Friday, November 08, 2013

Friday Open Thread

Two Director Community meetings tomorrow:
Director Carr from 8:30-10:30 am at Bethany Community Church
Director Smith-Blum from 10 am to 11:30 am at Douglass Truth Library

Remember that commercial about pollution from the '70s with the Native American man surveying what pollution had done to the land?  The one that ends with the tear down his cheek?

Here's an inspiring video that I believe all children - toddlers to teens - should see.  It's about a middle school football team and a fellow student who is developmentally disabled.  You've seen stories with this storyline but not the ending.  The last 30 seconds are so vital; it's the journey of a boy who learns that everyone matters.  This is mindset is what we need to see in our schools to cut down on bullying - everyone matters. 


Julie said...

Thank you Melissa for the video link - that made me cry. How inspiring, and what a great lesson.

Anonymous said...

Garfield High School is doing Brighton Beach Memoirs right now -- five shows left (tonight and tomorrow, and then next week Thurs-Saturday). We went last night, and it was very, very funny and well done. Come show your support for the arts and the team of kids at Garfield who have put many hours of work into this production! More info and a link to buy tickets at


Linh-Co said...

An announcement will be made for the 25 members of the Math Adoption Committee. Can you let us know if you've been selected?

None of the teachers and parents who we know applied were chosen. This list includes Craig Parsley of Boren STEM, and Ted Nutting a high school math teacher of Ballard High School. Ted has the best record in the district for students passing the AP Calculus exam and Craig Parsley is one of the best 5th grade math and science teacher in the district. His students continually have one of the highest passing rates for both math and science. These are not APP students.

Obviously track records and expertise were not considered for these two applicants.

I'm also concern about some of the people leading the process. Marleen Boone, a district math coach will be one the district's advisors to the curriculum adoption committee. I took a DMI training (Developing Mathematical Ideas) a few years ago with her as facilitator. A question came up about scientific notation. She thought that 7 x 10^3 = 2100. She did not know enough math to do a simple 6th grade problem and yet will be advising the committee.

I sure do hope we have a better process than the last round, but am not optimistic.

Our last adoption was botched miserably. Whatever anybody's opinion of EDM, it aligned poorly with the state math standards. EDM received a poor ranking from OSPI and yet we ordered it anyway.

Mary Griffin said...

I am responding here to a reader who has heard about the Level 4 determination for Special Ed that was announced at the school board meeting on Wednesday by the Executive Director of Special Education, Zakiyyah McWilliams. From what I can tell from documents on OSPI's website, 1) the district has two weeks to appeal the decision, 2) the determination was made as the result of noncompliance issues that were found over a year ago and have not been corrected, 3)OSPI will withhold IDEA part B funding in total or in part.

OSPI will not release anything offical about this until the appeal time has elapsed.

Anonymous said...

Why is this level 4 designation not being reported by the Seattle Times? It seems like a big deal to me.


Anonymous said...

...and what happens if the district loses "IDEA part B" funding? Do teachers still get paid? What about administrators? Does the district have to use other monies to achieve compliance?

It seems right for OSPI to get drastic, I just don't understand how cutting off the money helps. It would make more sense to me for them to take control, to administer the program. Obviously, the district doesn't know what to do with Special Ed. What are the odds that they will suddenly get wise when funding is removed?


mirmac1 said...

The only reason the Times wrote about the Level 3 designation was to pound on Jose Banda. They really don't care about special education. But given the results of the school board elections, I wouldn't be surprised if they start piling on again.

Anonymous said...

@curious - the District (as in all the departments and operations) doesn't understand or value federal and state laws governing special ed and disabilities civil rights, beyond putting disabled bodies and classrooms together where there is space available and regardless of the teacher's capabilities. so that's why nothing works because for sped to work there have to be systems to make it work --legally-- all across the board.

@Mary Griffin - the reason for the level 4 determination is not known so far, but it is far more likely going to be connected to ongoing problems that OSPI has been pointing out for a long time like the over-identification of students from racial and ethnic groups in sped


Anonymous said...

I hope the Times keeps reporting about special education in Seattle Schools. They owe it to their readers who will otherwise forget that inequities and challenges exist in addition to those that are regularly reported on faced by students of color and students with languages other than English. So far, the Times has simply reported the news.


Anonymous said...

Director Smith-Blum's community meeting location will be at Douglass-Truth branch library at 23rd and Yesler she just informed me. Staff should be updating the site with the new information.

Ann D.

Anonymous said...

Is Spectrum access now guaranteed at middle school level? I can't find anything on the district website that suggests it's only on a space available basis. Assuming my child tests into APP for 6th grade, can we elect to go to Hamilton Spectrum (it's our AA school), rather than wherever APP ends up (e.g., rolling up at Lincoln?) Will we be guaranteed a Spectrum spot?


lowell parent said...

What is the current situation regarding the Mann building.

mirmac1 said...

Interesting information in the Deputy Superintendent's Friday memo. Some ACTUAL information on the goings-on at JSCEE

Anonymous said...


You are guaranteed a place in the Spectrum program, but not in the Spectrum classes. If students at HIMS are placed in classes based on ability vs. classification that might be a good option for certainty.

Just apply during Open Enrollment.


Anonymous said...

StepJ, what does that mean? How can you be in the program but not in the Spectrum-specific classes?


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

Step J, I think someone should check with AL. I thought you WERE guaranteed Spectrum in middle school.

HIMS, in elementary you can test into Spectrum but are not guaranteed a seat (yes, that crazy). But again, I thought that had changed for middle school.

Christina said...

Seattle School Board votes to settle sexual-assault case for $700,000 -- I wondered what the closed meeting about legal action was for.

reposting for someone who selected the Anonymous function but did not sign with a pseudonym

Charlie Mas said...

All APP-eligible students are Spectrum-eligible as well.

Any Spectrum-eligible student who chooses the Spectrum program at their attendance area middle school is assured of placement in that program at that school.

How each school chooses to serve their Spectrum students is up to the school. There is no prescribed Spectrum delivery model.

Math placement at all middle schools is done without regard to program.

Middle school Spectrum consists, at most, of a self-contained class for the Language Arts/Social Studies block. That's it. Since Spectrum students do not come in convenient thirty-packs, all schools have had to find their own way to respond to the District mandate.

For example, here is last year's data on Spectrum enrollment.

You'll see that there were seven Spectrum students in the seventh grade from the Mercer service area. This doesn't necessarily mean that these students are enrolled at Mercer, or that other Spectrum students are not, but Mercer has to find a way to offer Spectrum services to the students they have and a self-contained classroom is not going to be their answer.

Someone said...

KIRO just had story re: SPS issuing notice to vacate at Mann - police were apparently there, as well as power trucks to shutdown power, though no confirmation of that. Tweeter posted pic of letter from Supt. Banda
Notice to Vacate

Anonymous said...

Note that they did it on a Friday. A Friday before a 3-day weekend. A media-savvy move.


Anonymous said...

Hidden in The Seattle Times is news that the Potter associate from the Goodloe_Johnson administration scandal was found guilty today on multiple counts.

Anonymous said...

Whoops, accidentally hit enter too fast. He was found guilty on 36 counts.


Potter will be sentenced next week. It will be good to get closure on that episode.


Someone said...

There's apparently a standoff going on at Mann now - based on twitter traffic - always an adventure - Kiro reporter tweets:
Henry Rosoff ‏
@SEACityLight workers getting turned away by #HoraceMann occupiers @SeattlePD not here right now

And this from supporter
If you're available NOW come down to Horace Mann #Africatown 24th & Cherry across the street from Garfield

and this
Workers arrived at #AfricaTown to cut the power, and have left without doing so. Little victories.

cd parent said...

Just call the cops and move them out already. Enough is enough.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I spent two hours there today, knowing this was coming. I'm surprised they waited until dark. Hmmm.

cd parent said...

Are they moved out and is the power off.

Anonymous said...

Homeless kids have an ask list: socks, undies, coats, handwarmers (sold at REI, will last 8-10 hrs), sleeping bags, shoes. Please consider helping.


Lynn said...

CCA - Thanks for that reminder. (Handwarmers are available at Costco too!)

Anonymous said...

Apologies HIMSmom,

I've been away from electronics and the interwebs for a stretch.

The not classes part is very dependent on the MS and how they offer their advanced classes. Some offer integrated classes based on ability and some have stand-alone Spectrum classes.

There might be an LA class available to Spectrum only, but if more kids want to have it in their schedule than space available you are not guaranteed a spot in that class even though you are Spectrum. That is the not guaranteed a spot in Spectrum classes bit. Hope that makes better sense.

But yes, you are guaranteed a spot in Spectrum for MS if qualified. As it is your Attendance Area MS you can apply and switch from APP to Spectrum during Open Enrollment.


Anonymous said...

The Board action item is a mess. It is insane and pointless; a gigantic time suck that won't solve the fundemental problem: a lack of capacity (unless it drives families away from Seattle Public Schools).

Directors are now touring buildings and talking to principals in order to 'engineer' a solution. Talk about micro-managing! Frightening to contemplate how badly this is devolving and how much damage Mr. Banda and the Board are about to do.

-scared & scarred

Lynn said...

Arson and Burglary Investigation at Asa Mercer Middle School