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    Juneau's Journal January 24
    Posted on 01/24/2020

    Enrollment and Staffing Process

    We’re almost half way through the current school year, which means it’s time to dive deep into planning for next year! Next month, Seattle Public Schools principals will receive their initial student enrollment numbers. These projections determine the number of classrooms and staffing needed for each school.

    I sat down with Dr. Robert Gary, Madison Middle School principal, earlier this week to talk through how the budget process works and how principals work in partnership with their school communities to make sure every school is ready on the first day.

    Watch the latest Juneau's Journal here or by clicking on the video below to learn about the enrollment planning and budget process:

    Read the Video Transcript

    Juneau’s Journal January 24, 2020

    Superintendent Juneau: We’re almost half way through the current school year, which means it’s time to dive deep into planning for next year! Families of new students started enrolling for the 2020-21 school year earlier this month, and our enrollment planning team has been working since October to determine the number of students who will attend each of our 104 schools.

    Next month, SPS principals will receive their initial student enrollment numbers. These projections determine the number of classrooms and staffing needed for each school. I sat down with Madison Middle School Principal Dr. Robert Gary earlier this week to talk through how the budget process works and how principals work in partnership with their school communities to make sure every school is ready on the first day:

    Superintendent Juneau: As a school leader, how do you work with your school community during the budget and staffing season, how does how does that look?

    Dr. Gary: Well once we receive are our staffing package from the district, I work on my building leadership team and we'll review the budget. We kind of do a compare and contrast between this year and last year, maybe even several years back, to examine, to see where our numbers are as far as our student allocation plus the budget items that are outside of the classroom and then we start in building our budget and master schedule for the following school year.

    Superintendent Juneau: It's really like a team event.

    Dr. Gary: Yes truly a team event.

    Superintendent Juneau: So do you like sort of look at historical data about how many students are enrolled and what that forecast might look like going forward?

    Dr. Gary: We look at our historical data and we also receive input from our feeder schools. We work closely with their staff to ensure that the incoming fifth graders and sixth grade get a quality programming mat.

    Superintendent Juneau: Once principals receive those enrollment projections, like what, what happens next at the building level?

    Dr. Gary: It’s awful funny, getting enrollment projections is kind of like waiting on your birthday, and seeing what you're going to get as a gift. And once we get our enrollment projections we're off and moving and the great thing is at that time you'll find out is your enrollment going down is it an increasing is it staying the same? And enrollment is very critical as you know, Superintendent Juneau, is building a master schedule and doing staffing.

    Superintendent Juneau: We talk about enrollment and how projections and sometimes you know we kind of have to juggle what that might look like for schools but in the event that more students show up at your school than we projected, what happens?

    Dr. Gary: It’s positive for us that we know that the community really believes in us. And so we do if a student comes in it wasn't in our original books, we give that child classes immediately. Teachers have overloads. The district, has provided additional staffing to hire teacher. We hired a teacher and we change classes for various students to ensure that the ratio of teacher to student is the lowest it can be in a building and that kids are having an outstanding day at Madison, the greater education process.

    Superintendent Juneau: Yeah. And I mean it's it requires a lot of flexibility I know and leadership at the school building level when there's either an overage of students coming in. Tell me a little bit about like if we have under projected a system a school, like what does that look like?

    Dr. Gary: We go through with great assistance from the human resource department, to find out what person or persons needs to be reduced in the building. And after that we have to rearrange our master schedule, consolidate the master schedule and maybe change classes that are taught by various teachers, to ensure that we're giving a comprehensive schedule. As long as at the end of the day students are provided a quality schedule then it's a positive.

    Superintendent Juneau: As you know our five-year strategic plan called Seattle Excellence commits us to unapologetically address the needs of students of color who are furthest from educational justice. And when it comes to budget we know that we have to align our dollars with our values. So how is your team using a racial equity framework to make these decisions?

    Dr. Gary: So when we look at our students of color, we ensure that they're able to have access and opportunity to everything in the building. And so we ensure that if a student wants to play and play a musical instrument and never played it is before, they're able to do that. If we have availability in our highly capable cohort programs will play to student in that program. We also provide, if they need them, and that's for any student, intervention courses in math and reading to get students up to grade level.

    Superintendent Juneau: Thank you to Dr. Gary for his leadership and commitment to the Madison community. As we move forward in the enrollment planning process, district staff will be working closely with school leaders to ensure that every school is well supported and ready to welcome students on the first day.

    And, you know I love a good corny joke, so where do snowmen get the weather report? The Winternet.

    To get daily updates, you can follow me on Twitter @SeattleSupt and updates are posted to the superintendent webpage