Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Upcoming Meetings

Meetings for the week of November 30-December 5th

December 2nd - Board Work Session on Quarterly Strategic Plan Report 4-5:30 p.m.
New Board members Oath of Office 7:00 p.m.

December 3rd - Board Work Session about "Real Estate" - 3:30-5:00 p.m.
Likely to discuss Memorial Stadium. I can't attend so someone please go and report back.

December 5th Community Meetings with Board Members
Carr - 8:30-10 am
DeBell - 9-11 am
Maier - 10:30- noon

STEM meeting on Sat., December 5th at Cleveland High School from 9-10:30 am

Students, staff, and families of current and prospective students are welcome to attend. The meeting will include a presentation, opportunity to ask questions, and a small group discussion to include:
► the vision for the STEM program at Cleveland;
► the goals and benefits of STEM;
► course offerings and program structure;
► next steps for the STEM program and how to get involved; and
► how to determine if STEM is a good option for your student.

(There will also be an Open House/Recruiting Fair on Saturday, Jan. 23rd at Cleveland.)


Charlie Mas said...

Melissa, where did you get that information on the meeting at Cleveland? I couldn't find it.

adhoc said...

Thanks for doing the PR work of the district for Cleveland STEM Melissa.

I haven't seen the date or found any info about the Dec 5 meeting anywhere except on this blog.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I received an announcement from Communications. I am surprised it isn't on the SPS website.

dan dempsey said...

Hey don't forget Dec 9 Wednesday.
Its the school board meeting with the MGJ incentive as an action item.

Mr. DeBell takes some responsibility for the whole incentive structuring in the contract but Mr. Sundquist is making the recommendation for the $5,000 bonus.

Is the actual bonus $5,280 (the number of feet in a mile) ??? If so it is a good thing they did not use the number of feet in an A.U. (Astronomic Unit = distance from earth to the sun ... oh well there is always next year.)

gavroche said...

Speaking of upcoming meetings -- specifically the potentially lively Dec 9 School Board meeting at which the Board will vote on the proposed bonus for Supt. Goodloe-Johnson (and parents may show up with protest signs expressing their own views on the matter...!):

Today (T-Giving) even the Seattle Times has come out against a bonus for the Supt:

Seattle Schools Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson: Tis not the season for a bonus

THE Seattle School Board should rescind a scheduled bonus for Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson. If not, the city's top educator should refuse it.

It isn't that the superintendent doesn't deserve a bonus; rather, she would be crazy to accept it.

There are sound, practical reasons for not invoking the part of Goodloe-Johnson's contract requiring periodic performance-related bonuses. The proposed $5,280 bonus buys more trouble than it will be worth.

District officials have argued convincingly for spending cuts, including school and program closures and teacher layoffs. It is a budget sensibility that ought to apply here.

An example can be found in a gesture by board member Harium Martin-Morris. Last spring, he gave up for the rest of the year a $50 per meeting stipend awarded for board service. The amount is a pittance; the symbolism was huge.

Goodloe-Johnson's bonus is the district's first attempt at a new performance-pay plan aligning compensation with accomplishment. But the superintendent's performance this year was more than adequate but less than stellar. The board, at its November meeting, announced that just four of 20 superintendent work goals were met.

The met goals shouldn't be downplayed: standardized test scores in writing, reading and science increased in some grades. Still, Goodloe-Johnson's vision for our schools remains a work in progress.

Goodloe-Johnson's $264,000 salary makes her one of the highest-paid public employees in Washington. Other perks include $20,000 per year in a retirement fund and a $700-per-month car allowance.

Casting an eye toward a public viewing her budget through the lens of budget-strapped classrooms, Goodloe-Johnson would do well to take a pass this time around.

The superintendent's contract calls for bonuses of up to 10 percent of her salary. A year in which she walks away with $26,000 should also be the year South End schools catch up with the rest of the city and parents access quality programs at their nearest school. Now that would be money well spent.

Charlie Mas said...

I can't wait to see what other contractual obligations the Times thinks the Board should unilaterally void.

hschinske said...

It wouldn't be voiding a contractual obligation for MGJ to refuse the bonus. Harium's stipend was a contractual obligation, too, wasn't it?

Helen Schinske

gavroche said...

Why not, Charlie? The Board is apparently willing to void any number of obligations at will. For example, I have heard that the Board has told the Superintendent that she does not need to honor Board policies. Is that true? If so, fabulous.

As we saw in the Capacity Management Plan debacle, Supt. Goodloe-Johnson quite blithely rescinded a number of Board policies (like the one that said the district must create a true north-end location for APP in the event of a split, or give SBOC its own building). And the Board of Followers just as blithely rubber-stamped these broken promises. (See:

Seems to me that policies and contractual obligations in SPS-Land are fluid, nebulous concepts that are only honored when the District feels like it.

Let's put this another way: How does meeting only 4 out of 20 goals qualify this or any (highly paid) Superintendent for any kind of bonus?

Are the Board and the Supt. totally ignorant of the current national controversy over the awarding of bonuses to high paid executives for questionable work and in a time of national economic crisis?

Do the names Goldman Sachs or Kerry Killinger mean nothing to these people? How about AIG?

It's simply unconscionable and politically tone-deaf -- and as the Times says, risky -- for the Board to award, or for the Superintendent to accept -- a bonus for an incomplete "performance" and in the middle of a very deep recession/depression in which many, many people are hurting, and Seattle public schoolkids have been forced to shoulder budget cuts imposed by this Superintendent in the form of lost teachers, closed schools, large class sizes, unmaintained school buildings, lack of textbooks, non-fresh food, and a new student assignment plan that forces kids into schools that the District has failed to make desirable, and especially when said Superintendent is already making $264,000/year -- a more than generous amount of pay for anyone.

dan dempsey said...


Good points but all par for the course in the upside down world of the SPS.

Why should the Supe need to follow board policies when the board does not even follow their own policies?

Remember Charlie & Chris Jackins testifying to the board that they were violating board policy with a one meeting "introductory item/Action item slam dunk" in extending MGJ's contract in June 2008. The board did not care and voted 7-0 to extend.

Policies, Policies, we don't need no stinking policies. This is Seattle.

Charlie Mas said...

The Board cannot be compelled to follow their own policies. There is a Policy - I can't find it right now - which protects the Board from being taken to Court for violating their own policies.

gavroche said...

Whatever the policy is, apparently the Board has some discretion on the issue of the Supt's bonus since they will be voting on it, yea or nay.

In light of all that has been said here and in the local press concerning the inappropriateness of such a bonus for such a performance by this superintendent and at this time, the Board should clearly vote "No."

dan dempsey said...


You are correct as usual.

I went to the Attorney General's office. The only recourse for a board that does not follow their own policies is for voters to vote them out.

Unfortunately the replacement directors do not follow policies either.

Charlie Mas said...

If the Board voted "No" they would be in breach of contract with the Superintendent and she would sue the District for the money. That would not have a positive impact on their working relationship - and the District would lose. It would just be trouble all the way around the track.

Dr. Goodloe-Johnson is already on record saying that she didn't think it appropriate for her to get paid more money this year. The only way that she doesn't get the money is if she waives it.

If I were she, I would look for some way to defer it rather than waive it.

Charlie Mas said...

Cleveland STEM web page still not up.

No update on STEM on the Cleveland web site.

No mention of the Cleveland STEM meeting on the Cleveland web site.

No notice about the Cleveland STEM meeting on the District web site other than a press release. Are they inviting the press but not the public? Do they expect the press to do all of their promotion for them?

I suspect this blog has provided more information about Cleveland STEM than the District has.

Maureen said...

Have any 8th grade families received STEM postcards yet?

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing *we* won't receive a postcard, having an eighth grader in private school (was public through 6th grade). I inquired about my kid attending the pre-STEM summer camp program last year and was turned away. Or rather, waitlisted until after the kids enrolled in public school took spots. I'm still unclear why you needed to be enrolled in public school to take part in an out-of-schoolyear special program. But that experience has me doubtful SPS really wants us back, so I'm sure they won't bother sending a postcard.

Charlie Mas said...

Our Cleveland STEM postcard came today (Monday, November 30).

It had the exact same text as we have already seen.

It also directed people to the Cleveland web site for more information.

Charlie Mas said...

Questions I'll be asking at the Cleveland STEM meeting:

1) Has the Superintendent made a final decision to definitely open the STEM program?

2) Where are the elements that are supposed to be in place - Program Model, Project Budget, Professional Development Plan, Implementation Plan, Communications Plan, Defined Instructional Skill Set, Assessment Plan for years 1, 2, and 3, Readiness Plan for students in the Class of 2013, and a Plan for a Sustainable Program?

3) How is the project meeting the standards for the "Involve" level of community engagement? What decisions remain for community participation?

4) Why wasn't the project able to meet the communication plan shown to the Board and the public on September 16?

5) Why isn't there a web site, as promised to the Board and the public on September 16?

6) What has been the record of replies to emails and phone calls? How many received and how many responses?

7) What reason can you give us to be confident that this program will really be here next year? When has the District ever fulfilled a promise like this before? Why should we believe it will be different this time?

8) How will the project-based curriculum be reconciled with the District's curricular alignment effort?

9) How will Cleveland STEM provide scaffolding for students working below grade level and challenge for students working beyond grade level?

Charlie Mas said...

The STEM web site is up.

TechyMom said...

Here's another question to ask.
How will student safety be assured? Cleveland has a history of gang and safety problems. The students currently at Cleveland will remain there until they graduate. There are likely to be students interested in STEM who are more book-smart that street-smart. What specific programs will the school have in place to protect freshman STEM students from bullying?

Charlie Mas said...

The most recent data from the District (2007-2008 school year) reports that 184 Cleveland High School students were suspended. That's 27.2% of the school's students.


Over a quarter of the students at Cleveland were suspended from school at some point during the year? One out of every four Cleveland students committed an offense so severe that they were suspended?!?

That's something that they are going to have to address.

Let's remember that the District doesn't like schools to suspend students and wants them to suspend students only for really bad violations of the code of prohibited conduct.

Charlie Mas said...

Suspension rates for high schools in 2007-2008 (from the District Summary):

Cleveland - 29.2%
Sealth - 15.3%
Garfield - 13.6%
Rainier Beach - 13.1%
West Seattle - 10.3%
Nathan Hale - 9.2%
Franklin - 8.7%
Center School - 7.0%
Ballard - 6.2%
Roosevelt - 4.5%
Ingraham - 3.8%
NOVA - 0.3% (1 student)

High School average - 9.6%

Cleveland is clearly an outlier. This outcome needs to be addressed.

adhoc said...
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adhoc said...

29% suspension rate? That is very very high. I'd call the principal or whoever is directly in charge of student discipline and ask what is going on to a warrant a 29% suspension rate?

Suspension rate statistics can be a tricky thing to gauge. It's hard from me to believe that Cleveland has far more behavior issues to deal with than RBHS, yet Cleveland's suspension rate is almost double that of RBHS. Perhaps, Cleveland is just stricter, and doesn't tolerate the types of behavior that we have heard happening in RBHS classrooms, not to mention the rapes and assaults. In that case I would welcome their 29% suspension rate!

Even though the district sets specific criteria regarding suspension, schools do not always follow it. At the alt elementary school that my older son attended there there were many incidents that occured that by district definition, should have resulted in suspension. The school chose to deal with behavior issues in a more inclusive way, and against district policy, they did not suspend students. On paper this made the school look as though there were no behavior issues at the school at all, which was completely false.

At my younger sons traditional elementary school, they were much more strict in regard to student behavior and followed district policy regarding suspention closely. When a student committed an offense that fit the district criteria for suspension, that child was suspended. On paper this school looked like it had many more behavior issues than the alt school did, when in fact that was not true. The alt school actually had many more behavior issues, they just weren't recorded.

I'd dig a little deeper to find out exactly why Cleveland has a 29% suspension rate?

Bird said...

Over a quarter of the students at Cleveland were suspended from school at some point during the year?

It could just be a smaller number of students suspended repeatedly in the year.

In any case, since the numbers are so out of whack with other schools, I do think you have to consider the possibility of a difference in the way they are reporting these numbers or a differnce in the way they are handling discipline problems.

It may be that they have substantially more incidents leading to suspension, but you really need more information to figure out exactly what this means.

adhoc said...
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adhoc said...

OK, so the suspension rate statistic at Cleveland was really bothering me, so I called the school and spoke with Margorie Milligan, who is one of the assistant principals, and is in charge of discipline.

She said that "Cleveland has a no tolerance policy, and quickly suspends any kids who engage in unsafe or inappropriate behavior". She also said that "Cleveland will absolutely not let kids with negative or anti social behavior run their school". When I pushed her as to the extrordinarily high suspension rate, she said that "many schools do not address or enforce discipline, but that Cleveland absolutely does".

I got a great feeling from Ms Milligan at Cleveland! She was honest, re-assuring, and confident. And she invited me in to meet with her, and see the school for myself.

Honestly, I'd take the Cleveland 29% suspension rate if it resulted in a positive and safe environment for my son, over another school with say, a 9% or 13% suspension rate with discipline issues out of control.

SPSMom said...

I would look at Explusion rates, not suspension as you will have repeat "offenders" that cause the percent to climb.

A student can only be expelled once.