Thursday, May 26, 2016

Support Washington's Paramount Duty

Please consider coming to WPD's kick-off campaign party tonight, from 5:30-7:30 at the Sarajevo Lounge, 2332 1st Avenue, in Belltown. 

There's good reason to support their work because, as we recently learned, the WAPTSA wants to leave the work to fully-fund schools off their active "to-do" list. 
(They are leaving it on their standing resolutions list.  More on this to come.) 

Whose going to to to Olympia and directly and succinctly argue the issues?  WPD.  (I would say, "Who ya gonna call?" but the WPD is better than the Ghostbusters.)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

What Should the Focus Be for Seattle Schools?

Sadly, I was unable to attend the Work Session today.  I hadn't realized that the topic was adjustment of the Superintendent's SMART goals and what the focus of the district should be for 2016-2017. 

I know - how to decide?

What is difficult for me is that -operationally - the district still struggles.  Some of it is, of course, the funding.  There just is not enough for all that needs to get done especially in terms of supporting schools in basics like nurses and counselors as well as supporting Sped/ELL/AL services and programs like IB.

But, no matter the money lacking, the district has a fundamental responsibility for safe buildings that are well-staffed and support the services needed for the students in those schools.

This district will never make much forward progress - in any direction - if the operations are not right.  This has been my experience for over 15 years and we still see these problems.  It's almost as if every superintendent who comes in just doesn't want to see this issue (or try to address it.)

I think less-than-effective operations affects every thing else or makes it difficult to enact and move forward with initiatives.  That former Deputy Superintendent Charles Wright had come to the Board Executive Committee and said that "we can't wrap our arms" around operations and wanted $1M for a consultant to give them a plan forward should tell us something.

There are smart people working in the district.  But it is a place with many moving parts and many silos and, as we continually find out, software that makes it near impossible for many departments to communicate work to each other.

So what were they to talk about today?  Here's the agenda.  The staff narrative starts on page 9 of the PDF (some pages are numbered in different ways than other so I'll be going by the PDF.)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Seattle Schools Looking for Members for Capacity Management TaskForce

From SPS Communications:

Who's a Bully?

I have been noticing there is this new meme out there - grown-up bullying.  Do I think it exists? Sure but not in this new expansive definition of one person expressing unhappiness over another person's professional actions and having it called bullying.

I find this especially troubling when it comes to public servants/elected officials.  It's almost a way to deflect any kind of questioning that taxpayers may raise. 

In New York state, an anonymous person/group has created a Wall of Shame for administrators who oppose opt-outs of students in their districts/states.  (And there's another ill-used word - shame.)

Tuesday Open Thread

Just a few days left to view new K-5 Language Arts materials during the adoption process, more here.

Wondering what Donald Trump's plan is for K-12 public education?  So is everybody else. From Media Matters:
Education Week reporter Andrew Ujifusa surveyed a bipartisan group of education experts and advocates about Trump’s education stances, and found widespread confusion over what Trump believes and what he could actually accomplish. Several conservative and centrist experts concluded that Trump did not know “what the federal role is, or could be” when it came to education policy, and that he “doesn’t know what ESSA is,” referring to the Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaced No Child Left Behind in December.
Looks like Seattle Schools is not the only district growing; Bellevue SD has grown about 600 students per year over the last few years.  From the Bellevue Reporter:

Monday, May 23, 2016

Hale Has Recorded Bomb Threat - Nothing Found, Everyone Safe

Hale was evacuated this morning when staff discovered a message on voicemail about a bomb threat.  The building was emptied and SPS came in with a dog to go thru every room.  Nothing was found.  And, unlike the last time, only Hale had such a message (last time there were at least three high schools involved.

I am told this is a growing trend at high schools around the country.  

State Superintendent Questionnaire: David Spring

David Spring is one of four candidates for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. 

About David (partial from his website):

Seattle Schools Once Again Shoots Itself in the Foot

The Times is reporting that the district is using the Bill Clinton school of language to explain what the word "support"means in matching funding from the Alliance for Education for the IB program at Rainier Beach High School. The Times includes footage of the Alliance event where the announcement was made by President Patu.  It must have come as quite the surprise to her to learn what "support" means. 
Despite great fanfare at the announcement that Seattle Public Schools had made an agreement to fund International Baccalaureate (IB) classes at Rainier Beach High earlier this month, the district says promising to support that program does not mean giving it extra money.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Seattle Schools This Week

Monday, May 24th
Special Education PTSA meeting from 5:30-7:30  7:00 pm, JSCEE Room 2765  (When this meeting was first announced, I gave it a thread by itself and had the correct day/time.  Unfortunately, I checked the district's calendar page when I made up the list for this thread and it was wrong.  I apologize for the confusion.)

Board Work Session on governance priorities and Superintendent's SMART goals from 5:30-7:30, JSCEE Room 2750.  No agenda yet available

Wednesday, May 25th
State Auditor's Office Exit Conference, 4:30-5:30pm
Board Work Session on the 2016-2017 Budget from 5:30-8:00 pm.  No agenda yet available.
Both in JSCEE auditorium  

Thursday, May 26th
Washington's Paramount Duty campaign kick-off, Sarajevo Lounge, 2332 1st Ave from 5:30-7:30 pm.

Saturday, May 28th
Community meeting with Director Burke at the Greenwood Library from 10 am-noon. 

Also to put on your calendar:

Join the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) at one of the following Washington Regional Forums to learn more about the new

June 14, 6–8 pm, Everett Community Resource Center, Everett
June 15, 6–8 pm, Emerald Ridge High School, Puyallup
June 16, 6–8 pm, Educational Service District 112, Vancouver
July 11, 6–8 pm, Educational Service District 105, Yakima
July 12, 6–8 pm, Wenatchee High School, Wenatchee
July 13, 6–8 pm, West Valley High School, Spokane
July 19, 6–8 pm, Highline Performing Arts Center, Burien

Visit our website for details and help us spread the word 

Times Kicks Some Ass on Education Funding

Section by section, little corners of hell are freezing over as I find myself agreeing with the Times on issues of public education.  (Although, sometimes it's like following a bouncing ball - I never know how I think they will come out on various education issues.)

Case in point - their Sunday editorial, Election time, so get serious on education funding. 
Candidates filed to run for the jobs of lawmaker and governor last week. When they show up on your doorstep in coming months, be ready to grill them about the state’s failure on its most important issue:

What are you going to do to fully fund education?

Washington State PTA to Members: Not Qualified to Talk about Money for Education

There was a speech that was delivered by Duncan Taylor, the interim Legislative Director, at this weekend's PTSA convention in Yakima.  I heard about it from several PTA people who told me they were quite surprised at what he said.  He skipped going over what happened at the last legislative session in Olympia which is surprising.

So the lessons learned from this past legislative session were not so important to talk about for Mr. Duncan. Unfortunately, there was one key thing that it would behoove all ed groups to understand - bring the kids.  It certainly was the tipping point for some Democratic legislators for charter law legislation. 

What did he say?

Basically, Mr. Duncan is saying PTSA shouldn't advocate for money for public education for two reasons.

One, all those numbers are too big and complex for parents to understand.

Two, it's not their mission as a group.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Washington's Paramount Duty - Let's Get This Done

People doing the hard work to get our schools fully funded; let's support Washington's Paramount Duty.

Come out for their Campaign Kickoff. 

Thursday, May 26
Sarajevo Lounge
2332 First Avenue (Belltown)
5:30-7:30 pm

Kids welcome!