Despite the shortcomings of our superintendent, despite the dysfunctional organizational culture of the Seattle School district, despite the inability of the district to hear (let alone work to meet), the needs and wishes of families in Seattle, many wonderful teachers work with our children.
This morning, I laid in bed with my two daughters as they recounted their first day of school at Pathfinder. I had gotten an abbreviated report via phone the day before, but I was on my way to teach and didn't get time for the full story. As I listened to the joy and excitement in their voices, and heard about the creative activities their teachers had designed for the first day, I realized we are blessed this year. Emma and Claire both have inspiring, talented, caring teachers. Lisa DeBurle (Frog clan) and Missa Marmalstein (Spider clan) are the kinds of teachers that every child should be lucky enough to have.
How can I be so sure after just one day? The first day report from my children served as confirmation of everything I had observed upon visits to the school last year, and the glowing reports of parents whose children had those teachers previously.
And why should anyone but our family care? Two reasons: 1) If you feel like giving up on the Seattle Public Schools and looking for other options, don't. Instead, work to find a school and teachers that are as good a fit for your children as Pathfinder and Missa and Lisa are for mine. 2) We need to work to change district policies that sometimes chase away the gifted teachers from our district. And we need to work to eliminate the barriers that keep other people from joining the ranks of public school teachers.
If you want to hear more about why Missa and Lisa are wonderful, you can listen to an excerpt from KUOW's The Conversation today. My comments start at 28:08 in the archive.