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Keep developmental preschool at Whittier Elementary

This petition had 308 supporters

Dear Whittier Families & Supporters of Special Education in Seattle,

The families currently enrolled in the developmental preschool program at Whittier Elementary learned rather abruptly March 9th & without formal communication from the district that the special education program is relocating for the fall.

We want to raise awareness for this concerning issue and ask for your support to help influence a more optimal outcome. As parents of children with special developmental needs, we understand the importance of high quality early childhood education. The developmental preschool program at Whittier is highly effective and proof that with the right combination of learning plan and intensive support, our children can realize the fullest extent of their potential. Unfortunately, as we have learned more facts about the situation, we are left lacking confidence that the move is well planned and considers the best interests of our children and classroom educators.

We ask the Seattle School District to reconsider relocation of our developmental preschool from Whittier Elementary to Viewlands Elementary.

On behalf of the children affected by this change, our concerns hinge on three critical areas:

1. The decision for program migration lacks thoughtful planning

-Notice of the program migration was posted to Seattle Public Schools website on February 17th – the district has yet to activate their communication plan to affected students and families

-Program officials are unable to confirm the availability of Intensive Services at the new school location (e.g. speech, language, occupational therapy). These services are important for children's continued development & support system

-Specialists to provide Intensive Services have yet to be staffed

-Migration decision was motivated by concerns about capacity at Whittier however sources have confirmed that enrollment rates are stable for the 2012-2013 school year

-Whittier sources have confirmed that if the developmental preschool moves next year the existing classroom will remain vacant for the 2012-2013 school year

 2. Considering the best interests of our children

-Disruption to learning environment will impact established routines and potentially remove critical stability for our children with developmental needs

-Impact to families with siblings and implications to family learning unit if split across multiple schools

-Increased demands on families & existing teaching team to travel farther

-Interests of children with developmental needs do not appear to be the first priority as the district continues to change and shuffle programs on an annual basis

3. Honoring interests of our educators

-Educators, administrators and the Whittier Elementary community were not sufficiently involved in the decision making processes

-Continuity of teaching staff and aids are not guaranteed

In closing, we have expressed deep concerns to the Seattle Public School's administration in hopes that the decision will be reconsidered. We would like to keep our children with special education needs at Whittier in the high quality educational environment we have come to know and love.

Thank you for your continued support!

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