Dear QAE families,
Each year, SPS examines September enrollment and then makes district-wide staffing adjustments. Our enrollment has changed this year due to factors such as higher-than-expected family relocations. As a result, SPS Enrollment needs to displace one teacher at QAE. Contractually, we are required to displace our least senior teacher, and we are saddened to report that 4th grade teacher Ms. Dawson will be assigned to teach at a new school. Ms. Dawson wants parents to know that she understands and accepts this change has to be made, and her hope is to make it as calm and smooth as possible for students and for her move to a new school.
Our Building Leadership Team (BLT), composed of staff, PTSA and parents, recommends that we reorganize classes at 4th grade, due to current class sizes and striving to impact as few students as possible. This means we will shift from three 4th grade classes to two. Staff have worked together to create the best placements for our students and I have been in communication with 4th grade families in Ms. Dawson’s class already. We know our incredible QAE staff will support all students during this transition. The PTSA was clear that it wants to help the affected classes and will vote on funding a 4th grade tutor at the next meeting.
While no one wants this to happen, sometimes unexpected things occur. Modeling for our students that we will get through this together is important. All QAE families can help our students and our community by:
- Talking with students to identify feelings created by this change and how to deal with feelings. Expressing both sadness at the change and confidence that we will manage this in our supportive community helps students build their emotional and social skills.
- Providing reassurance that once we make these changes, there will not be additional SPS staffing changes in the coming weeks and months.
- Helping students to identify ways they can help both themselves and others. Helping with the move, checking in with friends and expressing support ensures that all students know that they have a role in impacting our community and our world.
I welcome questions and don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I have also attached a second page of answers to some questions I anticipate you may have.
Thank you to our wonderful QAE community. Collaboratively working with staff, BLT and PTSA has been essential during this process. We will get through this change over the next few days, and most importantly, we will get through this together as a supportive QAE community.
QAE 2017 Reorganization FAQ
When a school loses a teacher, how is that teacher chosen?
When a teacher needs to be displaced in a school, we are contractually required to ask for volunteers and if none emerge, then the least senior classroom teacher is automatically displaced. The teacher being displaced is the least senior teacher at our school based on years teaching in SPS and in Washington state, as her experience is out of state.
What happens to the teacher who is displaced from the school?
She is assigned to a teaching position in another SPS school.
If our enrollment is down, do we get to keep the Head Teacher role (Katie Cryan Leary)?
Administrative allocations are assigned for the year and do not fluctuate due to enrollment changes. Our Head Teacher position was funded by converting our Assistant Principal allocation into a Head Teacher position for this year, so this position remains in place for the year. This role will be so important as we prepare for our move to our interim site next year.
Are we at risk of losing our music teacher?
Based on the number of classroom teachers at QAE, our specialist teacher allocation has not changed.
Are we at risk of losing any additional staff/resources?
At this time, I do not anticipate any impact to district services from SPS this year.
Could we have made cuts/savings in other places to save this position?
No. Schools are allocated separate budgets for staffing and supplies. Supply budgets cannot be moved to cover staffing needs, nor would they be sufficient to meet these costs.
Were enrollments down across all Seattle Public Schools?
Enrollment at the elementary level is down across the district. Schools are affected differently based on their boundaries, housing trends, etc.
How does this compare to other elementary schools in our area?
QAE is an option school so it enrolls differently than the neighboring attendance area schools that have automatic assignments. One unexpected factor this summer was that option school enrollments were affected by technical issues with the SPS online admission system not informing new families about option schools in their area. This technical issue, which inadvertently occurred over the summer, specifically impacted option schools enrollments. This has since been corrected, but it affected option schools.
Is our enrollment different from last year?
QAE’s enrollment this year is an unexpected anomaly. With the upcoming remodel of the school, the district and community clearly feel QAE will grow to capacity. Bottom line: this is not a trend, just a result of many different factors happening at once.
Did we take all the students off our waitlist?
Yes, all interested families were accepted at QAE this year. Note: we did find a 2 month window where the SPS online enrollment form issues so option schools were not listed in new student enrollment options.
I welcome questions and don’t hesitate to reach out to me! I will connect with you as soon as possible.