Thursday, June 18, 2009

Open Thread

Tomorrow's the last day of school. This year in the district is ending on something of an exhausted note, no? Beyond just getting your kid (s) through another year of school, we've had a pretty good rollercoaster ride with the district itself. But is there any rest for the weary? (I did see a few of you at the B52s last night so I know some of us know how to have fun.)

I hope whatever happens this last day that it contains some fun (at least for the kids). Go home and play Red Light Green Light in the grass or watch a dumb movie or just have a ______(beer, glass of wine, Valium, prayer, yoga position, whatever floats your boat).

Summertime is indeed my favorite time of the year and if I do manage to go someplace hot (and none of this "oh my God it's 80 degrees, it's hot" nonsense), I'll be happy.

Do have a great summer.


dan dempsey said...

I am thinking about STEM at Cleveland.

Rigor ... AP- IB ... and k-3 math etc.. 40% drop out rate ... Class size is not important.


Deidre F. said...

Melissa thanks for your contributions all year long! Charlie, you too, thanks so much!

One of the things that I really value about this blog, besides the vast amount of information that is shared, is hearing so many different perspectives. It's those perspectives and personal stories that help shape my views.

There has been so much going on in the district this year that my head is spinning, and I am ready for a much needed summer break.

But as ready as I am for the break, the end of the year is also bittersweet for me, as both of my boys are graduating, and we are saying goodbye to two absolutely fabulous school communities, Bryant, and Kellogg. My boys new schools will have big shoes to fill, indeed!

Have a great summer everyone!

Now, where's that margarita....


momster said...

hi melissa - thanks for your work this year.

on another subject, i'm having a hard time figuring out exactly what happened at the board meeting with the amendments - there is probably something in the comments on the thread from a few days ago, but i was hoping to find something in the newspaper or on the district's website with the definitive approved policy, and i'm not finding anything.

i want to email it to the schools we're part of.

owlhouse said...

After some technical difficulties that allowed time for picking cherries in the school garden, Nova had their Animation Showcase last night. The final performance in the Mann building. Wonderful work by students, fantastic support from staff and families. Perhaps most powerful was a piece that showed an empty Mann, floor by floor.

After the show, a parent recalled a recent discussion with a board director who explained that as far as he knew, Nova had never approached the district about the school's need for BEX or BTA funds, so the building was never considered for upgrades, thus we have to move. So, I'm ending the year looking at the process for determining BEX and BTA projects, angry that it's been presented as a "if only you had asked..." situation.

I'm so grateful for this blog. I wish our district leaders had half the understanding of, respect and passion for schools that I read here.

seattle citizen said...

To everyone who runs this blog, and all the contributors...Thank you! A great asset...

"Nova had never approached the district about the school's need for BEX or BTA funds"

Ummm....who, exactly, in a building is supposed to be aware of repairs, expansions, etc in order to "ask" for them?!

That's ridiculous...they are the district's buildings and the district is responsible for upkeep etc.

The only exception might be little stuff, like leaky roof, that would be reported to the custodian for a work order.

Whovever told NOVA that NOVA was responsible for asking for upgrades or major repairs is mistaken.

hschinske said...

"as far as he knew, Nova had never approached the district about the school's need for BEX or BTA funds, so the building was never considered for upgrades, thus we have to move."

WHAT?! I've been hearing for years and years and years, since LONG before I had any idea that I would have a child there, that Nova's building needed major repairs. Its condition was brought up over and over as the reason for closing it. I think it's extraordinarily unlikely that no one ever asked for repairs, and I absolutely do not believe that the district didn't know it needed them. Utter BS.

Helen Schinske

zb said...

"One of the things that I really value about this blog, besides the vast amount of information that is shared, is hearing so many different perspectives."

Me too. I love all the respectful people who post their opinions and also sound like they're listening, even when they disagree.

We attended Pathfinder's graduation celebration yesterday, and I came away impressed with the collaborative community of students, teachers and parents they've built there. I think that a lot of families feel that way about a lot of schools they've been part of, and it give me great hope for what is, and can be done in Seattle.

Michael Rice said...

I would just like to thank all the members of the community who take time from their busy lives to share their passion for public education and their desire to see SPS become a great district in which ALL children learn, no matter what is going on in their lives outside of the school.

I have just completed my 4th year at Rainier Beach and I am very tired. I do have to say that this was my best year overall. I taught AP Statistics this year for the first time. I only had 7 students, but they all sat for the exam and I truly believe that 5 of the students have a legitimate cahnce to score a 3 or higher and get college credit. I have 20 students signed up for next year (though not all of them are happy about it). If all 20 give me the effort that I know they are capable of, all 20 can score 3 or higher on the exam. Once word gets out about the payoff for the class, I know that I will have larger and larger AP Stats classes.

I want to also commend our Career Center Specialist, Andrea Waseck, who even though she did not start till October, has seen to it that RB had more students than ever accepted to more colleges across the country and more scholarships awarded to those students than in the last 15 years. It is a crime that we (and all the high schools) are losing such a valuable position. At a place like RB, where most students don't have college educated parents, losing such an advocate is a major blow.

I will be doing AP training, teaching summer school, and then doing the training for our new, defective math textbooks, this summer. Even though I am very tired, I am already fired up for September.

jamie said...

That is awful to lose the career center specialist at RB. It seems like it would be a very good use of SE initiative funding... is there any possibility of that, or is the money all spoken for? Any other ideas?

Charlie Mas said...

I am very pleased with the way discussions have played out on the blog this year. We did get a lot of diverse views and disagreement - which is what we hope for. The discussions were not only civil and respectful (which we also hope for), they were informed and impassioned. That's the best.

Right now this blog is, to the best of my knowlege, the only place that Seattle Public School issues are intelligently discussed from a diversity of perspectives. I'm a fan. Not only of the blog, and the people who post, but also of the people who lurk. Hey, there are 1,000 hits a day, so somebody is reading this.

I would like more voices here, and, in particular, more voices that are well-informed about Special Education, bilingual education, the internal workings of the District, and the legitimate concerns of families in southeast Seattle about the quality of academic opportunities available to their children.

It has been a good year for us - a tough year with capacity management, closures, relocations, a controversial high school math textbook adoption, stumbling progress on the Strategic Plan, musical chairs with principals, and staggering steps towards a new student assignment plan. Things didn't always go as we might like, but I do feel that we expressed our views and they were heard.

Thank you all.

dan dempsey said...

Mike Rice,

Kudos on AP Stats. From experience I can tell you that AP Stats test outcomes are often bizarre.

AP Calc results are much more predictable. AP Stats results are often surprising and unexpected.

Thanks for your continued dedication to the RBHS kids.


Isabel D'Ambrosia said...

I agree with everyone that this blog is the greatest! Thank you especially to Melissa and Charlie. A useful blog requires a ton of effort -- and you've done a magnificent job.

As the year ends, one open issue for me is 6th grade honors math at Hamilton and Eckstein.

6th grade honors math at H and E has always been for 6th graders who qualify for honors. They study the 7th grade curriculum, but among all 6th graders. But next year, Eckstein will eliminate the 6H class and place 6th graders who qualify for honors into regular 7th grade math classes.

Sure, it's the same curriculum, but who do you think will dominate the new split class? It's a very good bet that the teacher's focus will be on any struggling 7th graders, not on the 6H students.

Eckstein has made this change for next fall, but they haven't informed their community or the incoming 6th grade families. I think families of kids who qualified for 6th grade honors math are going to be pretty surprised by the placement in a regular 7th grade class.

Hamilton almost made the change, but it was stopped by a concerned group of math teachers.

Does anyone know why Eckstein made the change to 6H math (and Hamilton tried to)? I have a call into Jim Buchanan, the math coach who apparently tried to initiate the change at Hamilton, but I haven't heard back from him.

dan dempsey said...

One of the high-lights of this past year has been the emergence of board votes that much more often are not 7-0.

My hope is that the 2009 elections and departure of Cheryl Chow will find the school board finally becoming a governance board rather than just rubber stampers. DeBell has shown growth over the last two years. I like the respectful way he treats those giving public testimony.

When Cheryl Chow was running the show it seemed like public testimony was a tolerated nuisance. Michael DeBell thanks participants for their contributions.

In many ways it has been a remarkable year in large part due to the actions of many readers of this blog. The PI died but the SPS Community Blog became more alive.

wseadawg said...

With upcoming board elections, I encourage everyone to closely watch who contributes to the upcoming board races. It's free and easy to do at the Public Disclosure Commission's website.

The "Block of Four" as I will refer to them, with their large warchests, seem bound by a blood oath to stick to the five year plan and whatever MGJ wants, no matter what.

A quick review of the chief contributors to the 2007 races on the PDC's website reveals the same big money contributors over and over to the Block of Four. Biz Rountable and League of Ed Voters literally stuffed coffers last time around.

If we respect democratic principles and honest debate, we need election reform or voluntary limits to prevent a minority of super-wealthy people, many from across the lake or with no kids in SPS, from buying undue influence over the 46k children in our schools.

Intentions matter not. What the recent elections and their aftermath exemplified was neither philanthropy or democracy; it was aristocracy. It is why parents' voices are not heard.

The blind faith and allegiance to big money sadly continues under the Obama administration and Arne Duncan in the Dept of Ed.

Every candidate for upcoming elections who takes 5k and 10k contributions from individual donors needs to be exposed and grilled for it. It's a mockery of democracy and winds up damaging our kids by forcing them to learn only what big money interests want them to learn. It is not education. It is programming.

Enjoy your summer everyone.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Charlie and Melissa! You are picking up where the school district has failed by providing important information and a forum for open, honest discussions. And thank you to all of the people who have respectfully shared their opinions. I have learned so much!

But this all sounds like goodbye for summer! With teacher contract negotiations, continued work on the SAPs, and more, I hope someone still has a chance to keep us informed!

Central Mom said...

I still haven't watched the last board session. I'd like to hear more, here, on what was said about MGJ's review. What area's were indicated "for improvement".

I understand she scored a C on public engagement. Perhaps bloggers here can suggest some concrete steps the district could take to be more effective in this area. I certainly have my ideas, but you all go first...

Dorothy said...

I'm wondering if we have outgrown the blog format and should switch to some forum type of format, would make it easier to follow threads of a specific topic. I don't know how many subscribe to comments via RSS feed, but it is the only way to pay attention to all threads without wasting time. But perhaps if we had a forum with topics, when something comes up again, it would be easier to see the history of the discussion.

As for middle school math, Eckstein only recently required all 6th graders to take either 6 or 6H, the old placement system used to put some in 7th grade classes. But then they said they were strengthening the honors classes and they didn't need to move kids ahead. I suspect they are still tweaking things? I really don't know, have not first hand knowledge of that. Would be interesting to know the discussions involved. Change in state math curriculum? I'd have to look in more detail to see how the topics line up between 6th and 7th grades.

Also note that APP middle school says (via the minutes from the last app advisory meeting) that they are phasing out Int3/Algebra2. It will be offered this coming year, but not after that, at either location.

Eckstein has always accommodated the handful of kids ready for Int3 by placing them together in an Int2 classroom with a teacher who could work with them part time and otherwise they worked together independently. The new textbooks are *not* conducive to that approach however.

I do know that Eckstein has done some "interventions" of kids they consider at-risk without sharing with parents and the interventions were *not* well thought out. One thing was to put kids who did not pass a wasl section in the same homeroom, so they could study during homeroom (?). I am not sure that they even delineated between kids who were struggling with math or reading wasl. I got the impression that it was mixed, but I do not know for sure. The student I know who was placed in this homeroom-for-dummies got moved out after curriculum night when the parents found out, so I do not know if they actually provided the students with targeted or non-targeted help. Before curriculum night in early October, there hadn't been anything.

As if the wasl alone were a good indicator of what interventions a particular child might need. Did they consult with the parents or do any other consult with the parents on a learning plan? Not as far as I heard. In addition, kids who had been placed in this intervention program are supposed to be in special (remedial?) math classes next year, completely without regard to how they have performed in math this year, simply still based on that ONE fifth grade wasl score. (Caution, I am getting all this from a parent with a child in this situation, not first hand from a teacher at Eckstein.)

wseadawg said...

If there's one clear message that has gotten through to MGJ, it is that her style was a huge turnoff. She will not forget the "I don't lose any sleep" comment, because I and others will make sure she doesn't.

She is well aware that her communication style was offensive, and she has taken big steps to turn it around. While her online Q&A answers are still a little crafty, they are far more thoughtful and informative than they previously were. I believe as she continues to learn more about the district, she will realize what works and what doesn't, and she'll become a more effective leader. On the other hand, if she holes up in the silo of JSCEE, lunches only with the roundtable and alliance, and reads to many of her own press clippings, she won't.

I think everyone at SPS knows, whether they admit it or not, that the closure process was alienating and overly ambitious, and hopefully they've learned that "finishing what they started in 2006" was a dumb way to approach it. Only time will tell.

Melissa Westbrook said...

One, I'm not going anywhere; this was just a "have a good summer" post for the last day of school. You're right; too much to do.

Two, Michael that is fantastic! Only seven - that's 7 kids who tried the class AND the test who will be able to tell other kids about it. Great job!

Three, Nova and the BEX. I have a draft about BEX and BTA. I will likely put a simple version to explain the differences for this group and post a longer thread for others who want to go deeper.

I did advocate for Nova under BEX III. I called the principal and asked him some questions about the building. He clearly felt like the building needed help but (a) everyone there took pride in doing well in a worn but well-loved building and (b) I don't think he wanted to rock the boat.

I laid this all out in a document to the press saying that Pathfinder should be rebuilt because of the extremely poor condition of their building (and South Shore moved to AAA which I knew would be moved or closed) and the Nova was in one of the oldest, worst buildings in the district (the boiler is over 100 years old). But no, no one would listen, not even the Board. Cooper would likely still be in their building today if Pathfinder had received a new building.

Folks, this is why we HAVE to pay attention to BEX and BTA issues. The money is not going where it should and money is being wasted. If you would stand up for your school for school closures, stand up for your school for BEX and BTA.

The district does not answer questions on these issues clearly and so it is difficult to ascertain where all the money goes. Charlie and I just attended a Work Session on the next BEX and BTA (which I'll report out on in a couple of days).

And, when the State Auditor's report comes out late summer or early fall on the BEX over the last 5 years, look for major fallout. The audit is being done by the same group that did the Port Commission audit and the audit is running long because they found the issue so complex. This does not bode well for the district and I feel sorry that is a likely outcome. But I feel worse about buildings not being maintained and money wasted.

dan dempsey said...

Dorothy said:
"Change in state math curriculum?"

What would that have to do with SPS math direction? Judging from the last 12 months apparently nothing. Is the SPS even aware that the directors think the Curriculum in math is the State Math Standards. No its the EDM pacing plan.

The plan is for absolute conformity to low level mediocrity in most every area whenever possible.

Rose M said...


This was discussed in meetings at Eckstein this spring. Current eckstein parents were invited to participate & some did come. Surveys were done in the parent community & among teachers.

Eckstein's schedule is being shaken up next year because they are out of compliance with PE & full-year science requirements. In order to accommodate PE& science without sacrificing 2 full-year electives, they are going to a mixed schedule with some classes meeting longer periods fewer days a week.

In order to accommodate mixed grade classes, like math & music, in the new, more complex schedule, there is a need to simplify the number of options that are provided for each student.

So there will be 5 levels of math offered next year, instead of 7.

There have always been mixed grade math classes at Eckstein. What is going away are the honors classes. In fact, previously there were not enough spaces in the honors classes, so some kids who qualified were put in the grade level classes anyway.


What is the plan for kids who are ready for a 3rd year of high school math at Hamilton & Washington after Int 3 is phased out?

Charlie Mas said...

Let's not forget that the District has announced that they will NOT get to grading policy reform before the new school year starts, so high school credit for classes taken in middle school will be deferred for yet another year.

If your child took a high school level class in middle school - such as math or world language - and you want your child to get high school credit for the class, you need to petition the Board for that credit.

dan dempsey said...

Wsaedawg said:
"I think everyone at SPS knows, whether they admit it or not, that the closure process was alienating and overly ambitious, and hopefully they've learned that "finishing what they started in 2006" was a dumb way to approach it. Only time will tell."

In the school board primary of 2007, Harium and I mentioned that there were other ways to deal with supposed excess capacity than closing schools.

If we were interested in pursuing something more along what Mr. Oki suggests the following would be considered. All schools kept open and even perhaps some re-opened. This would be accomplished by renting available extra space to a suitable co-tenant. What is needed are Smaller schools with autonomous principals (perhaps even shared principals for very small schools) and with individual school directors or trustees that will inspire local school centered involvment to a much greater degree than MG-J's plan for anonymous Mega Schools.

SolvayGirl1972 said...

Your ideas are great...but smaller, autonomous schools would also require district-wide choice since it would be unfair to force someone into a school that had an education philosophy contrary to one's own.
I just can't see that happening under the current climate and economic realities. Very sad.

Sahila said...

District wide choice is possible, IF you're working on the premise that all styles of schools are given all the resources to do what they do well for the population they serve and IF you eliminate, for example, transportation... people choose what's best for their kids - and every option available is a great choice - but then have to get their kids to those schools...

Some would say this is an equity issue... and it probably is... but you could solve that by handing out transport vouchers to families that meet FRL criteria...

Just an idea.... none of this is a really big problem IF you have the political and economic willpower to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions....

dan dempsey said...

Under MG-J thinking is discouraged. It is like Charlie once said the district wants an involved community. Involved in doing exactly what we tell you to do.

I think the Oki model has the benefit of the local school population having a much greater say in what actually happens at the school. Thus the likelihood of getting a school completely at odds with the population served is greatly reduced and hopefully eliminated. Certainly the nearest school may not be the best match for some children but with smaller schools finding a suitable school nearby at least for elementary school would seem far more possible than currently.

With local control by a largely autonomous principal and the school trustees (I will use that term lest we confuse these folks with the actual SPS board) the chance for suitable curriculum would be improved.

In summer 2007, I interviewed with Principal Chris Carter at AAA and asked him if he really intended to use EDM and CMP2 with his students?
He acted like I was crazy ... of course he was going to use these materials for the Powers that Be said to use them. I informed him that these materials had little hope for long-term success at AAA. ... humm .. he never gave me an up or down phone call about the job.

Spring WASL 2008 was hardly stellar for AAA 4th grade math pass rates.

AAA WASL grade 4 scores

If the community had materials worth supporting, they would be more involved. As it is the community has little hand in anything anywhere as the Board consists of a least 4 rubber stampers on almost every decision.

I would much rather have an autonomous principal and trustees. Darn right they will make some mistakes ... but look at the current system .. see any mistakes? Point made I hope.

Scott Oki is putting up a site for advancement of ideas that could lead to local neighborhoods taking control of their schools in the way mentioned above. This guy is serious ... he is looking for a way to transform discussion into actual results. I think he is looking for the Million-Mom March on the JSCEE. He would like those school trustees to be appointed (I am not sure how that will work mechanically).
Unlike Gates Foundation that brought us 10 years of small school disaster in many places... from top down experts, Mr. Oki is a bottom up structure guy.

To Improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant statistics ... so how did the Gates gurus miss the 10 years of data before noticing. Mr. Oki's local plan will have people in place that actually notice things.

Odd how the SPS board spent years talking about the math achievement gaps and doing something about these ... but then simply watched them get larger while following the UW song and dance routine. I think the UW's NSF funded 2006-2009 Cleveland performance leaves them at absolute zero in math credibility. No I just do not think that school trustees would preside over these disasters in nearly the way that the SPS board does. I mean look at the Discovering adoption and the EDM consumable materials ... unbelieveable but 4 directors still do not get this. A Black Passing rate of 16.0% and they do not get it.

We need a much better system. Really it would be hard to come up with a worse one than team MG-J and this rubber stamping board.
Look at the school closure mis-management plan ... these folks just go from one disasterous mistake to the next ... it is hard to keep up with them.

With three minute testimonies twice a month there is no shortage of topics to speak about.

Can you imagine Chris Jackins standing up and saying: Things are just going so swimmingly swell I have nothing to say this evening.

Meg said...

My kids got unbelievably, comically dirty running around through a park with their buddies this afternoon. My daughter and I talked about other places we want to go (besides a somewhat hare-brained camping trip already in the works).

I look forward to a summer of grubby children and daydreaming.

And I look forward to obsessively checking in here for thoughts on the latest district news. Melissa, Charlie, and company, I really appreciate the efforts you make to keep us all informed.

I have sort of a dumb question: HOW, exactly, do we get involved on BEX/capital expenditure questions? I was really troubled reading through the proposed budget, and that was just on the operating side.

Megan Mc said...

Thanks to everyone for contributing to the blog - and to Melissa and Charlie in particular for creating so many informative and thought provoking threads.

I am looking forward to a summer of watching my kids involved in creative play and helping the AS#1 community prepare for the upcoming alternative schools audit.

I am even looking forward to doing math remediation and enrichment with my children even though I wish they could've had a more successful and productive year at school.

I am grateful for my daughters' teacher and the wonderful school community that we have been a part of these last 3 years.

wseadawg said...

I don't want a board that gets along as well as this one. What is it getting us?

Too much rationalization, and too little reason as nobody wants to rock the boat, but only jiggle it a bit from time to time.

I long for a real policy debate. No such luck this year.

Evan said...

good grief, wseadawg - "block of four", "blood oath", "buying influence", "needs to be exposed and grilled"?

i'm wondering if you actually know anyone on the washington roundtable or at lev...

and wondering what about democratic principles entitles one to discriminate against someone based on how much money he has (or hasn't) or to think you know all about him and what his motives are?

not to mention, if you know any of these board members you know they don't agree on everything nor do they always agree with the superintendent - far from it.

they just know how to pursue resolution and work to completion without theatrics and a lot of superficial grandstanding and playing to the public.

it's a lot easier to win popular votes and adulation when you:

* hint at public-pleasing amendments

* don't do the work to build support for them or introduce them

* plead "if only we'd had more time" after months in which to work with staff and colleagues, and

* vote no

and it's all very public and crowd-pleasing and instantly-gratifying - unlike the work it takes to build relationships and credibility with staff and colleagues, work details, build consensus and compromise, and get to yes - all of which is drudgery and without glory.

Mr.Lemur said...

There is still an effort underway to save TT Minor.

A concerned (and tireless) parent has been speaking with the school board and has received a commitment from School Board President Michael DeBell that if she can find 300 students to attend the school, he will keep TT Minor open. They have received 200 plus signatures so far but they need more!

The intent is to keep TT Minor open as a regular elementary school with an further emphasis on art and foreign language instruction. There is talk of partnering with Pratt for art and other partners for music instruction. The free pre-school would remain as well.

There are forms to fill out available at Tougo Coffee or you can call 206-323-7413 for more information.

Evan said...

wseadawg - who is/are your "block of 4" anyway?

i'm guessing maier, sundquist, carr and debell? (even though debell's term is on the opposite cycle from the other 3 and he didn't run in 2007)

harium received large contributions in 2007 from the very same contributors as maier, sundquist and carr, and you could hardly characterize him as "sticking to the five-year plan and whatever mgj wants, no matter what".

Sahila said...

Regarding Evans comments:
Part One:

I dont know what the rationale is for accepting incompetence on the part of the Board and Staff and Superintendent...

Its quite possible to respect a person and their point of view and at the same time stand up and call them out when they are failing to do the job they were hired to do...

How many examples of incompetence does this District have to demonstrate before there are consequences?

Capacity management - failure to include in the decision-making process relevant, accurate, statistical data presented by community members, which has resulted in the unnecessary closing of schools, only to have the District now scrambling to re-open some, if not all, the schools closed in the last three years...

Capacity management - closure and restructuring of alternative programmes, leaving insufficient space at alternative schools for the community that wants/needs that pedagogy... AS#1's restructuring, Summits closure... no room at T/C, Salmon Bay , TOPS, Nova etc

Closing Summit and depriving more than 600 students of an alternative education model, on the excuse of needing the building's capacity, and then opening an option traditional K-8 with only 300 students enrolled...

Transportation and bell times... safety issues, physiological issues, lack of logic in forcing some K-5 children within K-8s to have to start earlier while others of the same age in K-5 schools dont have to... One specific here is that the District made a statement that decisions would be taking into account safety (ambient light) considerations...

Increasing class sizes - both by closing schools and RIFing teachers - contrary to earlier commitments to work to reduce them...

District assignment of principals to alt schools without community involvement, contrary to Alt Schools policy C54.00

Pushing through changes to curricula content and standardising delivery - scripted lesson plans - with much of that move/intention hidden within bulky documents

Lack of transparency

Lack of community engagement... meeting and work party times often scheduled when many people cant attend, with no child care provided, failure to publicise, failure to provide information to families without technology and with language barriers, making major changes without full community involvement - SAP, ignoring community input

Board - failure to ask hard questions, failure to demand full accountability, failure to question and push Staff on data which is often obviously cherry-picked, contradictory and dubious/fuzzy and lacking in accuracy and logic...

The new SAP - what it means for siblings... the fact that you have no choice if you are assigned to a neighbourhood school that is not a good fit for your kids, that homeless children and children of renters will be most hurt/disadvantaged because they will lose their spot at their school at the end of the year, if they have had to move address, and they're the kids who need stability most...

Sahila said...


There are dozens more... you only need to look at the contents of this and Harium's blog plus what's been discussed on individual schools' listservs and the Alternative Schools Coalition list to come up with more specific issues.... and multiple perspectives/angles. Then we could start looking at individual school/community issues...

If I operated like this in my job and in my business, I would be unemployed and without any clients...

And the consequences need not necessarily be sacking the superintendent, staff and board, but at the bare minimum what's required is acknowledgement and correction...

Instead, you get this mad continuing down a dark alley, leading to a dead end... and its our children's futures that we're playing with...

Now, if this is so obvious to most of us, and startlingly contrary to research and best practice and we've expressed our concern in multiple ways over a long period of time and there still is no altering of course, then one of the 'whys' one must consider is that there is another influence(s) operating here, which we have failed to take into account...

And its not a big leap to think that those big money contributors have an agenda that is being pushed forward ... money buys influence.... there's very rarely a free lunch/ride happening in politics.... there are spoken and unspoken expectations expressed when the money changes hands...

I have been struggling to understand why this crazy journey has been continuing given the FACTS of real life in the District... if I accept that the Board and the Super and the Staff are not stupid people, there is no logical other answer except that there is an agenda operating which parents and the community have had no part in creating and are pretty much kept in the dark about....

kellie said...

Can we start a separate thread on the effort to save TT Minor. A little publicity on this blog could go a long way. It would be great to save at least one of the schools from this closure round. Central is going to need capacity and clearly Lowell is already full.

Sahila said...

I wonder if the Directors (Staff and Board) and the Superintendent have read:

Clive A J Dimmock's "School-based management and school effectiveness"

If not, perhaps they might consider it their summer homework... it might be educational and give them pause to rethink their intentions....

For a synopsis of the book (I dont have my own copy - $190 on Amazon!)see:

Apologies again about the link.... my mission this week is to learn how to make links live!

dan dempsey said...


If these instructions are unclear
You can write me at
it is much easier to write this in an email.

to blog write the following I had to substitue "{" and "}" for "<" and ">"

to construct a hot link linking to the word here

use anchor link tags in the following way:

{a href="

then the address after the quotation mark
close it with

then comes the anchor word here

which is followed by {/a}

remember that "{" and "}"
must be replaced with "<" and ">"
for this to work.

Charlie Mas said...

Thank you, Dan!

Good job showing folks how to create links.

Sahila said...

Sorry Dan... I will either email you or go to an online tutorial to "get" this live link thingy, but I wanted to post another resource on different ways of approaching school management... wish the Board, Directors (Staff) and Superintendent would read this stuff... but then perhaps there's a good reason why they dont read and then implement internationally-accepted management best practices, which have been recognised and put into operation in other countries for more than two decades.

"School-based decision-making and management" By Judith D. Chapman

Sahila said...

Last three submissions on the subject of education reform and school management best practices:

The first paper is a history of education in New Zealand, which bears quite a resemblance to the US, the second and third detail and analyse education reform implemented under Tomorrow's Schools in the early 1990s ...