Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Interview with Wyeth Jessee

I met with Wyeth Jessee last week (it was arranged thru Communications so there was a Communications person in the room who was not part of the conversation.)  He was the former head of Special Education and now, thru a realignment,  has a new role.
Seattle Public Schools (SPS) appointed Wyeth Jessee to Chief of Student Supports. Effective July 1, Jessee will provide leadership to the new Student Supports division with a focus on the implementation of the Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) model.
Under this restructure, a new division of Student Supports has been created and includes: behavioral supports, counseling, nursing, Special Education, English Language Learners (ELL) and the Advanced Learning services and will work in close partnership with the Curriculum and Instruction division.
He will report to Michael Tolley.

Family Engagement in Seattle Schools

Something I hope Seattle Schools keeps in mind.

Tuesday Open Thread

No meetings this week for SPS nor any director community meetings.

However, the All-City Band Jam is happening in West Seattle.  From the West Seattle blog:
Please join us on Friday, July 29th at the Southwest Athletic Complex (2801 SW Thistle) for Band Jam. This has become an annual event showcasing several bands that perform in the Seafair Torchlight Parade. Band Jam gives people the opportunity to see the bands perform in a concert setting on the football field.
This is a non-competitive event sponsored by the Seattle Schools All-City Band.
Doors will open at 5:30 pm, with music starting at 6:30 pm. Admission is free. Come hungry! Concession stands will be open on site with the proceeds benefiting Seattle Schools All-City Band. We hope to see you there.
From Social Equality Educators:
Rally in solidarity with teachers and education activist in Oaxaca, Mexico who have been killed, jailed, repressed for opposing corporate education reform!

When: Wednesday, July 27th, 4:00—6:00pm

Where: Rally at the Mexican Consulate in Seattle: 2132 3rd Ave, Seattle, WA 98121

Facebook page with details: https://www.facebook.com/events/205365026531530/
While some newspaper support Superintendent Randy Dorn's lawsuit, the Everett Herald does not.
The Supreme Court has scheduled a hearing for Sept. 7, asking lawmakers to defend their plan to develop a plan to satisfy the McCleary decision. Dorn should withdraw his lawsuit and take the advice of his attorney general and allow that process to proceed.
Did you see First Lady Michelle Obama's speech last night? Because it was aimed at how we support the children of our country.  It was fantastic and uplifting.
"And as my daughters prepare to set out into the world, I want a leader who is worthy of that truth, a leader who is worthy of my girls' promise and all our kids' promise, a leader who will be guided every day by the love and hope and impossibly big dreams that we all have for our children."
Does taking AP courses in high school prepare you for college-level work? Maybe not.  From The Atlantic:
The pair looked at thousands of high-school and college transcripts using the National Educational Longitudinal Study, a nationally representative survey of about 25,000 students that began in 1988.

They found that, when they controlled for things like race, gender, socioeconomic background, and standardized-test scores, the courses that students took in high school had very little impact on college grades.

The authors argue that while their research might sound dire, in reality, it might present an opportunity to bring more creativity and innovation to high-school instruction. Maybe a focus on non-cognitive skills, teamwork, or technical education would better prepare kids for college than a focus on mastering content they’ll soon forget, they posit. That shouldn’t mean eliminating all content, they clarify, but it should ease concerns that scaling back on drilling content to test new pedagogies will hurt kids.
 What's on your mind?

Monday, July 25, 2016

WikiLeaks DNC E-Mails: Avoid Common Core talk

Yeah, it's true.

Actually the phrasing was :

A) Common Core is a political third rail that we should not be touching at all. Get rid of it.

Given that more states are pulling back by themselves, I think the Dems may not have to do much.  And, with King Trump, it would be gone "on day one." 

This and That

The Issaquah School Board voted to use eminent domain to acquire property for school use.  From The Issaquah Press:
The Issaquah School Board voted unanimously Wednesday night to use eminent domain to acquire the 40-acre Providence Heights College property as a site for a new high school and a new elementary school.

A majority of the speakers pleaded with the board to repurpose the existing buildings. The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation included the campus on its 2016 list of the state’s seven most-endangered historic properties.

State law permits school districts to use eminent domain to acquire private property as sites for schools. If a district and a landowner cannot agree on compensation, the matter goes to superior court. Stiffarm said the process, if it requires a trial, can take at least a year. 
Interesting article from the Bellingham Herald about how many Democratic legislators are now running for open statewide seats (like state superintendent, lieutenant governor, etc.) 

Solving the School to Prison Pipeline Puzzle

A guest post from the Seattle City Attorney's E-newslettter by Darby DuComb.  Darcy is Deputy City Attorney for Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes and former Board Member of Page Ahead - www.pageahead.org, a children’s literacy organization in Washington State.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Yes, the Mayor DOES Want to Control Seattle Schools

I KNEW it.

Dora Taylor (who is the main writer/moderator for Seattle Education blog) and I both write public education blogs. We write about different things (and that's a good thing for people in this region/state who care about public education.)  We sometimes disagree.

But one thing we have agreed on is that Mayor Murray has plans to get the City a heck of a lot more involved with the direction of public education in this city.  And, he's not going to do so much via official lines of contact but thru many other methods.

To wit, Dora's latest thread, Leaked email shows how Seattle Mayor Ed Murray plans to take over the school board
In a letter sent to Mayor Murray from Regina Jones, who is now working for the Mayor’s office as an “executive on loan”, spells out how to take over the school board by “cultivating candidates to serve on the board” based on the success of two mayors in San Francisco and with the work of Hydra Mendoza because “As in Seattle, SFUSD was concerned about a takeover of the district by the mayor”.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Advanced Learning Wants Your Input

I still have to do my write-up about my talk with Wyeth Jessee about his new role as head of Student Supports, overseeing AL, Special Education, ELL, counseling, nurses, etc. 

One thing I will say now is that I asked him about changes in AL and he said he had just gotten the job (absolutely true) but it wouldn't happen without stakeholder input.  I reminded him that Spectrum disappeared like sugar dissolving in iced tea but he smiled and shrugged. 

But now a reader has alerted us that the AL department wants our input.  
Comments on the proposed DRAFT can be sent to advlearn@seattleschools.org with the subject line 2190SP.

The proposed DRAFT will be reviewed by the Curriculum and Instruction Policy Committee at their meeting on Monday, August 15, 2017. Please send your comments in before July 31 to assure it will be reviewed prior to the meeting.
There are a number of documents to read. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Washington State History about Public Education

From Robert Cruickshank of Democracy for America this story from HistoryLink:
History matters. This article tells the story of the so-called "Barefoot Schoolboy Act," passed in 1895. It was the first time the state of Washington attempted to fully fund our public schools, and it was thanks to the work of Populist progressive and future governor John Rogers. The article shows how the "paramount duty" language was created in the first place, and why it is so important that our state live up to that promise and fully fund our schools.

This was one of the core promises made when Washington became a state. It is time the legislature followed in John Rogers' bold footsteps and once again ensured all public schools in this state, and every child in this state, gets a fully funded and equitable education.
 From the article (some content will sound very of the minute to our current situation):

Friday Open Thread

Two stories about Garfield (neither about Honors for All.)  The first is from KOMO tv about a staffer at GHS, Joe Bland, who has been diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer and how the school is rallying around him.
Bland is a proud Seattle educator. For 26 years he’s been the locker room attendant at Garfield High School – at least, that’s his official title. Students would say he does much more.  Joe served several roles at the school. He was a disciplinarian who helped run Saturday detention. He also joked with students and gave guidance to those in need. His portrait is painted outside the locker room, where he’ll be missed this Fall.

If you'd like to help, you can do so here.
From the GHS PTSA Facebook page, this news:

Race in the Classroom

Here's an interesting article from the Chalkbeat blog.  It's an interview with Amy Stuart Wells, a Teachers College professor.
For the first time in the nation’s history, the overall student population is now less than half white. And while many schools remain deeply segregated, others are growing more mixed as Asian, black, and Hispanic families move to the suburbs and whites settle in gentrifying urban neighborhoods.

But there is a difference between diverse schools and ones that are integrated, says Amy Stuart Wells, a Teachers College professor who has long studied race and education. History has shown that seating students of different colors side by side isn’t enough — real integration requires schools to adopt inclusive curriculums, teachers to reflect on their own biases, and students to learn how to interact across race and class lines, she says.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Seattle Schools Loses in Court

From Soup for Teachers' Facebook page:
Seattle public schools just lost an appeal by a student who sued after he was injured in an incident where another student assaulted him at Aki Kurose. New trial ordered.
The case is from an incident in 2006.  Wow.

The crux of the matter seems to be an instruction to the jury: