Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Meeting Items of Note

Update: link to district update on the Student Assignment Transition Plan and High School Boundaries.

Documents for today's Task Force meeting.  I note that they will be making a decision for a recommendation on Cleveland today which is likely to be returning it as a comprehensive instead of a STEM school.  What a mistake.

Decision Timeline

 end of update

If you have questions about next steps for high school boundaries, please send them to . If you have questions about highly capable pathways, please send them to .
You may also contact School Board Directors at (all board directors and cabinet level staff) or (only school board directors).

First, there is a High School Boundaries Task Force meeting tomorrow, Thursday, the 14th, from 12:30 -2:30 pm at JSCEE, Room 2750.  Thanks to Director Mack for the heads up.

Next, the agenda for the Board Work Session today from 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm has switched the order of the items.  BEX V was to be first, at 4:30 pm, but is now the last item, starting at 6:30 pm.  Some kind of Spidey sense told me to check this (as I had planned to attend to hear the BEX discussion) and sure enough, it's now at the end (and I cannot attend then).   The agenda does include the presentation.

I find some of the wording in the presentation odd.  They use quote marks for several terms like "prioritization."  They also do not definitely say they will seek parent/public input on the list (and where they possibly may, it looks like only at the final stages).  I believe parents and staff should have direct input on the list.

They include the facilities report in the presentation. The priority schools, based on the assessment, appears on page 14.  BUT, there's yet another list for capacity.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Tuesday Open Thread

I am behind on stories but will be doing much more towards the end of the week including:

- charter school lawsuit
- departures from zoning ordinances for Green Dot charter group and possible ramifications for the relationship between the City and the district/Board
- Lincoln high updates

Is the Cat in the Hat Black?  That's the name of a new book and the interview in the Washington Post with its author is insightful and engaging.

WASDA (Washington Association of School Directors) is having a conference in May 2018 called Equity: From Boardroom to Classroom.  This as equity continues as the word of the year in public education (that's my call).

Here's commitment: Board President Leslie Harris will be holding a community meeting on December 23rd from3-5 pm @ Delridge Library.

Here's a great tool from GO Oakland about Oakland School District - a easy way to look up how board members vote on issues.   I'm interested in learning more about this org - it looks like a REAL parent/community association doing great things in service to their district.

Congrats to West Seattle Elementary's state-qualifying chess tournament.  They had over 100 participants.

From King County:
Students from Seattle Public SchoolsSalmon Bay School did an amazing job planting trees Dec. 6 at Big Finn Hill Park, part of King County Parks – Your Big Backyard. Hear why these students think trees are important — and learn more about why we’re planting 1 Million Trees by 2020, plus how you can get involved.
The Queen Anne area schools used to have an association several years back but it disbanded.  Now I see an association for West Seattle schools.   This follows on the heels of another group (this from KNKX):
A group of parents called the PTSA Equity Project Seattle has suggested creating what they call an equity fund that all PTAs pay into to redistribute a portion of money to high-need schools. It would be modeled after something similar in Portland that’s existed for more than 20 years.
There was more to this KNKX story about PTA fund-raising and Title One funds but I'll have a separate thread on that.

What's on your mind?

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Seattle Schools Week of December 11-15

Update: A&F agenda and C&I agenda updated to include supporting documentation.

end of update

Monday, December 11th
Audit&Finance Committee Meeting, agenda

Tuesday, December 12th

Board Work meeting on superintendent search, 2:30-4:00 pm, agenda
Includes a timeline for new superintendent.  It says there is to be an online survey available December 5th but I have seen nothing.

Curriculum and Instruction Committee Meeting, 4:30-6:00 pm agenda

Of interest:
-Superintendent SMART Goal 1, Multi-Tiered Systems of Supports (Jessee)
-New Superintendent Procedure 2331SP, Controversial Issues and Guest Speakers (Tolley/Van Duzer) 

-Special Attention Items
1. Math Adoption Pilot Update (Box)
2. New Course Offerings (Perkins)
3. Instructional Materials Adoption Process and Materials Cycle Planning (Tolley)

Editor's note: no accompanying materials to explain any of this; I will request them. Now attached.

Page 47 is a single page about an interim assessment field test.  
Page 48   

Kyle Kinoshita 2/3/17 To: Curriculum and Instruction Policy Committee From: Kyle Kinoshita, Chief of Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction,
Date: Tuesday, December 12, 2017 

Dear Committee Members, At the December 12, 2017, C&I Policy Committee meeting you will be receiving for your information a new procedure, 2331SP Controversial Issues/Guest Speakers. It is attached to an existing policy of the same name. The impetus for developing the new procedure is the emergence of intense, sometimes divisive political and social issues over the past few years. As these issues generate strong opinions, discussions taking place throughout society inevitably find their way into the classroom. The procedure provides more explicit guidance to Seattle Public Schools staff members who conduct conversations within the classroom to ensure that students are free to exchange ideas, express views, and form opinions in a respectful atmosphere. 

So this addition/new procedure around controversial issues/guest speakers seems to want to address what is said/present within school buildings.  I find it curious that only controversial guest speakers warrant parental notification but not teaching and learning in the classroom.


Wednesday, December 13th 
Board Work Session: BEX V update, Board goals, Budget-4:30-7:30pm, no agenda available

Thursday, December 14th
Executive Committee Meeting, 8:30-10:30 am, no agenda available

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Action Needed to Save U.S. Public Education

From the Network for Public Education:

The stakes could not be higher.

If the GOP tax bill passes, your federal tax dollars will be used to support the private and religious school tuition of any student, no matter how wealthy, in every state. 

The tax bills of both the House and Senate would allow wealthy families like the Trumps and the DeVoses to divert up to $10,000 a year in taxable dollars to pay K-12 private school tuition.

What the rich should pay in taxes, will instead pay for elite private and religious school tuition--even to schools that discriminate against students based on race, religion, gender, primary language, disability and LGBTQ status. The wealthy could take advantage of this tax scam before their child is even born.

Tell your representatives to take out the expansion of 529 accounts. Tell them to fully restore the SALT deduction instead. Send your email here.

Make no mistake. The ultimate goal of this scam's proponents (who include Ted Cruz and Betsy DeVos), is a national voucher program. As DeVos recently announced, "We are just getting started."

The war on education does not end there.
  • Both the House and Senate bills dramatically lower the federal deduction for state and local taxes (SALT), making it tougher to raise funds for public schools. That means that you will be taxed on part of your income that was already taxed to support public schools.
  • The House bill also eliminates the tax deduction for student loan interest, taxes tuition waivers as income, and eliminates the small tax credit for teachers to buy school supplies.
Time is short. Legislators do not want to go home and hear from their constituents, who  oppose these horrible bills. The final bill is being discussed in conference now and the plan is to push it through before the holiday recess begins on December 18th

Click here to send an email today.

Then make your call. You can find the phone numbers of your Senators here.
You can find the phone number for your House member here.

Keep it simple when calling:
"I am calling to express my opposition to the tax bill. I support public schools and oppose the expansion of 529 accounts for K-12 private school tuition. Restore the SALT deduction instead."
Act today.  

As middle-class and poor students are left behind in public schools, public school funding will drop.
Fight for democracy. Fight for your public schools. Tell Congress that you do not want your tax dollars going to the wealthy to send their children to private and religious schools.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

New Board Goes to Town Tonight on SATP and HCC Pathways

 Update: my understanding is that by voting down the SATP, vote for the amendment to end HCC high school pathways is now void.

What a mess.  I think someone was trying a power play and it didn't work.  Lack of true engagement NEVER works.

end of update

I was neither able to attend the Board meeting this evening nor view it on tv but from reports I'm hearing, it was a doozy.

First, there were elections for Board leadership.  Director Leslie Harris was elected president but by a 4-3 vote.  Director Burke was an uncontested vote for VP and won 7-0.  Director Geary is Member-at-Large.   Director Geary had apparently wanted to be president but it went to Harris.  At the Board retreat, only Director Pinkham wanted to be Member-at-Large but new director, Zachary DeWolf nominated Geary and it went to her.

But the agenda seems to have undergone change with multiple amendments for the SAP item in the last 24 hours.

The SAP which may have been voted down over these amendments (it's unclear to me at this point), two of which appeared sometime today.

 It appears that the Board voted to get rid of HCC pathways to high school by 2021-2022 school year amendment which was put forth by Geary, DeWolf and Patu.

This amendment gives significant advanced notice to families that this change is coming.

But without any notice of the amendment or engagement about it.  I smell the fine hand of staff behind this.  I'm pretty surprised to see Director Patu signing on.

By providing advanced course offerings in all neighborhood high schools, the district creates more demand for these courses in all schools, which will increase access to these courses to more students.

What? I'm sorry the directors didn't know that there ARE advanced course offerings in all comprehensive high schools.  It's true.

Having more of them will create more demand?  On what is that based?

By removing pathways, it will also remove a label from children, which currently has a negative effect on identity safety in classrooms across the city.

Which children are they speaking of? Odd that there is no specific explanation here.

Upon approval of this motion, staff will begin to create a long-term strategy for meeting the needs of every student in every neighborhood attendance area high school.

Wait, what? Isn't the district already doing this?  They have no strategy for meeting the needs of every students in  every high school?  That's quite a thing to admit.

I will have to sit down and view this meeting but I think this kind of action - so early on for a couple of new members - is problematic.  

Rainier Beach in the News (for Cheerleading)?

I feel so sad when I see this kind of story in the news because adults should know better.  It looks like there are several speakers on tonight's Board meeting speaker list to talk about the issue.

From KIRO-tv:

Cheerleading activities at Rainier Beach High School have been suspended until further notice after two incidents at the school last week.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Your Kid's Student Data for Sale? It's Happening in Texas

Update on another student data privacy issue: from the LA Times on the SAT/ACT firms selling data:
My teenage son received a letter the other day from the National Student Leadership Conference, one of a number of elite-sounding summertime events for high achievers. The cost of attending typically runs in the thousands of dollars.

I have no problem with these gatherings. They sound like good opportunities for young people to meet like-minded friends, learn new things and hear from interesting guest speakers.
It says if he attends the program — which can cost anywhere from $2,500 to more than $5,000 — he will be “awarded an Academic Transcript, Letters of Recommendation and a Certificate of Achievement to include in your college applications.”

I spoke with several college admissions officers. They all said such materials play little if any role in deciding whether to accept a student.

Amazing Opportunity for 10th Graders

From Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib's office:
The Washington World Fellows program is an equity-focused academic fellowship open to 10th grade student applicants in Washington state. Starting in the summer of 2018, the fellowship will consist of a six-week immersive Spanish language study abroad program in Léon, Spain, with a full college-level academic schedule, as well as post-trip college-readiness support. Before departing for Spain, students will attend a series of pre-departure orientation sessions in the spring in preparation for the study abroad program, and after their return, will have access to leadership opportunities and college application assistance through their 11th and 12th grade years.

Tuesday Open Thread


Parent Workshop: ‘Positive Behavior Supports at School and at Home’

Wednesday, December 6 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm at South Shore K-8
| Free

Presenter: Dr. Stephanie King, PhD, NCSP

Seattle Public Schools, Behavior Program Team Lead

Registration required

Send RSVP confirmation to Cilia Jurdy  using online form below
Call our office: 253.216.4479
For languages other than English, contact our staff directly

end of update

Congrats to Rainier Beach High School's varsity football team which is the runner-up for state champions in their division.  Sorry, that game is to be played on December 8th.

Monday, December 04, 2017

Charters Schools: Just as Segregated as Traditionals in Some Areas

Oh look, a story from the AP about charter schools and segregation.
National enrollment data shows that charters are vastly over-represented among schools where minorities study in the most extreme racial isolation. As of school year 2014-2015, more than 1,000 of the nation's 6,747 charter schools had minority enrollment of at least 99 percent, and the number has been rising steadily.

But schools that enroll 99 percent minorities — both charters and traditional public schools — on average have fewer students reaching state standards for proficiency in reading and math.

Howard Fuller, who was superintendent of Milwaukee schools from 1991 to 1995, rejects criticism of racially isolated charters. He says the imbalances reflect deep-rooted segregation, and it is unfair to put the burden on charters to pursue integration.
I have to give a side-eye to that last statement because charters have been throwing that at traditional schools for a long time.  Yes, segregation IS larger than what any one school or district can solve on its own.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Seattle Schools, Week of December 4-9

Of note from the district Communications:

Snow and Winter Weather Notification Information

Make sure your info is up-to-date so you don't miss a notice.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Friday Open Thread

The after-election Board is having its first retreat tomorrow at JSCEE from 10 am-3 pm.  It is open to the public but no input allowed.  However, they do take breaks and you could chat them up at lunch.  Agenda.   This is a VERY vague agenda that includes lunch with "partners," some talk about a "community focus group" and "interrelated initiatives review."  Hmmm

Looks like one topical issue that may confront new director, Zachary DeWolf - charter schools.  Green Dot charter group wants to open a grade 6-12 charter school near Rainier Beach High School in the New Holly planned community area.  It would also likely impact Franklin High School to the north. (I reported on this recently.)