Friday, October 24, 2014

Garfield Teacher Cut Update

A bit of confusion all around (and you could see this from the Superintendent's letter). 

What process is happening?  I think recounting using the Running Start students eligible to be counted.  Or something else? 

The GHS PTSA sums it up (bold mine):

Superintendent Nyland's Statement on Maryville School Shootings

The following is a brief statement from our Interim Superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland. He is the former Marysville School District superintendent.

"My heartfelt thoughts are with the families, students, staff and entire Marysville community during this difficult time."

What a terrible day for him.  I'm sure he must know many staff members at the school.

Superintendent's statement to the Seattle Schools community. (partial)

It is a struggle for adults and children alike to try to comprehend why and how such a senseless and shocking incident could occur. Excessive and repeated media viewing can create increased anxiety, and therefore limiting ongoing exposure is recommended. Additionally, talking about the incident can be a healthy way for families to process their feelings and reactions to an event of this nature.
You know your child best, so be mindful of the timing if and when you choose to discuss this with them. Here are a few suggestions for helping students feel safe:
  • Maintain a normal routine.
  • Stick to facts. Answer questions factually.
  • Remain calm and reassuring. Students take their cues from their parents and adults. Be a good listener and observer. Pay attention to changes in behavior.
  • Notice when children have questions and want to talk.
  • Be especially loving and supportive; children and teens need you even more at this time.
  • Take care of yourself. You are better able to help your students if you are coping well. If you are anxious or upset, children are more likely to be so as well. 
Additionally, the following resources from the National Association of School Psychologists may be helpful:
Today is a tragic day. Our thoughts and hearts go out to the students, staff and families at Marysville Pilchuck High School and the entire Marysville community.
 

More SPS Community Meetings on Boundary Changes

In November 2013, the Seattle School Board approved various changes to elementary and middle school attendance area boundaries (Growth Boundaries). These changes are being made over time. Planning is now underway for the boundary changes proposed for implemented for the 2015-16 school year. Students will be grandfathered at their current school.

In September, letters, including translated versions, were mailed to the families living in the affected areas who currently have students enrolled in Seattle Public Schools. The letters invited families to come to community meetings in early October to learn more. Enrollment projections show that these changes affect up to 1,172 current students.

A second round of community meetings are being held in upcoming weeks to answer questions and receive additional community feedback. The schedule is below.

Two Students Dead in Nearby High Shooting

 Update: the shooter has been reported as committing suicide.  He was a freshman and played football.  He had been voted freshman homecoming king.  He was very close to his family and involved within his community.  Some are saying it was over a girl who had rejected him.

It is reported that many students either ran from the scene in the cafeteria or ducked under tables when the shots rang out.  

There will be a vigil at a church in Marysville tonight. 

End of update.

The Times is reporting a shooting this morning at 10:45 am at Marysville-Pilchuck High school in the cafeteria.  Four other people were wounded, three of them are in serious condition.  The school has 1200 students.  Some evacuated were walked from the building with their hands up, others locked themselves in classrooms.

A parent's nightmare:

Friday Open Thread

In one Nebraska high school, students are being granted the right to pose with their firearms for senior pictures.  (No, it's not the Onion.)  From Mother Jones:

“The board, I believe, felt they wanted to give students who are involved in those kinds of things the opportunity to take a senior picture with their hobby, with their sport, just like anybody with any other hobby or sport,” Superintendent Mark Sievering explained to local paper, the Omaha World-Herald. 
As for the "tasteful" requirement, that means classy poses only folks: no photos with weapons pointed at the camera, no brandishing of weapons, and no "scantily clad girls."

Can't they just take a photo?  In the yearbooks I was in, it was a simple head and shoulders shot. 

Change.org has a petition up for saving recess in Seattle Schools. 

I may have put this up before but it's worth showing again. Long ago, there was a girl singer named Lesley Gore who sang a brilliant song, "You Don't Own Me." It was about a girl telling her boyfriend what NOT to do and it truly is an anthem for girls and women who may be with a controlling person.  (I actually think a modern-day singer - see Beyonce, Gwen Steffani - could really blow this one out.)

Speaking of women role models, great interview with Michelle Munson, CEO of Aspera from the NY Times.

What career and life advice do you give to college seniors?
No. 1: competence. Nothing, nothing, nothing replaces being competent in what you’re doing, and that comes with respect for opportunity. 
I do not subscribe to the idea that young people should emphasize people skills. The world is not just a social network.  
The second thing is critical thinking, which leads to independent thinking, and that comes from a diverse education and stretching yourself with independent-study internships and outside projects and activities.

Community meetings tomorrow:
Director Patu from 10 am-11:30 am at Cafe Vita.
Director Peters from 2:30-4:00 pm at Queen Anne Library

What's on your mind?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Strong Op-Ed on Preschool Props from Seattle Parent

The Times (finally) had an op-ed that wasn't for mayoral takeover or promoting 1B.  That was written by Seattle Schools parent, Rita Green, is even better.  Rita is a savvy, smart, dedicated parent and advocate for Rainier Beach High School.  My hope is that she may run for the School Board soon (before it becomes an appointed job).

Her POV is that 1B likely won't help low-income students and may even hurt the situation.  She supports 1A.

Now I believe voters should reject both but, since you can name a favorite (or the lesser of two evils), you probably should vote.  My vote, like Rita's, would be for 1A.  I'll highlight her thoughts but my basic one is that, after consideration, I think more low-income children would receive the benefit of 1A and that's where I want my tax dollars going.

Amazing, Inspiring Rally



It was pretty great.  Loud and proud, about 500+ Garfield students came out and spilled down the long front steps to the school.  The drumline came out.  There were signs and chants "We want to graduate!" Totally student-directed and organized.   The student were actively engaged and boy, it was a diverse crowd.

(There were two groups of three girls each, not with the students but standing in front with parents and teachers and reporters.  One group was Asian, the other were African-American girls with hijabs.  I asked them if they had left class.  Shyly, they said yes.  I asked if they were more quiet girls and they smiled and said, "Yes, but we wanted to come and be here."  Even the quiet girls came.)

The student leaders each read a section of their statement.  They don't want to lose a teacher, don't want their schedules disrupted over the loss and want Superintendent Nyland to take money from the rainy day fund of $8M to cover the cost.  (I'll jump in and say that if they have multiple $100K plus jobs advertised, it seems to me the district has the money.  Teachers before headquarters staff.)

Director Peters was there (didn't see Director Director Peters was there (no sign ofBlanford).  She spoke and told the crowd that she had talked with Superintendent Nyland and encouraged him to review the numbers. She also said she agreed that the teacher should be funded out the rainy day fund.

I got to the press conference late .  The district was represented by a female administrator I did not recognize and Stacy Howard of Communications.  They said the district is reviewing the numbers that Garfield has versus what the district believed them to have for "discrepancies."  They said it was not true that a core teacher would be lost.  They said that that the least senior teacher in whatever department it is would be the one to leave but no teacher would be "gone by Monday."

One issue about the discrepancies may be over the Running Start count.  Those students may or may not have been counted so that may be an issue.

There were several tv stations and radio stations there so I expect this will be all over the local news.

District's Statement to Garfield

I'm just on my way out the door to the Garfield walk-out and this message came up on my feed.  It's from Superintendent Nyland. 

(I don't see they are saying their numbers are wrong.  Well, something's wrong if Garfield says they DID meet the district's stated goal.)

Nyland also says:

  We are still working through this process, and we would hope the community will allow us time to complete our process. 

What? How does that help Garfield to say a process is still going on?

Nyland Letter

Student Safety Near Magnuson Park

I'll confess that this does not have to do with Seattle schools or its students.  But with the lack of concern for ANY student exhibited here, you have to wonder if this kind of lax behavior could happen anywhere.

Rep. Gerry Pollet, a true friend to public education, was being interviewed by KIRO-tv about the clean-up of radioactive sewer lines near Magnuson.  Look who comes walking along; students from the Waldorf High School. 

How is this safe?

From Rep. Pollet:

Watch how students are protected by a chain link fence from radioactive contamination at Magnuson Park. Numerous groups of students walked within a couple of feet of the work crew in radiation protection tyvek suits as they dredge out radioactive contamination from a sewer line. Their protection against splashes and contamination is the chain link fence. 

Students in this video are walking from NOAA road underpass towards Waldorf High School and Building 27 (indoor soccer). 

We have asked WA Departments of Health and Ecology to take some common sense safety regulatory steps since they told the public at Tuesday night's public meeting that they are overseeing safety of the cleanup by the Navy.

Student Protests Continuing (Now at Ingraham)

Ingraham High School has a Native/Latino club.  Since both the district and the City had passed resolutions recognizing Indigenous Peoples Day every 2nd Monday in October and, since November is Latino Heritage Month/Native American Heritage month, the club had asked the school for a school-wide assembly to "promote and celebrate" these recognitions.

But the school leadership said no.  According to a press release, "Ingraham H.S. has no formal policy or procedure for student club initiated school-wide assembly requests."  The students do have a grant to raise awareness of Native American students and wanted to use some of those funds for the assembly "to engage the Ingraham community by educating staff and students about local and National leaders, artists, activist and providing a rare look into Native/Latino perspectives, experiences and contributions."

The students are not happy with the no coming from the office.

These Ingraham students plan a noon protest on Monday, October 27th by the flagpole near the main entrance to stand in protest in solidarity.