Thursday, May 7, 2015

Crappy Chart Thursday: Enrollment Growth Edition!

I'll cover my extended absence at the bottom of the post.

Meanwhile, crappy charts!

For this week's edition of crappy charts, I'm going to cover something that pretty much everyone with a kid in SPS knows: totally bananas enrollment growth. From 2010-11 to 2014-15, SPS has added approximately 4,253 students.

BORING STUFF (skip until you see "end of boring stuff" if you're not in the mood to talk about data sources)

Why approximately? It depends what you use to count. I pulled the 2010-11 number from the OSPI website (the SPS website now only has 2011-12 onwards, so a little toggling is necessary), and the 2014-15 number from SPS October pre-adjusted enrollment. The lack of available, consistent data from SPS is strange and frustrating. Where did all the enrollment data from previous years vaporize to? Why are pre-adjusted AND adjusted no longer posted, like they used to be? Why and how high school students are counted differently as of 2014-15? Why do we not have enrollment projections for 2015-16, or even open enrollment numbers? This is enrollment data for a public school district, not top secret protocols and plans on the course of action the CIA will take if a rabid chihuahua attacks an important elected official. However, talking about it is boring, and reading about it is probably even boring-er-er-er.


So, what do we know?

4,253 is a LOT of kids.

So, is it spread out relatively evenly through the grade levels?


Let's take a look at crappy! chart! number! one!

So... this surprises nobody, right?

The district has been pretty open that birth rates went up AND what they call the birth to K ratio (kids born in Seattle compared to the number of kindergartners 5 years later) has gone up.

So not only has SPS's share of the pie gotten bigger, but the pie got bigger.

But that's distributed if not with perfect even-ness, then at least in a way that is more or less manageable, right? Because district officials keeps emphasizing that growth is happening in a way they expected and can cope with, right?

Ha ha ha ha ha ha hahahahahaha.

Next crappy chart.

North end K-5 enrollment growth composes 44% of all enrollment growth in SPS in the last 5 years. Anyone wanna make any guesses about how that's gonna play out as the record-setting grade bands move up? Just FYI for those of you who just started playing, north end elementary growth has been happening for the last 15+ years.

It might, just now, be reeeeeeaaaallly satisfying to berate district officials for not gearing up to deal with this sooner, but sadly, it would not be useful.

The big question, of course, is how is this going to play out for capacity? What will be useful?

The district is adding capacity in the north end - the Lincoln building will open as a high school, the Wilson Pacific campus is being made into a huge elementary and middle school complex, the Jane Addams building was turned into a middle school, the Pinehurst building is being rebuilt to have more capacity, Loyal Heights is going to be expanded, the Olympic Hills building is going to be expanded, Thornton Creek is going to get bigger, and Queen Anne Elementary is going to be expanded.

And Sand Point, Viewlands, Queen Anne Elementary and McDonald, have all opened since 2010-11.

Will it be enough?

My magic 8 ball says: DOUBTFUL

And that's kind of all I've got for the return of crappy chart Thursday. Maybe next week I'll post on the capacity crisis, since I am procrastinating really digging into work on a project.

Regarding the extended absence: bad things happened. The bad things have a name: Darth. Darth isn't hanging around at this moment, but continues to make unpleasant appearances, and Darth being Darth, those appearances are never announced in advance. Just as nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition, nobody expects to make breakfast and find Darth hanging out in the kitchen. Sorry to be coy. Darth is not just my burden, and because of that, sharing all details Darthy on a blog, even one that nobody reads, is pretty uncool.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

An Open Letter to Things That Make Me Cranky

Stop. Now.

Especially people writing "open letters."

You know the old quote about "never argue with an idiot. People might not know the difference?"

I think that needs to be updated in regards to open letters. Because with a few well-articulated exceptions, usually the person writing the open letter ends up looking like an annoying ass-hat.

Oh, wait. Now I'm one of them. Because I just wrote an open letter (THAT NOBODY WILL READ. YAY.).

My bad, bitches.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What Do You Say, Dear?

I'm terribly sorry it's been so long?
I've had so much to say, but my heart has hurt just trying to type it?

I think I'll stick with "I'm terribly sorry that it's been so long." Although it has been some time (a year and a half-ish) since one of my kids wavered painfully between life and death, I suspect anyone who still checks in will understand that it hurts my heart just to type about her illness, her wellness, and everything in between. A strange result of her catastrophic illness has been to sometimes make me shrug at anything, as if "meh. Nobody DIED," and other times to be near tears over eye-rolling crap, like tampon commercials. Ugh. I would like to find myself a tiny bit more predictable.

At any rate, picking back up again on the whole blogging thing would be nice. I've done all sorts of cooking - my boy has been giving me a hard time for buying a cookbook that's all about vegetables. He's calling it my Veg Manifesto and my Little Green Book, and generally eyeballing me as if I might try to sneak kohlrabi, kale, eggplant or beets into innocent-seeming dishes. Which is totally fair, if we're going to insist on being truthful, which I hope we're not, because I might then be forced to admit that I will listen to almost anything to get me through a run on the treadmill. Although I haven't been on a treadmill in ages, because the weather has been absurdly wonderful, and I refuse to hit the Hated Treadmill until the prospect of jogging outside is even less palatable. So, you know, November.

The picture is of the Warner Valley, in northern California.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Perils of Pauline, Part Zillion and Three

It happened and was fixed so rapidly that I sort of forgot to mention it. Curly fell at basketball a little while ago. No biggie, right? Kids fall.

There just happens to be a thin ribbon of concrete rimming the edge of the basketball court she practices on. Naturally, she fell onto that.

Face first.

Chipping off a goodly portion of her front tooth.

We have an awesome dentist, who reassured her that night that it was an easily sorted problem, and sorted it the next day, while telling her how he broke HIS front teeth (bike crash in which he went over his bicycle handles to the ground, face first). It is remarkable to me how quickly it was repaired in a way that only Curly can tell, and I wonder if she just doesn't want to admit she can't tell, either.

It does seem as if my daughter is a walking opportunity for betting: what will she injure, and in which sport? I don't want to know. But I do want a flask.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The No Kids Fridge

I don't know a thing about the person who this refrigerator belongs to. However, I can tell you that they do not have children. They may be in a relationship, but nope, no kids throwing their lives into utter disarray.

Will I show you my fridge? NO. NEVER. Because it's terrifying.

I have children. I live with a man. Does that need modifying? I'll modify. I live with a man who will package up the teensiest, tiniest little portions of food, clearly never to be eaten by anyone, which will simply ferment in the refrigerator until they obtain enough fuzz for shaving, sentience and begin hassling me about the kimchi that I like (yes, I like grocery-store kimchi. Shut up.).

So maybe I have fridge envy. Or maybe I'm like the savant palm reader of refrigerators. The person organizing this refrigerator needs to let go of control to find their path, because I'm pretty sure adorably labeled bee pollen and flax containers, while temptingly cute, don't actually lead you to happiness. They're the foodie version of a primrose path.

Or maybe they have a complicated but loving blended family and I am simply full of envy that some people can get their refrigerators in order, and I am tripping over skis, lacrosse and hockey sticks, sneakers and hay (no, not "hey," as in "hey, it sucks to trip over things," but HAY, as in something ruminants eat and tends to get tracked in when you take care of said somewhat stinky ruminants) as I come in my front door with groceries. Even as every time, lately, that I get frustrated with daily life, I find myself thinking of how during Curly's illness and near-death, I would have cut off my hand with a dull saw to have the ups and downs of daily life returned to me. And they're back. Apparently along with orderly-fridge envy. Who knew what neuroses lurked in my heart? I'm not going to keep going with that, because even I am not interested.

And yes, this is absolutely a random post.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Kid: Alive. Sense of Humor: DEAD.

We’re coming around on the one year anniversary of Curly almost dying. And by “almost dying,” I don’t mean she scared me. 

I mean Curly was a hospital in-patient and a code was called on her because her lungs were collapsing and her heart was struggling to beat (not-so-fun fact: staying in the ICU with her for extended periods also allowed me to see that the ICU staff actually RUN when a code is called). 

I remember watching a nurse grab the intubation kit that’s in each room as I sat holding Curly’s hand. She was struggling for every painful breath. My eyes must have been as big as my face – there were about fifteen people jamming the room, and another dozen, at least, waiting outside – and the nurse said, as reassuringly as she could, “it’s just in case.” 

When your kid is being toted to the ICU before an emergency surgery, you’ve kind of passed the point of “just in case.” And it was clear that asking anyone “how much worse can it get” could yield some awful, awful answers. All I could really do was nod, wait until the emergency surgery team told us what their plan was, and hold on tight.

So. Good news? Curly is alive, wiggly, and happy. She just donated 14” of her hair so that kids with cancer can have wigs. Not surprisingly, after a debilitating and painful illness, she’s deeply sympathetic to wanting a semblance of normalcy in the midst of something decidedly outside of the experience we think of as a normal childhood. She’s hassling me about taking her skiing, again and again, and again (although she laid off slightly on the when can we go skiing again how about tomorrow after wiping out HARD just after I told her she was going too fast for her skill and the conditions on the mountain. Maybe I should have refrained from saying, dude, I told you to fucking slow down?). She is not the hunched, flinching child we brought home from the hospital, webbed with pain. She is not wavering painfully between life and death - she is alive, and well.

The bad news: I think my sense of humor died in the ICU. I am hopeful that it will reanimate eventually, so that I can at least have a grunting zombie of a sense of humor. Better than nothing, right? Because this ridiculous level of earnest sincerity that I keep sporting is GETTING ON MY NERVES.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Perils of Pauline, Part XXVIILC#$%^!@***%#&!

We've had several tough weeks in our house. 

Curly started having pain right before Thanksgiving. Because it was so very like the pain that started her ordeal, we started trudging back to her various doctors and surgeons. 

They weren’t quite sure if there was something good (but painful) happening, or if she was heading for Ordeal In The Hospital, Part II. 

After a couple of weeks of nerve-jangling worry, a trip to the ER (what’s more fun than the ER in the middle of the night? Lots of things!!) and a bucket of medical appointments, there was finally, finally clear evidence that Curly’s body was doing something good. Painful, yes, but good for her short and long-term health.

So... yay. I mean, really, yay. You might understand how my hallelujah or yay might sound rather wilted after several weeks of worry and an extended middle-of-the night ER visit (in which I briefly fell asleep seated, my head against her bed rail, which left an impressive dent in my forehead).

So how did Curly celebrate?

Why, in a flying trapeze show. With a theme of home-made superheroes. She was SuperGoat (superpower: ability to chew through anything).

As one does.

Also an event in which she BROKE HER HAND (clearly, her true superhero identity is as Danger! Mouse!).


The yay: this is motherfucking outpatient shit! And (excepting the "flying trapeze accident" part) totally normal childhood crap! And also, after about half a million bucks in ordeal-fueled medical bills (let's all shout an extra yay for insurance!), we won’t be paying out on the deductible!

The boo: notice the swearing? I AM SO READY NOT TO SEE ANY MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS FOR A LOOOOOOOONG TIME. I PROMISE I WILL NOT GO INTO WITHDRAWAL IF WE GO COLD TURKEY. No hold-me-down Haldol shots necessary if I don't chat about scans, labs or pain scales. Promise. Crikey. I have already met a significant number of medical professionals working at the local children's hospital. Booze donations accepted at my home (screw-top only, pleeeeeaaaase).