Thursday, May 05, 2016

Transgendered Restroom Use Bill Could Bankrupt System

The biggest hit to the state would be in the form of education funding.We are not North Carolina and this has got to be a no if only because of the financial ramifications (but, of course it isn't only about money.)

From The Stranger:

Washington State could lose as much as $4.4575 billion annually in federal funding—and much of it for the state's public schools—if voters pass anti-trans bathroom initiative 1515, according to a new report.

"If I-1515 is passed, it would explicitly require that restrooms are gender segregated by biological sex, which is in direct contradiction with Title IX," Amira Hasenbush, one of the authors of the report, told The Stranger. "So that would be a direct conflict, and schools can be denied federal funding if they're in conflict with Title IX and Title VII."

Nine percent of Washington State's K-12 funding comes from the federal government. But a fiscal analysis of the proposed ballot measure from the Williams Institute at the University of California-Los Angeles School of Law found that those school funds, roughly equivalent to $1 billion a year, would be in jeopardy if I-1515 passes the November ballot.

For a state already unconstitutionally underfunding its public schools, the loss of federal funding would be devastating. And report authors say their estimates are conservative.

No on I-1515.

Dear Substitutes, Here's a Start to Your Thread

From SPS Communications:

District investigating financial agreement made by former employee

SEATTLESeattle Public Schools is looking into a settlement agreement that a former district employee entered into with Seattle Education Association (SEA) for more than $500,000, and without superintendent or School Board approval. The agreement is related to long-term pay for substitutes, some of which has already been distributed.

The district will complete a review of how this occurred and continue legal assessment to decide a course of action. The district will provide updates as they become available.

Seattle Schools 2016-2017 Calendar Approved by Board

The 2016-17 school year calendar was approved by the Seattle Public Schools School Board on May 4, 2016.

Editor's note: the winter break this year will be an entire week.  The calendar trades off every other year with just a couple of days to an entire week.  This is a negotiated item in the teachers contract.

Important dates include:

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Listening in on the School Board Meeting

Update #2: The Seattle Times is reporting that the district has put Carol Burton, the music teacher at Garfield, on administrative leave "while the district finds another job for her."  

Ms Burton described the news to the Times as being like "getting kicked in the stomach."

SEA president-elect Phyllis Campano, in her testimony at last night's Board meeting, tried to talk about the issue but got waved off by President Patu due to Board rules about testifying about a specific personnel matter.  She went on to speak generally about how administrative leaves are costly for the district and hard on teachers.

I note that Ms. Burton's lawyer says that Ms Burton would not have allowed the male student at the crux of the field trip incidents on the trip if she had known about his past history.  That directly contradicts what she said during the district's investigation of the trip. 

end of update.

Update: Shannon Stanton, Alki  principal, is leaving as is Roxhill principal, Sahnica Washington.

end of update.

It appears that Shauna Heath, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning, is leaving Seattle Schools. In Director Harris' director remarks, she referenced Heath and wished her well on her new life in Brazil.

The student speaker was Rochelle Bowyer from Center School. She did a great job in representing her school and how the issue of loss of arts there would be detrimental to the school.

Carlina Brown-Banks came forward to thank the Board for working to find funding for IB at Rainier Beach High. She generously called out that there are two other IB programs in the district - at Chief Sealth and Ingraham - and that the district needs to help support them as well.

My heart is gladden by all the great student speakers tonight. They offered superlative thoughts about both the IB programs, Center School and the Garfield Music program. (I do worry about the last speaker - a young woman from Garfield - who is missing her regular classes to teach the music classes.)

I have rarely looked at the district's "Gold book" on the budget but this year, I'm going to try to comb thru it and try to understand where the money is going.

I also note that earlier in the meeting, the issue of the cuts of family support workers at about eight schools in our district. As a couple of directors pointed out, there was discussion at the Mayor's Education Summit about having support in schools and wrap-around services and yet, these schools are losing that support. I think some on the Board are interested in understanding more about how the City funds these positions thru the Families and Education levy.

Board comments point out the irony that Loyal Heights drama group did a wonderful scene from The Wizard of Oz. (I missed that but I can't wait for the video to put available and I will link it here.). The irony is that it was followed by testimony from both Center School and Garfield High students about arts in their young lives and academic careers.

What Seattle Schools Students are Talking About

I attending the morning section of the Mayor's Education Summit at Garfield High last Saturday (and will write a separate thread.) 

Local This and That

 GiveBIG has been extended to midnight tonight because of technical difficulties yesterday.  Please consider giving so that your donation gets stretched from their giving fund.

Have you been keeping up with the story on Bellevue High school and their football team?  Long story short, they became a football powerhouse when they hired a new coach around 2000.  The team has won multiple state titles since then.  But their school board heard rumors of improprieties and hired two lawyers to investigate. The main issue is students who don't live in their district being on the team as well as some of them not even attending the school and being at some off-site non-Bellevue district diploma mill program. And, Bellevue High had many more transfers of students who ended up playing football there than other high schools in the district.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Autism Intervention in the Community; Talk at UW

From UW's 11th Annual Allen L. Edwards Psychology Lectures; Connecting the Dots between Research and the Community:

Wednesday, May 4th - Autism Intervention in the Community
Lectures begin at 7:30 p.m. and take place in Kane Hall 130.
with UW professor Wendy Stone and University of Pennsylvania professor David S. Mandell.
Families of young children often face obstacles as they navigate the path from being concerned about autism to initial diagnosis and treatment. Wendy Stone and David S. Mandell share strategies—from the doctor’s office to the classroom—for ensuring that children get the autism-specialized services they need.

Stevens Elementary: A Case Study in the Importance of a Principal

Update from Principal Archer:
I am sorry for the delay. Unfortunately, I am still waiting for authorization from Executive Director Pritchett. This past two weeks, staff was surveyed and I personally approached several staff members about camp. Everyone has refused to accompany the children to camp. I offered to accompany them to allay concerns regarding the larger district context around overnight trips, but was not able to get anyone to commit. I have an alternative plan awaiting approval from Ms. Pritchett. Until I receive that approval, I am unable to comment on the status of the field trip. I would rather wait and give everyone accurate information than tell you what I "think" might happen, get people's hopes up, and then have to disappoint everyone.
Again, I apologize for the delay but in this case, proceeding carefully and making sure all procedures are followed is of paramount importance.
end of update

I have always thought of adults in a school as part of a three-legged stool.  Parents, teachers/staff and the principal.  And I thought each leg was mostly equal.  All these years later, I know I am wrong.  There is much, much more that can go right - and go wrong - depending on who is at the helm.

The example that follows is classic SPS.  The district has fairly well-paid Executive Directors who are supposed to watching over the schools in their region.  And yet, Stevens Elementary appears to have been going downhill for years with the last two years being particularly difficult.  If the district wants to be data-driven, they should have been tracking the school climate surveys - by both teachers and parents - and seen something happening.  The filing of complaints with OSPI last year over Special Education issues should have been a huge tip-off.

Tuesday Open Thread

Better late than never.

Malia Obama has chosen Harvard for her college career.  Not such a shocker but what is interesting is she is taking a gap year and going into Harvard in fall 2017.  It makes sense given she would go in as the daughter of the ex-president and not a current one.  Obama seems downright wistful at seeing his little girl go off to college - very sweet.  The Obamas are also staying put for two years in D.C. for their other daughter, Sasha, to be able to finish high school where she started.

Good discussion on a gap year from NPR

GiveBIG Donation Delays

Update: from Seattle Foundation:

GiveBIG is going to go on thru midnight tomorrow, May 4th, because of technical difficulties at their website today.

end of update

I was having a hard time figuring out how to donate at their site and it turns out they are so flooded with donations, their technology couldn't keep up.  Please check back in at the website later today.

Rainier Beach IB Program Gets a Boost from the Alliance for Education

From SPS Communications:
The Alliance for Education and Seattle Public Schools today announced a multi-year agreement to sustain the International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Rainier Beach High School, which has been at risk of being discontinued at the end of the current academic year due to lack of funds.
The Alliance for Education has pledged $50,000 per year in philanthropic funds for each of the next three school years – 2016-2017, 2017-2018, and 2018-2019 – for a total of $150,000. This pledge has been made possible through the early support of the Thomas B. Foster Endowment and the John Stanford Fund. Seattle Public Schools will fund the remaining costs of the program and will be examining mechanisms to sustain the program beyond the 2018-2019 school year.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Seattle Schools This Week

Tuesday, May 3rd
Teacher Appreciation Day.  #ThankaTeacher
Naramore poster art
If I could thank a teacher, I'd thank my second grade teacher, Mrs. Gates, for her kindness and letting us listen to musicals, I'd thank my 5th grade teacher, Mr. Springer, who was a giant to me (he was 6"3" and I was very small but he was a giant in his patience as well), and Mr. Brendan, my band teacher in both middle and high school ,who believed in excellence even in a small, dusty border town.

Operations Committee Meeting at JSCEE from 4:30-6:30 pm. Agenda
Looks like a pretty straightforward meeting but there is to be a bell times update (but there is no attachment to the agenda.)

International School and Dual Language Immersion programs meeting from 6-7:30 pm at Mercer Middle International School.

African-American Male Scholars Initiative Community Meeting from 6-7:30 pm at the New Holly Gathering Hall.

GiveBIG day - all day - please consider donating to a group doing good works for Seattle children, whether in education or not.