Tuesday, Feb 4th
Special Education Advisory and Advocacy Council Meeting starting at 6:30 p.m., JSCEE, room 2700
Wednesday, Feb. 5th
Parade for the Super Bowl Champion Seahawks 11 am (I put this in because if you are going to the district headquarters that morning, you might be aware of this because of the traffic. The parade is to end at Century Link Field which is only about a mile north of JSCEE.)
School Board Meeting, starting at 4:15 p.m. Agenda. There are some major issues in this agenda and many of them have to do with what really irritates me - when staff leaves out information the Board should have (both informational and in order to take a vote).
I'm going to go over the Agenda at the bottom of the page for those who are interested (allowing anyone else to see the rest of this thread more easily.)
Saturday, Feb. 8th
Community Meeting with Director Carr at 8:30 am to 10:00 am at Bethany Community Church (enter off playground)
Seattle Schools is now on Facebook. This might be an interesting place to ask questions and see what answers you get.
Open Enrollment starts Feb. 24th and goes thru March 7. 2014. That's a fairly short window, coming right on the heels of the week of Mid-Winter Break. So if you are enrolling your children you basically have this week and next week to get your ducks in a row and be ready starting on the 24th.
The District is looking for volunteers for the next Highly Capable Taskforce for Delivery Model.
Seattle Public Schools is convening this task force to examine how
academic services are delivered to highly capable students in
kindergarten through 12th grade, including the program description,
goals, instructional program and professional development for educators.
The task force is charged with making recommendations regarding the
organization and service delivery model of the Accelerated Progress
Program, which serves Seattle Public Schools’ academically highly
The task force will include a representation of individuals and experts,
ideally not to exceed 23, with significant direct experience and
connection to the Accelerated Progress Program and gifted education.
This will include parents of currently enrolled APP students, APP
dedicated staff, District representatives, and experts in the field of
For more information on the task force and for nomination forms, visit: www.seattleschools.org/advlearning.
Nominations are due by Feb. 7, 2014.
Let's start with the Program Placement Annual Report from
the Superintendent to the Board. It's dated Jan. 13th when it
was presented to the C&I Committee but that Committee is not the
It also hilariously states that "We
are in a transition period of applying the (new) definitions in the
superintendent procedures. Therefore there may be inconsistencies in
the language in this report." Okay, then why wasn't the report updated?
Skills Center section (CTE) is fairly incomprehensible. You don't see a
chart of what is available where (so you could quickly see where programs are located and where the gaps are. You know, analysis.)
talk about the Cascade Parent Partner Program but fail to mention they
still don't know where that program is going to be moved. You would
have no idea that this is a big issue for continued existence of the
Lots of talk about Special Education but no indication that parents were consulted at all.
a notation about Kimball Elementary having "ALO quality-teaching" in
their classroom. That is a nonsensical statement because there is no
definition anywhere in this district. ALO is a free-for-all so to say
they "have" something mean almost nothing. I note that at Kimball,
parents were apparently on this ALO committee.
yet, right below that is a notation about the Indian Heritage Middle
College and their movement but you don't see any talk about parents
being allowed to be in on those decisions.
It's a sadly lacking document.
is also the time of year when Board members and senior staff make
disclosures about financial or other conflicts of interest.
note that Director Blanford does not make note that he worked - for
four years - for the Alliance for Education. The Alliance has very deep
ties to the district and I'm not sure that even all the Board members
know this. He might have mentioned it in his statement.
Then there are the Action items starting with School Board Policy #4260, Use of School Facilities.
First, the action references a Superintendent Policy that
does not appear in the procedures listed at the SPS website (I could
find no SP 5251 which is listed on page 14 of the Superintendent policy
4260.) You can find it elsewhere at the SPS website but frankly, if
it's not on the Superintendent's own procedures page, I'm not sure of
what real use it is.
But what is most galling about
this Action Report is its sheer disingenuousness.
On the one hand, it
comes off as "look, at SPS, the good guys not charging rent." But then
they leave out the part - except in the attachments
- that it has now brought into the policy that for any group using a
district property "the organization conducting the activity shall be
responsible ...for providing appropriate services and accommodations,
and, if necessary, paying the costs of providing services or
accommodations for youth who require such assistance to participate."
"The District reserves the right to decline requests when the use is
inconsistent with District use guidelines."
I predict this will get missed by many PTAs and groups that provide after-school activities and come as a rude shock. If one parent wants their child to participate and the group does not provide the adequate services needed for that child, the whole thing can get shut down by the District."
On the item for RTTT and the Road Map project, there are a couple of puzzlers.
if I read this correctly, some schools in the project may be
responsible for licensing fees after the first year. (The item states
those fees "may" be covered by Title One but that's no guarantee.) Are these schools aware of this coming cost?
the times when staff want to provide "research and data
sources/benchmarks" in agenda items just comes and go. The Board never questions why
sometimes there is information to back up what staff are saying and
sometimes there isn't.
Then, they use an article
written by Tom Vander Ark. Mr. Vander Ark has a business background and
was the first head of the education wing of the Gates Foundation
(naturally, not an educator). But ever the hucker-type, Vander Ark took
that work and has built himself up as some kind of ed consultant. That
the district is using his work to back up anything in the classroom is
startling. The article quoted is from his own education web business.
is also the Transportation Service Standards for school year 2014-2015
which are STILL to be update through tomorrow. I'm sorry but this
item has been worked on for months and to still be massaging it at the
last minute leaves parents with little time to read and digest it.
sure the Board will say yes but it is a very sorry mess that they say
There is a document in the item labelled "Analysis of the impact of moving all school arrival times 10 minutes later as requested by the Board." I can only kindly say this really is not much of an analysis document but more of a list.
also note the Intro item for "Approval of Compensation Bulletin for
Management Staff." What is compelling here is that with no
negotiations involved all this staff will receive a 1.5% salary
increase in 2014. (Part of it starts in April with a larger amount in
The rationale here is that they have had no
COLA since 2008-2009 (teachers also didn't get COLAs for many years
either). The management staff had salary reductions via furloughs for
two years. Teachers and principals both negotiated salary
increases for themselves and so did Local 609. They also state that
"the management staff salary schedule has not increased since the
2008-2009 school year."
This is all true BUT let's go
for totally accuracy. The "schedule" may have not been increased but
does that mean that none of this staff got any raises since 2008-2009? Of course
not. There are documented increases for many management staff for a
variety of reasons but is that mentioned or notated here?
It is not.
This is the kind of agenda that always makes me shake my head and wonder if any of this registers with the Board.