Saturday, February 16, 2019

Tell City Council Candidates - We Want Safe Sidewalks Everywhere

In the Friday Open Thread, I mentioned how difficult it is for students and adults with disabilities during big weather events.  
We are going into an election season for City Council that will see many new members.  I urge you to bring this up with candidates - all parts of the city need sidewalks and they need to be ADA accessible.
Here are the comments from that thread that I found compelling.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Friday Open Thread

I was listening to KUOW's The Record where they were discussing challenges during the snow days. Jessyn Farrell said that she believes the district and the city should talk more and earlier.

I also note from Facebook many parents who were not happy with the state of the sidewalks around schools. Whose responsibility is that?  I would assume the district's but is that the entire sidewalk around the block? Just in front of the school?  If someone got hurt, could they sue both the City and the district?

Parents, how was it coming back to school?  Did you think it was safe to get there?  I note that at the school I volunteer at, we had no recess which I assume is because it was cold and the playground may have had some icy spots.

Another issue - both for schools and in general - is that the snow is hard on people with disabilities who have challenges in regular weather, no less snow days. 

I also note that parents want to know what happens to make up the lost school days.  As I previously reported, State Superintendent Chris Reykdal said waivers may be granted but not until the end of the winter season.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

New Head for Advanced Learning Should At Least Have Some Background Experience

Update: Peters tells me that the AL head job description hasn't been posted yet; what is there is just some old description they have for the job.  As she points out, it is odd that even the old description says nothing about 2E students or even accurately describes the scope of the job.

end of update

The following is a guest post from former Board Director Sue Peters.  I note that in addition to the departure of head of Advanced Learning, Stephen Martin, SPS is also seeing the exit of Executive Director Kim Whitworth (corrected, my error).

What is stunning is the lack of detail in the job description; no mention of actually working in gifted education with instructional practice and content, including social-emotional needs of gifted students, no mention of twice-exceptional students,  knowledge of multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) or successful state level experience (e.g., role, leading committee or advisory groups).

For this particular post, I am not allowing comments as I know this topic tends to break down quickly into more arguing than discussion.  So this is an informational post.

Guest Post

Head of HCC/AL programs Stephen Martin is retiring from SPS this year. Speak up now to request highly qualified, appropriate replacement. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Upcoming Charter School Applications in Washington State

There were 12 NOIs (Notices of Intent) submitted to the Washington State Charter Commission this fall. 

I'd be surprised if more than six even submit an application; it's a heavy lift to get done.

There were some surprises as I researched each NOI.

First surprise?

That the two assistant principals at West Seattle High School, Scott Canfield and Garth Reeves, have submitted an NOI.  That would be for Cascade:Midway High School in south King County to start in 2021.  They are getting help via the Washington Charter Schools Association which accepted them for their School Leadership and Design Fellowship.

What is the State of Charter Schools in Washington State?

The state of charter schools in Washington State is uneven at best.

Since the original 2012 law was passed for 40 schools in five years, we are now at 12 charter schools.  The first charter school - First Place - closed in a year due to both financial and management issues.  Now, a second charter, Soar Academy in Tacoma, a K-8 school, is closing at the end of this school year, mainly due to Special Education costs.

Soar's closure will end the only K-12 continuum of charter schools in the state.

And yet, the Seattle Times, a local charter cheerleader, hasn't bothered to cover it.  An oversight? I doubt it.

From the News Tribune on Soar's closure:

A Terrible Anniversary on Valentine's Day

Tomorrow will mark the one-year anniversary of the 17 murders and 15 injuries at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.  Students who survived and have spoken out have been called "crisis actors."  It is hard to believe in a country built on democratic speech that anyone would attack children speaking out after what is likely the worst day of their lives in a place where they should feel the safest.

From Rolling Stone:

Wednesday Open Thread

Great news on the passage of SPS levies.  However, technically, levies are just a pot of money that the district can do whatever they want with it.  Of course, it behooves them to do what they promised to do.  Oversight is key and I hope the Board and parents and the public make sure that happens.

Interesting story on teens who DO want to get vaccinations despite what choices their parents have made in the opposite direction.

Washington's Paramount Duty has changed their Lobby Day at the Legislature to Wednesday, Feb. 27th.  Sign up here.

Speaking of the Legislature, here's the Washington State School Directors Association (school board members), has a weekly legislative update for news on public education related issues.

Statement from OSPI on Waivers Due to Snowy Weather

On February 8, Governor Inslee issued a proclamation declaring a statewide state of emergency related to this week’s winter storm. We expect the proclamation to be lifted at midnight on February 15, 2019.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Seattle Schools News Updates

Wednesday, Feb. 13th - schools are closed (again).  

Election results - both levies passed.

Operations - 65.81% Yes
Capital - 68.19% - Yes

Election Day (How to Vote if You Can't Get Your Ballot Sent)

HOW TO VOTE if you don’t have mail service and can’t get to a ballot box.

Monday, February 11, 2019

District to Cease Use of Some Education Software That Doesn't Meet ADA

I came across this memo that could have significant implications.

To: Seattle Public Schools Staff
From: Kyle Kinoshita, Executive Director of Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction John Krull, Chief Information Officer, Department of Technology Services (DoTS)

Seattle Public Schools is committed to conforming with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and ensuring students with disabilities can access educational software. Classroom student digital resources must be accessible to ALL students, including the visually impaired. This year, SPS has been reviewing its educational software for ADA compliance.