First up, congratulations to Green Lake secretary, Debbie Passi, the Washington Education Association's Educational Support Professional of the Year.
Also, congratulations to Sandi Whiton, the Academic Intervention Specialist at Chief Sealth High School who received an award from the private college, Whitman. Her award is called the Distinguished Elementary/Secondary Teacher Award and is given at their commencement exercises to honor an outstanding teacher who contributes significantly to the intellectual development of students.
My puzzlement comes from two places. One, Ms. Whiton is an academic intervention specialist and what does that mean? This is something every middle and high school should have. As I mentioned previously, at the Alliance Breakfast they showed a Denny Middle School video that mentioned an "early incident specialist" who works there. So obviously these intervention employees exist at some schools but which ones and how do the schools pay for it?
I'm sure like most districts, there's a hodge-podge of services. Some schools may have more tutors than other depending on their poverty level (City Year) or parent participation (PTA). I know at Eckstein they used to want volunteers to sign in and put their hours down and for what so that the school would know these kinds of stats. I have no idea if this gets done elsewhere (or even if Eckstein still does this). I remember a Garfield PTSA co-president telling me a couple of years ago that she was talking with the principal about a volunteer organization in the school that he didn't even realize was there.
I think the district hopes that volunteer organizations like Nela and CAN fill in at the higher poverty high schools for college services, parents do a lot of tutoring (along with other various volunteer groups), neighbors may pitch in for gardening and playground help but honestly, who knows what services are available at any given school? I'm not even sure I know the district tracks what services are available throughout the district. It would be a good question for high school director, Michael Tolley.
The other puzzling thing is that there is yet another diversity speaker next week at the headquarters. I understand professional development and developing cultural competency but this is just a general lecture open to the public. Do we really have the money to spend in this district on a speakers' series on diversity? I'll have to find out if it's sponsored (but it doesn't say it is).