Running Start Left Behind
Maggie Sill and Kalli Dahlberg, 11/6/2023, 9:45pm
Research by Kathleen Ultis
The start of the school year is a time of anxiety, joy, and new beginnings for many students. But for some Running Start students, it was a time of confusion and isolation. On the first day of school, Running Start students were approached during their ‘free’ periods by administrators and informed of a new policy.
The policy given to The Cascade is as follows: If a student is enrolled at Ingraham and another school (Running Start, skill center, internships, etc.) they can access the campus when they have classes at Ingraham. When they don’t have classes at Ingraham, they are expected to go to their other enrolled school.
For many Running Start students, this policy was upsetting. Many students relied on the time at school during their ‘free’ periods to study, attend zoom meetings, and complete work. Many were left confused as to why the policy was needed, while others were frustrated at the lack of communication.
According to administration, the main factor for the policy change is safety. Assistant Principal Mr. Elvig told The Cascade “We have 144 Running Start students this year and so with those students- if they are allowed on campus, we don't know where they are. And so, if for some reason there was an emergency where we needed to know where students are, we don't know where they are because they're not in the class.”
Essentially, administration has no way of keeping track of Running Start students when they are on campus. Also, in the case of an emergency such as an earthquake or fire, there is no designated place for Running Start students to go to ensure their safety.
A secondary factor in the decision was disruptions to the learning environment. Over the years administration has noticed that “There was a lot of students that were bringing stuff like Chick-fil-A to school and other things, and so that would attract other students and [they would] talk to them, and they would be outside of classrooms and that can be a little bit disruptive for teachers” (Elvig.) It is administration's opinion that as dual enrolled students, Running Start students still have resources such as libraries, counselors, and transportation provided to them by their college. As such, those students can do their work at the college, instead of disrupting Ingraham’s learning environment.
And finally, administration made this policy because in years past, non-Running Start students have voiced feeling targeted when they were asked to go back to class, and Running Start students were not. Wanting to enforce equity, admin considered these concerns in the creating of the Running Start policy.
Ingraham is not the only school with divisive policies regarding Running Start students. Krista Rillo, a counselor at Chief Sealth International Highschool said “If a student does not have a class on campus, they are not to be on campus unless they have an appointment or meeting scheduled on campus.” Notably, Chief Sealth is in in a residential neighborhood, unlike Ingraham, which is close to one of the busiest roads in the city.
Nathan Hale High School is relatively close to Ingraham, and unlike Chief Sealth and Ingraham, it is not an IB school. Makela Steward, the Assistant Principal at Nathan Hale said “Our Running Start students are able to be in the building a little before their classes at Hale begin. They can be in the Activities Center or the library. However, if they are a full time Running Start student, we don’t allow them to hang in the building at all. They may need to come into the building to meet with a counselor, admin or go to the library for research and we allow that in moderation.” Nathan Hale accommodates Running Start students, while still maintaining safety and an academic environment.
It is every school’s responsibility to preserve the work environment and safety of students. For every school, that responsibility may be expressed differently. However, it is important to consider the effects of these policies on student life.
While many Running Start students are aware of the safety issues their presence at Ingraham presents, they have not reacted favorably to the new policy. Some of the main concerns they hold include isolation from the larger Ingraham community, the lack of communication surrounding the policy between administration and those affected by it, and the lack of easy access to transportation and academic resources.
Senior Marit Bloom described her sustained effort to communicate in a meaningful way with administration, and the lack of reciprocity she received. “Both myself and my parents have reached out to the school to communicate and none of them have reciprocated any of it, or [expressed] the need for it,” she explained to Cascade reporters. She and her family emailed multiple times, and when they finally received a response, the response did not explain the points she was most concerned about, which included “[the need] to fully understand what they were telling us […] and how it really came out of nowhere.” She would not receive a response for multiple weeks.
Students were left wondering where their place at Ingraham was after the policy was created, especially given that there was no written policy created at the time of its implementation. When asked, responses from administrators did not imply that they were included in the Ingraham community to the same extent as non-Running Start students. Bloom received an email from Principal Floe in response to an email she had sent that detailed her opinions on the policy and her concerns with it. The Cascade was informed by Bloom that, “He basically wrote- from a student perspective reading it- that Running Start students were a burden to the school and that they weren't responsible for us even though we are still Ingraham students. So that was very frustrating” (Marit Bloom).
Another senior, Lauren Colquhoun, described the environment surrounding Running Start students as “kind of cold, and lonely." Students raised the idea to Assistant Principal Elvig that being around a peer group of kids their age could feel safer, and he replied, “I would just ask, like, how do you evaluate like that type of concern?”
The last and perhaps most pragmatic concern of students regards transportation between Ingraham and their Running Start schools. When describing how she has to make it from Ingraham to North Seattle Community College, senior Freya Frahm said, “The bus takes like 15 minutes depending on how much I have to wait, and then to get home it takes like an hour,” Another senior, Christopher Hughes, explained, “I do sports, so I have to be back at 4, but I have a 4th period and then my school ends, so I have to go home every time, which is obviously very frustrating. I spend an extra half hour a day on transportation,” when asked about how the new policy was inconveniencing him- and the planet. “Think of the carbon emissions!” he exclaimed during his interview. Issues of equity are also relevant to this conversation, as students who have access to cars will spend much less time on the extra transportation the policy requires than students who have to use public transportation.
This is clearly an extremely complex issue, and the Cascade hopes that understanding can be reached between the student body and school administration.
Photo by Lucas Martin
Photo by Lucas Martin
FSU Got Scammed
Why Should Ingraham Care?
Alden Whitlow, 12/11/23, 8:45pm
On Sunday December 3rd, the College Football Playoff (CFP) Committee released the top 25 college football teams in the nation. Unlike the AP poll or the USA Today poll, the rankings for the CFP are decided by 13 people at 1:30am. According to Sports Illustrated writer James Parks, “The selection committee members elected to snub an undefeated conference champion Florida State.” For context, The CFP only lets the top 4 teams into the playoffs, Florida State went undefeated and did not get in for a few reasons, the biggest being an injury to their star quarterback Jordan Travis. Ingraham is the 24th best high school in the Seattle area and the 3rd best high school in Seattle Public Schools (SPS), according to ratings on niche.com. This article was supposed to show how Ingraham also gets snubbed against schools around like Ballard, Roosevelt, Lincoln, and Garfield. But are they actually more like the FSU SPS?
The CFP held their official selection on air at 9am PST the next morning, this was on ESPN for the entire world to see with all college football teams joining in. The lead up was to who got spot #4. It was between Alabama (12-1) and Florida State (13-0). Bama had just beat the reigning #1, Georgia Bulldogs, who had been on a 29-game winning streak before. Now they were hoping that had punched their ticket in. Alabama eventually got the #4 spot playing Michigan on New Year’s to see who makes the championship. Ingraham is not Florida State, they are Alabama, whether people like it or not.
On Niche’s rankings, they give every school a grade and an official rank. This put Ingraham at #26. Also, on this list ahead of them were Roosevelt and Garfield, respectively at #16 and #18. This puts in the claim that Roosevelt is the top school in SPS with Garfield as a close 2nd. All three of these schools got an overall A as their grade.
The reason Lincoln and Ballard were included is because of the rivalry Ingraham has created with those schools. Many students at Ingraham have as Mr. Rice would call them, “the homies and BFFs” at Lincoln and Ballard. These are anticipated games in every sport season not only for the athletes, but for spectators as well. In terms of Lincoln’s academic stats, they may be a little weighted because Lincoln has not been a full school continuously as long as Ingraham or Ballard. Ballard was ranked as the 36th bets high school in the Seattle area with a grade of an A-. This was behind the top 3 and Cleveland at #29. Lincoln on the other hand did not make the top 50 or 60. They were placed at #69 with an overall grade of a B+.
To find the best NFL stats, pro-football-reference is helpful. The equivalent to this for school academic stats is greatschools.org. This website includes the graduation rate for every SPS school. It also includes test scores for Math, Science and English. These are found using Smart Balanced Assessments (SBAs) from 2021-2022 and Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Sciences (WCASs) from 2021-2022. The SBA is from 10th graders, now seniors. The WCAS is from 11th graders, now freshman in college.
To compare Ballard, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Garfield, and Ingraham, the academic stats from the above paragraph were used. In terms of 4-year graduation rate at every high school; all the high schools have a rate of above 92%, except Ingraham. By Niche, Ingraham was reported to have an 89% graduation rate and Great! schools claims them to have an 88%. It is also reported that the average in Washington is 83%, meaning that all 5 high schools have a higher graduation rate than average, yet Ingraham is still below even their overall grade and ranking is higher.
Simple PSA: These test stats might be altered; these are from Great! schools, which is not a known website, meaning that the information is coming from an unknown place. This info can also be altered from the time period it was taken from. This was from the 2021-2022 school year, for those who remember, that was the year where for most of it, all students were required to wear a mask. Covid-19 affected the social and academic assessments of every student in SPS. However, given that every school went through these conditions, this can also show what schools/staff pushed through and helped their sophomores and juniors progress well on the tests.
Great! schools not only posts each school’s test scores for 3 out of the 4 common core subjects, but it also shows the state average. These are low, all between .4 and .53, all considered failing for a class in SPS. All 5 schools looked at have above average test scores in every category. An interesting part about the stats is that each school has the same top class. All the schools have above a 75% score in English, this shows how SPS teaches English, hiring teachers that encourage kids, creating a fun environment in classes. Yet, in terms of overall scores for English, Ingraham has the second lowest score at 84%, with Garfield as the only lower one at 76%. To expand the test conversation further, school averages come into play. Ingraham is tied for third. What’s unusual about this is that the top two are Ballard and Lincoln; Ballard at 78%, Lincoln at 83%. They were both ranked way lower than the other 3 on niche, with these stats contradicting that info.
Florida State got scammed out of a playoff spot with the argument being for a better matchup. There is no star quarterback injured for any of these schools. This article was planned to show how Ingraham got scammed. Yet after the stats are shown, assumptions can be made for other schools to be the Florida State. So, does this make Ingraham the Alabama?
Overall, Ingraham is ranked third on niche, a website that seems to give random overall grades based on reviews from past students. This is very biased but once you look at the statistics do they deserve it? Do they deserve to be in the top four SPS schools or should they be lower? These are all questions that will never have an answer. Let’s pose a question: If you could choose any school in SPS to go to, where would you go?