Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday/Saturday Open Thread

I've been out of town so a bit behind on this.

I see that teacher John Greenberg has been reinstated at The Center School (this from a story in the PI).  The story does NOT say what if he will be teaching his Citizenship and Social Justice class. 

The petition for a new principal at Garfield (on the heels of the outrage over the investigation of a rape on a Garfield overnight field trip) has over 2,000 signatures.  I hope to talk to some alum next week about this move.

Is ballet a sport? Under Armour thinks so with this great video of ABT's Misty Copeland and an apparent letter she received about becoming a ballet dancer.  It's good to defy the odds.

What's on your mind?


Po3 said...

I was happy to learn that Mr. Greenberg was reinstated at the Center school. This was a huge misstep made by Banda. No one family should ever be given that much power in a school. I still wonder where the school leadership was during this debacle?

Now looking at Garfield, they need to address the culture in that building - and need to start with leadership change.

Anonymous said...

Is ballet a sport? Well, most schools offer a PE waiver to serious dance students, but not Hazel Wolf K-8. What's up with that?

open ears

Anonymous said...

Teflon Teddy needs to go, but with the cronyism (and nepotism) in this district, I don't know if a petition can do it.

open ears

Anonymous said...

Hey we just got notice that Ingraham High school is starting at 7:50 AM not 8:00AM ? I thought starting bell times were going to be pushed out later? Why would they move them earlier?


dw said...

I'm a surprised that over 2000 individuals would be calling for Ted Howard's head. I suspect it's primarily non-locals, attracted to the situation by way of social media, but that's purely speculation.

I'm not saying that he acted perfectly in this well-publicized mess, but I do hope people who are angry do two things:

1) Most importantly, hold the best person/people accountable - i.e. the most culpable: consider the Assistant Principal, Ron English, etc. As much as I'd like to hold the chaperones responsible, that's virtually impossible.

2) Consider that the GHS principal position was a terrible mess of musical chairs for several years before Mr. Howard arrived. There has been stability for 10 years in a high school that houses both a challenging high FRL population and APP. That's a job I wouldn't take at twice the salary. Before you ask for someone to be fired, make sure you have someone lined up that can take his place. Frankly, I'm not sure there's anyone better equipped for that job anywhere in Seattle.

Again, I'm not going to try to excuse anything to do with the follow-up to the field trip and investigation, just trying to step back, look at the big picture and try to balance the good with the not-so-good. Is it possible that a single act could be so egregiously bad to dominate over years of good? Maybe. Just be mindful that there's a lot of good to balance out.

I have no inside knowledge of what happened behind the scenes, I'm just a realistic parent who has seen many kids go through that building, and I've seen Mr. Howard do a lot of good things for those kids. Everything from individual tough love to weeding out poor staff members. It's a tough job.

Anonymous said...

Dw -

You clearly have not followed the Garfield problems that have happened since "teflon" Teddy has taken over or his own history

Not my job to inform or explain that to you.. a google search or even one on this site would do you some good.

Teflon Teddy has a long history of throwing everyone under the bus and at this point it is hell of a bus

SPS Employee

Side Line said...

It is hard to call for someone's head when we don't know all the facts and have not seen official documents.

It seems reasonable to wait for all details to be released.

Anonymous said...

Side Line,
I doubt "we" will be seeing official documents due to privacy concerns. It is in the interest of SPS to try to cover up. Will there be sufficient investigation to uncover the story?

Anonymous said...

GHS will also be starting 10 minutes early next year according to today's email. New start time: 7:50 am.

mirmac1 said...

I will post redacted documents tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

@dw and others - that petition was started by a GHS alum and has many local signers including Garfield students, parents, and alumni. - NP

Anonymous said...

Concerned for friends that are being thrown off the Spectrum bus because of lack of communication between Transportation and Enrollment.

There are nuances to the Growth Boundaries plan that were not taken into account when the most recent round of "not eligible for transportation" letters were sent.

They live in a Northern Region of the Green Lake Attendance Area that is mapped to Eckstein this and for future years. However, Transportation is taking it as a simple Green Lake Elementary will map to Hamilton without delving into the details.

And to further complicate, in 2020 when this northern area of the Green Lake AA is slated to be a part of Hamilton, the area my friends live in will be mapped to Wedgwood -- still a feeder school to Eckstein.

As of today they are being told they wlll not receive transportation to their
Spectrum Eckstein feeder elementary because Green Lake will eventually be a feeder school to Hamilton -- even though for their personal situation their address does not feed to Hamilton now, nor is slated to do so even after 2020.

It is ridiculous the amount of time and effort this family has had to invest just to educate SPS on it's own policies.

The details do matter. There are big impacts to students and their families when departments at JSCEE can't just walk down a hallway and talk to another department and figure it out. Actually, in this situation even go online to the SPS website and use the address assignment app. to see that what the family is saying is factual per the rules of Enrollment/Growth Boundaries.

I am continually frustrated that students and their families -- like what should be what a school district is all about -- are pushed to the back of the line in terms of priorities.


Anonymous said...

I agree with the caution to not hastily dismiss Ted Howard. Go higher up. Is this why Banda and/or the Sac School Board arranged a meeting with our board? Why do this for someone being hired away? If Banda's beyond further consequence, then look at Ron English. Look hard.


Anonymous said...

Re: Green Lake middle school service area

The address lookup tool, 2014-15 SPS maps, and this year's enrollment form all have Green Lake as part of the Eckstein service area.

2014-15 boundary map

Green Lake boundaries are linked in Amendment 2 (approved) from November, 2013.

Green Lake boundaries

Hamilton APP students in the Green Lake attendance area are being reassigned to JAMS APP for the coming year because they are in the Eckstein service area, so elementary Spectrum students in the Green Lake area should also be assigned to Eckstein Spectrum schools, with transportation.

The Action report for boundary changes also notes [bold added], "There is an error in the map on page 6; Area 204 would not be reassigned to Hamilton for 2014-15. This will be corrected in the final posting of the agenda." See attachment A for maps of area 204.

School Board Action Report November 2013

Sounds like some miscommunication somewhere...hope it gets worked out for families before Sept. 3. Being a parent in SPS can require lots of persistence...

-best wishes

Anonymous said...

Are people actually getting bus letters already? We haven't. Should I be worried?

Signed: No Splits

Anonymous said...

I think school assignment letters had a note about transportation eligibility, but not detailed info on bus numbers, times, etc. If memory serves me, those usually don't get sent until about a week before school starts.

Does anyone know when state test scores will be released? In the next week or two?


Melissa Westbrook said...

"I am continually frustrated that students and their families -- like what should be what a school district is all about -- are pushed to the back of the line in terms of priorities."

Exactly right. That's why you should tell/pressure your PTA to write to the Superintendent and the Board and give them these examples. "Our school community is being hurt in this way" or "We were not consulted/told about this happening."

Then your PTA Board should tell/pressure the SCPTA to write a resolution about the role of families and community input on these decisions.

I'm not singling out any one of you in particular but please don't grumble about it - get your community to act.

It worked for Ingraham and I truly believe that rising up as parents is the way to go.

On a personal note, I have relatives from NJ here and they said most of the towns around (and including) theirs, left PTA long ago and formed PTOs. They felt it was a stronger force AND among many parents, they found they did like giving money to the regional/state/national because of stances of those groups that they, at a local level, did not want to support (either with dollars or voices).

Anonymous said...

If a parent does not get resolution on an issue after trying to contact district staff, then they can write their Board members. In the case that StepJ references, it's about clarifying the actual rules. Having other parents contact the Board with the same issue could help the process. I'm not sure what role the PTA has in this particular situation. Parents are just trying to get the district to understand and follow their own rules and information, not change what the Board has already approved.

The issue seems pretty cut and dry - the staff just seems misinformed and you need to find the person that can set things straight.

been there

Maje said...

In the spring a bunch of families at HWK8 (then JAK8) got letters saying they weren't eligible for transportation. This is despite the fact that they actually were eligible based on their address. The PTSA said they were taking to transportation to make sure it was straightened out by September. So, perhaps there were a lot of letters that we out incorrectly and will be fixed by the start of school. One can hope.

dan dempsey said...

Dismiss Ted Howard or not?

In a situation like this the Superintendent and other central admin are immediately notified. Those folks run the show not the principal.

So Brad Westering (asst. principal) apparently was extremely negligent in not following policy and procedures that produced a situation with extremely poor supervision. As this same negligence in following procedures had occurred in previous years Ted Howard as principal likely bears some responsibility for failure to supervise Mr. Westering.

In regard to a cover-up or a conspiracy to conceal a crime that falls on Jose Banda and General Counsel Ron English et al.

A principal does not tell the superintendent and the general counsel how to do business in a case like this one.

There are some persons who likely should be dismissed. Is Ted Howard one of them who should be dismissed over this situation? I do not know. I am inclined to say NO from what I've seen thus far.

Melissa Westbrook said...

The issue seems pretty cut and dry - the staff just seems misinformed and you need to find the person that can set things straight.

Very funny (if only it was that easy).

Catherine said...

Maybe… Maybe…

Mr. Westneat is starting to get it?

Garfield Mom said...

I am a current Garfield parent, and I think Ted Howard needs to go. It's not just this incident, but this is the straw that broke the camel's back.

Joe Wolf said...

Almost-ready-for-prime-time photo set of Fairmount Park:

Greg said...

Seattle Times today, with their lead article, on Lakeside School and Steve Ballmer: "A series of questionable tactics that included a new basketball-focused nonprofit, cash for a coach, an unusual admissions process and weak enforcement of academic standards ... 'They relaxed their academic integrity to accommodate athletes.'"

Anonymous said...

Another wonderful article is in the Sunday New York Times Opinion section about the failure of ed reform methods. Titled, “Teaching is Not a Business,” the writer talks about how reformers misunderstand how much human bonds in the classroom matter.

It also quotes the former executive director at the Gates Foundation, Tom Vander Ark, who admitted the results were weak that technology was the key to educational success. He said “When it comes to showing results, we better put up or shut up.”

The business model is not a substitute for the personal element.

S parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Vander Ark has been an ed pretender for a long, long time. He continues to contend that he's some kind of education guru. And yet, no results from the Gates Foundation or his own company (except maybe profits).

Po3 said...

Lawton assigned new principal. Former principal moved to Salmon Bay.

Anonymous said...

I believe the point of the New York Times article was to show that the billions of dollars spent on new technology was not leading to a wave of better results in education. Vander Ark sounded like he was admitting that the data was disappointing.

As the article stated, “While these reformers talk a lot about markets and competition, the essence of a good education — bringing together talented teachers, engaged students and a challenging curriculum — goes undiscussed.”

S parent

Watching said...

Democrats for Eduction Reform contributed maximum amount to Reuven Carlyle's campaign. No surprise that DFER wants to keep this privatizer in office.

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

Sorry for the delay. I've been entertaining out of town guests.

Interesting paper prepared by a recent Garfield graduate regarding attitudes about rape at Garfield:

Is nonconsensual sex okay?

Event Notice (please pass this along):

To those concerned about sexual assault in public schools:

Citizens are gathering to support the movement to Stop Sexual Assault in High School. A peaceful demonstration is to occur, with your help, at the Seattle School Board meeting on August 20th. Please meet in front of JSCEE at 4:40.

Persons who support the petition to remove Garfield Principal Howard for his role in fostering sexual violence (that led to the US Dept of Education, Office for Civil Rights, opened in response to the Garfield High School rape) should think about attending. Petition link here.

Stop Sexual Assault in High School seeks to help families nationwide advocate for a student's rights after sexual assault. We will also be addressing prevention through trainings. Stop Sexual Assault in High School recently came into being after our family member was raped on a Garfield High School field trip. Our vision is to spare others the devastation that ensued when the Seattle School District failed to keep students safe and failed to extend any of her federally mandated Title IX rights. The District is now under federal investigation for violation of Title IX. Please join us!

Please visit our Facebook page including "Our Family's Story," our complaint opened by the US Dept. of Education, Office for Civil Rights, and other posts. Email us with your suggestions and let us know how you can be of service -