Thursday, March 20, 2008

Recruiting Additional Blog Contributors

When I started this blog, my goal was to get parents talking together and working together across schools. And that's happened because of the great people who joined the blog.

Charlie and Melissa have been the most active contributors by far, and I respect and value their contributions greatly, in addition to liking them both as people.

Of course, the other blog contributors, Michael Rice, Andrew Kwatinetz, and Johnny Calcagno, have also been welcome voices on this blog, along with the commenters. The more voices, the better.

I value the work of all the district's education advocates --- CPPS, CEASE, Chris Jackins, Von Paul Patu, Roscoe Bass, Don Alexander, and many others. That doesn't mean I always agree with them, but I believe everybody who is motivated to work to improve Seattle Schools for all children has an important voice that should be heard and something to contribute.

I joined CPPS because the Board and volunteer staff members share my vision and passion for improving Seattle Public Schools for all children.

I recruited Mel, Charlie and others to post on this blog because they share my vision and passion for improving Seattle Public Schools for all children.

This blog will be strengthened by having additional voices, so I am opening up recruitment again for additional contributors. Please let me know if you are interested by sending an e-mail.

And CPPS will be strengthened by having additional voices/members, so I can encourage you to sign up for their newsletter and consider joining.

Parents and community members working together city-wide can make a real difference in Seattle Public Schools.

14 comments:

Charlie Mas said...

I would really like to read more about Special Education and what is happening in that area. I don't think we hear about it enough.

Is there anyone who could step forward to post a few articles on Special Education issues and news?

Beth Bakeman said...

I second Charlie's interest in hearing more about special education. I'd also like to hear more about immigrant and ELL issues.

Deidre said...

I would love to hear from a teacher or administrator who could share their perspective about how these issues affect the front line, the classrooms, and of course the staff.

Secondly, I appreciate the vast amount of information that I get from reading this blog. Thank you to the current contributors, especially Melissa and Charlie. From the new contributors, I would love to see more of a "Let's work together with the district" message. The us VS them mentality is generally unproductive, as is the reading of race into every issue.

deidre said...

I would also LOVE to hear from a high school student, who could share their perspective, as they are the ones that live the realities of the decisions put forth!

dan dempsey said...

Deidre said...

....From the new contributors, I would love to see more of a "Let's work together with the district" message. The us VS them mentality is generally unproductive

Deidre,

It seems to me that the district has clearly demonstrated on a huge number of issues they have no interest in working with us.

Do you want the new contributors to lie? or do you see some evidence of change in the district's position?

I just watched over $130 Million approved for Denny/Sealth without even a successful functioning prototype, because there was too much money invested to turn around.

Mr Gillmore's Power-Point slide from Toronto even mentioned making the public feel heard as important.

Do you recommend that new contributors make us feel heard?

Only a very small minority of the board listens and the Central Administration would like us to just trust them for they are professionals. Nope it appears to be all them, us has yet to be more than a small blip on the SPS radar.

To hear from a student check out Neil's comments on the GTA.

Anonymous said...

The us VS them mentality is generally unproductive, as is the reading of race into every issue.

I can't imagine what race deidre is.

deidre said...

Just for the record.... I am Italian, from an immigrant family. My husband is African American and my children are bi-racial.

Anonymous said...

I am somewhat qualified to discuss Special Ed issues from the front lines, but am hesitant to do so publicly because I am unsure about the ethical boundries, as I am en employee of SPS.
If I felt that my job was secure, if I felt that my contributions would be listened to, perhaps even valued (right or wrong, and discussion about right and wrong encouraged) by those in authority who might read these blogs, I would be much more willing to speak (write) openly.
I think there is a new opportunity to start conversations. Call me starry-eyed, a dreamer, but I have this idea that District NEEDS active contributions, in the form of discussion, assistance, volunteers, etc...I'm not at al convinced that it (SPS) is the top-down bureacracy of the days of yore. Part of me thinks (hopes) that there are many at top levels that are "muddling through" an EXTREMELY difficult environment, and would welcome dialogue if it was non-adversarial.
Consider the environment:
Flight to privates; increasing diversity of culture, skills, language...; a hot bed of extremes that is Seattle - wealthy, poor, fewer and fewer in between; conflicting pedagogies; the interests of business seeming to become the cardinal driver of ed (nevermind citizenship, liberal arts...)...This atmosphere is chaotic.
But how can I contribute if I'm afraid of professional repercussions?
Yikes!

Charlie Mas said...

My dear anonymous at 10:45am,

You can preserve your anonymity with a psuedonym. Create a profile with a username other than your actual name - "SPED Teach" for example. You should be careful what, if anything, you reveal in your profile and you might want to create a gmail address just for that profile.

Second, you should also be careful about what, if anything, you reveal about where you work within the system - the school or department. Try not to let these things slip by writing stuff like "I don't know that much about what they do in the high schools, but in the elementary schools..." or "At the north-end school where I work..." or even "I asked my principal and he said..."

Third, your contributions WILL be heard and valued. All of the blog readers will hear them and value them.

I wouldn't worry too much about anyone in authority reading what you post here. Seriously, I would be astonished to learn that they follow this blog. I simply cannot imagine it. However, on the long chance that they do, then you can be assured that they would hear and value what you say as well as any other blog readers. As difficult as it may be to imagine them reading the blog to find value in the content, it is even more difficult to imagine them reading the blog to identify political rivals. That's just creepy.

So, please, please, become a contributor, even if you have to wear a mask. Hey! Why not make your username Clayton Moore? Am I the only one old enough to get that reference?

Anonymous said...

I prefer Jay Silverheels, masked man

Charlie Mas said...

So here's my weird moment for today:

Within hours of writing:
"I wouldn't worry too much about anyone in authority reading what you post here. Seriously, I would be astonished to learn that they follow this blog. I simply cannot imagine it."

I was watching the Board meeting on TV and I saw and heard Director Sundquist (Whoo Hoo! You ROCK!) ask two questions that I wished, in another thread on this blog that someone on the Board would ask.

Did my writing it here somehow result in his saying it there? I sure don't know, but it is no longer beyond my imagination.

Will I have to think twice about how obnoxious I am? I'd rather not. I'd rather think that people know my voice a little and won't get anything they shouldn't expect from me. I'm not a nice man. Should callers be surprised and upset when Dr. Laura berates them? Not if they've listened to the show before. In the same way, my posts are well marked and easily avoided by those who find them offensive.

Beth Bakeman said...

Charlie,

I know for a fact that several Board members (and former Board members) follow the conversations on this blog.

So do the education reporters for the local papers.

And some of the district staff.

And I'm glad. It's nice to know that people are listening when we talk.

Anonymous said...

Special education students are especially vulnerable to SPS staff whims and retribution. Placement is completely capricious, at the discretion of unknown central staff. Teachers have the unions protecting them no matter what they post... but students always have the threat of that next placement... which could happen at any moment. Parents and students are constantly threatened with placement issues, no matter what grade they are in. In fact, the special ed review noted excessive (forced) transitioning as a major issue in SPS.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps someone from District admin or Board, if they are reading this, could comment on the ethical implications, the law, union safeguards, safeguards against retaliation etc.
This, to me, seems key. I believe that there are many, many educators who are willing and able to step up and contribute to making the district better, but some might be dissuaded by fear of professional liability...
Anyone know how open educators can be in these discussions?
The union WILL protect educators in some instances, but there is a) the possibity of libel or whatever being charged against a blogger, and b) the prospect of repercussions that aren't defended against by the union, for instance blackballing.
Furthermore, just the fact that one would worry about the above two possibilities places a damper on free thought and discussion.