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    2016-17: GH applies for District Equity Team support. Attends several Saturday training sessions. Determined a problem of practice - segregation at Graham Hill.


    See timeline below.


    This is a working draft. More to be flushed out. Stay tuned!

    Our community may choose one of the following pathways:

    1. We could decide to be a neighborhood school, incorporating research-based best practices to best serve all of our students. This might include, for example, looping (children have the same teacher for 2 years), work-time in all classrooms (where students make informed choices about how to use their learning time). It would certainly include teachers intentionally planning for differentiation to support all students’ growth, and specific practices that we identify as key to closing the opportunity gap. No additional Board approval needed.  Starts right away.  

    2. We could decide to have an emphasis on something special at Graham Hill. Some possibilities we have heard include STEM, arts integration, Montessori-inspired, or social justice. Essentially, we would add one of these influences to our vision and and clearly articulate our commitments.  We could start this shift in the 2019-20. No additional Board approval needed.   

    3. We could pursue taking on a unique program at Graham Hill, such as STEM, STEAM, or a bilingual education. The timeline for such a shift would be more lengthy. We would need to have a clear plan to present to the school board in September 2019. This option would take some years to bring to fruition, as it would involve hiring staff, training staff, and additional funding. If we choose one of these programs, we could select that our school becomes an option school. We would need to go to the Board a second time, in September 2019-20. 

    The change to one program is not a big change...

    Most of what currently occurs in Montessori and Contemporary classrooms at Graham Hill is the same.

    • All teachers teach to the same Common Core Standards.
    • All teachers use Center for the Collaborative Classroom curriculum for language arts instruction.
    • 16/17 classroom teachers use Bridges in Mathematics curriculum for math instruction; this includes a math block with games and other activities that students can choose from.
    • All teachers use RULER and Second Step curriculum for social-emotional learning.
    • All teachers use the district's science curriculum which will include a new district-wide curriculum adoption in September 2019.
    • All classrooms take two recesses and all kindergarten classrooms have a daily “choice time” to give children opportunities to engage with materials and projects that interest them and develop problem-solving, social, and language skills through play. 
    • All classrooms have movement breaks during the day.
    • All students have opportunities to make choices related to their learning.
    • All teachers allow students to work in different parts of the room, and not just at their desks. In any classroom you might see students working on the floor, reading or playing math games on the rug or at a table, etc.
    • All teachers use their professional judgement and creativity to teach our students.

    Frequently Asked Questions:

    If we don’t live in the attendance area, can our children continue to attend Graham Hill after 2018/2019 school year? 

    Yes. We have been informed by Ashley Davies that children currently attending Graham Hill who live outside the attendance area will be able to continue attending our school in 2019/2020. We are waiting to hear about siblings.

    What have we considered and what have we tried to address segregation? (This includes pre-Equity Team efforts) 

    1) Adopting a Leschi-type model where all classes are multi-age and all students spend half the day in Montessori and half the day in Contemporary classrooms 

    This was not a viable option because unlike Leschi, Graham Hill does not have equal numbers of Montessori and Contemporary classrooms and the majority of the Contemporary classrooms are not multi-age. At Leschi, there were an equal number of Contemporary and Montessori classrooms and all classes were multi-age before the school made the shift to blend their Montessori and Contemporary programs. 

    2) Outreach to educate more incoming kindergarten families about the Montessori and Contemporary programs at Graham Hill 

    • This year we decided to change our open house from a daytime to an evening event. In addition, we publicized the open house in multiple languages. This was all in an effort to attract more families to the open house, so that more diverse families could enroll students within the February open enrollment period. 

    • During the open enrollment period, we set up and advertised an enrollment station at Graham Hill with interpreters available to assist families.  

    • We conducted outreach to preschools in the area, to inform incoming kindergarten families of our open houses and the open enrollment period. 

    • We attempted to attend open enrollment events to inform more families about our two programs, but were informed by the central office that this was not an option. The district was concerned about us recruiting families from other neighborhood attendance areas, which could lead to under-enrollment at other schools.

    3) Controlling enrollment at Graham Hill rather than at the central office, in order to make our two programs reflect our entire community. We discussed holding a lottery system at Graham Hill to place children in Montessori or Contemporary, but then realized… 

    • We can’t legally make placement decisions based on race or socioeconomic status 

    • It wouldn’t work to randomly assign students to Montessori or Contemporary, since this wouldn’t honor parents’ preferences  

    • Our lottery system would have to occur in February, and this is generally when families interested in Montessori want to enroll.  Our experience has been that most families interested in Contemporary enroll their children closer to August. Families who enroll during the open enrollment period, even if they are put on a waitlist, have preference over families who enroll later in the spring or summer. 

    • Essentially, a lottery system and site-based enrollment at Graham Hill is not sustainable as it would require continual and significant additional work for staff, and it would not fix the segregation at our school. 

    4) Other efforts

    • Segregation has been an issue since Graham Hill first became a two-program school.  For the first 15  years, when we had a Montessori preschool, Montessori families had to pay for preschool and pick up their children mid-day or pay for childcare. Montessori parents worked to raise money for a handful of scholarships for parents who could not afford to pay for preschool. In all, this reality led to significant segregation at our school.

    • There have been other efforts over the past 20 years to desegregate Graham Hill. For example, 6 years ago we had spots open 2nd - 4th grade Montessori. We conducted a lottery of Contemporary students, inviting students whose names were selected to shift to Montessori classrooms.  

    • Two years ago, when we had over-enrollment in Contemporary kindergarten, we spoke with all incoming Contemporary kindergarten families to see who would be interested in switching to Montessori. We learned that families have a strong preference for either Contemporary or Montessori; information did not shift their preference. Only one family chose to make the shift from Contemporary to Montessori kindergarten.