School may be out but administrators at E Mercer’s Lowell Elementary and officials from Seattle Public Schools are struggling with a summer assignment: how to deal with the prospect of ridiculously overcrowded classrooms before next fall. The solution on the table: carting off the 4th and 5th grade smart kids to Wallingford.
“During the past few weeks, as we considered the latest enrollment numbers, it has become increasingly apparent we will not be able to accommodate the growth we are experiencing at Lowell,” wrote the Seattle Schools administrator in her letter to parents announcing a hastily arranged Monday meeting to discuss the problem.
According to the letter sent to “Lowell staff and families” on Thursday, there will be a meeting Monday night to discuss the situation at Wallingford’s Lincoln School — the planned overflow destination for Lowell’s Accelerated Progress Program 4th and 5th graders. The district’s APP students — “intellectually advanced students who meet eligibility criteria and whose learning needs are not fully met in conventional classrooms” — for grades 1st through 5th had been planned to attend Lowell before moving on to the two district middle schools with accelerated programs.
But with an APP enrollment surge, Lowell is facing the prospect of squeezing 700 students into a school made to serve 500, according to postings on the Save Seattle Schools blog which has been delivering blow by blow accounts on the drama at Lowell.
One group of parents is proposing an all-or-nothing solution: Move the entire AP program to Wallingford:
For the well-being of our APP children and families, we propose that the district move the entire Lowell APP population to Lincoln to stabilize and strengthen the program, and allow for the development of a long-term solution.
For many of these parents, the prospect of splitting accelerated siblings across the two schools is a daunting logistical challenge. There is also the value of a consistent and dedicated APP experience. On the other hand, you can’t divide 700 into 500. You can sign their online petition here.
Here is the letter send by Seattle Schools with details on Monday’s meeting.
Dear Lowell Staff and Families:
In Seattle Public Schools, our goal is to provide a safe and welcoming learning environment for all of our students, including those in general education, in special education and in the APP program. We have been excited to see the APP program expand at Lowell and throughout the district, but this growth has put significant enrollment pressure on our schools.
During the past few weeks, as we considered the latest enrollment numbers, it has become increasingly apparent we will not be able to accommodate the growth we are experiencing at Lowell.
We are studying a number of options, including moving the APP fourth and fifth graders to Lincoln School for the 2011-12 school year. Expanding Lowell Elementary to Lincoln would ensure that we have adequate space for all students, including those with special needs remaining at Lowell. This would be a short-term solution to give us time in upcoming months to develop a long-term plan for APP enrollment.
We would like your feedback on this option. Please join us at a Lowell community meeting:
Date: Monday, June 27, 2011
Time: 7 p.m.
Where: Lincoln School auditorium
4400 Interlake Avenue N.
Seattle, Wash. 98103
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to meeting with you on Monday.
Executive Director of Schools, Central Region