Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Important Special Education Stories

The first story is from OSPI who released data on restraint and isolation for Special Education students in Washington State.  The story from KUOW:

Friday Memo Surprises on Boundaries

During the discussion at the Boundary Changes thread, I was asked to create another thread on what readers found in the Friday Memo on this subject.

One reader noted that two of the attachments that were supposed to be in the original BAR are finally at the SPS website.  (And use that in any argument you want to make about going forward - information was not given to the Board and the community in a timely fashion.)

Attachment DGrandfathering and Fiscal Impact Data
This is quite the terse and less-than-fleshed out fiscal document.

Attachment E - Community Meetings Feedback (62 pages)

From the Oct 21st Friday memo - 2017-18 Growth Boundary Feedback and Consideration
(via Green Lake parent)

This memo is organized into four categories as was mentioned at the School Board meeting on Wednesday, October 12, 2016 when the Growth Boundaries BAR was introduced. The memo covers the following topics: grandfathering recommendations, Cedar Park planning, requests to review specific change areas, and highly capable cohort pathway planning.

Tell the Kids to Get Out There and Vote

From the News Tribune: 
Washington state’s annual Mock Election is back, and kids can cast symbolic votes on real candidates and measures from 9 a.m. Monday to 1 p.m. Nov. 4.

The event is open to all students in kindergarten through 12th grade in public, private and tribal schools, as well as homeschooled students.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

High-Roller PAC Seeks to Oust Supreme Court Justices

I had heard about this PAC on the radio, Citizens for Working Courts Enterprise, WA.  Apparently, they are seeking to defeat Justice Charles Wiggins over decisions they believe hurt business. 

However, you look at the list of names and I see ed reformers in there.

Much of the news around the campaigns for the three justices up for re-election - Yu, Wiggins and Madsen - has been the decisions on McCleary and on charter schools. 

Who's in this PAC?

- Vulcan, Inc. $300K
- Bill Gates $200K
- Connie Ballmer $12,500K
- Steve Ballmer $12,500K
- Building Industry Assn of Washington $10K
- Bradford Smith $7K
- Kathryn Surace-Smith $7K
- Washington State Tree Fruit Assn. $1K

For a total of $550,000. 

Tuesday Open Thread

Today is the last day to take a short survey about the Seattle Public Library's website.

Annual free health clinic at Seattle Center this weekend via the Times:
More than 4,000 people from across Washington will have access to $3.5 million in free vision, dental and medical care starting Thursday during the third annual Seattle/King County Clinic.

Dental fillings, extractions, X-rays and cleanings will be provided, along with vision screening, eyeglasses, physical exams, wound care, immunizations and more. Help connecting with and navigating health-insurance options will also be available, said Deborah Daoust, communications director for Seattle Center.People must wait in line — sometimes for hours — to be seen during the four-day event that runs from Thursday through Sunday in KeyArena at Seattle Center. Numbered admission tickets are distributed each day starting at 5 a.m., and registration begins at 6:30 a.m.

A patient waiting area, situated this year in the Fisher Pavilion, opens at 12:30 a.m. each day. For the past two years, hundreds of patients camped out and lined up early in hopes of obtaining care. Saturday and Sunday are the busiest days, so organizers encourage people to come earlier in the week.
The district's LGBT Family dinner is coming up on November 3rd from 6-8 pm at Washington Middle School.
Members of the school board will be there to welcome LGBT families and their friends.
All Seattle Public Schools (SPS) students, families and staff are welcome to attend. This this donation-funded event is brought to you by the Health Education Office and the Office of School Family Partnerships.
Dinner and entertainment will be provided. To reserve space at this popular event, please RSVP with the number of people in your party to Lisa Love in the Health Education Office at 206-252-0982 or
What's on your mind?

Monday, October 24, 2016

Seattle Schools' Boundary Changes

I wanted to put up the thread in response to this query:
Anonymous curious said...
I know Kellie has tried to explain, but I am still pretty clueless. The board is voting on Boundaries 11/2, correct? I've received no responses from SPS or the board related to boundaries. Given all the distractions lately, I'm not sure what we still need to advocate for and by when. Is there a list of new board amendments somewhere? I found the staff amendments, but they don't seem to address anything that matters.

I'm mainly curious if anyone is suggesting to eliminate some of the geo-splits since they move so many kids from one packed house to another. I am also curious if any feeder patterns are changing for north-end middle schools.

10/24/16, 10:17 AM

Erin Jones Gets It Wrong (Again)

Update 2: it appears someone has either tried to hide the Holland donation to Jones or sent it back (AFTER this thread was posted) because it's no longer posted at the PDC.  Hmm.

As well, look who else joined the party...Vulcan just kicked in $2,000.

End of update 

Update: A few interesting developments.

1) Remember those donors to Jones' campaign, Clyde and Rena Holland,who also gave money to Tim Eyman? Know who else they gave money to? Donald J. Trump for president (via the Puget Sound Business Journal.)  Now, Chris Reykdal got rounded criticized for mentioned Trump in a donor letter but apparently, he wasn't too far off the mark.

2) Once again, I am getting heat for reporting what a candidate said.  There are even a couple of people who think Senator Carlyle is not telling the truth.  You have to ask yourself, "Why would he lie?"  That Jones remains silent on this issue should tell you something.  I also note that I would have to wonder about her effectiveness with legislators once they hear - and they will - that she distorts what is said in personal conversations.  What legislator is really going to want to talk candidly with her?

end of update

Two updates on the race for State Superintendent of Public Instruction in Washington State between Chris Reykdal and Erin Jones.

Once again, I do not believe Jones is ready for this office.  Her tendency to say what she thinks people want to hear - and then go back and rearrange her thoughts -  is not a good trait for someone in public office.

I'm supporting Chris Reykdal who has been consistent in his views and his words for the entire campaign and is the best qualified candidate. 

This is a video (it appears to be a house party for Jones) where she talks about a phone conversation with Rep. Senator Reuven Carlyle whom she calls "a leader in the House."  She told the group that he called her and she talked with him for 45 minutes and:

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Seattle Schools This Week

Monday, October 24th
The district is still looking for input on the K-5 ELA instructional materials (at select schools or on-line) until November 30th.

Families, staff and community members are invited to review instructional materials under consideration for use in K-5 English Language Arts classrooms. You can view materials and provide feedback online or in person.

Tuesday, October 25th 
First of two community meetings on the budget from 6-8 pm at JSCEE.

Seattle Public Schools (SPS) will be hosting two budget presentation sessions this fall for parents and community members to learn budget background information and to gather feedback on the question, “What Do You Value?” as it relates to potential funding changes for the 2017-18 school year.

Both meetings will provide an overview of the District's budget and planning process as well as an opportunity for our families to make recommendations to the District's Leadership Team and School Board regarding what their ideas would be if the District receives additional funds or has funding reductions that affect the 2017-18 school year.

Wednesday, October 26th 
Board Work Session at JSCEE:

4:30-5:15pm: Oversight Work Session - English Language Learners
5:15-6:00pm*: Work Session - Superintendent 2015-16 Annual Evaluation: Part I
6:00-7:30pm*: Work Session - Budget

Thursday, October 27th
Community Meeting on reopening Lincoln High School, 4400 Interlake Ave. N, from 6:30-8:30 pm.

Join Director Burke and SPS staff for a community listening meeting about Lincoln High School, scheduled for opening in the fall of 2019.  We have exciting plans for the site renovation and restoration, but the academic programming and student assignment plans are still developing.  Come and share your concerns and ideas to help make Lincoln's opening a successful start for a vibrant school.  Representatives from Teaching and learning, International Education, Enrollment, Capital Projects, Bassetti Architects, and the School Design Advisory Team (SDAT) are expected to be present.

Saturday, October 29th
Community Meeting with Director Burke at the Fremont Library from 11 am to 1 pm. 

Other items of note:

The 2016-17 meeting schedule for the Highly Capable Services Advisory Committee are posted. There are currently several vacant positions on the committee. If you are interested in filling one of these positions, please complete the nomination form and return it to the committee chair.

Want to know when the deadline is for this application? October 28th.  That's one whole week of advertising this need (unless only HCC parents were contacted which would be a bit odd.)  And, to find that date, you need to open the application. 

Almost as if they didn't want to fill those positions.

Monday, November 7th
Superintendent's State of the District speech at Franklin High School from 5-7 pm.  This year's title is "Seattle Public Schools: Our Story."

Let's Talk About Race (Part One)

 We could start this discussion with the micro-view of what is happening in Seattle Public Schools.  But that doesn't work because that's just peering down into a silo and trying to figure out what's happening.

The real pressures of the entire society AND our nation's history cannot be ignored.  (This is one place where I part company with ed reformers who just want to look at the micro-view and ignoring what is happening out in the greater world.)  Poverty and racism do not stop at the schoolhouse door.

But we will talk about racial equity as it relates to schools in Part Two.

Rules of engagement:
- NO name-calling especially of children.  It will not be tolerated.
- We all bring to this where we were brought up, who brought us up and their thinking, our education (both K-12 and beyond), where we have lived and worked and who we partnered with, etc.  That is all part of where we ALL get our implicit bias.
- I do not profess to know everything on this topic nor have the answers.  I'm learning and I hope all of you have that desire as well.  But with these initiatives rolling out the district - without any widespread discussions in our communities - I worry about the outcomes.

Part One of this discussion is about helping each other learn. 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Teaching Compassion from One Teacher's Story

You may recall the story earlier this year about a Tacoma kindergarten teacher who was removed from her classroom because she was drunk.  I think most of us were aghast at hearing that.

But one person, reporter Matt Driscolll at the Tacoma News Tribune, wanted to know more.  He wrote this piece that appeared this week,

This kindergarten teacher was fired for being drunk. Three months later, she was dead. 

It's a beautiful story, written with compassion.  It's about how every single person has a story especially beyond their death.
Klara’s story, on the other hand, is one with trauma and addiction at its center. Like roughly 17 million people in the United States, she battled alcoholism. Unlike most, however, Klara’s struggle was very public.

It’s a struggle that ended in early June, when she took her own life. She was 33.

“I begged reporters not to use her name … even though they had the right to do so,” recalls Tacoma Public Schools spokesman Dan Voelpel. “While her actions meant she could no longer teach for us, she did not deserve to be publicly shamed.”
In deciding to share their late daughter’s story, Klara’s parents hope to inspire difficult — but needed — conversations about how we view alcoholism and addiction.
Read more here:

Read more here:

Friday, October 21, 2016

Friday Open Thread

Show the kids what a bear - Big Baloo - looked like right before he goes into hibernation.  (With that physique, I think he's good to go.) From the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Just wanted to point out the powerful story from KUOW's Ann Dornfeld on Black Lives Matter Day.  She, like all the press, was not allowed into any Seattle school to observe and report on the day but she's a resourceful journalist and went to Highline SD.   Seems like this class did just fine with their discussion with her present.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Houston, We Have a Problem..Outside Thurgood Marshall

A reader sent me this and said there were 2-3 of these around signage at Thurgood Marshall.  I am told the Board knows about this.

I was kind of surprised to hear an HCC parent at Soup for Teachers say this: I agree with the sentiment (and I'm an HCC parent) but I wouldn't do it this way. Let's not shame kids.

Okay, HCC parents, do you think your child is enrolled in a "apartheid" program?  Here's what the dictionary says (after explained it means "a state of being apart," an Afrikaans word.

"Apartheid was a system of racial segregation in South Africa enforced through legislation..."

There is no enforced separate in HCC.  The program is open to anyone.   The program is not just one race, there are many, many Asian students (despite attempts to make that sound like it does count which baffles me.)  Of course, there is underrepresentation by black, Native American and Latino students and that needs to change.  But apartheid?