Friday, March 07, 2014

Friday Open Thread

Documentary Brunch this Sunday with the film, Girl Rising.  It's a documentary about 9 girls in Nepal, India, Cambodia, Haiti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Peru, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan.  Go be inspired. And free mini-cupcakes.  SIFF Cinema Uptown, all ages.

Fun fact for the kids - apparently crocodiles can climb trees...up to thirty feet. (Somewhere a bird is saying, "You've got to be kidding me.")

First person story about a mom in Colorado trying to opt her child out of state testing from Slate.

Storycorps story about a teacher and a student that she didn't know was homeless.  It's about relationships and it means all the difference for this student.

Director Carr has a Community meeting on Saturday at Bethany Community Church at 8:30 am that will end promptly at 10 am as she will be leaving for the all-day School Board retreat from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm in room 2700.  Agenda here.  The Board retreat is open to the public.

I find this agenda to seemingly be a bit of a tussle between what the Board may see as a "priority" and what staff does vis a vis the Strategic Plan.  I'm sure they will work together to find their direction along the same path.   They will be discussing later start times around 1:30 pm. 

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

Is anyone else still waiting for initial AL test results for their kindergartener? As I hear about families already getting results of appeals, I wonder if I am ever even going to get initial test results. (Email to AL office has gone unanswered.)

I went ahead and got my time-stamped copy of my Open Enrollment form (assuming eventual acceptance into both APP and Spectrum, but, of course, I have no idea). But still wondering when they'll ever tell us. :(

--Still Waiting

karen said...

I heard from a teacher last night at Lincoln that SPS is predicting 10 FEWER kids in APP @ Lincoln next year. Yeah, right. Uh huh. This is smelling like summer of 2011 when the fire department (?) said no-can-do to all the kids SPS was planning on putting into Lowell.

So, where will the mid-summer 2014 move put the kids? There aren't any unused building this time!

Or, is this a ploy to keep funding really low until mid-November AGAIN? That's one good way to save money - don't give kids a teacher for 1/3 of the year.

Anonymous said...

From talking to people touring Lincoln and that recently qualified, it seems that 85% of the kids that qualified are enrolling (of the people I've talked to). Spectrum and ALO exist in name only, so more parents are choosing APP.

I'm getting worried about where they are going to fit all those APP kids. And, Pinehurst is also supposed to show up?

10 fewer in APP? Yeah, right.

-Hoping against hope that SPS gets their act together.

Anonymous said...

KIRO is reporting that Northwest Center has now been told to be out by June. They didn't have the information on why.


Anonymous said...

How can SPS predict who is going into Lincoln when it is weeks behind in identifying kids eligible to enroll in APP?

And now they are extending enrollment in APP for West Seattle? Is this really about APP or Capacity Management?

And why can special education families get no clear answers on level of services at buildings?

Maybe the neighborhood general education schools are having smoother enrollment than past years, but from this perspective, enrollment is a shambles. Why can't people downtown talk to each other and get ahead instead of behind a major initiative.

Different administration, same old problems. And by old I mean it's gotten really really old.

Headed Out

Anonymous said...

Not only is enrollment being extended in W. Seattle but an additional opportunity to test for APP. Parents are still waiting for test results from the Fall testing and yet AL is offering another opportunity to test for W. Seattle families? What is up with this?

Upset mama

Anonymous said...

Still no initial results here, and my head is about to explode. Our home school doesn't do MAP, teacher doesn't like app for any kid no matter how bright, and I don't have a sense of how advanced my kid is. If she just barely squeaked in I don't think I'd want to send her, but if she was 99's across the board I might think twice. But I don't get to know before open enrollment closes.

So frustrated

Mike said...

I also want to point out that KIRO has asked Banda 6 times for an interview and has been turned down at least 5 times so far. what was it that Banda said about the media when he was talking to the Cascade parents?

Anonymous said...

So frustrated, what school are you at that dosent like APP or do map testing?

-Just wondering

Anonymous said...

I would rather not say for privacy reasons, but the school does do MAP testing, just not in the fall for kindergarteners, and I don't think the school at large has an opinion about APP, just this teacher. Otherwise I'd ask her advice.

So frustrated

Anonymous said...

I heard this week that 35 kids at John Rogers lost their transportation for next year. That is about 11% of the entire school!

John Rogers was the only NE school "with room" back in the pre-NSAP - assign kids anywhere they fit - era. Many of those families stayed at John Rogers. Their kids are now 4th graders, and will lose transportation for their 5th grade year.

Nice, huh?

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

North end Mom -
That is appalling. Yes, we all remember when John Rogers was the least popular of the NE, and an assignment there was a consolation prize. I've been so glad to hear it has become a terrific school - and sorry to see that as usual, lack of planning by SPS is going to screw those 5th graders.

Anonymous said...

To clarify, not all of the 35 who lost transportation are currently 4th graders. I haven't heard what the break-down is by grade level, but I personally know families of next years' 5th graders who will be losing transportation.

Last year, we squeezed 7 buses in during afternoon pick-up. This year, we only have 4 afternoon buses. Things seemed to be headed in the right direction, bus usage-wise since the NSAP.

Perhaps their plan is to get us down to one or two buses, since our attendance area has been shrunk to the point that is mostly within the walk zone, but this is certainly a harsh way to go about it.

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...


Not sure what mid-summer move 2014 you're referring to... there's space for APP in Lincoln. It will be crowded w/AS #1, but even if APP was 700 kids, it would fit. Lunch wouldn't, but the classes would.

Let's not let sarcasm start a rumor. There's plenty of real crap we can all complain about!

Signed: sardine mama

mirmac1 said...

Took my daughter to Girl Rising. It was wonderful for her to hear the girl's story in Peru. Plus the film helps girls and women appreciate how fortunate they are to live here.

Anonymous said...

Big national education story today: the Kansas courts have ruled the state is not doing its constitutional duty to adequately fund education. Sound familiar?

Unfortunately, the governor and legislature in Kansas seem even more reluctant than WA's lawmakers to do the right thing.
(The WA legislative session will be over shortly and where is more funding for WA schools? Nowhere.)

Anonymous said...

EdVoter above

karen said...

Sardine Mama,

The point of my comment is if the teacher was correct, and, as of now, SPS is predicting 10 fewer kids in APP next year, someone is smoking something, or they have a hidden agenda (i.e. move Pinehurst, reduce APP funding for 1/3 year).

I wasn't aware there were that many open classrooms at Lincoln. If 700 kids are in APP next year, that's roughly 6 more classrooms just for APP. How many rooms do Pinehurst and the 18-21 sped program need? There is only one bathroom in the south wing, but SPS is adding another over the summer.

The mid-summer 2011 move from lowell was called out on this blog WELL before it was announced.

n said...

Apparently some schools are going to vote down budgets because the District is holding back money and making cuts they don't need to make. The District is in the black by $20m to $30m and still cutting back for more. Does anyone know more about this?

From what I'm told, the District cannot move ahead with any budget decisions for any school until all schools have locked down their budgets. If schools refuse to pass a budget, it become a negotiation between SEA and District people.

North end schools are relying more and more on PTA funding for very basic things.

I would like to know more about this and I would appreciate anyone who does know more about this posting.

Also, I was told that Banda actually lied to the legislature. I don't know the details. Does anyone else? This would be about budgets. I'm not a rumor-monger. The person who mentioned it is in a position to know but she didn't go into detail and I can't remember the few details she gave me. Is anyone aware of Banda appearing before a legislative committee recently?

Finally, I've posted several times that I've never heard of an ALO that works. Today I heard that West Woodland's works. Congratulations, West Woodland. I wish we could all come visit.

As angry as parents are over special ed and program-enrollment in this District, would you support us if we rejected our budgets and demanded that the District be truthful about their financial situation and that they give more money to kids?

I can't figure out why this situation hasn't become public knowledge and written about in the newspapers if in fact it is true.

Melissa Westbrook said...

N, going to try to get to this issue this weekend.

The entire district is relying WAY too much on PTAs for funding staff, maintenance, enchancements - you name it.

Anonymous said...

- n
In an earlier thread you can read more about the financial difficulties the different schools (mostly high schools) are facing in this district.
You can also sign a petition here:

- SPS mom

Anonymous said...

n wrote "As angry as parents are over special ed and program-enrollment in this District, would you support us if we rejected our budgets and demanded that the District be truthful about their financial situation and that they give more money to kids?"

I am confused about this. Not until much later this spring --if then-- middle schools won't be knowing the sped students incoming and how the WSS applies to them (that is, if they have resource room allocations, or SM 2, 3, or 4 allocations). So I would assume that the District has apprised middle schools of this situation. Middle schools should not be voting on budgets or even planning budgets, until this incoming 2014 sped situation is clarified.


Anonymous said...

I too have heard rumors that some schools may refuse this budget, but I don't know if that is wishful thinking. It is hard to imagine SPS principals sticking their necks on the line in this manner.

I may not have this exactly correct but I believe the gist of the fight is over the amount of reserves the district carries each year. Some of the SPS workforce says cuts are not necessary - that the district can carry fewer reserves. Clearly the district disagrees.

Having a new head of budget is not helping to provide clarity. The process has always been somewhat opaque. Now we can add disjointed to the adjectives. When the public cannot follow the flow of money, problems generally follow.


Anonymous said...

I think most elementary schools are losing funding for the 0.5 counselor positions. This is devastating to many schools.

- NE teacher

Anonymous said...

Sweet! Garfield beats Issaquah 61-59. Winning is the best revenge :-D



Anonymous said...

Congrats to Cleveland & Rainier Beach, also heading to State.


Anonymous said...

Thus far, Olympic View, Lawton, Stevens, and Adams Elementary schools have voted no on their budgets. i expect a wave of schools to follow suit across the district. I don't know what the argument is at the elementary schools, but I do know what it is at the high schools:


n said...

Where did you get the list? I'd like to confirm it. My school will likely vote no if they know others are doing it. Otherwise, my school reflects a pretty timid staff.

Anonymous said...

Bad news/Good news: even venerable Scholastic can be bought - but they can also be stopped.

The story of how Scholastic was forced to withdraw its pro-coal The United States of Energy offers a valuable lesson: When educators and activists work together to shine a light on socially and environmentally harmful teaching materials, we can defend the integrity of schools.


Anonymous said...


I read it on the SEA Facebook page!


n said...

Well, thanks, DWE! I don't do facebook so I appreciate the head's up.

Anonymous said...

Re West Woodland or other schools w/ reportedly successful ALO programs:

As usual, what works for some, doesn't for others. If you consistently get THE teacher at each grade level who is good at ALO, then it works.

If you don't get that teacher -- b/c they do NOT put all kids w/ALO or higher designation in a class together - then your experience is hit or miss, just like at other schools.

Happy people stay, so they self-report that ALO works there. Others move to APP, and they probably stay very very quiet. B/c after all, the kid still has friends and plays sports and stuff with the kids at the old school. And it's a VERY tight community.

Anecdotally, if the APP qualified kid at WW has any out of mainstream emotional needs, it seems as if they are eventually encouraged to move to APP, but if they and their parents are easy to accommodate or highly productive members of the school community, they seem to stay ... I actually don't think that's wrong. I think it's a very valid capacity response. The school can move on a subset of kids who WILL get better service and their more challenging/resource intensive needs met elsewhere, thus freeing school resources for the burgeoning numbers of kids entering the door every year and for other kids w/special needs who don't have a second possibility for schooling. I think it's rational. Doesn't mean I think it's right, but it is rational.

This is true at every school that has its act together.

-- been around