Friday, January 20, 2017

Banda to Leave Sacramento Schools

Well, that didn't take long - 30 months in fact.  From the Sacramento Bee.  

It's unclear what he will be doing next. 

Student Walkouts on Inauguration Day

Apparently, some students at Jane Addams Middle School walked out of school just before noon and joined with students from Nathan Hale High School who were also walking out in protest.

From the principal, Paula Montgomery:
Seattle Public Schools security, non-teaching staff and officers from the North Precinct will be monitoring the students during this walkout. Many students are planning to return to school after the rally at Nathan Hale.

Please talk to your students about your expectations for them with regards to this walk-out. While school staff will monitor the activities on campus, once students leave our campus there will not be school supervision. Should students wish to return to school after the rally, they should enter through the front doors and sign in at the main office in order to get a pass back to class. 

I want to be clear that this is not a school-sponsored event. This is a demonstration planned by students as an expression of their right to peacefully protest. Students who choose to stay at school will continue in their classes as normally scheduled. Students who do participate will be marked absent and this has been communicated to them. This is an unexcused absence and classwork make-up is dependent on the classroom teacher’s policy. 

We all know that this a contentious and divisive time in our country’s history. However, I want you to know that at Jane Addams Middle School we are committed to celebrating, empowering and unifying our diverse community of students and staff.
What did you hear/see at your child's school today?

Stay Calm and Join the Resistance

Women's March, tomorrow, January 21, 2017.  

The early estimate is 50,000 people.  Look for me; I'll be the one with pink cat ears.

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Friday Open Thread

News from the district:
- an open letter to the Legislature over loss of levy funds from Superintendent Nyland
Related imageand members of the African American Male Advisory Committee.  I'm not sure I agree with this action but certainly it makes a point.

- I asked SPS Communications about whether Mayor Murray had been contacted about the Legislature (as a former long-time legislator himself).  Here is their reply:
We have spoken with his Governmental Relations team, his Department of Education team and the Budget Director for the city. We have attended at least 4 meetings to explain the situation. It is on their leg agenda.
Some bills of interest in the Legislature relating to K-12 education:

- SB 5115 - an act relating to school directors' compensation (it amends another RCW).  It seeks to eliminate a limit to how much a school director may make in service to a district (both the per diem and the lid to compensation.)  This would be in addition to any expenses a district may pay for directors (like travel.)

The amount would be established by each school board but it cannot exceed the compensation of state legislators (as established by the Washington citizens' commission on salaries for elected officials.)   The funds can only come from levies and not from state dollars.

- SB 5064 - an act relating to the freedom of expression rights of students at public schools and institutions of higher education.  Every district with a high school would have to adopt a "written student freedom of expression policy."

No director community meetings tomorrow.  

Good opportunity for youth from Citizen University - the Youth Civic Collaboratory.
The Youth Civic Collaboratory will consist of a cohort of 25 highly-motivated students from around the country who are passionate about civic engagement and making a positive change in their communities and country.  The Youth Civic Collaboratory will meet quarterly to learn about civic power, share ideas and projects, and build networks of practice and power. Members of the Youth Civic Collaboratory will be connected with our national network of civic innovators, and will be paired with mentors specific to each students’ interests.

The application deadline to join is February 3, 2017 at 11:59pm PDT. Apply now.
What's on your mind?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

When is Republican Plan for McCleary? "None of your business"

From a news conference the GOP held this week in Olympia in answer to a reporter's question, straight from the lips of Senator Mark Schoesler, "It's none of your business and you will be the last to know."

Another reporter pointed out that the first reporter was just doing his job and yes, it is relevant.  

Do contact the Senator if you believe that it is everyone's right to know the plan for fully funding public education in Washington State.  He's from the 9th Legislative District, part of six counties including Adams, Asotin, Franklin, Garfield, Spokane, and Whitman.

Senator Mark Schoesler:
Office: 360.786.7620

As President Obama Leaves, One Final Push for Education

I'll let you know if this comes to pass in the next 24 hours.

From CNN:
The Obama administration is considering a major last-minute policy shift that could force hundreds of school districts to cut spending at well-financed elementary and secondary schools and move nearly $1 billion dollars to schools with large numbers of low-income students. 

The regulation would apply only to school districts that have both low-income schools that get Title I federal funds and higher-income schools that are not eligible for the money.  

In announcing the proposal in August, King called it "an important step forward to advancing resource equity across the country." King also urged districts and states to comply with the regulation "by providing additional funds for education focused on high-needs schools, not by shifting dollars around or forcing transfers of teachers or other personnel." 
"If this were to be finalized, it would be a huge deal because it's saying how local and state money inside school districts is to be distributed across schools," said Nora Gordon, a school-finance expert at Georgetown University. 

Lamar Alexander, chairman of the Senate education committee and a former secretary of education, has vowed to block the regulation -- a move that would require a majority vote in both houses of Congress and the President's signature. 

Adopting the regulation before Friday at noon would bind the incoming Trump administration unless Congress overturns it.  

The National School Boards Association called the regulation "unnecessary" and "unwarranted federal overreach" that would constrain school districts.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Internet Win of the Day

And it came from a librarian.

DeVos Won't Commit to Equal Protections for All Students

So Ms. DeVos wants to give money to every kind of school, public or private BUT she will not say whether they should have the same accountability standards whether for testing, Special Education or reporting bullying/student behavior.

This interchange with Senator Tim Kaine is eye-opening.

Items of Note

A couple quick items to put on your radar:

There is a kindergarten fair tonight at the Ballard Community Center from 6:30-8:30 pm. 

I am only noting this because there is no announcement on the district's homepage nor is it on the district's calendar.  I only learned of it from Twitter.  It is at the Enrollment page.

Advance notice for another enrollment event, this one specific to Hazel Wolf K-8:

Hazel Wolf K-8 School (11530 12th Ave NE) is hosting an information night for ELL families on February 9, from 6 - 8 pm. Amharic, Arabic, Somali, Spanish, and Tigrinya interpreters and Admissions staff will be present to register new students for the 2017-18 school year. Click here to download the Hazel Wolf event flyer.

The last notice is about the Seattle Art Museum.  They are having a FREE weekend, starting this Friday and lasting thru Sunday.   You do need to have a ticket for this event.

If you go on Saturday or Sunday, you also get to see the new Jacob Lawrence exhibit.  

Over these three days, all permanent collection galleries will be free. Starting Saturday, January 21, visitors will also be able to see the new special exhibition Jacob Lawrence: The Migration Series. Acclaimed as Lawrence’s masterwork, this epic series comprises 60 tempera paintings and chronicles in words and pictures the mass exodus of African Americans from the rural South to the industrial North in the decades after the First World War. The SAM exhibition provides a rare opportunity to see the entire series which has not been shown on the West Coast in two decades.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

DeVos Hearings Start

Ms. DeVos' prepared remarks.  They include:
  • “Parents no longer believe that a one-size-fits-all model of learning meets the needs of every child, and they know other options exist, whether magnet, virtual, charter, home, religious, or any combination thereof.”
Of course not but I'm not sure most parents want to pay for someone's child to get religious training.
  • Our nation's schools are filled with talented, devoted professionals, who successfully meet the needs of many, many children.
Remember that one when Trump, et al go after teachers unions.  Teachers are the union.
  • For me, it's simple; I trust parents, and I believe in our children.
I'm not sure if that's simple or simplistic.

Inauguration Day Protests in SPS; What To Know

Apparently there is a move among middle/high school students in Seattle schools to walk out in protest during the presidential inauguration this Friday, the 20th of January.

Tuesday Open Thread

Some sad news on two fronts.

One item is this from Ravenna Next Door on Sunday:
My daughter and her friends were playing at Bryant this morning when they texted me with concern about glass and jewelry, and "gun powder" on the playground.

I walked over to see for myself and sure enough there were empty beer cans, stolen jewelry and a pile of white powder with a razor blade, etc. I called the police who came surprisingly quickly and confirmed the white substance was Meth. Ugh. They took it to the station for evidence but left the jewelry and glass suggesting that I call the parks to come and clean it up. A very surprising site to say the least. Still researching who to call for clean up.
The second item is about a beloved staff member at Cascadia:
Allen Greenberg, beloved recess monitor at Cascadia Elementary in Seattle, passed away unexpectedly.  Allen spent his life giving to others - always looking out for the less fortunate.  He often stopped by Solid Ground to pick up food for the homeless and volunteered his time to help those less fortunate after recess duty. He had an impact on everyone he came in contact with. 
Funds will be used to help with funeral expenses, including travel to New York for his daughter and granddaughter.  Anything you can give will be appreciated.  
A big shout-out to all the students who came out yesterday to Olympia to advocate for full funding for public education.  I especially want to call out the many students from Garfield, including the football team, who went because as one parent at the WPD Facebook page said:
Super inspiring to see these kids putting in the work for funds that most likely won't even affect them.
 I see there is a Board meeting tomorrow night.  Agenda
I wish I could ask some questions about the financial reports annual report - there's some interesting figures in there that I don't understand (like the ASB fund.)  On the Assessment Annual report, there were these items of interest:
In place of Amplify, SBA interims for 16-17 School Year
Convene Assessment Steering Committee for 2016-2017 School Year
2016-2017 Program Review; Two programs were selected for this year's pilot based on review of our criteria**
1. Spectrum/Advanced Learners 
2. International Schools/Dual Language Immersion
Want to know what that ** notation is?  For the 2016-2017 pilot year, the degree to which program leaders were identified as willing and collaborative partners in the review process was a key criterion considered.

Wait, what?  The district has to ask program directors to cooperate in a program review and cross their fingers that the directors will be "willing and collaborative partners?" 

So remember that the BEX IV Contingency fund is 90% used up (even though they are only thru 50% of the projects) and the Capital folks are getting a "loan" from the General Fund because of that?

Well, they are asking for at least $240,000 because that's how much Cedar Park's project is over its budget.  It's amusing to see that they did not include portables in the budget (even though they knew they would be using them) nor sidewalk improvements (I'm guessing they thought the City would pay for this) and they didn't include furniture or technology.

What's on your mind?