Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Catching up on Education Reading

My desktop is full of stories.

SAP Documentation and Your Questions

Here is a district documented created for the Operations Committee by Nate Van Duzer, Director of Policy and Board Relations.  It's labeled: Student Assignment Plan "Transition" Label.

Tuesday Open Thread

A great job on working in the trades from the Marysville Globe.
If school isn’t your thing – don’t drop out, consider a career in the trades.  That’s the message Scott Peterson wants to get out not only to young people, but to others who may be interested in a career change.

While there is a shortage locally in the trades for electricians, plumbers, welders, pipefitters, etc., Peterson, a business agent for UA Local 699, especially is looking for people to install fire suppression equipment.
Here's a story about online learning as developed by Battle Ground school district:
River Online Learning enables students in grades 6-12 to take classes online instead of in a traditional classroom setting. Students in the program can learn at their own pace from anywhere that has an internet connection. And when they need support, they can get it from certificated teachers and their peers at River HomeLink, Battle Ground’s alternative learning school that provides a brick and mortar base for the online program. Continuous enrollment allows students to start any time and begin with just one class, and increase their course load over time to fit their specific needs.

Full-time students in the program meet with teachers face-to-face on a weekly basis, while part-time students meet with teachers at least once per month to track progress and address questions or issues that arise.  

In addition to providing this flexibility, River Online Learning also provides classes that are not offered at other schools, such as computer science courses, foreign languages such as Mandarin Chinese and Latin, and many more.
Did you hear? The "Big Dark" is coming.  From Q13:
Q13 News Meteorologist M.J. McDermott says a second weather system, more rainfall and persistent stronger wind arrives Wednesday morning. The steady breezy wind and steady rain, heavy at times, will seem to last all day and into the night.

Rain will continue, at times, through Thursday along with breezy wind. By late Thursday the chance of a thunderstorm will develop as temperatures cool into the 40s.

Again this year, Q13 News is partnering with Take Winter By Storm, a public-private effort between King, Pierce and Snohomish counties, Seattle City Lights, the National Weather Service and other utilities and retailers, to get you ready for storm season.

The organization has tips to help you prepare for storms and access to a number of checklists to help you and your family before, during and after a winter storm.
This is going to go on thru the weekend so keep that in mind as students get to school and other activities. 

Native American/Alaska Native family meetings, starting tonight at Robert Eagle Staff MS.

From the district webpage:

This Monday, did you know, throughout the school year, Seattle Public Schools (SPS) sources dairy, fruit and vegetables both locally and from across the state of Washington? We do!
What's on your mind?

Monday, October 16, 2017

Let the City Know to Include Seattle Public Schools in Planning

From SPS parent, Valerie Cooper Jackson:

Dear school advocates,

As our city grows, we are keenly aware of the increased infrastructure needs of our public education and we as parents, families, educators, and concerned citizens have increased our voice to let our elected official know that we deeply care about this issue.

I recently learned that in 2015 the city council amended the charter for the City of Seattle’s Office of Planning and Community Development to specifically include that they will develop planning strategies that support the public school facility needs now and in the future. This is very good intention, though there currently isn’t specific budget and staff time, or a specific planning process for this work. 

  The City Council Budget committee met last Friday and this topic was brought up in public testimony and by City Council members. You can watch it here: http://www.seattlechannel.org/BudgetCommittee?videoid=x83801

Now, over the next 6 weeks, is when City Council is deliberating on the budget, so THIS WEEK is a critical week city council to take steps to include a budget request that OPCD intentionally develop the planning strategies for school facilities. 

If we want to ensure that we have great schools in Seattle as we grow and develop, it is imperative that the City and school district continue and increase their collaboration on planning for school facilities. Funding the urban planning process through the OPCD to create a comprehensive, intentional and transparent process will help ensure that each child in Seattle has access to a high quality school facility.

Please contact our city council representatives TODAY and ask them to support a budget request for OPCD for urban planning for school facilities. With a deliberative and intentional urban planning process that addresses public education needs, we can equitably plan for the whole city's education infrastructure.

Please email and share this email!

Mayor: tim.burgess@seattle.gov

Before the Ballots Drop, More Seattle School Board Candidate Info.

Ballots are to drop this week, around the 18th so here are more school board candidate updates.

But I'll be straight-up here.

In District IV, it's Eden Mack.  Herbert Camet may have an extensive background in education but is not qualified for this position and his temperament is completely wrong for a group endeavor.

In District V, it's Zachary DeWolf.  I agree with the Times (who gave Omar Vasquez the nod) that DeWolf and Vasquez both have good solid backgrounds.  But their reasoning - some it based on the timing of levies(?) - is weird.  They completely left out his charter school background, also a misstep.
So why DeWolf?  In a word, teamwork.  DeWolf is very inclusive when he speaks to others while Vasquez always makes you feel like he's the smartest guy in the room.  Vasquez also can easily get his back up and again, not a great quality for a member of a board.  Since both of them would bring more diversity to the Board, it's an easy pick for DeWolf.

In District VII, it's Betty Patu.  I can say that Patu is not the best campaigner but that's okay because Patu was never in this work to be a politician.  She's the common sense voice that you need on a board.  She's the one who never really cares if she gets quoted but cares how many kids got some support and inspiration today.  She knows this district as no other candidate does.

Her opponent has barely registered in this campaign.  Due to unfortunate family circumstances, she has not been at forums.  (If she goes to this Saturday's forum sponsored by the NAACP and the League of Women Voters, let us know.  I'm unable to attend.)  However, below in my reporting, is what she said in her answers to a candidate forum questionnaire.  I find many of them troubling.  I don't believe she knows this district in any significant way. 

Last thing - I am sad that I am late to this news but I did want to point out that Eden Mack and Zachary DeWolf have been hosting community meetings on various issues.  Tonight's was about homelessness and SPS students.   They did one on Special Education and one on racial inequity.  This effort - to have conversations on challenging topics - when they could just be spending time trying to get elected shows commitment and integrity.

As for last week's second Seattle School Board forum at Madrona Elementary, here what I saw and heard.

Student Assignment Plan Meetings including High School Boundary Meetings

From a reader:

This was in the Roosevelt Newsletter this morning.

2019 High School Boundary Update - To relieve pressure on Roosevelt and Ballard High schools, some RHS families will be moving to the new Lincoln HS opening in 2019, the Ingraham HS with a new addition also opening in 2019, or Nathan Hale HS. The High School Boundary Task Force voted to recommend Boundary Map H2 to the School Board at the November SPS Board Meeting.

SPS Community Engagement Meetings - The district will be hosting open house style meetings to share SAP updates, recommended adjustments to Advanced Learning and gather feedback on 2019 High School Boundary scenarios. This is the last chance to have input before the November SPS Board Meeting. The meetings are:

Sunday, October 15, 2017

My Dinner with Betsy

As promised, I did attend the Washington Policy Center's "gala" fundraiser that featured Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos as well as Neil Cavuto from FOX News. 

Here's my account as published in The Stranger today.

This is a longer version that I wrote for this blog:

Friday, October 13, 2017

Possible Bus Strike on Monday?

Update from the district:

Update Oct. 15, 2017 In our commitment to keeping our families informed, we anticipate yellow school buses will run their regularly-scheduled routes on Monday, Oct. 16. We continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates as available from our bus provider. 

Friday Open Thread

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DLK1GIqWAAMy9pM.jpg:largeA Generation Z feminist poem, written by a third-grader, goes viral.

To note, the weather is pretty good and the estimate of numbers of people coming to the DeVos protest is growing.  The latest I hear is 5,000 with people coming from Olympia and Covington.  If you are going or will be on Facebook or Twitter about the event, use these hastags  #FlunkDeVos #DumpDeVos  #PublicEducationMatters

DeVos is speaking right at 7 pm  so I hope protesters will stay because she's going to probably be going out the door before 8 pm and may see the protests.

Speaking of DeVos, here's a link to the Secretary's Proposed Supplemental Priorities and Definitions for Discretionary Grant Programs.  Interesting reading about what the focus for that department will be.

One of this year's MacArthur Genius awards has gone to journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones of the New York Times who frequently writes about segregation especially around public education.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

On Eve of DeVos in Washington, She Goes to a Public School in Oregon

Betsey DeVos visits, she normally goes to a charter school or private school or both.  It is rare for her to acknowledge good happenings in public schools so it is a surprise that in her visit yesterday in Oregon, she went to a public school.  (Her office has not announced plans to visit ANY Washington state school.)  From The Oregonian:

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

New Superintendent? Maybe, Maybe Not

 Update: from Mirmac1.

RFP for a Superintendent Search firm was published 10/13. Proposals due the 30th

I would guess that means the majority of the Board decided we need a new superintendent.

End of update

Today sees a Work Session  Session with two topics; high school policies and the 2016-2017 Program Review Reports.  However the updated agenda shows two interesting things.

One, documents are actually attached.  I was just told that they would only be attaching documentation to agenda for the actual Board meetings.  I guess not.  Altogether there are 218 pages.

Two, an Executive Session has been added with the multi-purpose title -  To Evaluate the Performance of a Public Employee. 

Soup for Teachers is reporting it's about an RFP to fund the search for a new superintendent .  I find this odd that anyone would know the exact details of an Executive session.  These sessions are confidential for a reason and I have never been able to get details (except to confirm it wasn't about one or another topic).  I have to wonder who might have allowed details of the meeting to get out - a member of the Board or a staff member.

Superintendent Nyland did not get a second extension on his contract.  He himself came on saying he was an interim - they had to pull him out of retirement.  He got one extension but now, this district and this city deserve a real search for a true visionary leader.

But I am hearing there is pushback in some quarters on this.  The new Board as configured after Nov. 4th deserves to find a new leader for this district and those leaving the Board or even those continuing on should accept that.

Seattle School Board Candidates at Uptown Alliance Forum

Update: The Stranger announced their picks - Mack, DeWolf and Patu.  Best line?
Eden Mack would saw off her own arm if it meant fully funding Washington's K–12 public schools.
 Worst line?
The SECB wants to see a school board appointed by the mayor, who can then be held accountable for the state of Seattle's public schools, instead of the never-ending shit show that is, was, and seemingly always will be Seattle School Board elections.
My response to them (and pardon my french but it is The Stranger):

Wrong, wrong - and for the SECB - fucking wrong. Look to NYC, Chicago, etc. where they DO have a mayor in charge. Better outcomes? Nope. Biggest parent complaint? No one listens at all now. Sorry, you don't dump a mayor over schools (see Rahm Emanuel) so voters would not have any real say in their schools. Moon doesn't want that but Durkan does. Do your homework.  

end of update

I attended the Uptown Alliance Forum for Seattle school board candidates last night.  It was a sparse crowd - maybe 20 people. 

It was informative and infuriating, sometimes at the same time.