assignment of all students across the district.
However, we do have some questions and thoughts about proposed EAP locations for 2020.
1. Ideally EAP programs would be located in a way that encourages both academic success and community building.
    A. An entire program (grades 2- 5) is preferable to isolated classrooms that change from year to year. This enables EAP teachers to work with a cohort, share information about curriculum and students, and use knowledge gained in one year into the next. This is especially important when bringing new teachers into EAP.
    B. Locations within a feeder pattern are desirable. EAP students do get to know and be friends with neighborhood and other children at their program location, and it is a hardship to be moved from year to year or to go to a different middle and high school from the neighborhood students. EAP students are also split between multiple middle schools. Currently, this isn't avoidable, with fewer EAP locations than middle schools. However, assigning, for example, Maywood Hills students to a Moorlands EAP location (where the neighborhood and other EAP students would be going to Northshore MS and Inglemoor HS while Maywood attends Canyon Park MS and Bothell HS), or the existing assignment of many north Bothell residents (Skyview MS, North Creek HS) to Bear Creek (Timbercrest MS and Woodinville HS) disrupts friendships and community building.
    C. Keeping the above in mind, we would propose outlining a feeder pattern for the EAP sites that at least keeps High School assignments aligned (EAP students should attend an EAP elementary school that goes to the same high school as the neighborhood elementary school they would have attended). Ideally, and thinking long term with the continued growth of the EAP program, a 6 EAP site solution that aligns to the Middle School feeder patterns would be the best, and that would be our strong recommendation.    D. Long-distance EAP assignments cause several negative effects both on a daily basis--long bus rides--and overall--harder to attend before and after school activities, harder to attend PTA activities. The proposed EAP location in North Bothell is a very welcome addition!
    E. Forcing other programs (Lockwood PACE, Wellington PACE) to move in order to realign EAP feeder patterns, especially when these programs consists of many neighborhood families, encourages a negative perception of EAP and inhibits community building.
    F. It has long been a problem that families cannot waiver siblings into EAP schools due to space restrictions. Even when they have been able to waiver a sibling in, the waiver does not include transportation (although transportation is guaranteed for the EAP student). This is a significant equity issue - asking families to manage the overhead of kids in multiple schools is not realistic for many families, and creates equity of access issues. Please consider keeping families together by planning to have space available at EAP locations for sibling waivers and to include transportation for siblings. This keeps siblings together on the bus, in after school care, and at school community activities such as evening science fairs and school plays, making it much more possible for all of our demographic groups to access EAP equitably.
2. The success of relocated programs (such as the 2017 EAP move from Shelton View to Lockwood) and new EAP sites is heavily dependent on appropriate staffing. Having the Shelton View EAP teachers move with the students in 2017 maintained the feeling of community and also helped bring new-to-EAP teachers and existing administrators and specialists up to speed on the needs of the EAP students. If the EAP program is moved from Bear Creek to Canyon Creek and/or Sunrise, the move will be more successful for the students if the teachers are able to move as well. Please encourage existing, established EAP teachers to move to new sites so that there are experienced staff everywhere. It is crucial for there to be an experienced EAP teacher leader at every EAP site.
3. The original EDTF boundary proposals included current and projected enrollment figures for various schools.
    A. What are the proposed feeder patterns for EAP sites and projected EAP enrollment for future years?
    B. The original EDTF proposal assumed that all students were at their neighborhood/home schools. How do the numbers change with choice and EAP students at the program locations instead? These numbers should be published, similar to how we can anticipate a certain number of students to waiver into Inglemoor for the IB program.
    C. How will these proposed program placements alter the suggested boundary changes? Will there be enough room at Canyon Creek EAP in future years with much of the population growth expected in the north region?

Thank you for your attention to these considerations,
The HiCap Parents Council

A district website with some of the boundary information is available here: