Thursday, October 03, 2013

Seattle School Board Meeting for October 2, 2013

From the Board meeting last night:

Native American Program
The Superintendent announced the following:
- there is a tribal history curriculum via a bill that was in the Legislature.  This school year that curriculum will be provided to 4th graders in the SW region (and other unnamed schools). Later it will be in 4th,8th and 11th grades across the district.
- Gail Morris is the new director of the Native American program.  She is a member of the Muckleshoot family and has worked on the Washington State Indian Education Association.
- the Native American parent advisory committee has been set-up and will be aiding the Superintendent

In my remarks I gave the Superintendent full credit for finding getting things done for the program that seemed to stymy other superintendents.  (But I dinged the Super and the Board for not giving one iota of attention to Hispanic Heritage Month.  One notation in the school calendar but not one mention of it at any Board meeting, no press announcement, no Hispanic students addressing the Board.  That's a shame.)

Student RemarksThe high school students speaking last night were from Hale and they spoke to an issue that many high school students have - namely, where the money?  The issue is the loss of massive amounts of money that ASBs used to get from soda pop sales.  This is money that the district promised to mitigate (especially to schools like Cleveland and RBHS).  They also stated (and it's true) that the district promised to give the money from advertising in the school calendar to the ASB and yet no money has appeared.  Good for them.

Some really poignant and moving testimony for this program.  The Superintendent noted that he had met with the community but that was all he said. 

Government Shutdown
The Superintendent stated that there are no effects to the district so far especially around federal grants.  However, if it goes on, he said there could be issues (I believe he meant weeks or months.)

Director Remarks (I printed what President Smith-Blum had to say about the Garfield incident elsewhere.)
Director Peaslee pointed out that in Forbes magazine's listing of the 400 richest people in the world, 9 of them live in our region.  It also called Washington the #9 best state to do business in.  She said with those attributes our state would be able to fully fund public education.

Cascade Parent Partnership Program
There were several speakers advocating for what used to be called the Home Resource Center.  It is now called the Cascade Parent Partnership Program.  It's a pretty amazing program with an incredible cross-section of parents and kids, a lot of them at this meeting.  (It was the first time I ever saw a woman in a burqa at a School Board meeting.)

I'm not sure most people are aware but the district has a darn good support system for parents who want to homeschool or have a mixture of homeschool and at-school classes.   They have 10 certified teacher, counseling services, parent coaches, and Sped. 

From their flyer:
  • 15% of students have an IEP
  • 35% of students/families come to Cascade due to school anxiety issues
  • 74% said they would not be in the district if not for the program
  • 33% are F/RL
  • 59% white, 21% black, 10% Hispanic, 7% Pacific Islander, 3% Native American
But, guess what?  They are seeking building space for up to 200 students and their families.  (Good luck and get in line.)  They are currently housed at Wilson-Pacific.  (Maybe they could share the building with APP at Lincoln.)

It was pretty amazing testimony especially from an African-American grandmother who said she had worked in the district for 37 years.  She said when her grandson was at Van Asselt, he was in Sped and she would get frequent calls about his behavior.  She said since enrolling him in Cascade, she has never been called about his behavior and he's not in Sped.  She said she felt like part of a community.

To note; the program is funded by the district but the district gets the full student funding, no matter how many educational hours are spent at home.


Maureen said...

Did they say how many students are served by the Cascade Partnership? If they need space for 200, it seems like they must serve thousands since I assume it's not a six hour a day-butts in seats program.

Place them and Pinehurst at Lincoln with 1-5 APP (lots of crossover I would think amongst all three programs.)

mirmac1 said...

I particularly liked the testimony of Pinehurst students and alums. Very moving!

Anonymous said...

Cascade is classified as an alternative learning experience (ALE) where the school district partners with parents to educate their children. Parents must be present in the building when students are taking classes (or give permission for another parent to supervise), so the space requirements have to allow for parents as well as students. Since students do some learning at home and some at school, you don't have all students on campus at a given time. Some may come for classes Monday through Thursday, while some might just come once a week. They offer math, science, LA, social studies, PE, art, library, etc., for various ages, grade K-8.

SPS parent

Carol Simmons said...

As Melissa noted it is encouraging that Superintendent Banda is meeting with the Native Coalition; however, there must be human and financial resources allocated for the revitalization of the Indian Heritage Program/School. Until then, it is just talk.

JvA said...

I testified about how Title 1 and Beacon Hill schools would disproportionately lose walk zones. (Thanks, Melissa, for calling this out in your Mercer meeting recap post earlier this week!)

Anyway, I just summarized my new findings in a post that now includes a downloadable spreadsheet, in case anyone else wants to parse/review the data about how the proposed changes affect walkability across the city. (See link below.)

Here are my top findings. (I'm concentrating on Beacon Hill, as that's the area that will be most severely affected, and also I know first-hand that families up and down the neighborhood are very upset. I'm not familiar with how parents feel about the changes at Northgate, Roxhill, and the other schools, and don't want to presume to speak for those families.):

--Citywide, 28% of Title 1 (low-income) schools are losing walk zones, compared to 12% of non-Title 1 schools.

--Under the new proposal, 67% of Beacon Hill schools would lose official SPS walk zones, compared to 13% for the rest of the city.

--All of the Beacon Hill schools losing walk zones are Title 1 (low-income) schools.

--Beacon Hill is the only neighborhood where kids would be taken out of walk zones to cross interstate-feeding arterials, or, in the case of Beacon Hill International, I-90 itself.

Anonymous said...

I am glad that Superintendent Banda has been made aware of the bill (HB 1495) that passed back in 2005. It is not just a bill, however. It is law as it and the Senate bill both passed and were signed by then Governor Gregoire back in 2005: RCW 28A.345 and 28A.320

School districts are 'encouraged' to teach the histories of the Native peoples in Washington State, especially those peoples near or within the district.

Thanks for the link to the report concerning the progress that has or has not been made.

Here is the link to the “Since Time Immemorial: Tribal Sovereignty in Washington State” curriculum :