Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday Open Thread

I first want to congratulate parents and staff (and students) for their hard work this school year. 

I did see my second son graduate from college in May.  Yesterday I went back to his elementary school to thank two special teachers, Marianne Crawford and Gillian Gordon-Smith, at Whittier.  I believe as his first and fifth grade teachers, they bookended his time at Whittier and gave him a great start.   (I would also single out Ian Malcolm at Roosevelt - a superlative teacher who I think helped my son greatly.) My son is going onto graduate school because of great teachers like these three.

I hope that as your years go by in SPS that you take the time to remember teachers who made a difference in your child's life. It means the world to them to know (1) that they did make a difference and (2) what happened to your child in the years after a teacher had them in his/her class.

Seattle Children's Theatre has the Washington State Teaching Artist Training Lab.  If you know a great artist, let them know about this opportunity.

Community meeting tomorrow - Director Peters from 11 am - 12:30 pm at Magnolia Library.

I would end by saying have a great summer - let your kid play, stay up late, read under a tree, and have some fun.  The public libraries have great summer programs so check them out. 

The blog will be on a bit of a hiatus (although the recent superintendent change may change that) throughout the summer although we will try to maintain the Open Threads.  I am going to write about one major issue next week so look for that.

I am half-smiling when I ask, "What's on your mind?"


mirmac1 said...

Reposting some interesting reports presented at the A&F Qtrly Meeting:

A&F Agenda with hyperlinks

Extensive SPS Corrective Action Plan. I've asked for the OSPI review and findings.

Anonymous said...

The teacher who helped my son greatly in high school was Jon Greenberg at the Center School. Banda’s decision to move him was a great disappointment. Wonder what happened with the lawsuit?

S parent

Anonymous said...

I guess the C-CAP date is June 30th. Well it doesn't matter the date we know they cant meet the new requirements. Who do they think they are fooling? I guess Mr. Gill.

Over the past 6 months while under the watchful eyes of OSPI there has been a continual stream of IDEA violations by the district in fact in our case the most egregious violations in 7 years!

Can we really afford to wait and see for another school year? Will Mr. Gill accept the BS laid out in the letter asking for another extension?

Really how can the district possibly perform what is laid out in the McWilliams letter?
We have emails between gen ed teachers exposing what they really think of students with IEPs. This is an institutional cultural problem that will take 10-15 years to change at the rate SPS works. My guess is the union is going to put the breaks on any changes because the LRE mentioned means gen ed class rooms and no one has to guts to oppose the union.

We need to write to all our state and federal representatives demanding leadership change. The corrective action monitoring should be supplied free of charge by the Federal dept of education not the TIERS group! If you look at the details the district is going to spend up 1.5 million for consultants, that's 1.5 million form the SPED budget.

That's 15 teachers ! or NPA placement for 83 students.

Aren't we all tired of getting jerked around? I can tell you this partnership thing isn't
working for us.

So what's the plan?


Anonymous said...

Mr. Jessee get paid $123k plus benefits to be the Executive Director of Leadership Development.


With Banda gone, can we cull the herd?

No comment on job performance, purely right-sizing of the unwieldy glass palace top-heavy ranks.


Anonymous said...

I think it is so great that you went back to Whittier to thank Maryann and Gillian! They and countless other teachers work so hard, and I am sure your gesture meant a lot to them!

Jon Greenberg is at Hamilton, and I thank him for taking my son out of his comfort zone. Often.

grateful mom

maureen said...

I just came home from a retirement party for my kids' 5-8 art teacher. I saw many of their K-8 teachers there and I have to use this thread to thank them all! I acknowledge that every teacher does not work perfectly for every kid, but I want to list every one of my kids' K-8 teachers because they contributed to the fabulous people I see today.

Joby, Mrs B, Leslie N, Carla, Mr J, Katie, Joe, Mrs Spurr, Elizabeth, Jason, Nina, Marianne, Mr Lawrence, Mr Ellis, Mr Bloedel, Ms Eich, Mr O'C, Mr Swarner, Don, Eric, Cynthia and Luzita.

Thank you!

mirmac1 said...

Good thing we're moving all the SpEd Pre-Ks around even though we don't need the space. Because we're so eager to hook up with the City and its half-baked scheme.

Universal Pre-K emails

mirmac1 said...

What strikes me as I read these Pre-K emails is: here is your high-priced administrative time to figure out the bell times. But WTH, it's only the board that wants this. This other stuff is MORE important. Gotta appease LEV and the City.

Anonymous said...

Miramac- What strikes me as very odd in those e-mails is that staff have been driving this (Cashel Toner), to the extent of organizing teachers to attend and testify at a City council meeting in support of the plan.

But HOW exactly is SPS involved here? What is the commitment? Is there an MOU?

WHY are we giving school building space to the City's preschool plan, when we just kicked out the NWC?


Melissa Westbrook said...

I will have to read all these. Troubling.

Lynn said...


Check out page 209.

Holly Miller "you need to let the school board know SPS (staff leadership) is in charge." "Please communicate with the city regarding 'upcoming lease contracts we're considering to terminate. Let the city know of these possible terminations before you notify the tenant of termination.'"

mirmac1 said...

I intend to submit an OSPI complaint regarding the callous uprooting of SpEd preschools in the SE to an interim site at Old Van Asselt, all in pursuit of a sweetheart deal with Burgess, Miller and clan. The idiot staff and bureaucrats who negotiated this deal (which's gone bust because the City pulled out - surprise) have no friggin' clue about IEPs, parent participation, and least restrictive environment. As far as Clover Codd, Cashel Toner, Charles Wright and Flip Herndon know, IDEA is just a "guideline" that only special educators need worry about. Boneheads.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...


I read 50 pages of the preschool emails. It was confusing.

What made me most glad: how ALL Thurgood Marshall parents (that's right, APP with General Ed) fought to keep their SpEd preschool with clear points that were all about kids, families, and teacher collaboration to create excellence to, wait for it, meet the needs of kids.

What made me most sad: the TM principal, Julie B., quit that school 2/3rds into the school year to helm another school, and the then interim TM principal reached out to her for help and support to try and save TM's SpEd preschool, and Julie B.'s response was she didn't have a problem with it. Made me think: Et tu, Brut?

Best email: from the Leschi teacher explaining preschool is preschool. Sad that someone has to explain to grown-ups that the "work" of childhood (and we are talking early childhood) is play. That when they are painting at easels, or exploring the playground, or all the other normal things 3 or 4 year olds do, they are learning. What exactly does Tim Burgess expect them to be doing? Preping for the WA Kids 'test'? What, so they can ace their first MAP tests as 5 year olds? What is the point?


Wow said...

"Holly Miller "you need to let the school board know SPS (staff leadership) is in charge." "Please communicate with the city regarding 'upcoming lease contracts we're considering to terminate. Let the city know of these possible terminations before you notify the tenant of termination.'"

I've not read the e-mails, but this is very concerning.

mirmac1 said...

Apparently some at Northwest Center threw their weight around and the corrupt bureaucrats downtown hopped to it.

As the parent of a disabled child, I absolutely had no sympathy for the NWC's heavy-handed tactics. But, hey, that's Holly Miller's bread and butter.

Thank god we elect a school board to keep the unelected city workers in check.

Charlie Mas said...

I know that people are a exasperated by how I go on and on about the need for a documented program placement process, but here is the natural outcome of a secretive process.

Pamela said...

Has the Audit and Finance Committee, or C&I Committen taken a look at the pre-K program? Or, does Holly Miller intend on holding that information from the board?

#lawsuitinthemaking said...

The city is pushing for Universal Pre K and they need to take ENTIRE responsibility for this program.

SPS can consult, rent building space etc. and charge the city accordingly.

We are looking at an enormous bureaucratic nightmare which is funded with federal, state and local dollars.

#WhereisBlanford said...

Blanford is the liason to the city. The city is pushing Universal Pre K onto the district and we don't have room.

Why isn't Blanford, Wright and Blanford advocating for the city to provide space?

Anonymous said...


Why? Because he's dumb. That's not name calling, that's an assessment. Have you heard him speak at board meetings? Yeah. That's why.


#GetOffYourHands said...

Not seeing Blanford- the liason to the city- being proactive for a win-win situation!

Will Blanford let the city steer this project at the risk of present space limitations and needs of K-12 students. Or, will Blanford work to assure proper implementation and assure needs of present K-12 students are met??

Why haven't school board members heard about this initiative in committee meetings?

Anonymous said...

Wow - that whole thing with Thurgood Marshall is beyond troubling - the PTA is making so much sense on why the move is completely illogical. Man I hate politics (but go Sue Peters!)