Sunday, September 25, 2016

State Superintendent Debate

Besides the forum this week on Wednesday, September 28th, there is also this event with the candidates for state superintendent of public instruction.

League of Women Voters (LWV of WA Education Fund and LWV - Seattle-King County) Saturday, October 8th at 10 am at the Quincy Jones Performing Arts Center at Garfield High.

This forum is for Commissioner of Public Lands and Superintendent of Public Instruction.  Spanish and Somali translation will be provided as well as childcare.

Seattle Schools This Week

Tuesday, September 27th
Growth Boundaries Information Meeting, Hamilton IMS from 6:30-7:30 pm. 

Wednesday, September 28th
Board Work Session from 4:30-6:45 pm.
Topic 1 from 4:30-5:15 pm - Executive Directors of Schools
Topic 2 from 5:15-6:45 pm - 24 Credit Graduation Requirement Implementation- Board Policy Review and Revision.

I'm not exactly sure what can be said about the role of executive directors but, from my own experience and listening to readers, I'm not sure they serve a great purpose.  It is more than a bit surprising that parents are told to go to executive directors if they cannot solve an issue with a principal and not one single parent has ever told me it helped. 

State Superintendent Forum at Town Hall.  Tickets are $10 and doors open at 6:15 pm with the debate starting at 7 pm.  The debate is sponsored by Arc of King County and Washington Autism Alliance and Advocacy.  The theme is Diversity and Inclusion in Our Schools and the debate will be moderated by Dr. Illene Schwartz, UW professor of early childhood and special education.

Thursday, September 29th
Growth Boundaries Information Meeting, Mercer IMS from 6:30-7:30 pm

Saturday, Oct. 1
Community meeting with Director Rick Burke at the Greenwood Library from 3:30-5:00 pm.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Garfield Football Game To Receive Extra Security Tonight

From our friends at the Capitol Hill Seattle Blog:
The reaction was widespread, divided, and intense last week after the entire Garfield High football team voted to kneel during the national anthem for the rest of its season as a silent protest against racial injustice.
While many were supportive, backlash against players, coaches, and the school was in some instances extreme and threatening as news of the demonstration spread nationwide. Seattle Public Schools does not publicly address safety issues concerning specific students or staff, but a spokesperson said the school and Seattle Police are taking precautionary measures during Friday night’s game.
“There will be increased SPS safety and security presence at the game,” said SPS spokesperson Luke Deucy. “SPD will also increase police presence at the game.”
Garfield is playing Chief Sealth tonight.  I would hope no one would want to harm students playing a football game. 

Free Museum Day, Tomorrow, September 24th

Via Smithsonian Magazine

It's free museum day on Saturday, September 24th.  You need to download a ticket.  Here's some of the locations in our region:

Asian Art Museum
Museum of History and Industry
NW African American Museum
Museum of Flight
Bellevue Arts Museum
Asian Art Museum
Seattle Art Museum

Seattle Schools 2016-2017 Enrollment Numbers

Update: the district tweeted out this AM:

Early data says K-3 will hit class size targets & receive full funding.

Here's the link to their explanation of the situation. Monday is when principals learn about staffing changes. 

end of update

A reader had put this up elsewhere; I have the numbers for all the schools and will get them up soon.

2016-2017 High School Enrollment (numbers from Oct 2015, with % change.)

Ballard High School 1,849 (1702, +9%)
Chief Sealth International High School 1,120 (1174, -5%)
Cleveland STEM High School 854 (842, +1%)
Franklin High School 1,260 (1308, -4%)
Garfield High School 1,759 (1714, +3%)
Ingraham International High School 1,346 (1235, +9%)
Nathan Hale High School 1,180 (1179, +0%)
Nova High School 331 (344, -4%)
Rainier Beach High School 700 (671, +4%)
Roosevelt High School 1,741 (1715, +2%)
The Center School 230 (270, -15%)
West Seattle High School 997 (994, +0%)

Friday Open Thread

I attended the first community meeting on the growth boundaries last night.  A bit of a mess.  No signage as to where to go, started late, didn't have the microphone working for quite awhile - not good.   Flip Herndon was even wandering around like the rest of us, trying to figure it out where to go.  So many map and yet so little information.

I'll have a write-up on this meeting but you might want to get ready for some loud advocating.  It appears the staff is somewhat trying to twist the arms of the Board in order to get what staff wants.  The Board should have none of it.

Growing pains?  SPS is not alone.  From the Issaquah press:
The average size of the district’s elementary school is 622 students, while middle schools are averaging 960. The three high schools’ average is skewed as Liberty has just 1,200 students while Skyline and Issaquah have more than 2,200 each.
Good op-ed over at Crosscut by Bill Keim, the head of the Washington School Administrators Association on McCleary.  What makes it good reading is his documentation of spending by the state.
During the past four decades, a big part of why Washington’s education funding system went from near the top among the states to near the bottom is the powerful pressure exerted on the legislature by anti-tax forces. This isn’t just an opposition to new taxes. As the attached graph from the Washington State Budget and Policy Center shows, we’re nowhere near the level of state revenue as a percent of personal income that we were two decades ago.

In a 2014 presentation on this topic, David Schumacher, director for the state’s Office of Financial Management, said this decline represented a loss of $15 billion in revenue for the biennium. That would be more than enough to address the state’s education funding shortfall.
Community Meeting on Saturday:Director Patu - Caffe Vita from 10am-11am
Community Meeting on Sunday: Director Geary - NE Library from 2:00-3:30 pm

What's on your mind?

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Honors for All at Garfield: How's It Going?

The only thing I have seen here at the blog is that at least one teacher requires a reading log.  I guess that could be useful except that 1) did the kid actually do the reading or is trying to impress the teacher and 2) is the teacher truly reviewing what each student is reading and issuing guidance? 

So if you have a child in the class, let us know how it's going on in-class work, homework, classroom structure/behavior, etc. 

If you don't have a child in the class, please do not weigh in.  We're are discussing how it is playing out and only the teachers and the students know for sure.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Friday Memo of September 16, 2016

Oh, these Friday Memos and the stuff you find in them.

The Superintendent's letter covered a lot of topics quickly. His recap of the Board Retreat would is, I suspect, better than the Board Retreat. It covered all of the topics at about the same level of detail, but used up only a few seconds of reading time instead of a whole day. It's mostly platitudes until the One Time Funds part at the end. The good news there is money to start the middle school math adoption (we can see the beginning of the end for CMP II), and money for IB and teacher cut back mitigation.
In the brief blurb about the Seattle Center, we learn that the school district's needs (which includes a high school) were among the primary topics for discussion. The superintendent has made it clear that it is up to the Board to decide where and how to add north end elementary HCC capacity.

Michael Tolley's letter includes a feeble defense of the arbitrary caps put on Special Education enrollment at Option Schools. In his letter he makes reference to a document that speaks to the heart of the issue. Of course, the document, Special Education Program Placement in Option Schools, is not attached. The central question, which Mr. Tolley does not address, is how does the District set the cap for Special Education enrollment at Option Schools? Or at any other schools, for that matter.

The Facilities and Operations letter says that there will be will be a community meeting at Madrona on Tuesday, September 20, 2016 from 6-7pm where the district will be sharing more information and collecting feedback on changing Madrona from a K-8 to an elementary school when Meany Middle School reopens as a comprehensive middle school in the fall of 2017.

The HR letter says that there are 94 teacher vacancies in the district right now including 21 elementary teachers and 19 special education teachers.


I wanted to let readers know about a new show, Speechless, that starts tonight on ABC at 8:30 pm.  It's about a family with a child with cerebral palsy.  It sounds like, on the surface, it's a show about family challenges (which we can all relate to)  but they just happen to have a child, JJ, with a disability.

The actor who plays JJ, Micah Fowler, does have cerebral palsy.  Here's the review in the NY Times. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Loyal Heights Parents Fired Up Over Staffing

As I previously reported, Loyal Heights is roiling over staffing uncertainty and on Saturday packed Director Pinkham's community meeting.  Here's what appeared in the parent newsletter:

Tuesday Open Thread

A bit late; I was covering the Loyal Heights protest which I'll have in a separate thread.