Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Seattle Schools This Week

I had wrongly assumed most meetings were done for the year but had forgotten that there are generally some left before the 4th of July holiday.

Tuesday, June 28th
Work Session: Strategic Planning & Partnerships from 6-7 pm at JSCEE.  Agenda
This includes:


– Research & Evaluation

– Community Partnerships

– Equity Initiatives & Outcomes

– Family Partnerships

– Race & Equity 
 
This office is head by Brent Jones, Chief Strategy & Partnerships Officer.  For a one-hour Work Session, this presentation is overly long.  I cannot see how the Board could go thru it and have time for important questions.
 
Page 7 is a review of Major Accomplishments but I would be interested in more detail about external funding and the 23 schools in the Creative Advantage program.  They also mention "MENDR research-practice partnership" but I can't find any info on that item.
 
One thing I see about this accomplishments list is that it's long on "things we did" rather than how those things provided better outcomes.  I recall that one issue for the Families&Education Levy overseers was just such lists from community partners; the F&E levies wanted to know about outcomes.
 
I see on page 30 that there will be an new office for "equity project management."  I am disappointed that the district believes it needs a whole new office for this work instead of leaving it with Race&Equity.  Page 31 also says they won't have an "equity scorecard dashboard" until Winter 2017 ("on track.)  That seems like a long time to wait to see outcomes.
 
Wednesday, June 29th
Work Session: 2015-16 Superintendent Evaluation Check-In/2016-17 Superintendent SMART Goals; Executive Session: Evaluate the performance of a public employee from 4:30-7:30 pm at JSCEE.  Agenda

Thursday, June 30th
Audit & Finance Committee of the Whole Meeting; Executive Committee of the Whole Meeting;Work Session: Budget
From 4-6 pm at JSCEE.  No agendas yet available.  The Board will go into a closed executive session at the end of the meeting.   

Tuesday Open Thread

End of school year congrats to:

- Queen Anne teacher, Joe Bailey, who was named Kidd Valley Teacher of the Year
- John Rogers Elementary students earned the Anti-Defamation League's No Place for Hate® campus for the 2015-2016 school year.  It's the first SPS campus to earn the award.

Speaking of Queen Anne Elementary, the Queen Anne &Magnolia News has this update on their new addition.  They are considering two ideas, one of which would move the main office to the addition with the library.  I hope the district is taking safety conditions into consideration because I think having the main office in a separate building might have effects in emergency conditions.

I hope you didn't miss (and it bears repeating) this great story on KUOW on students at Interagency. 

There was also big news about Nathan Hale High School.  From SPS:
Seattle Public Schools (SPS) is pleased to announce former Portland Trail Blazer All-Star guard and Seattle native Brandon Roy has accepted the job of new head basketball coach at Nathan Hale High School starting the 2016-17 season. 

Roy started his basketball playing career in Seattle where he attended Garfield High School. He quickly earned the reputation as one of the state’s best high school player.
But the Seattle Times sports columist, Larry Stone, asks this question:  Did Lorenzo Romar, Brandon Roy and UW's recruiting of the Porter brothers cross the line?

He asks this because Michael Porter, Jr.,  a one-of-seven home-schooled siblings - who is 6 foot 9 inches tall -  is likely to go to Nathan Hale this fall along with his younger brother, Coban.  Romar, UW head coach for basketball, hired this student's dad as an assistant coach (they have a long-time friendship.)  After that, Brandon Roy was hired to coach basketball for Hale.  (Stone calls Hale "a previous basketball wasteland in the powerful Metro League," ouch.)

Stone says that the NCAA passed legislation to limit "so-called package deals," forbidding schools from hiring any individual associated with a prospective athlete in a non-coaching staff position for two years before and after enrollment."  (It's also being reported that a top player at Garfield is transferring to Hale. Hmm.)


Hard to know what to make of this story but if all this pans out, it certainly is going to make for some exciting basketball in the Metro League.

Architects presented two schematic concepts for the project, both of which add a gymnasium and eight classrooms, and boost the permanent capacity of the school to 500 students to address current and projected elementary growth in Queen Anne and downtown, while reducing overcrowding in other area schools.
The differences in each scheme are in regard to where certain aspects of the school are housed. Though both called for a new gym just off of the current covered play area on site, one scheme called for a two-story addition with four classrooms on each level, while the other suggests moving the school’s head office to the new addition along with the library, while making the existing cafeteria slightly larger. 
- See more at: http://queenannenews.com/Content/News/Homepage-Rotating-Articles/Article/Plans-for-Queen-Anne-Elementary-addition-move-ahead/26/538/38715#sthash.rfnDjA16.dpu
Architects presented two schematic concepts for the project, both of which add a gymnasium and eight classrooms, and boost the permanent capacity of the school to 500 students to address current and projected elementary growth in Queen Anne and downtown, while reducing overcrowding in other area schools.
The differences in each scheme are in regard to where certain aspects of the school are housed. Though both called for a new gym just off of the current covered play area on site, one scheme called for a two-story addition with four classrooms on each level, while the other suggests moving the school’s head office to the new addition along with the library, while making the existing cafeteria slightly larger. 
- See more at: http://queenannenews.com/Content/News/Homepage-Rotating-Articles/Article/Plans-for-Queen-Anne-Elementary-addition-move-ahead/26/538/38715#sthash.rfnDjA16.dpuf
Architects presented two schematic concepts for the project, both of which add a gymnasium and eight classrooms, and boost the permanent capacity of the school to 500 students to address current and projected elementary growth in Queen Anne and downtown, while reducing overcrowding in other area schools.
The differences in each scheme are in regard to where certain aspects of the school are housed. Though both called for a new gym just off of the current covered play area on site, one scheme called for a two-story addition with four classrooms on each level, while the other suggests moving the school’s head office to the new addition along with the library, while making the existing cafeteria slightly larger. 
- See more at: http://queenannenews.com/Content/News/Homepage-Rotating-Articles/Article/Plans-for-Queen-Anne-Elementary-addition-move-ahead/26/538/38715#sthash.rfnDjA16.dp
Architects presented two schematic concepts for the project, both of which add a gymnasium and eight classrooms, and boost the permanent capacity of the school to 500 students to address current and projected elementary growth in Queen Anne and downtown, while reducing overcrowding in other area schools.
The differences in each scheme are in regard to where certain aspects of the school are housed. Though both called for a new gym just off of the current covered play area on site, one scheme called for a two-story addition with four classrooms on each level, while the other suggests moving the school’s head office to the new addition along with the library, while making the existing cafeteria slightly larger. 
- See more at: http://queenannenews.com/Content/News/Homepage-Rotating-Articles/Article/Plans-for-Queen-Anne-Elementary-addition-move-ahead/26/538/38715#sthash.rfnDjA16.dpuf
Charter group Green Dot's founder, Steve Barr, is running for mayor of LA.  Luckily for LA, they have a pretty well-liked/regarded mayor in Eric Garcetti.  Look for some big-pocket funding for Barr's campaign from wealthy charter supporters like Reed Hastings, the founder of Netflix, and Eli Broad.
Barr’s entry into the 2017 race comes amid a historic push by local activists to expand charter schools as an answer to problems in the Los Angeles Unified School District, and is likely to revive debate around a recurrent theme in L.A. government: the relationship between LAUSD and City Hall. L.A.’s mayor, unlike those in Chicago or New York City, has no formal authority over the school district.
Garcetti's campaign manager echoes what many of us say about Mayor Murray's lean towards control of our district:
“It’s one thing to be somebody who is focused on education as their issue as an education advocate,” Carrick said. “It’s another thing to be the mayor of a city where you have got a lot of issues.”
What's on your mind?

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Future of Ed Reform

I actually had not meant to sit down and write this one but I had so many articles piling up on this subject, it seemed the right time. 

To be clear (as I am certain that 99% of adults in the U.S. would agree), all is not well with public education.  There are many reasons for that.  Now, if you just looked at white and many Asian students, the U.S. is doing as well as most top-level countries.

But the U.S. is a very heterogeneous country that tests all public school students.   We are also a country that seemingly is accepting that nearly 25% of our children live in poverty.  Anyone who thinks that a good teacher is going to overcome institutional racism, poverty and inconsistent/low funding is wrong. 

Also, when I speak of education reform in the U.S., I mean corporate ed reform.  I'm not saying change isn't needed; I'm saying what is being pushed is not really working and, at the end of the day, seems to be serving to allow some people to make high salaries and some companies to make a lot of money.

I keep up with Education Next which is leans right but usually has some pretty solid thinking.  One of their contributors is Michael Petrilli who I generally don't agree with but again, offers more than happy talk.

In April, he wrote this piece, Policy change is not the only path to school reform.

Summer at SAM (and other events)

This is one of my favorite summer events and, except for the food, all free.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Garfield and Principal Ted Howard

The Times had a story about the principal at Garfield High School, Ted Howard.  Mr. Howard went to Garfield and his father was also a principal.  Mr. Howard has been principal at Garfield since 2004. 

(Fun fact; there are at least three SPS high school principals who graduated from their schools - Howard, Martin Floe at Ingraham and Kevin Wynkoop at Ballard.)  The focus of the piece seemed to be how Principal Howard has a "microcosm" of the city to manage.

To note, it appears to me that the Times is on a careful campaign to try to point out the many ways that SPS is not bridging the opportunity gap.  I'm pretty sure this is in anticipation of figuring out a way - next legislative session - for the Mayor to take over some or all of the district. I'm not kidding.

"Howard has decided that public education was never built for kids with needs like Robert Robinson's."  (Robinson was a former student at Garfield from foster care who was exited from Garfield for cutting classes and detention.  He enrolled at Intergency, then Cleveland and was shot to death last fall on Beacon Hill.)

I would agree with Mr. Howard on that point but I would also point out that is an extreme case.  Most kids in less-than-suitable foster care or who are homeless are likely to create the greatest challenges for any school. 

The Mayor said he plans to end homelessness among Seattle children before the end of the year so let's see him get that done first before he tries anything else.

Upfront I will say, I only know Garfield from the outside.  I have talked with many Garfield parents thru the years, reported on good and bad issues at Garfield but I cannot say that I "know" the school.  Here's what I do know.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Is This What We Want for Children at School?

Update: from the NY Times, asking parents of your child's playmates about guns in their home.


From a mom in Michigan (via Facebook, bold mine):
I took this picture because initially I thought it was funny. I was going to send it to my husband to show what our mischievous little three-year-old was up to. However, The moment she told me what she was doing I broke down. She was practicing for a lockdown drill at her preschool and what you should do if you are stuck in a bathroom. At that moment all innocence of what I thought my three-year-old possessed was gone.

Politicians - take a look. This is your child, your children, your grandchildren, your great grand children and future generations to come. They will live their lives and grow up in this world based on your decisions. They are barely 3 and they will hide in bathroom stalls standing on top of toilet seats. I do not know what will be harder for them? Trying to remain quiet for an extended amount of time or trying to keep their balance without letting a foot slip below the stall door?

The Legislature's Education Task Force Wants Your Input

Given what they have asked for, I believe they want an actual outline of specifics, not just suggestions.

Request for Proposed Solutions from the Public:
Recommendations to the Legislature on Implementing the Program of Basic Education as Defined in Statute 

As discussed during the June 8th meeting of the Education Funding Task Force (EFTF), members of the EFTF would like to request proposals from the public on what recommendations they would make to the Legislature on implementing the program of basic education as defined in statute.

Proposed solutions must be submitted by e-mail at EFTFResponses@leg.wa.gov. Please submit proposals by July 31st. 

Proposals must include both a plan for expenditures and the source of resources to fund the expenditures, either cuts to existing expenditures, new sources of revenue or some combination thereof. The resource portion of the proposal must be specific. For instance, if the proposal includes elimination of tax exemptions, it must specify which tax exemptions are recommended to be eliminated. 

Proposals should include recommendations for each of the education funding components that are outlined in Section 2 of Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill 6195.

Friday Open Thread

Candidate Forum for State Superintendent hosted by Southeast Seattle Education Coalition, Equity in Education Coalition, and Coalition of Immigrants, Refugees & Communities of Color,
Tuesday, July 19, 2016 from 5:00 PM to 7:30 PM
New Holly Gathering Hall, 7054 32nd Ave. S

How one principal turned around a "persistently failing school" in Longview.  Strong leaders build relationships.

The Kids Are Alright - so says this editorial from The Columbian about teen behavior in the U.S.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court had two rulings that could affect public education. 

One was the second round of a Texas case where a white woman had filed a lawsuit over the University of Texas' use of an affirmative action in their enrollment policy that included the use of race.  The Justices ruled, 4-3, that a very narrow use of race as part of an enrollment policy was legal.  (I note that this is similar to what they ruled in our district's former use of race in enrollment.  The district's policy was not tailored narrowly enough and the Court overturned it.)

The second case blocked President Obama's executive action to protect almost five million undocumented people from deportation and would permit them to work legally in the U.S.  Naturally, within that group, there are children. This ruling was a 4-4 tie which means it goes back to the original appeals court.  This being an election year, it is doubtful that court will review it before the election. 

What's on your mind?

Thursday, June 23, 2016

OSPI Wants Your Input

The purpose of the Educator Working Conditions Survey is to gather input from educators, administrators, parents, and community members on the various factors that affect working conditions in schools. This includes parent and community involvement, leadership, professional learning, classroom support, and safety.
You have until July 11th to take it.

Things Kids Can Do This Summer

Heard about these programs via readers and the always-helpful Director Leslie Harris.

Special Education Stories of Note

From KPLU: How The Language Of Special Education Is Evolving

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Food for Thought for New Grads

Great essay from a guy named Tor Bair: Your Life is Tetris. Stop Playing Chess.
1. In life, your only opponent is yourself.
2. In life, things don’t get harder — they just get faster.
3. In life, you can’t control the board.
4. In life, no one tells you when you’ve won.