Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tuesday Open Thread


From SPS:
The Source will be unavailable on Friday, May 23rd from 5:00pm - Tuesday, May 27th 6:00am for maintenance. This planned outage is required to upgrade PowerSchool to a newer version and improve performance and reliability. We apologize for any inconvenience.

What field are incoming UW freshmen picking when they pick Engineering?  Number one (hugely) is Computer Science.  

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

But will the actually get into that department? They can pick it all they like but it doesn't mean there is space for them.


Catherine said...

"This planned outage is required to upgrade PowerSchool to a newer version and improve performance and reliability." I hope they're having really big problems with the system now that they're hoping to improve, because a version, performance and stability upgrades at this point in a quarter/school year is a risky choice. Actually a foolish choice unless the system is currently unusable.

Melissa Westbrook said...

HP, the CSE department is working hard to get another building, get more staff so yes, more students can access this great department. But until that happens, they've expanded almost as far as they can.

Anonymous said...

Is k enrollment really down 20%? What do we think is behind that? Census an development data would seem to indicate that we should expect enrollment to stay high over time, that this current growth is a wave, not a bubble.

So what gives? Are people just not doing it on time? Is this a blip, dip in babies born in 2009 due to the Great Recession? Did Shoreline see an uptick? Private schools?


Eric B said...

Can you actually be accepted into a particular engineering department as an incoming freshman? Back in my day, we applied to engineering departments at the end of sophomore year. It looks like that route is still available, but is a direct admission still possible?

Eric B said...

@sleeper, I'd wait a little bit and see what comes up in later enrollment reports. K families can enroll at any time if they're going to their neighborhood school, so there's no real incentive to enroll earlier. Every time I'm at JSCEE (even post-Open Enrollment), I see a line of parents with kids at the Enrollment desk. Our elementary principal said the numbers looked low now for our school, but had historically filled in by the time school started.

Eric B said...

Sorry for the multiple posts. A little more clicking showed that both direct admission and application for admission in sophomore year are possible.


Anonymous said...

As a gray haired engineer, I've seen this many times. Student enrollment in undergraduate engineering programs is strongly linked to the current number of job openings in that specialty. It's Computer Engineering's turn, but I've seen the same kind of curves for petroleum engineers, chemical engineers, civil and environmental engineers, aerospace engineers, etc..

Nothing new

Anonymous said...

Our principal is working hard to remove PTA leadership from the Building Leadership Team (BLT). She does not object to two parents on the BLT,but they will be hand picked by her (a small dictatorship in the making). We are pushing hard for at least one of those reps to be appointed by the PTA Board. As far as I can tell, there are no official BLT agendas or minutes that are distributed. I'm pretty sure, the principal thinks she can spin anything the way she wants without overlap between the BLT and the PTA. She says staff will vote on it (BLT membership. But staff is either too frightened or apathetic to stand up to this tyrant. I have watched this principal say different things to different people but she's a pretty good talker and can keep one step ahead with most people so far. Any recourse for the PTA in getting back on the BLT??


Anonymous said...

Eric B, I agree it's going to go up some before school starts, but I found a post open enrollment report that said there are 4800 kindergarteners this year, but as of April 22, only 4000 enrolled for next year. 20% still haven't done it? That seems awfully low even accounting for filling in later. I am a product of the choice era, so I can't imagine waiting, but waiting for us would have meant being sent across the city for k.

I have been thoroughly convinced that this increased enrollment is here to stay overall, but that doesn't mean there won't be any low years. Just wondering if this is one, and if so, why.


robyn said...

WG - What school?

Anonymous said...

Parents are guaranteed a seat in their neighborhood school. There is no reason to register during open enrollment for your K seat, unless you want to register for an option school, like K5 STEM @ BOREN or Salmon Bay K8. So, many, many parents simply don't bother. Why should they? That K number will change. A lot. Other numbers are continuing assignments, so, the they are more realistic. Even with a gross under-count of incoming K, the district still will go beyond 53,000 students. And, that is 1,000 more than we have now. Growth is not even, it comes in the regions most impacted areas. More portables. More interim housing.

Queen Anne and Magnolia are STILL missing their high school. Who ever sold it, does he still have a job? Good job!


Joe Wolf said...

A few things, hopefully useful, interesting and/or fun.

My buddy Ian who teaches U.S. History and LGBT Studies at Maryland sent me this latest gem on Common Core. (Using my non-professional voice here ...)


I was at Adams last week to speak with the PTA, and did a quick photo shoot afterwards. The building is very Michael Graves PostMod, a visual narrative that works well IMHO for kids. I'd like to hear what kids, teachers and parents think of it.

Photo album link:


Here, link to my shots of Andrew Morrison's murals at Wilson-Pacific.


As always, feel free to email me at jawolf@seattleschools.org with concerns, questions, etc.

Joe Wolf said...

Response to #SPSWTF:

In the spirit of collaboration, I did that 10 seconds of google research for you.

Search query "closure and sale of Queen Anne High School" yielded this initial result, which covers many details.


robyn said...


I put it on my comment card at the WilPac meeting last week, but it wasn't one of the "5" questions chosen to be read aloud and answered. That's supposed to be funny.

First, I think you are awesome for posting on this site. It's brave of you considering the "anonymous" crowd.

So, since you're reading, I thought I'd ask my question again. The timing is relevant due to the Board vote tomorrow on extra money for the K-8 inside the WilPac MS. I am NOT against the K-8 at WilPac. I am against redesigning a building that will be around forever when it's possible APP and/or the K-8 will not fit in the building on day 1.

A woman asked why you were building Kindergarten rooms in the WilPac elementary when APP doesn't have K. You answered that not having K rooms would reduce the building's flexibility in the future and the building shouldn't be built for the program, but it should be built flexibly to accommodate long-term needs. I 100% agree.

My question was about WilPac MS:

If that is the thinking, why is SPS redesigning the MS to incorporate the K-8 program? Shouldn't the same philosophy apply to both buildings? I have to wonder if the MS couldn't be built in a flexible enough way that the K-8 could house there if there's room, but if there's no room, the building isn't needing to be renovated before it even opens in 9/2017.



Melissa Westbrook said...

WG, I'd go to the Seattle Council PTA for backup. Then, I'd send a note to whoever the Ex Director is for your region. CC the Board director in your region as well.

There are rules around BLTs (I haven't reviewed them in awhile) but I do not think a principal can be in sole control of who sits on it.

#SPSWTF - There are several of us who believe many issues have arisen because QA/Magnolia never got a comprehensive high school. It will continue to be a problem.

Once again, what happens in one part of the district WILL ripple out. People who think doesn't happen don't understand district history.

Your school should have BLT rules somewhere that covers agendas and minutes.

WallyMom said...


Could you provide the link to the post open enrollement report? I'd like to see it too,


Lynn said...


Maybe sleeper was referring to this?

Anonymous said...

Yes that's it. Thanks for posting. I was doubtful I was going to be able to find it again.


mirmac1 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

In addition to your advice for WG regarding the principal controlling who is on (or not) the BLT, do you have suggestions for what parents in general can do in addition to the more formal measures you suggested? Petition? Everyone keep their kids home from school one day as a form of "input" for the principal on her decisions? Seriously, what are effective approaches?

This is same principal who recently reduced the librarian position to .5 after it was voted to fully fund it as 1.0. NOTHING has been communicated to families about the BLT stuff or the librarian position. Not only are decisions being made without family input, they're being made and then not communicated.

While the PTA is figuring out how to navigate with this principal and decisions that are being made NOW for the fall, families don't know what's up and how it will affect their kids. What's an effective way to inform them?

--Sad for Whittier

mirmac1 said...

From the Washington Autism Alliance & Advocacy:

On the agenda for the June 3, 2014 Bellevue School Board meeting is possible approval of Policy 3247, which authorizes the use of tasers, handcuffs, pepper spray and other police-like restraints against students with disabilities who pose no safety threat to anyone. See http://www.bsd405.org/portals/0/administration/board-policy/readings/3247.pdf. This discriminatory restraint policy would apply only to special needs students. If Policy 3247 is approved, special needs students could be physically restrained for any “unpredicted, spontaneous behavior,” regardless of whether the behavior poses any danger.

Unfortunately at least 19 other school districts already have approved the same policy based on bad advice from the Washington State School Directors Assocation (WSSDA), a state government agency that distributes “model” policies to school boards around the state. Bellevue School District would be the largest district to implement the policy if it passes on June 3.

WSSDA has advised school boards that adopting Policy 3247 will bring school districts into compliance with current laws and regulations. In fact, the opposite is true. Policy 3247 conflicts with WAC 392-172A-03120(1) and WAC 392-172A-03130(3) because it authorizes physical restraints against students with disabilities in response to any “unpredicted” behavior, regardless of whether the behavior is dangerous. WSSDA’s “model” procedure also conflicts with WAC 392-172A-03125(1), which prohibits any use of tasers against students with disabilities. When confronted with these problems, WSSDA has refused to revise its policy recommendations.

It is imperative that families advocate against the adoption of Policy 3247 in Bellevue. Our children should not be treated like criminals simply because they act “spontaneously” without threatening anyone. The School Board meeting will be held at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 3, at WISC Rainier Room, 12241 Main Street, Bellevue. If you are unable to attend, please take the time to write to the School Board, expressing disagreement over this policy’s adoption and implementation. You can contact all members of the board by emailing board@bsd405.org.

Please see below for additional information and links to key documents. If you have questions, please contact Melanie Streight, WAAA Puget Sound Advocacy & Resource Coordinator at 425.894.7231 or melanie@washingtonautismadvocacy.org.

mirmac1 said...


Last year the Legislature passed Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1688 to make sure that parents are informed when special education students are subjected to physical restraints or isolation in schools. The bill was not designed to expand the use of physical restraints. ESHB 1688 merely defined methods of isolation and restraint and established requirements for documenting and reporting their use.

The Washington State School Directors Association (WSSDA) has presented Policy 3247 to school districts throughout the state as a purported guide to proper implementation of ESHB 1688. But WSSDA’s policy omits a critical detail in ESHB 1688: that restraint and isolation are to be used only when necessary “to preserve the safety of other students and school staff.” This is what Policy 3247 says:

“District staff are authorized to use isolation, restraint or a restraint device:

A. When responding to unpredicted, spontaneous behavior; or

B. As specified in a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP), aversive intervention plan (AIP) and in a manner consistent with Chapter 392-172A WAC or in the student’s 504 plan.”

Policy 3247 omits the critically important limitation that “spontaneous behavior” must pose a serious safety threat before a staff member is allowed to use handcuffs or other restraints on a child with disabilities. Omitting that limitation is not only inconsistent with ESHB 1688, it also conflicts with this state’s special education regulations. WAC 392-172A-03120(1) and WAC 392-172A-03130(3) allow physical restraints under only two circumstances: 1) when approved by a student’s IEP team as part of an aversive intervention plan (as a “last resort,” after all positive interventions have failed to control a student’s behavior); or 2) “to control unpredicted spontaneous behavior which poses one of the following dangers: (a) A clear and present danger of serious harm to the student or another person; (b) A clear and present danger of serious harm to property; [or] (c) A clear and present danger of seriously disrupting the educational process.”

See http://apps.leg.wa.gov/wac/default.aspx?cite=392-172A-03120 and http://apps.leg.wa.gov/wac/default.aspx?cite=392-172A-03130

Policy 3247 also conflicts with WAC 392-172A-03125(1), which prohibits any use of an “electric current” with special education students. Under Policy 3247, school employees could zap students with tasers, which use electric currents to temporarily incapacitate a person. See http://apps.leg.wa.gov/wac/default.aspx?cite=392-172A-03125

Anonymous said...

P.S. This is probably why many Whittier families are moving their kids to other schools this fall (e.g., APP). It's a bigger story than Spectrum possibly going away. It's a principal problem.

--Sad for Whittier

Melissa Westbrook said...

Sad for Whittier, it is very sad that two schools (seemingly) have real issues with their principals and do not know what to do going forward.

Because the end of the school year is coming fast, I would, again, write to the Ex Director and region's School Board member. I would request a meeting with the PTA president, a member of the SCPTA, Ex Director, principal, a member of PASS (the principals' organization) and some involved parents. You might also ask Bernard Ruiz, who is in charge of parent engagement.

If the meeting does not happen, I would go up the chain to Charles Wright.

If the meeting does happen, have your PTA president calmly explain the issues. Express them as concerns around communication about changes and direction for your school. Explain that parents feel they do not know what is happening and are worried.

Put the principal at ease with explaining how he/she is making decisions, how they are (or are not) transparent and how he/she feels any changes are benefiting students.

Then calmly express that more communication and transparency need to happen at Whittier because parents are coming to the PTA with concerns and it's the PTA job to be the liaison and conduit for information from principal to parents.

I would not go to any kind of walk-out or petition until you have done this. If the principal is unwilling to sit down and talk, then you may have to thing of other ways to push the issues.

kellie said...

Regarding the K enrollment question.

There are two reasons why K enrollment is down at this point in the year.

1) Folks can enroll anytime they choose. No rush.

2) Pay for K is exceptionally expensive and many families are simply waiting for first grade. You will notice that there is now a first grade "pop" in the enrollment numbers.

So new students is really new K students plus new first grade students.

TechyMom said...

Ok, this probably won't be popular here, but here goes anyway... The 3 weeks my daughter's school has been doing testing have been the most pleasant and relaxed of the year. Why? There are no packets of busy-work coming home, and no fights about why it is required to do boring, easy busy-work. There seems to be very little in the way of district mandated curriculum being taught, so no bad feelings with the teacher about busy-work either. The tests are a few hours a week, much less than the typical week's worth of district-mandated busy-work. The rest of the time is left for teacher-created projects this school has always done. This includes hands on, integrated learning like a play and art project about colonial America, go carts in science (using one of the kits, but with lots of home-grown content added), extra recess after the tests, and time to work on independent reading projects. The winter MAP week was like this too. I'd much rather have tests than busy-work.

Anonymous said...

Mirmac1, thanks for the post. I think this is shocking. Tasers on children?? What is Bellevue SD thinking, and why have 19 other school districts in our state approved this policy?

Here is a link to a recent editorial in the NY Times about the dangers of tasers in schools and the resulting lawsuits. Students have been seriously injured. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/12/opinion/torturing-children-at-school.html?_r=0

Other than attend the next school board meeting in Bellevue, which isn't exactly at a convenient time for working parents in Seattle, what can we in Seattle do?

APP parent

Anonymous said...

Keliie, I have been worried about pay for k, and it disappoints me that it really may be a factor for declined k enrollment. I understand why sps is rolling out the free k in the way they are (going up the FRL ladder), but it is certainly giving free k to many very wealthy folks while keeping it from the people I'd argue need it most- just above the FRL line maybe up to 2 times the line, can't access resources but certainly can't spare three grand in any given year. I wish they'd hurry up and get to free k for all, and I really, really hope they are using these funds wisely and that there is no other way to get them (like not hiring Directors of Project Management Projects at 200k a pop). When my oldest was in k it was more like 100 dollars a month, and that was not very many years ago.

There also was a dip in births all over the country in 2009 as a result of the recession. It popped right back up in mid-late 2010, but whatever we see next year has to also incorporate that dip. If it ends up going up anyway, heaven help us for 2015. That is going to be massive.


Anonymous said...

Pay-for-K is outrageously expensive now. Private school would probably be less for some of the families over the FRL line who are still struggling financially, as many of the private schools offer great financial aid packages.

WHY isn't there a sliding scale for pay-for-k? My family, though not wealthy, would be willing to pay more so families who are over the FRL line but can't afford the full cost could afford to participate in full day K.


kellie said...

@ Sleeper,

I haven't seen any by grade numbers yet for the upcoming year but for the last few years now, first grade has been a larger cohort size than K. You couple that with the only places where there is stagnant growth in K is in predominately middle class neighborhoods and it is not too challenging to piece together a narrative.

For 2013, K growth in the NE and N West Seattle has continued. K growth has also continued in schools with free pay for K. But K growth has stalled or declined in the NW. I would expect that this pattern would also be in place for 2014 enrollment.

When they release the numbers, it will be interesting to see if the reduced 2009 birth rates are reflected in a smaller cohort but we really won't know until we have the corresponding first grade information.

Charlie Mas said...

Here's something to make you shake your head: Florida Lawmaker says Common Core promotes Homosexuality.

mirmac1 said...

APP Parent,

I think an email to the Bellevue School Board is a good way to let your concerns be known. One need not be a Bellevue resident to have serious concerns with a policy like this. How long will it take before Ron English thinks this is just peachy for disabled SPS students?

Lynn said...

Kindergarten fees haven't even been set for next year. Why would you enroll a child in a school that won't tell you how much tuition you'll have to pay?

Anonymous said...

Hey, I opted my child out of the summative math assessment through proper channels, told the child, told the teacher, and he just told me he was made to take it anyway! I don't think he realized what he was really supposed to do when the teacher had him put away the book he'd gotten out, but he is 7 and a rule follower.

I am sure it was just an oversight, but I am pretty steamed he had to take it! I would like to make sure this does not happen again. Now what?


Melissa Westbrook said...

Opter-outer, I would go to the principal and Ex Director. Not sure who made the decision, the teacher or principal, but neither has the right to co-opt parent wishes.

You deserve an explanation and a promise that your child will never be intimidated by an adult in the building again. Because your child cannot advocate for himself and you made your wishes clear so any action beyond that by staff, to me, is intimidation.

Anonymous said...

Sad for Whittier ...

Please come to Principal Schweitzer's evening talk on June 9th. PTA meeting right afterward.

C. Holden

Anonymous said...

Speaking of growth and enrollment...



Anonymous said...

Joe Wolf or if anyone who knows if this info is on-line somewhere....

What is the timeline for the building of plumbed PORTABLES for the two developmental preschools moving to the SACAJAWEA playground? I assume, of course, that they will be ADA compatible AND the bathrooms will accommodate more then one student at a time.....Will there be sinks in each classroom (preschool) Will those programs remain there for the foreseeable future?



Anonymous said...

Is there a standard schedule for middle schools? Our neighborhood middle school has the same daily schedule with 6 equal periods and a 30 min homeroom tied in with lunch and the 4th period block. Students can use the homeroom time for reading, homework, and meeting with teachers to make-up work or get extra help.

The new Jane Addams Middle School may have a schedule that compresses the homeroom time into two days and won't have homeroom on the other days. Does anyone know the details of the proposed schedule? I am trying to understand the advantage of such a schedule, and why there isn't some general standard for all non-option middle schools. How do other middle schools use homeroom time?


Anonymous said...

The advantage is in the passing period and lunch time they are able to glean for the rest of the week, but more in the two days a week they will have longer periods- 95 minutes for science labs, actual book discussions, more individualized work from the teachers. None of my kids will be there yet next year, but I am very excited about it. I believe details are up on the JAMS fusion page.

I vastly prefer individual schools to be able to set the schedule that works for them rather than standardize. I don't see the benefits of standardization there; this seems like a harmless place to allow schools to try to innovate. And if it works, it can spread.