Friday, August 08, 2014

Friday Open Thread

I'm at the BEX Oversight Committee meeting this morning; I'll let you know if anything news-worthy gets said.

What's on your mind?

53 comments:

Anonymous said...

"The final meeting will take place on Friday August 8, 2014 at 1 PM in Room 2776. This is a public meeting at which the ALTF recommendations will be finalized."

Anyone planning to go?

--NEP

Anonymous said...

The final meeting of the Advanced Learning Taskforce, that is.

--NEP

Anonymous said...

It's amazing that parents and students just sit back and do nothing. Do people really think SPS and it's staff care about students?

I have over 7,500 emails gathered from SPS and they tell a very disturbing story of teacher's impunity of law and discuss for parents and disdain of special needs students.

The system is morally bankrupt.

It's not clear what you want to save or why it's worth saving.

Before I started down the path I'm on, I believed in the public school system and if anyone would mention "charter schools" I would argue on the side of public education.

As I read the numerous
emails a common theme emerged that teachers believe some how the CBA
provides immunity from laws and morels. Teachers that do speak up are threatened and pushed out unless they conform. The leaders are best described as "bullies".

There must be some form of charter schools that will work because this mess called SPS can't continue and I don't see any urgency from SPS for change.

--Michael

Anonymous said...

Downtown school for $42 million (or, worse, $53million)?

The district shows that 48 children k5 live within a half mile. In the next half mile, there are more, but, Bailey Gatzert is there, and it's half mile circumference picks up those kids right now. Gatzert is a 'smaller' school and during BEX IV, SPS looked at putting a wing on it (it is feasible, and a LOT less than $42m). And, Lowell is 1.5 miles away, so between the downtown school and it, that outer downtown ring between .5 mile and a 1 mile is also Lowell's outer ring too. In other words, the kids there are already covered by existing SPS facilities that have capacity.

48 kids. Really. 48.

For 'fun', compare how many k5 kids live within 1/2 mile of Webster, or, the Lake City building. Both are owned by Sps, both would cost $20 million EACH to bring back. So, bring those back, and keep the $2 million in change. Maybe that $2 million could pay for an auditorium black box theater for Wilson Pacific?

It's about priorities. What is the most pressing problem now to solve? West Seattle middle school capacity? High school in the north? Elementary capacity in the NW? Elementary capacity in Magnolia/Queen Anne?

Priorities. Triage. The district has to address real problems that exist right now. It's called prioritization. There are have to haves, then there are nice to haves. The district has a list of about 10 capacity problems it must solve right now. Problems they don't have any solutions for. Problems Banda let fester. That's the have to haves. Those are at the front of the line, and any extra $42 million winfall that magically appears has to go to those first.

How many kids in 6th-8th grade within half mile of that downtown proposed school location?

17.

Is anyone surprised? Of course not.

Seriously.

Facilities Planning

Melissa Westbrook said...

FP, President Peaslee, at the BEX Oversight Ctm meeting this morning, made similar (although less specific) points. She said the district has to make these decisions in context of needs of entire district.

A couple of the members of the group concurred but all seemed to believe that it was worth looking into but that if other money cannot be found, the downtown school couldn't happen.

There are some technical issues around the GSA regulations that I am trying to figure out (and have a call into the DOE about them). I'm not even sure the district could get that building into shape in the time the GSA allots.

Anonymous said...
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joanna said...

I still say they could look at for the World School and give TT Minor to the community where 500 students could walk to the school the 400 students will forever be bussed without it. None of those students east of the freeway from Gatzert and TT Minor will be in a walk zone to the that location in downtown.

Anonymous said...

Any status update on the summer portable construction at SACAJAWEA - one at least was supposed to have plumbing/bathrooms and be ADA accessible for preschool for kids with special needs. Is it on schedule? What is the timeline for move in?

Curious - does anyone know if teachers get paid for moving out and moving in, or is it "volunteer time!?"

Thanks.

Casey

Joe Wolf said...

Response to Casey:

The double plumbed/bathroom-ed portable at Sacajawea will house the SpEd Pre-K classes relocating from Pinehurst. I don't have a day-by-day schedule in front of me but it will be ready for occupancy/move-in before start of school.

Teachers are definitely paid for moving time. I have signed many such approvals this summer.

mirmac1 said...

FP, I hope you have had a chance to peruse this collection of documents. Particularly these emails. SPS improperly added chunks of new and unrelated scope to an architect contracted to perform completely different services. There's an audit finding right there. Then SPS sent them on a mission to tally up what it would take to add 660 seats of capacity to Lowell and Bailey-Gatzert! 660! Not the 48 you aptly note. What a farce. And two high-level administrators are running around working on this when they should be focusing on the 17 other major BEX IV projects, 37 seismic projects, and getting portables in place! (BTW, where'd you get that info).

And the board is "too demanding"...

Just Saying said...

I need to acknowledge and thank our essentially volunteer board.

The board has been tasked with increasing oversight related to the city's preschool and downtown building.

Michael, I absolutely believe SPS and staff care about students. That said, I'm sure there are some situations that need to be monitored. I certainly wouldn't throw the entire system down the drain.

Just Saying said...




"It's amazing that parents and students just sit back and do nothing"

Very broad and sweeping generalization. PTA members are already working hard to support their schools in Sept.

Transparency Please said...

Thanks for dropping-in Joe Wolf. Did anyone else think it possible for a facilities planning guy to be a Rockstar(!)?

Anonymous said...

The only way for SPS to handle the capacity issue is to entice students to alternative education. SPS should pay for Home schooling, online programs and early graduation.

These alternatives would cost pennies compared to build outs.

NB Parent

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Joe. I drove by SACAJAWEA yesterday and didn't see a whole lot of "activity," so I was wondering if it was on schedule. Was there supposed to be a safely enclosed playground for the preschoolers, also? (and a second portable?)

Thanks.

Casey

Melissa Westbrook said...

So NEP, at the AL meeting, nothing is being presented but yes, there will discussion of final recs.

I was told that the recs would be presented to the C&I meeting on Monday.

Anonymous said...

"PTA members are already working hard to support their schools in Sept."

Exactly the problem, why should SPS do it when there are suckers out there willing to. Don't forget the schools without PTA support, but hey you take care of your own if that works for you.

--Michael

Anonymous said...

Joe, thanks for dropping in. I know you've chimed in on the high school capacity issue before, but can you give us on update on how things stand in these years prior to the reopening of Lincoln? It seems like things are tight already, and Lincoln is many years away. I seem to recall you had also mentioned that the day Lincoln opens we'll already be short about 1000 seats, so that seems to suggest that the year BEFORE it opens we'll likely be short many more than that. Where is the district currently on updating projections, determining needs, engaging community, etc.? We're not hearing a lot...

HIMSmom

mirmac1 said...

Joe, it is going to be tight. SPS must cut into the side sewer, schedule SCL for a power drop, pass inspection, erect the play structure and fencing, transfer furnishings and equipment. If this happens, hats off to you. If it doesn't there is a potential OSPI citizen complaint.

Could you comment on how the plans for the preschool play facilities at Old Van Asselt are progressing?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Michael, your tone is getting increasingly disparaging to others here and it does nothing to help the conversation. Please dial it back.

dan dempsey said...

Here is an interesting piece on KIPP.... with Mathematical research as posted on Jay Greene's blog.

http://jaypgreene.com/2014/08/08/work-hard-do-your-research-does-kipp-steal-the-best-students/

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Anonymous said...
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Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, I saw this, Dan, as it is being highly touted. But without taking into account how KIPP operates and its discipline policies, I"m not sure the jury is in. I note that the studies authors were careful about any blanket statements made about KIPP from this research.

Holy Cow said...

The city's pre-k plan will cost $10.7K per student. Families making up to $143K will receive subsidy.

Holy Cow said...

Regarding the City's preschool program:

1 They will want all new or remodeled schools to have room for preschool. What about state funding, please?

2. The city wants existing preschool providers, operated on school grounds, or operated by district to be rated Early Achievers to qualify for city dollars.

Someone stop Burgess! We're not funded for pre-K-5 and I don't see the city fully refunding SPS. Heck, they couldn't even pay $14K to fly SPS staff around the country.

I am not excited about funding pre-K for families making $143K!

The city will launch an amazing and highly funded campaign. Campaign contributors are yet to be known and the campaign has spent $36K.

mirmac1 said...

I would love to see the source for the real number of students (48!) downtown. Perhaps it was in all my documents and my burned out eyes just didn't register!

Anonymous said...

Seriously???? You're going to "close to comments" in a special education thread, but leave behind this gem???? People need to be able to respond to this sort of tripe - posted without evidence, and directed at a whole swath of students.


Anonymous said...
The real SPED issue is a small group of parents have hijacked SPED and caused 80% of the funding to be spent on their cohorts that's around 7% of the SPED student population consuming 80% of the funding.

Sorry not to be PC, but many of these "students" are simply being baby sat at public expense.

Diaper changing and restraining students should be be happening in schools. I just think it's gone to far and we need to stop it.

--Michael



The whole thing is pretty weird. Getting email, saying "rah rah sped" in the middle of summer from Charles Wright???? Who the heck is Charles Wright? A highly paid mid manager brought on by Banda? Can't Banda take all the guys he foisted on us, with him?

-Comments On

Melissa Westbrook said...

Comments On, I closed the comments not so that others could not comment but to stop that kind of comment. I agree he provided no real data but at the end did say, "I think" which is an opinion to me.

Of course, it is offensive.

As far as Charles Wright, I believe a number of us raised questions to the Board about how this SPed review was being handled. Upon examination, I think it came about that there was a realization that it was not handled in the proper fashion (and likely that other companies could complain of unfair treatment).

Anonymous said...

Dear Joe Wolf

I am concerned about the location of special needs Pre-K classrooms in portables at Sacajawea. It's already difficult in SPS to integrate our students with disabilities into the GenEd mainstream even when they're in the main building!

Please let us know what the thinking has been to have arrived at this situation?


AnneS

Holy Cow said...

The City will allow very generous salaries for administration. Hold on to your hats and I will provide a small smathering and incomplete list of administrative salaries:

PFA director $200K (!)
PFA Assistant Director $170K, Finance Mjr. $170K, Data and Evaluation Manaer $169K, Databbase Adm. $112K, Outreach coordinator $156K (!), Quality Control Manaer $156K (!), Strategic Advisor $144K and this is an imcomplete list. I'm not seeing generous costs to cover sps expenses.

It should be noted that the city's plan covers transportation. Who will do the work around transportation? Let me guess--SPS.

Vote NO

Holy Cow said...

Burgess and Holly Miller are planning on using 1/3 of the Family and Education Levy to fund prek for all and they aren't providing high need schools with funds. Yet, they are more than happy to provide more than generous salaries to administrators.

Meanwhile, the PTA is trying to scrape -up dollars so kids can have a gym shirt.

It's for the kids.

Lynn said...

Holy Cow,

Under the Mayor's plan, every family would receive a subsidy. The expected cost per student is $10,700 and the most a family would pay is $10,173. A family of four wouldn't reach that maximum tuition amount until their income exceeds $180,000.

mirmac1 said...

I'm disappointed that Mr. Wolf rarely sees fit to respond to my questions. I present them in a challenging, yet respectful way. Oh well, I guess he knows by now that I do not just wag my tail whenever some "feel good" news pops up on the blog. I see many more facilities emails than I post. Not so good news.

Anonymous said...

Again. Seriously?????

>>>

The real SPED issue is a small group of parents have hijacked SPED and caused 80% of the funding to be spent on their cohorts that's around 7% of the SPED student population consuming 80% of the funding.


No. There's no "I think". What small group of parents? Which Sped 7% of sped students are eating up 80%. ???? That should be deleted.

Lame. Crybaby Michael.



Comments On

Holy Cow said...

Perhaps we should have K for All before PreK for families that make $18oK.

How about those administrative salaries? That is just the tip of the iceberg.

Anonymous said...

There are students that require 1 to 1 skilled nursing or health aide care. We can't expect our teachers to administer insulin, provide suction, or percussion. It would be dangerous. If the school district were not paying for these services through the school day, other state departments would be, or parents would be because these students would still need nursing care.

The downside of closing children's residential nursing facilities is that the budget left the nursing facility and the cost ended up on everyone else's books. Public schools have taken up a large share, transportation took a piece, and parents have been expected to take a larger and larger portion.

State funding for schools should have increased as residential facilities were emptied to cover these costs, which are much higher in the community because of the inability to bundle services. The opposite was true. Funding has gotten tighter and tighter.

I would love to see some actual numbers regarding state funding. To me it seems that the medically fragile have been required to do quite a bit of the belt tightening themselves, and families have already been impoverished and sleep deprived.

-J

Anonymous said...

Michael,

You are the epitome of what is wrong with this school district in terms of parental advocacy--you are only thinking about your own child. That is, unfortunately, rampant in this district and has helped create and sustain the immorality and dysfunction of downtown SPS. If parents are only focused on the narrow well-being of their own child the district can and will placate them. You will be placated because you are so loud, angry and focused. Those would be great qualities if you cared about the well-being of all of the students, but you haven't demonstrated that by your comments.

School districts across the country do a horrible job with students who have dyslexia, dysgraphia, etc. Schools of education do not train even the most specialized teachers in effective methods in this area. SPS could and should team up with the cutting-edge researchers in the region--Virginia Berninger comes to mind. You are on the money when it comes to your identification of the shortcomings and failures to help children with these SLDs. I am a teacher with a special education endorsement and have worked with scores of children with these issues, by the way.

Your willingness to malign and pit parents who have children with other disabilities against one another in order to get first in line is beyond the pale.

Do us all a favor and be quiet.

--enough already

Anonymous said...

On another topic...Some SPS elementaries will have a transition week for K students Aug 18-22.

Kindergarten Jump Start

fyi

Anonymous said...

One other thing Michael -

Enough Already said it all - you malign other parents and children.

IF we live in a world where it's OK to malign kids, stigmatize them, call their teachers babysitters - then your kid will always be maligned too. IF IT'S OK TO STIGMATIZE AND MALIGN KIDS IN THE WORLD YOU CREATE - THEN: Your kid will always just be another idiot with an excuse of a label: DysXXX.

Who wins from that?

Another Reader

Anonymous said...

I am not meaning to pit anyone. And I am not Michavel. What I mean to say is that the state Medicaid or whoever is responsible for medical and nursing care needs to provide adequate care and funding before SPS attempts to teach.

For all our students medical needs and safety need to come before academics!

See the discussions about the field trip issue for perspective. Physical safety NEEDS to come before academics.

Teachers didn't suddenly grow medical degrees, and they should not be expected to provide medical care. Neither did they sprout nursing licenses, they should not be providing nursing care. It is not safe.

Likewise, medical funding is not where our budget should be spent. SPS is an educational institution. You wouldn't ask your accountant to pay for your hip replacement or do PT exercises with you.

Teachers are trained professionals, not medical professionals, schools are not nursing facilities, and districts are not health insurance companies. It's not fair or safe to expect otherwise.

Does our district demand adequate state funding to cover safe nursing costs? We need to!

It is our duty to provide appropriate TEACHING, and to promote learning, our budget should be spent on treating LEARNING disabilities, slow learners, accelerated learners, and every student in between.

-J

Anonymous said...

--enough already

No, whats wrong with the district is public servants failing to follow the laws. Really it's that simple.

If teachers as public servants would follow the IDEA for ALL students with IEP's I would not be posting this!

Your really don't seem to understand the situation which is not totally your fault.I don't care about other school districts it's not relevant.

If it takes as you put it " malign and pit parents who have children with other disabilities against one another" to get SLD students the help they need, then that's exactly what I will do!

But pointing out the $80 million the district spends on pervasive issues is not pitting parents against each other, it's seeking equnmiity.

--Michael

ben said...

@Michael

I'm usually of the mind to ignore your posts because they frankly are off-putting even when I happen to agree in principle. But seriously you're winning yourself no points with continued statements like above. The only right behavior here if you're sincere is to apologize and think before you post again.

Ben

Melissa Westbrook said...

Michael, I believe everyone is entitled to their own opinion. However,

"If it takes as you put it " malign and pit parents who have children with other disabilities against one another" to get SLD students the help they need, then that's exactly what I will do!"

You won't be doing that here. We get enough of that with Advanced Learning and now Special Ed? No.

So you are welcome to comment w/o maligning students or you can go start your own blog.

As well,that $80M figure you cite is from various sources of money. The district, on its own, does not have $80M to spend.

The feds have let the district know that they must do better. (I think the state should do a lot better and maybe districts take their cue from them.)

But, we are not going to be pitting child against child.

mirmac1 said...

I refuse to engage a troll on this blog.

Unfortunately, the few unsupported parent volunteers must face those who would use a shotgun to achieve their means. All they do is bring about collateral damage that sets us all back. Senior administrators just lap this stuff up and use it to advance their own political agendas. Guess who gets the shaft.

One obsessive, insulting parent has brought nearly all the gains in recent years (but may not have necesarily benefited his children - for that I am sorry but SPS usually counters abuse with abuse) to the brink because of batsh** crazy charges and insinuations.

Just letting you all know who to blame when the poop hits the fan. Won't affect me and mine, but will hurt many - and unfortunately I still work hard and care about them as much as if they were my family.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I see your point and it's unfortunate but those were not my words, I just paraphrased what whom ever posted that. Yes they were a bit dramatic and direct, but I've had it with the pervasive issues dominating the SPEd conversation. So, don't single me out just because I choose to type out what many say in private.

My intentions are well known and maybe not PC, but are shared by many including parents, SPS, OSPI and academia. I have chosen to end the bull shit after 7 years of watching nothing happen. How is it going? so far so good.

I realized right away there's not really a PC way to deal with this so I'm taking going head on.

BTW, just so you know SPS has attempted to buy me off and I turned them down! I want systemic change for the SLD student population not just for my kids as micamac claims.

So Mirmac continue your pervasive first SPED PTA and SEAC meetings and continue to push out SLD advocates. Keep trying to scare people into your agenda that I'm going to ruin it for them. Why don't you explain exactly how that will happen!

This is not a pleasant conversation for anyone but, it's about time we had it and MW I think your are a hypocrite, do think we want to listen to your rant on about a rape! how self serving to bring that students misery to the forefront for your own gain or blogs gain, disgusting.

Why don't you reflect on that for awhile! before trying control this conversation.

--Michael

mirmac1 said...
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Melissa Westbrook said...

The two topics - the rape at Garfield and Special Ed - don't have anything to do with each other.

And, to everyone, NO name-balling. Not a troll, not a hypocrite, nothing.

I have tried to be kind about people having opinions but enough is enough.

Michael, you seem very angry and willing to lash at anyone. This is not productive for this blog.

I will not ask again.

Anonymous said...

The thing is Michael. When you say "Pervasive" you really just mean Autism, right? You use that word "Pervasive", wink, wink, because Autism is listed in the DSM IV as a "Pervasive Developmental Disorder". And educated parents dealing with disabilities know this, but most readers do not know it. So, you are really just saying.. the Autistic kids are getting all the goods. And your kid - well, evidently, he's getting nothing at all. Is that your point? Autism VS SLD. ??

You seem to forget that every single elementary Resource (SLD) classroom in the district was handed an IA, and had their caseload reduced by 1/3 to 18. That costs the district millions every year. But without numbers. You can say whatever you want.

The reality is - students in ALL disability categories are getting screwed. Sure, a few people have worked their way into programs that sort of work. SORT OF. But they are always, always, always full of very apparent failures and ridiculous compromises. For example, kids can be in expensive inclusion programs - and still be denied basic high school classes. Or, have to take the same class twice, because well, that's where they are allowed to be. Tons of those expensive Autistic kids were put in new self-contained programs with absolutely no materials or even classroom furniture. I'm sure SLD kids at least can use regular books. Some kids in programs have no books at all. Those same kids have 0 access to general ed. They don't get to step outside their room. SLD kids can go to any class. It ain't perfect - but it is still more then sitting in an empty classroom all day.

Yes. How Resource (SLD) rooms are run - is completely up to the discretion of the school. And practices are often beyond bad, especially at the secondary level. Guess what? That is true for all other disability categories too.

Isn't it best to advocate for best practices for all kids with disabilities?

Another Reader

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I think people are angry when they care deeply and are afraid. Michael is obviously a caring parent. Michael, go for a walk or something and move on.
KT

Anonymous said...
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Melissa Westbrook said...

I'm going to end this particular open thread. Nothing more needs to be said about a single commenter who does not know this blog or its writers.

Most of us who are/have been Sped parents know the frustration and yes, anger. But ranting doesn't serve this blog or its readers and, as I have said over and over, this is NOT a rant and rave blog.