Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Times Talks To Lowell Parents

The Times talked to parents at Lowell.  They also talked to Susan Enfield via SPS Communications. 

I can appreciate how tired the Lowell community must be.  First one split, then another, then a felon goes on a field trip, then Principal King says he's leaving, then he's staying and now this investigation that calls out both of Lowell's principals.  It's a lot.

And there are questions:

What led a special investigator to conclude that Principal Gregory King and Assistant Principal Rina Geoghagan mishandled the report? If they did mishandle it, why were they not fired? And why were the investigation's findings released after the close of the district's open-enrollment period?

What led the investigator was the evidence which was fairly clear-cut in terms of both principals being told about a behavior issue by one IA by a couple of staff members.  The principals never did an investigation and then, when the district got wind of it, they both proceeded to say the staff members never reported it to them. 

Why were they not fired?  Here's where Dr. Enfield's statement comes in and it's somewhat shocking:

District spokeswoman Lesley Rogers said Interim Superintendent Susan Enfield decided to let the administrators keep their jobs, partly because no foot kissing actually occurred and the incident did not necessarily constitute sexual abuse.

Actually that sentence either was not stated properly or not written properly.   It should read ".. because no foot kissing was ever PROVEN to actually have occurred.

No one, from either side, can definitively say any child's foot was or was not kissed.  It was proven (and the employee in question said it was true), that the child's shoe and sock was taken off and the foot held near the employee's nose.

So the issue for Dr. Enfield is whether or not what was being reported was abuse, sexual or otherwise?  That was never the point (or it shouldn't have been).

The point was that these two principals were less than truthful.  And they were less than truthful in a situation that neither of truly knew WHAT had happened because neither could be bothered to even do their own investigation.   So if it had been abuse, then Enfield would have fired them?

And the last question about the timing of the release of this investigation, after Open Enrollment?

Rogers said the report was supposed to be released last month but that King challenged some of its findings, leading to the delay. Parents seeking to move to another school with space can still do that until Sept. 30, she said.

Gee, thanks SPS.  That's exactly what parents could do anyway. 

It's interesting the way Principal King is allowed to state he is leaving his job, then get his job back when the people at the new job change their minds, have an investigation against him say he misled senior staff on a serious issue and then says the investigation is "made-up facts and faulty, biased assumptions."   That looks like a guy who knew the investigation was coming, tried to jump ship, swam back (to a waiting boat), and was given extra time to get dry. 

Parents new to the school?  Not so much love from the district for them.

Director Smith-Blum also weighed in.

"It's been handled," said Smith-Blum, who represents the Central Area on the board. "Hopefully we can all go back to teaching and learning now."

If I were the PTA president, I would expect more than "I care about your kids, now let's move on."  That's just me.  Because there are new parents and students coming in so no matter what you, as Lowell parent know from your interaction with one or both of them, these new parents are looking at an expensive investigation that showed the principals who lead their child's new school to have told mistruths about investigating the safety and treatment of a child by a staff member.

It might be worth thinking of those parents.  

But given his track record, I'm sure this won't be the last we hear of Principal King. 

From OSPI:  How to report a teacher or educator

67 comments:

mirmac1 said...

Is it me, or does KSB's remark sound exceedingly arrogant?

Anonymous said...

"It's been handled," said Smith-Blum...

...in what has become a typical SPS
way: many questions and concerns remaining, Administrators issuing "statements" once removed, and what appears to be ever-so-convenient timing with regard to a report coming out prior to enrollment.....
I wish the Board was as tired of these shenanigans as the general public is.

Two and a quarter years to go.

Anonymous said...

Arrogant, yes. Confusing, yes. Which "it" has been handled, exactly? The investigation into the action/inaction of King and Geoghagan? The investigation into the reporting/non-reporting that staff made of the incidents in question? The investigation that King and Geoghagan did or did not pursue upon the incidents that staff did or did not report?

Move along, indeed.

Oompah

Anonymous said...

"Director Smith-Blum also weighed in.

"It's been handled," said Smith-Blum, who represents the Central Area on the board. "Hopefully we can all go back to teaching and learning now."

Yes indeed, KSB still has to learn a lot. For example that you can not just move forward (on) with a problem without addressing the issues properly to the whole community. Because there will be always people who rightly think this is not an appropriate move...

I am not so sure about her "offered" teaching though... Not at SPS, pleeeeeease.
- Concerned

Maureen said...

I find it interesting that the report was released last Friday right at the end of the National Association of Elementary School Principals' Conference in Seattle. If it had been released a week earlier, the Times and local blogs would have been full of the news right when Seattle was full of people who could spread the info throughout the country. Convenient.

Anonymous said...

@Charlie

Your rationale for continuing to avoid putting responsibility on Susan Enfield:

"I'm not trying to protect Dr. Enfield. I'm trying to protect the division of labor within the District and preserve the idea that when authority is delegated that it really is delegated."

is proven to be wishful thinking by this quote from the Times:

"District spokeswoman Lesley Rogers said Interim Superintendent Susan Enfield decided to let the administrators keep their jobs..."

The chief executive is always responsible for the ultimate decisions. The big decisions are made by the one in charge. Susan Enfield fired Martin Floe, whether the unqualified director (whom Enfield hired) recommended it or not.

I said on the other post that this situation is a case study in dysfunctional behavior.

Charlie, your continued defense of Susan Enfield in the face of the indefensible puts you in the role of enabler-in-denial.

Please wake up.

--enough already

Nice hat said...

Rogers said the report was supposed to be released last month but that King challenged some of its findings, leading to the delay.

So in the Seattle School District if you're the subject of an investigation you get to see the report before it is issued and demand changes to it?

Someone said...

The commenter 3-2-1 over on the Times was a fascinating experience - how can one be so clueless about the big picture (and here I am writing about it on one of those "nasty blogs" ;)

Loved your comment about how it's the understanding of protocol that is vital in this situation Melissa.
That truly is the heart of the matter. If only the SPS admin and KSB understood it so well...

Who's up for running against her next round??!!!

Floor Pie said...

"'It's been handled,' said Smith-Blum, who represents the Central Area on the board. 'Hopefully we can all go back to teaching and learning now.'"

Honestly, I wish the district folks could just learn how to at least convincingly fake empathy instead of always responding to even the mildest hint of criticism with this cranky, arrogant defensiveness. "We're awesome. Yes we are. Shut up." So tiresome.

Anonymous said...

What hasn't been handled is that you still have principals in place that are willing to lie to cover their jobs. Not just willing to lie, but actively willing to target and retaliate against employees. The climate survey taken last year showed that the majority of staff had little respect for Gregory and Rina.
The climate that they foster toward staff does not make for an optimally functioning school. Why does SPS not see other types of proof, such as the gutting of a school of staff in one year's time? I am sorry that Gregory King and Rina Geoghagan are allowed to remain.

Former Lowell Staff

Disgusted said...

"What hasn't been handled is that you still have principals in place that are willing to lie to cover their jobs. Not just willing to lie, but actively willing to target and retaliate against employees. "

You bet. There is no way I"d feel comfortable having my kid in this school.

I'm also more than ready for Enfield to move-on. She is too much of a political player for me. Enfield wanted to grab as much power as possible. Here is what she did with her power: Moves to fire Martin Floe, but is willing to keep King. Mind-boggling.

Further distressing is the fact we have Michael Debell, Carr and Martin Morris wanting to govern through, in my opinion, too high of a level. McLaren is influenced by Debell.

Let's see how BP 1620 plays out for this one. Meanwhile, we still have King as principal. Gads.

Elected board members were put in place for a reason. Let's watch how this plays out.

hschinske said...

If it's been shown that the aide's contact with the children was harmless, that's a good reason THE AIDE should keep his job. Not for the principals to keep their jobs. If the investigation had been conducted appropriately and the aide HAD been found to be at fault, should they have lost their jobs, after all? Well, maybe here in Opposite Land they should've, but most people wouldn't think so.

Helen Schinske

hschinske said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Duplicitous and inauthentic. Susan Enfield.

At my school, a principal is going after a veteran teacher who has made enormous gains through hard work to improve. The principal keeps changing the bullseye. That is simply going after a teacher. It is not improving teaching.

That is the task of principals today. Get the veteran teachers.

Also, every teacher in the building knows this teacher is not the worst. In fact, she is simply the oldest.

There is nothing we can do.

How does this relate to Lowell? It makes no sense and it shows the unequal protection of the front ranks compared to management.

n...

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but I don't see anything on the agenda that should be more urgent than dealing with a duplicitous principal who many evidently consider unfit to run the school.

As for capacity management, I've long since resigned myself to the likelihood that APP will be split yet again. Anyone who thinks otherwise is deluded.


Concerned

Anonymous said...

SNAPP PTA Meeting: Tuesday March 27th

We hope to see our families at our second General Meeting of the school year. The meeting starts at 7PM in the Lincoln Library.

Agenda:

Treasurer’s Report

ACTION ITEM: Nominations Committee Election
• Nominees: Julie Yee, Alison Porter, Julita Eleveld
• Board Positions

ACTION ITEM: Standing Rules Revision

BLT Survey Report & Project-Based Learning
(Principal Rina Geoghagan, Jean Bryant, Staff)

Capacity Panel Discussion
FACMAC & Advanced Learning Task Forc

- LL

Melissa Westbrook said...

This comes apparently from the "SNAPP" PTA Board:

"We support our staff and the positive impact that they are having on our children’s education this year. Our experience with Rina Geoghagen, our principal, is that she has been a solid leader for our students during this year of great upheaval, including a building move, many new hires, and uncertainty about the future location of the APP program. The SNAPP PTA was not involved in the district's investigation, and we are not in a position to discuss the matter in any detail. But, we do believe that the District needs a strong, clear policy for reporting on issues that involve allegations of impacts to student health and safety.

On behalf of our children, the SNAPP PTA must stay focused on our continued support for teachers and students in the program, and on the current challenges facing advanced learning and the urgent need to find a permanent home for our displaced students. Should any parent require further information about the District’s investigation or the District’s policies please contact Nancy Coogan."

I think it's great the PTA supports staff but the parents should realize the very difficult land mine situation that now exists in two buildings.

Does anyone really believe the staff at any building still has faith in the system? The Ethics hotline is now a joke.

That staff has trust in the judgment of their leadership?

That staff would EVER go to the leadership with issues of concern between a staffer and a child?

Confused L@L parent said...

So the principals should be fired for not reporting behavior that was found not to be abusive? I should pull my child from L@L because people without children at the school have decided that he's not safe? I think that the parents in the APP program have bigger fish to fry (like trying to figure out if the program is going to be split again and where it will be going) than spending all of our time worrying about unreported child molesters running rampant through the Lincoln site.

Anonymous said...

@Confused at L@L

Sounds like you're confused because you've missed the entire point: These two principals lied to their administrators and then set up the concerned employees in order to avoid the consequences of the said principals' incompetence.

The "crime" was in the cover-up, not the initial act.

If you are okay with that (and this degree of unethical behavior in the leadership of your children), then there is not a lot to discuss with you here. It's kind of like trying to prove there's a solar system to a pre-Copernican.

--enough already (on vacation in a different school district--not to rub it in)

Anonymous said...

the fact that this incident and Rina's presence at L@L has clearly polarized/divided the parent community and will continue to do so, is reason enough for her to step down.

she can no longer be an effective leader.

- Name

Jan said...

Melissa: here are my problems with the SNAPP announcement. They state:

"[T]he SNAPP PTA must stay focused on our continued support for teachers and students in the program. . . ."

Well, like it or not, management misconduct and errors ARE an issue of how best to support children. What are the chances, now, that if a staff member saw another staff member behaving in an inappropriate manner (one that might require further training) with your child, the first staff person would feel free to report it.? Especially if they could plausibly "pretend" to have seen nothing, or the second staff person was known to be a "favorite" of Ms. Geoghagen? It might be one thing if, as a result of the investigation, Ms. Geoghagen had been appalled by her lapses in judgment, apologized, and publicly committed herself to never again make those errors or act in that manner again. But she has not. She is almost defiant. She denies the facts of the report and is utterly unrepentant. Feeling secure, all you potential mandatory reporters of inappropriate conduct? Feeling secure, all you APP parents whose children might one day be discovered sitting in a room all alone, on the lap of a staff person, or getting a full frontal hug from a staff person? How does ignoring this constitute support for students and parents?

SNAPP goes on to say: "Our experience with Rina Geoghagen, our principal, is that she has been a solid leader for our students during this year of great upheaval, including a building move, many new hires, and uncertainty about the future location of the APP program." First, given that there is not unanimity of support by parents, I believe that for the SNAPP to take sides for or against the principal at this point is inappropriate (it would have been equally inappropriate, based on no knowledge of parent/staff positions, to come out against her). They should have remained neutral. Secondly, while it is too bad so many OTHER problems are going on in the APP program at the same time that the administration is failing to follow reporting rules and retaliating against employees who report improper conduct that they don't want to/don't feel like investigating -- but the one does not trump the other. You don't get to stop cancer treatment just because your basement is flooding and your work life is going badly. The many challenges that APP faces in the next few years are reason to want/need a GREAT administrator, one who instills confidence and loyalty in staff and parents. Do they have that? Sure doesn't seem like it.

"The SNAPP PTA was not involved in the district's investigation, and we are not in a position to discuss the matter in any detail."

No one ever said the PTA was involved in the investigation. Stupid comment. But now that the results are out, under what scenario is the PARENT TEACHER association not in a position to discuss the results or take whatever follow up action might be necessary for a PARENT TEACHER group to take? SNAPP is acting just like Rina when she said she felt uncomfortable acting on any alleged abuse she had not actually witnessed! Sorry if it's a tough topic -- but that's life! I can understand that they don't want to jump to conclusions. And -- after discussion there may not be a consensus for the PTA as a group to act. But to say that they can't discuss it? When there were allegations of retaliation against staff members who reported? And Rina tried to lead the investigation of them -- after they had reported to her? This is wrong -- and cowardly on the part of SNAPP -- on so many levels.

cont'd

Jan said...

Cont'd

"But, we do believe that the District needs a strong, clear policy for reporting on issues that involve allegations of impacts to student health and safety."

Ah. Of course! RINA doesn't need to do anything differently. This DISTRICT needs a strong, clear policy. You know, maybe that policy can be "touched up," but there WAS a strong policy (in fact -- it was under that policy that Jennifer and C1 were investigated, and cleared). The issue here is not the policy. The issue is the actions, failures, to act, and character of Mr. King and Ms. Geoghagan. The issue is whether they deserve to lead, and have any hope of leading well, a Seattle elementary school. In my opinion, if APP wants to attract kids and wants to have a strong leader through the next set of moves, the FIRST thing it needs is a leader whom its staff and parents (and would-be parents trying to evaluate a move to APP) have confidence in and are willing to rally around. Under what scenario should the PTA NOT be discussing whether Ms. Geoghagan is, at that point, that leader?

Then -- SNAPP waves its hand dismissively and sends anyone who wants to discuss it further off to talk with Nancy Coogan. Well, it might be a good thing to talk to Nancy Coogan -- but what if parents want to talk to each other (and other staff)? What if they mostly want to talk to, and be heard by, Ms. Geoghagan? What if they want to ask Rina why, in the meeting with HR, she didn't jump in and say --"Wait, Gregory -- and all of you! C1 and C2 DID report this behavior. They discussed it with me, at least, etc. etc. etc. Before we take this any further, let's look at how Gregory and I and the administration handled OUR parts of it. . . ." Because you know, THAT is what real leaders do. They admit fault first. They look at where THEY can improve first (not for whatever subordinate might be handy to take the fall for them). They stand up for their staff (rather than throwing them under the bus). The report is absolutely unequivocal that if Gregory and Rina had been forthcoming, there would have been NO INVESTIGATION of either C1 or C2. Seems to me Rina still has a whole lotta 'splainin' to do to her parents and staff, and a chat with Nancy Coogan and a brush off by SNAPP isn't going to cover that gap.

Anonymous said...

The SNAPP PTA, like most PTA's is made up of people who LOVE the school so much that they are conditioned to avoid any hint of impropriety or scandal that might give the school a bad name or dissuade parents from sending their kids there.

They are not qualified to deal with conflicts or opinions of the school or staff that differ from their own so they just avoid any discussion of it.

If they truly had the best interests of parents, teachers, and most importantly students, they would make time on tonight's agenda to discuss this incident.

- Name

L@Lparenttoo said...

Well, the message from SNAPP was slightly misprinted here. It actually ends with, "Should any parent require further information about the District's investigation or the District's policies please contact Rina Geoghagan or Nancy Coogan. They are available and willing to meet with parents." I copied the above directly from the SNAPP email sitting in my account.

Anonymous said...

Jan-

I didn't read the PTA announcement like you did at all.

"Our experience with Rina Geoghagen, our principal, is that she has been a solid leader for our students during this year of great upheaval, including a building move, many new hires, and uncertainty about the future location of the APP program." The PTA is talking about their (the PTA Board) experience this year, it did not say that this is the consensus of the entire parent body. The PTA did not do the investigation and can, therefore, not offer any details about it. That seems straightforward. I also don't agree it "took sides." This was a generic comment talking about this year. No where in the statement did it say anything like we support Rina no matter what.

"The SNAPP PTA was not involved in the district's investigation, and we are not in a position to discuss the matter in any detail." This is only saying the PTA can't offer more detail on an investigation that they did not conduct.

Then you say "SNAPP waves its hand dismissively and sends anyone who wants to discuss it further off to talk with Nancy Coogan. Well, it might be a good thing to talk to Nancy Coogan." Since the PTA can't offer more detail, it seems reasonable to offer the name of someone who can. This is a legal issue between a district employee and the district, not between the teachers and parents. The end of the PTA message also states you are free to talk to Rina. Go ahead and do that.

-Also at L@L

Anonymous said...

PTA has to be all chummy with the administration. That's how it works most of the time.

former Lowell dad

Anonymous said...

Name says, "...they would make time on tonight's agenda to discuss this incident."

So, which agenda items do you want to bump? Or are you suggesting that the meeting just run as long as necessary?

Personally, I'd rather see a separate meeting scheduled to discuss the district's investigation. And it should be run by people who were involved in the investigation and can actually speak about the matter with some knowledge.

I've tried to read the reports and it's a confusing, complicated story. I don't think a bunch of parent volunteers should be expected to master the situation in 48 hours and hold an effective community meeting about it on such short notice.

The district conducted the investigation and the district should hold the community meeting.

--worried for 2013

Jan said...

Also at L@L --

Thank you for your thoughtful chiding. Your points are good, and reveal, I think, that I am reading the SNAPP email with "angry eyes." I still think it betrays a lack of leadership by SNAPP and an unwillingness to actively help the parent/teacher community with a big issue. But it is not unreasonable to think that it was not meant to be as negative as I read it. I do think the people to "talk" with here include both Rina AND Nancy Coogan -- but the first version of the email I saw did not have the reference to Rina. I thought it should have -- and evidently, it did! Because I don't believe Rina has said (yet, at least) what she NEEDS to say if she wants to be an effective leader, going forward, of this school community.

Going off now to work on civility and a neutral perspective.

Anonymous said...

I have heard that a meeting with Rina and Nancy Coogan is in the works. It sounds like it will be fairly soon.

There is a lot happening now with the capacity issue, so it's important parents hear about that tonight. As someone else mentioned, tonight's PTA general meeting was postponed once already so that more capacity information could be gathered. Let's please keep these topics separate.

-L@L parent

L@Lparenttoo said...

I have also heard that a meeting with Rina will be set up in "the near future to address people's questions." I don't think that tonight's meeting is the time to attack Rina (or the SNAPP PTA). It sounds as if a meeting is happening soon. Hopefully all concerns can be presented and addressed at that meeting, and Rina will have the opportunity to show growth as a leader.

Anonymous said...

"Let's deal with the agenda."

What a weird reality some of you people live in.

What is more more important than ethics, your children's teachers' ability to work in safety, and the character of your children's influences?

No wonder I left Seattle. This "Let's just keep the trains running on time and please don't call me angry" mentality is mind-boggling and scary.

--enough already

Melissa Westbrook said...

"This is a legal issue between a district employee and the district, not between the teachers and parents."

Well, since it affects teachers and parents, I think they do get to weigh in.

I think I might be confused over the PTA message because I thought it did represent the parents and not just the PTA Board. M

LOLparent,too, I don't believe there is a single person who wants to "attack" anyone. Ask someone to clarify their position and/or how they will work to regain trust is not attacking anyone. It's not fair or in anyone's best interest to do so.

I would agree this issue probably needs its own meeting and this meeting was scheduled with its own agenda (that's the ex-PTA co-president in me talking). But it should be addressed and soon.

L@Lparenttoo said...

Yes, Melissa, I agree with you. I just want people to use their anger positively to get answers not negatively to get relief.

Anonymous said...

@L@Lparenttoo said

Anger is not against the law but retailiation can bring a huge tort settlement--Go Jennifer Gray & Co.!

--enough already (Still wondering why anger is taboo among certain socio-economic groupss in the PNW???)

Anonymous said...

@L@Lparenttoo said

Anger is not against the law but retailiation can bring a huge tort settlement--Go Jennifer Gray & Co.!

--enough already (Still wondering why anger is taboo among certain socio-economic groupss in the PNW???)

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that people are asking Nancy Coogan to host a meeting with Rina Geoghagan to explain to the school community. Nancy Coogan was informed about the incident. I believe that she supported the efforts to have Jennifer and the other teacher investigated. In otherwards, I believe that there was a condoning toward the retaliation that the "reporting teachers" received.
I believe that she was supporting the principals at the time. Having her explain, is somewhat akin to having Rina Geoghagan wanting herself to be in charge of the investigation. In the real world, there is a bit of conflict of interest. Doesn't she also have motives to cover any appearance of contamination with the retaliation?

Still a bit suspect

Anonymous said...

Liars.

Why is it so easy for readers to move on and leave behind the fact that two principals lied. It's alike walking past a body on the street. Move along. They're dead.

Have you decided that it wasn't abuse and anyone who was retaliated against had it coming? I guess so. What do you tell your children? It's been handled?

Go back into the 2008 archives and read all about Broadview. How long it took. Read about Terri Skjei in PI and ST archives too. She dared teachers who complained to her to confront Lawrence Hill on their own. She's good enough for SPS and has a job at Viewridge. Do all the families there accept "We learned?" I guess they do. $3 million handled it.

I'm glad I don't have to make school choices anymore. For those who do, how many of you are going to tell your children the truth. Don't leave anything out. Your principal lied. See how well that goes over at homework time.

Mr White

L@Lparenttoo said...

AAK! I was NOT saying people shouldn't be angry. I totally get why people are angry, and am angry myself.

Anonymous said...

@Still a bit suspect

You are just a bit funny that way to call truth to this matter.

On a side note--this is just an outsider's perspective, mind you-- some of you parents of the
so-called "elite" of the district's students (academically speaking) seem more than a little bit naive and self-serving.

Oh, never mind!

--enough already

Anonymous said...

My experience with Rina Geoghagan does not make me see her as a good leader for the curriculum needs of gifted students. She did not create positive trust with the staff. I'll be interested to see how the Spring climate survey comes out this May. That will be an important measure as to how all the new hires see her. I saw her as being pretty weak on all fronts.

Teacher observances

Anonymous said...

@Teacher observances

Thanks for your perspective. However, you are operating on a different plane than I am:

1. Why should she still have a job when the staff surveys are allocated?

2. Why does her lack of (or proficiency for) gifted education skills preempt her ethics as a human being? If she were the Marva Collins for the cognitively advanced, I'd still want her 86'd.

Again...I'm just old school and funny that way. Ignore me at your peril.

--enough already

Anonymous said...

Teacher Observances to Enough Already

I couldn't agree with you more. I am still hopeful that sooner, rather than later, these two schools will have new principals. It couldn't happen fast enough for me.

Teacher Observance

StopTFA said...

Hey, enough already, we're missing you at SPS!....

Anonymous said...

Marty McLaren had two of her children go through the APP program. I have talked to her about what happened at Lowell last year, and so has another Lowell staff person from the Special Ed. program in our school. I believe that she will be a supporter of ethical behavior toward all.

Former Lowell Teacher

mirmac1 said...

I see the following:

Nominating Committee
• Nominees: Julie Yee, Alison Porter, Julita Eleveld

Ms Eleveld is related to a recent witness for the "Moderate Voice Parents"...

mirmac1 said...

"It's kind of like trying to prove there's a solar system to a pre-Copernican."

OK I LOVE that!

Notsure said...

I don't understand this post:

mirmac1 said...
I see the following:

Nominating Committee
• Nominees: Julie Yee, Alison Porter, Julita Eleveld

Ms Eleveld is related to a recent witness for the "Moderate Voice Parents"...

What does any of that have to do with anything? Thanks for explaining!

mirmac1 said...

Notsure,

There were a number of witnesses at the Board meeting before last that identified themselves as the "Moderate Voice of Parents". Came out of the blue. Never heard of them, but one gentleman is related to Eleveld.

Anonymous said...

A Sin of Omission is failure to do what one can and must do.

A Sin of Commission is to know something is wrong... and do it anyway.

The name of the game here is to apply the omission and comission label to the various acts of King, Geoghagan, Coogan and Enfield. Expand the list of participants as you see fit.

Oompah

Anonymous said...

Stop TFA and OMG Cat,

Thank you! I'm humbled. Besides missing the clean air, I am sorry I didn't get to meet you two.
Keep giving it to the man or woman.

I am getting PTSD ([post traumaic Seattle District) therapy through the pixels on this blog (whatever pixels are) and your courage.

I put in almost 20 years in SSD, and worked for six principals who were fired--and one who was demoted...but who's counting, right?

Teachers, staff members...if you ever work for principals like the ones on these threads---go to a professional and get a slip for stress due to a hostile work environment. Don't quit (even though Jennifer Gray will be getting a deserved windfall--go Jennifer!). The sad part is that you will be being honest (grammar check, Sue P?).

I knew I needed to leave Seattle when I would read emails about deaths of longstanding employees--some remarkable people--who had devoted 30 years to this district and all they got was a thank you, thank you very much (I know they impacted lives but I also know that they often suffered the district's pattern of abuse in silence--especially if they were immigrants).

Sadly, my dear friend, who put years of devoted teaching into this district and was treated like a dog, died prematurely. I believe (without a doubt) that it was due the the stress and retaliation that she suffered later in her career.

I am now putting my two cents on this blog for therapy and for my dear, dear colleagues who love your kids and don't have a voice.

I'm still a teacher who keeps trying to do better, and wish I you all well.

--enough already

Anonymous said...

wish I you all well...

I guess I didn't mean you well at all.

--enough already...and sight and syntax challenged

suep. said...

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that people are asking Nancy Coogan to host a meeting with Rina Geoghagan to explain to the school community. Nancy Coogan was informed about the incident. I believe that she supported the efforts to have Jennifer and the other teacher investigated. In otherwards, I believe that there was a condoning toward the retaliation that the "reporting teachers" received.


Then maybe having both Ms. Coogan and Ms. Geoghagan at the meeting will offer parents a good opportunity to ask both of them clarifying questions about the investigation.

Anonymous said...

There are some Catholics coming out of the closet on this blog lately.

"A Sin of Omission is failure to do what one can and must do. A Sin of Commission is to know something is wrong... and do it anyway" Bird

Could it be that, when there is a bankruptcy of ethics (like the SPS routinely demonstrates), people go back to their roots?

Cafeteria Jews, Muslims, Hindis and Buddhists--bring it on!

Anything is better than this nihilism.

--enough already

Anonymous said...

To Melissa:
Can you do a live blog from Lowell @ Lincoln tonight the same way you made it happen from the Board Meeting?
- Couldn't make it to the meeting

Nick Esparza said...

CHILD ABUSE
REPORTING

D116.00
Adopted
JUN 1985
Page 1 of 1


POLICY
It is the policy of the Seattle School Board that any case of suspected child abuse shall be
immediately reported as provided in state law, and that appropriate follow-up measure will be
taken by the Superintendent or designated representative.
Reference: RCW 26.44 Abuse Of Children And Adult Dependent Persons – Protection
Procedure
Former code(s): H63.00, H54.00

PROCEDURE
Introduction
The State of Washington imposes the duty on school personnel to report suspected cases of-
child abuse to the proper authorities.
Key provisions of RCW 26.44 governing the reporting of child abuse are as follows:
1. Duty and Authority - All professional school personnel who have reasonable cause to
believe that a child has experienced non-accidental physical injury, sexual abuse,
sexual exploitation, negligent treatment, or maltreatment are required to make an
oral and/or written report to law enforcement or Children's Protective Services
concerning the suspected child abuse and neglect. The report shall be made at the
first opportunity, and in no case longer than forty-eight (48) hours, after there is
reasonable cause to believe that abuse or neglect has occurred. (RCW 26.44.030)
2. Penalty for Failure To Report Abuse And Neglect - Every person who is required to
report child abuse and who knowingly fails to do so shall be guilty of a gross
misdemeanor. (RCW 26.44.080)
3. Liability - Anyone who in good faith makes a report or gives testimony with regard to
possible child abuse and neg2.6.44.060)

Nick Esparza said...

Re In the End, It's Just Depressing - the Lowell Investigation
http://youtu.be/CdWtRAHotOY

Patrick said...

Nick, thank you for posting the chapter and verse. I think it's clear that the policy is fine, it's the District administration's enforcing the policy that's the problem.

dw said...

Jan said: You don't get to stop cancer treatment just because your basement is flooding and your work life is going badly.

What a gem. I love your thoughts and your writing. Thank you.

I think the SNAPP PTA Board overstepped with their comments. They may have only been speaking as "The Board", but their comments were directed to the PTA at large, and it definitely felt like they took a position.

I don't think it was appropriate to take any kind of position without talking with the PTA membership.

dw said...

suep said: Then maybe having both Ms. Coogan and Ms. Geoghagan at the meeting will offer parents a good opportunity to ask both of them clarifying questions about the investigation.

I agree that having them available to answer questions will be useful. But I also think it's important that a portion of the meeting should be without either of them present, so that parents can talk freely among themselves. Either beforehand or afterward. Or better, both.

I have not heard anything from Rina, let alone Greg, that leads me to believe they are sorry for their actions, nor are they taking any responsibility. That tells me that they haven't learned from the(ir) mistakes. Kids across the city are in more danger now then they were a year ago because it's clear to anyone paying attention that staff will be less likely to report inappropriate staff/student contact.

Jan said...

DW -- I agree that parents need to talk among themselves. I still believe that the current state of affairs should not be the last word, and I concur that Rina's and Gregory's public statements to date indicate only defiance and dismissiveness, as opposed to any sense or responsibility or remorse for what happened.

At a bare minimum, I think that the retaliation issue should be linked up with the reports last year of bullying, retaliation, and general emotional abuse of staff. Regardless of the fact that the school district did not conclude that retaliation had occurred in the specific cases investigated (because the investigator had gone no further than "dubious" and some credibility analysis), I think that when you link the report with the other stuff, each of them should be on some sort of performance plan/probation for the next five years or so, regarding issues around school climate, staff satisfaction, teacher attrition/retention, and the other issues raised in the abysmal staff surveys. I think that things like teacher favoritism (real or perceived), fairness of evaluations and teacher performance reviews, interface with parents, etc. should all be part of it. One reason I vote for five years (and not one) is -- sometimes, people who are toxic managers really can change. In fact -- short of a personality disorder or mental illness --- ALL of them COULD change (though not all of them want to give up vindictiveness and the other percs of power. But they have to want to, and they need mentoring to do it -- and a year isn't long enough. Because King came here with pretty sketchy stuff in his past (around the credit card abuse at his last gig), I have less hope that he can be rehabilitated. Rina seems like a better hope. But there is so much here that indicates issues with principal character and leadership. If ever there were a time and an opportunity to work these issues for the benefit of the school communities (whether it is new leadership, or new leadership skills), it is now.

suep. said...

Share your concerns/thoughts about L@L leadership with the SNAPP PTA:

Apparently one of the heads of the SNAPP PTA claims she has only seen one e-mail that expresses concerns about the investigation and Ms. Geoghagan's leadership at L@L.

It's been less than a week since the report was released last Friday night, so I imagine most families are still processing how they feel about the whole matter and what's best for the future of our school.

I also believe that families may be calling or sending emails to people with greater authority than the PTA, like Susan Enfield, the ombudsman Ronald McGlone, Nancy Coogan, which the PTA have not seen and cannot tally.

It would be troubling and inaccurate if the PTA leadership were to interpret L@L families' lack of e-mail to them these past five days as a tacit approval of current leadership or indifference to the results and implications of the investigation.

If the PTA does plan to use this as its sole measure of parent satisfaction with L@L leadership, then apparently anyone who has concerns would be advised to share them with the SNAPP PTA board, beginning with the leadership:

jeanmbryant AT msn.com, jgbiely AT comcast.net

dw said...

Jan said: At a bare minimum, I think that the retaliation issue should be linked up with the reports last year of bullying, retaliation, and general emotional abuse of staff....

I'm not going re-quote your entire paragraph, but I agree with every bit of it. You've summed up my feelings exactly.

Unfortunately, I'm not optimistic any of it will happen. Why? Because it seems there are multiple levels of people who will lie about facts to cover their own mistakes. That and the investigation was mostly limited to the IA/SLP/retaliation, where in reality that was just one piece of the big picture. The other parts were just as dreadful, but they are not going to get daylighted in the same way because there was no formal, external investigation. If there was, we would have seen more than a wrist-slap.

JP said...

Kay Smith Blum and both Lowell PTA’s want to say that the issue is behind us now that the report has been issued. The administrators were slapped on the wrist. Now,
let’s get on.

What we are “getting on” with at Lowell is a faint shadow of what this stellar program once was. Under King’s leadership (bullying) and Geohagen’s support (enabling) only THREE teachers remain with the program that were there before King took over. Count them folks. Gone in one year are 1 first grade teacher; 2 second grade teachers; 2 third grade teachers, 2 fourth grade teachers, and 1 fifth grade teacher. Also gone is the counselor, the PE teacher, and yes, Jennifer Gary, the SLP. Look into attendance reports for last year and you’ll also find extended absences among teachers for stress-induced illness. You may buy the line from the district and the PTA that this was all a monumental series of coincidences. But using the critical thinking skills that we demand of our kids (not to mention the empathy we should feel for these people who gave so much to the program over so many years), we should recognize that this is a gross aberration from normal. At our sister program, Thurgood Marshall, for instance, only one teacher left last year (and two teachers who left Lowell went there).

So, King and Geohagen get their citations -- and keep their jobs. And all of these teachers uproot their lives and their careers so they don’t have to work for this man again. And hundreds of families over dozens of years are denied the benefit of experience gained by teachers working with this group of students. And the community that once was at Lowell, where there existed a circle of teachers supporting families and families supporting teachers, is gone. We are all being punished for the wrongdoings of those administrators.

Will King reach his goal to rise in authority and become a superintendent of a school district elsewhere?

Jan said...

JP -- I am not a betting person, but if I were, I would, at this point, bet that he will not become a superintendent of any school district where any reasonable public vetting process is used. There is not only this investigation (and the reprimand in his file, with "dots" to be connected between "dubious" and "retaliation"). There is the staff survey issue, and somewhere out there are reports that indicate problems (not attributed to him, but with someone he supervised -- but lots of unflattering commentary) at his last gig. In an internet world, it starts to amount to a thumb on the scale -- rightly or wrongly (I have an opinion of which it is, but that is irrelevant).

IF he becomes a supe, my guess is it will more likely be like MGJ's new gig -- where someone comes along with lots of private money and a BIIIIG back-scratcher -- and basically hires him in a position where there is NO public scrutiny, and no public accountability (in MGJ's case -- the accountability is up at the state legislature/Michigan Dept of Ed level, where the parents and taxpayers can be ignored because it is only one issue of many, and it is not election season.)

In those cases, it's like having Honeywell or NCS move their "problem guy" to manage YOUR division. You are screwed, unless you can just outlast them.

ERik said...

Many of us like and respect Rina and Gregory and will continue to support them. The current staff are dedicated and hard working to support our kids. We need to focus on supporting the current situation and not focus so much energy on the past. They are the principals now and will be next year if they want to be. Some "toxic" environment that many complain about last year may have existed,but does not exist now.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Erik,

That was the impression I had too and many of us appreciate it. Thanks also for speaking up on here.

All About The Kids