Saturday, December 20, 2008

Open Thread (In Case You Find Yourself Snowbound and With a Burning Thought)

22 comments:

beansa said...

I just wanted to say thank you to all the bloggers here. Your hard work has kept me informed and inspired throughout the closure process, and I'm finding myself ever more interested in the workings of our school system. I really appreciate all the effort you all put into this blog, and into our schools.

Hope you have a great break and that whatever holidays you celebrate are wonderful.

Seattlehorn said...

The NYT today has an interesting article on the challenges of cohousing schools:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/21/education/21shared.html?_r=1&hp

Seattlehorn said...

here's a link

Martin Cron said...

OK, here's a burning random thought. Does anyone know what's going to happen to the old School building that's currently housing the Nordic Heritage Museum once the museum organization is done with it? I remember reading that it's the property of the Seattle School district.

seattle citizen said...

I believe it IS the district's. But the many meals of lutefisk and its attendant aromas have made the place uninhabitable by anyone except true Norwegians...

zb said...

I'm snowbound, and starting to get squirrely, but have no burning thoughts.

But, yes, thanks Melissa, Charlie, Beth, and all of the rest who work hard to bring us information and help create a sense of shared community in SPS.

Charlie Mas said...

Each year I try (and try and try) without success to get my kids to sit still for a reading of "A Child's Christmas in Wales" by Dylan Thomas. I have a recording of it read by the author but it's on vinyl so I can no longer play it. No matter. I have the text and I have heard the recording so many times myself that I do a fair impersonation.

I'm hoping that this year I can get them to listen to it. It's not like they are doing anything else.

This year it seems particularly applicable, especially lines like:

"December, in my memory, is white as Lapland, though there were no reindeers."

and

"I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six."

I certainly hope that my daughters remember this year, when it snowed for six days and six nights when one of them is twelve.

I think you can hear it here. I not Welsh - I'm not even Christian - but I dearly love this poem. I had an English teacher in high school who played it for us every year and had a slide show that went with it. It is the most perfect expression of nostalgia for childhood I know. It rates right up alongside "A Christmas Story" - in fact, I think "A Christmas Story" put together from several stories by Jean Shepard, could have been titled "A Child's Christmas in Indiana".

Beth Bakeman said...

beansa and everyone else who has shared the same sentiment, I'm so glad to hear that our obsessive blogging is helpful and appreciated.

And zb, you completely made my day when you wrote that this blog helps "create a sense of shared community in SPS." That was my goal when I started this blog. Thanks to Mel, Charlie and everyone else who has contributed to making that a reality.

Sahila said...

I liked Charlie's thoughts about the Dylan Thomas work that is so evocative for him and how much he would like it if his children were open to sharing that experience with him...

I feel the same way (though its not a seasonal thing) about Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner, which my third form (1st year of high school in New Zealand) English teacher had us study, which she made forever unforgettable - for me anyway - by accompanying the text with our listening to Welsh actor Richard Burton's incomparable rendition... the joys and paradoxes of a 1970s liberal arts/classical education taught in an 150 year old Catholic girls' school where the teachers were young feminist nuns!!!

And I have just finished reading Amy Tan's the Bonesetter's Daughter, which sparked me to reflect (once again) on the intergenerational connections and patterns that thread down the (in my case) matriarchal line, and the renewal of the realisation that we are each - whether we are awake to that or not - on the archetypal hero's journey... and what a BIG thing that is - what brave beings we are to have consciousness and to choose to use it - and yet again, paradoxically, what a small thing that is - just life...

How does my participation in this SPS closure issue and these blogs change the picture of my life and the world around me?

As the calligrapher Precious Auntie teaches her child - think before you begin about what is your intention, for once the strokes are on the page they cannot be undone... the ink tablet and stone contain all of the universe's potential, but once the stroke/ink is on the page, it is locked there forever in time...

What a metaphor for life and relationship...

Namaste to you all...
Sahila ChangeBringer

Michael said...

Thank you (!) for maintaining this blog. It certainly lends a perspective about the district that you don't get from staff.

Some random thoughts....

I don't have any kids in the district, but I do work with the district and it can be absolutely maddening when they obfuscate, delay, LIE and, generally, act like petulant children. They have no concept of hiring people that know what they are doing (in some administrative positions), know that there are laws they need to comply with (even if they don't like or agree with those laws), and don't contemplate the need to pass on institutional knowledge. This last one results in them attempting to, or having to, reinvent the wheel, and also in constant violations of not only laws, but their own policies, i.e. BEX.

There are staff in the district that do an amazing job everyday in trying to educate kids with not only the basics such as math and reading, but in conveying values such as respect for others. But the whole effort is essentially hamstrung by bureaucratic and political bungling of an astronomical order since no one can ever seem to step forward, put it all on the line, and make a decision.

Please keep up the good work (even if I don't always agree with what is posted here).

Ruthie said...

My favorite Christmas story is Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory". Makes me cry every time, and I've never even made fruitcake.

Seattlehorn said...

Thanks for the literary recos. I plan to barter some Dylan Thomas for DS time this evening.

Not Christmas-related, but full of starry wonder (and page-turning suspense) is Lucy and Stephen Hawkings children's book about black holes called "George's Secret Key to the Universe."It includes gorgeous Hubble photos.

Johnny Calcagno said...

Thanks Beth, Charlie, Mel, Denise for your wisdom and words, and thanks for helping build community and competence in our corner of the world.

Gosh there's a lotta snow out there...

uxolo said...

position on the chopping block:

Subject: Urgent request on behalf of Career and College Center
Specialists
Importance: High

(letter written to faculty at GHS)

As you know, I am on the Career and College Center Specialist Advisory board, and I am so disheartened to learn that your position is up for elimination/reduction in this new $37 million budget cut.

I am so grateful for the partnerships that we have with you, and am deeply saddened to think about the impact this would have on you and your many students.

Cutting this needed position would be a tremendous disservice to students. The Career and College Center Specialists are the hubs of the schools. They are the critical contact points between the student body, and the many colleges, volunteer and youth opportunities that exist. Because they are not tied
to teaching in a classroom, they have the time and capacity to support students from ALL grade levels who need help and want to form
relationships with them.

I have voiced my opinion and I encourage others to advocate for your position as well. Please let me know if there is anything else you think I can do to help.

Thank you so much for everything that you do!

Amy

PEOPLE TO CONTACT ABOUT THIS ISSUE:

Carla Santorno: cjsantorno@seattleschools.org

Chief Academic Officer

Michael Tolley: mftolley@seattleschools.org

Director of Instruction, High School

Wanda Brown, wmbrown@seattleschools.org

Director, Prevention & Intervention

The English Teacher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
WS said...

I'd nagged SPS earlier today about when the Genesee Hill transcript would be online, hearing reschedules, etc. - Just got word back that the Capacity Management page has been updated, with added transcripts AND a new date for Lowell hearing - January 20th. The Capacity Management page has it all here.

Seattlehorn said...

In case you missed these, here is a link to Letters to the Editor regarding APP in last Sunday's Seattle Times.

Charlie Mas said...

Isn't it time for the Superintendent to make some decisions about program placement? Has program placement been delayed by the Capacity Management project? There has been no announcement about changes in the program placement timeline, so shouldn't we have heard something by now?

snaffles said...

First, I want to say thank you to all of the dedicated bloggers here, with out YOU I would never know what is happening for REAL in this School District.

Second I have the feeling that the School District is going at School Closure, Facility Capacity and Student Placement and Program Placement BACKWARDS.

I mean, to me it would make sense to: FIRST know what a facility capacity is and where those facilities are. SECOND how many students are in the area of each school. THIRD what is the primary interest of students near the schools. (Programs)or what are the interest of parents and students regarding programs in the district. FOURTH determine what is the space needed for each program. FIFTH keep schools open that will accomodate that programs needed space, SIXTH place the students and SEVENTH close schools no longer needed.

I know this is an idealistic situation. Not all students will be near the schools that have programs they want. That is why the school program space and building must be determined first, and would be best determined by the number of students nearest the school interested in the program (which again is ideal, but worth a try).

Some problems with my ideal scenario above would be the delay in student placement and program determination, which makes it hard on both students and parents. Would the end results make this bearable?

Suba said...

Please could the comments display be tweaked to show days and dates along with the times? I could really use help not having to backtrack to the first comment and count through the time listings to figure out how many hours/days have elapsed until the newest comment.

Thank you.

classof75 said...

Please could the comments display be tweaked to show days and dates along with the times?

that may be your browser.
mine shows dates and times

for instance you posted above @ 12/25/08 9:37 AM

Beth Bakeman said...

Actually, I just changed the settings today at Suba's request, and it changed it on all existing comments.