Monday, August 11, 2014

Seattle Schools' Sped Director Goes on Leave

Update:  The Times is reporting that Williams leave is based on the issue around the consultant hired to work on the C-CAP.  The district says it is not disciplinary but that they are investigating.

end of update.

From Deputy Superintendent Charles E. Wright (bold mine):

Dear Seattle Public Schools principals, teachers and staff,

I am writing today to let you know that Wyeth Jessee, who is currently Executive Director of Leadership Development and former Broadview-Thomson K-8 principal, will be temporarily serving as Interim Executive Director of Special Education while Zakiyyah McWilliams is on leave.

Wyeth has experience in Special Education and will step in to ensure this important work continues. As you all know, it is our goal to make sure each and every student has access to a high quality education. For the last several years, we have made Special Education services a high priority, and will continue to do so. In addition, we are supporting the Special Education team by adding a project manager, who will make sure we continue to meet the goals and deadlines of improvement.

I want to thank the Special Education team for their hard work over the summer, and assure our staff and community that we are diligent about meeting the requirements and timelines outlined in our revised Comprehensive Corrective Action Plan (C-CAP) and to ensure we are meeting the needs of all of our students.

We will keep you posted on the progress of our C-CAP, and I want to thank Wyeth for stepping in before the school year to continue this work in the interim.


Mr. Jessee "has experience" in Special Education.  What does that truly mean and what should it mean to Sped parents?

What does it mean to the C-CAP?

Not inspiring, for sure.

I'll be interested to hear what is said at the C&I Committee meeting today.

109 comments:

Anonymous said...

Not a loss.

not

Anonymous said...

Just a leave? I hope she not ill!

Really if it not illness then you had to see this coming.
She created a firestorm in the SPED community. She was also sabotaged by her own staff and boss. It's too bad they did not give her the authority to make a difference. Certain leaders didn't want her to succeed.

Personally I think you can only tell parents you are going to do something then fail so many times before they turn on you.

SPED Parent

Anonymous said...

Before becoming principal at Broadview-Thomson, Mr. Jessee was an Assistant Principal at the school and also served as Assistant Director of Special Education for the Olympia School District. Prior to this, he was a special education teacher at the elementary and middle school levels and a research assistant at the University of Washington’s Department of Education.

At least he a local guy with possibly good skills.

SPED Parent

Anonymous said...

Per ST Twitter it is admin leave pending investigation.

Too bad that SPS probably can't get the good people she chased off back.

-SWWS

Anonymous said...

Seattle special education chief placed on paid leave
Posted by John Higgins
The Seattle school district’s executive director of special education was placed on paid leave Friday afternoon while the district investigates whether proper procedures were followed when the district hired a national consultant last spring.

The executive director, Zakiyyah McWilliams, will be out during the review, which is expected to take a few weeks, said district spokeswoman Lesley Rogers.

“This is not disciplinary,” Rogers said. “We’re reviewing activities associated with the contract process and we place someone on paid administrative leave because it’s best for the employee and the district.”

Rogers would not elaborate on McWilliams’ involvement. No one else has been placed on leave

ST

Anonymous said...

Well at least they didn't replace her with her #2. That would be even worse.

Parent

Anonymous said...

#2 should think about packing her bags too. She has no business being a director.

SPED Parent

Anonymous said...

Can somebody describe what contracting issue is going on? Why would one individual be targeted like this. Doesn't a contract take quite a few people in SPS?

Reader

Melissa Westbrook said...

Reader, I don't think anyone was targeted. I can only say from my limited knowledge that it seems the contract for an outside consultant for the C-CAP may not have been handled correctly. The person at the top is usually responsible for those kinds of issues.

Whether anything is truly wrong is unknown. I think the district did the prudent thing to take a step back and go over this issue closely.

Anonymous said...

Melissa, I'm just wondering though -- isn't "the person at the top" whoever in legal manages contracts, or in finance (or operations, where the contracts function lives)? Surely there were checks and balances and balances and checks. Something seems off here.

Reader

mirmac1 said...

If the process is fair then she will be exonerated. But we're talking politics here and many career climbers waiting in the wings.

Melissa Westbrook said...

MIrmac, I would wait on making judgments like that.

We may not know everything and it's important not to jump to conclusions about anyone, good or bad.

mirmac1 said...

Well few of these processes are fair. If you are well connected then you can retire or walk away with a recommendation. Every one else not so much

Wondering said...

Did someone post an e-mail regarding this issue that had Tolley's name on it?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Charlie Mas said...

Can we get "follow the money" back now? I think this is the context we needed to understand those comments.

There must have been something squirrelly about that contract and how it was awarded. If not the first one for $150.000 (that report was not worth anything like $150,000), then the second one for $450.000.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Charlie, the district couldn't even get a refund for Wright's preschool junket costs (flight and conference costs). You think they could get $450K back? Please.

Anonymous said...

Not to mention, a couple mil for "data" software that they were sure to, ehem, recommend SPS buy. And daddy OSPI would no doubt force that down SPS throat too.

The main squirrelly issue. Doug Gill at OSPI. Mandates that SPS hire consultants. Why? Because his buddies need jobs. And sweet deal for them! 1 little contract for $150k, followed by 15% of all SPS federal IDEA funds. Where's the Seattle Times when you need 'em?

This is just an excuse to sack the sped director. The contract itself was too piddly to get anybody fired. Good point Reader. How could so much blame really be on one person?

Eddie Speddie

Anonymous said...

The clues lie in emails sent to and from personal accounts.

don't quote me because i don't know nothin bout that

Follow themoney

Anonymous said...

Follow the Money has been foreshadowing this entire event for what seems like infinity. The Special Ed. thread on this blog has a letter from Charles Wright doing everything but announcing that someone is about to fall.
Mirmac has been downplaying the whole situation each time Follow the Money or others have announced what now seems to have been inevitable. It seemed like she was being loyal.

There are some things in a bureaucracy that are not tolerable when the light shines on them. The roaches will scatter. Messing with contracts is one of them, especially on the heels of the Potter scandal. There is no loyalty among career climbers...Hillary Clinton's sellout of Obama is exhibit A.

--enough already

mirmac1 said...

It would be great if ALL the public records were known. I have a whole pile that I have not shared.

I would not jeopardize my credibility supporting someone who I found intentionally broke laws or hide information. There are certainly others in high places who do that for their friends de rigueur: look at the $450K HSGI oopsie-daisie, the Cleveland gift of public funds, the Ikeda/English Potter snafu.

It's a simple matter of deciding what's more important: throw someone under the bus while the whole caravan of miscreats trundle by business as usual. The latter have done little to nothing to help SpEd students.

That's who I am loyal to.

Anonymous said...

Mirmac,

That was clear from the start. You have had integrity from Day One. Follow the Money has been on a mission and seems to have some first-hand information.

There is no loyalty among thieves...speaking metaphorically, of course.

--enough already

Anonymous said...

Mirmac isn't the only one who has a pile of documents just mine includes emails between "buddies" some of who defend Zee on this blog.

I think my work here is done (the blog cheers) Now I will focus on the Feds visit next week for a deep dive into SPED spending. It appears someone lost count of some students and might have over paid contractors . I'm not saying there were kickbacks, but the books are looking something fishy.

Follow themoney

Anonymous said...

Well Follow the Money, you and Mirmac might not be pals BUT she has followed a lot of special ed money right out the door into general ed. She's reported on the continued misappropriation at BHS where plain old Math and History teachers, who happen to have 1 or 2 iep kids in their class, charge special ed for their salaries. Would you kindly mention that to the FEDs when you see them next week? You know, spending IDEA money on something besides disabilities, can't be legal can it? they aren't listening to her, maybe they'll listen to you. And really, this is totally a resource room issue. The resource room classrooms are full of students without any disabilities. Because the teacher is dual endorsed, the district makes them teach everything at the same time.... and bills it to sped. Check it out. Since you are... Follow the Money. That would really be a community service.

Sped Reader

Anonymous said...

So ...

What else is Zee taking the fall for here?

I read through the emails on the contract. She's relatively new to the district and has a lot on her plate. Gov't purchasing rules vary from agency to agency, and when she started down an incorrect path on this contract, Diane Taguba made an attempt to stop her.

Unfortunately, Zee turned to two people who should have provided more clarity on the procurement rules. Per her own emails, Michael Tolley and Ron English gave her the okay to push forward on the sole-source contract. She then push back hard on Taguba, and she let it drop with the understanding that Tolley and English were okay with it.

Why are Tolley and English still working?

northwesterner

mirmac1 said...

Good question northwesterner.

And if someone makes a mistake (and tries to correct it within hours) does that make her unsalvageable? When there was no profit or gain to be made by this person? Unlike MGJ or Enfield or Wright or Ikeda or others I won't name.

To satisfy one person's thirst for revenge - many more SpEd families will yet again face the turmoil, politics, inertia and BS that is SPS central administrators vying for position and power.

The Times will take their potshots. Doug Gill at OSPI will crawl back into his hole (and hide from the Feds.) And more downtown middle managers and principals will get raises or awards that they nominated themselves for.

Yeah, it's totally worth it Follow the Money. By the way, what money and where is it?

Anonymous said...

Followthemoney - please pull in Tolley and English. Mrs. M shouldn't get hammered for this if she was 'following orders' and directions of her boss(es).

I spoke to her once, privately, she told me Banda may have recruited her here, but then he cut her loose. Nice. That was Banda, for you, "ghosty man". Was he really here at all? Did he really do nothing for SpEd - just bring her here then act like he didn't know SpEd existed, let alone there are major issues... Just a few.

The investigation should not scapegoat Mrs. M without touching her boss whom she relied on.

-Tolley too

Disgusted said...

It is becoming clear that Banda didn't keep reigns on his staff.

The fish always stinks from the head down. If Tolley, English and individuals from OSPI are responsible, I'd like to see them take responsibility.

It is my hope that anyone with information, pass it to the Feds. We deserve better.

Anonymous said...

It is (just a little?!) overstated that one individual's questions may be changing the destinies (negatively) of special needs students and families in SSD. There are a lot of things going on here that are not in the news.

eastwesterner

Charlie Mas said...

Okay. Enough cryptic references. What's the story? Please speak plainly.

From the clues given here, it sounds like the OSPI directed Seattle to hire a consultant and Ms McWilliams awarded the contract to the TIERS folks in a non-competitive process.

While that isn't normally allowed, there are situations in which it is and Ms McWilliams got assurances from Mr. Tolley and Mr. English that this was one of those situations.

Question #1: Are Mr. Tolley and Mr. English the authorities on such questions? Mr. Tolley is Ms McWilliams' boss and Mr. English is the District's General Counsel, so they just might be the authorities - or at least the people who could get her in trouble if the process is flawed.

Question #2: Is that the contract that was a problem? It appears that it was not the first contract, $150,000 for the initial report, that was a problem so much as the second contract, $450,000 for continuing services. Did Ms McWilliams follow the contracting procedure in that case? Who are the authorities who would decide?

Question #3: What exactly was the problem with the second contract? Did the other three bidders not get a legitimate opportunity? Someone tell us if you know. Please stop just hinting about.

That contract was on a Board agenda, but got pulled back so it hasn't been approved yet. Right?

mirmac1 said...

The contract modification has been pulled and will likely never be executed. Tolley reported at C&I that OSPI's Doug Gill was okay if SPS did not continue with TIERS. Of course he's "okay" with it, his hands are the dirtiest. His office has done next to nothing enforcing IDEA. They bat at flies as SpEd families are swarmed.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, OSPI didn't just direct SPS to hire a consultant, they directed them to hire a consultant of their choosing. Then, OSPI essentially managed those consultants. That is truly an unprecedented stretch of authority. And the CCAP specifies that these "consultants" may have 15% of our federal funds moving forward. Breath taking really. Where are the feds on that one? Where are you Follow-the-money? That's a pretty big chunk o change, right?. Uhh. I mean, OSPI not managed them. The only work product for this $150k contract, was a ridiculous report, which was basically anecdotal results. Oh yeah. And the consultants also had to hold a meeting with parents, so we could all be lashed for being demanding.

Why is everyone so cryptic? Z supporters vs new-dayers, neither wants to give the upper hand by providing information. What is clear, Z doesn't have support now that Banda evaporated. It is also clear she is not a criminal, nor getting anything for personal gain. And 1 parent can indeed provide the final straw - if a high level employee has no internal support.

Sped Reader

Anonymous said...

sped reader, 15% of our federal funds for bringing the district into some basic functionality in regards to special education is NOT a problem. our kids are worth that. the problem isn't the 15%, it's what we were getting or not getting for it. the point is that on its own the district cannot find its way out of a paper bag where sped is concerned. hiring external consultants to guide them is not the worst idea.

exasperated

Anonymous said...

Well sure. If we were paying for actual functionality, accountability, or oversight that might be ok. But really, this already the second round of national consultants who did essentially nothing. For hundreds of thousands of dollars, with the potential for millions more. And really. Isn't ensuring functionality, accountability, and oversight, the actual job of people at OSPI? Why should we, families in Seattle, have to pay extra to get OSPI to do what it is already supposed to do? And if Doug Gill wants to hire his people, then he should do that on his dime. Right?

Sped Reader

Wow said...

follow the money,

I realize there is a lot of hear-say on this blog. But there seems to be very serious concerns regarding OSPI, Tolley and English.

You seem to have a lot of information on this subject and I hope you take this to very high levels.

I'm finding this VERY concerning:

"OSPI's Doug Gill was okay if SPS did not continue with TIERS. Of course he's "okay" with it, his hands are the dirtiest."

Wow. I've been concerned about the workings inside of John Stanford Center and I'd hate for the lowest person on the rung to take the fall for this.

longhouse said...

My god I thought there was no more room in the SSD Sped Outhouse, but OSPI just keeps dumping more on.

So much is wrong here.

None of us who worked in Sped EVER saw Ms. MsWilliams. We weren't sure she actually existed. Her deputy started off strong but has visibly physically and mentally deteriorated in one year due to the overwhelming workload/stress.

Mr. Wyeth Jessee is a smart guy, but probably not as smart as he thinks he is. Some of your more vocal parents will probably like him.

But... beware underlings... he is ruthless and he will do whatever he has to to advance. God help you if you goof up and fall into the mess.. because Mr. Jessee will be there to helpfully throw you a cinderblock.

Sigh... gonna be another great year.

Charlie Mas said...

So what is the problem with the contract? Is it because Mr. Gill was actually the person who chose the vendor? Is it because we wildly overpaid for a thin report of the obvious?

What's the issue here?

mirmac1 said...

Charlie, given that this is a personnel matter and the person being steamrolled is someone I support, I cannot be more specific.

McWilliams has critics, of course. She can't move fast enough to make up the deficit of YEARS of neglect, gamesmanship and abuse. But I firmly believe we would be in worse shape without her, given the alternatives. She has walked back some very bad initiatives and trial lead balloons.

Anonymous said...

But I firmly believe we would be in worse shape without her, given the alternatives.

That's really the biggest problem in all this. Longhouse is a genius! The underlings are disastrous! And we have Ms M to thank for those mishires. And no! Nobody is looking forward to a new executive director. Bringing him up to speed, so that he too can jump ship to his next career move. Doug Gill cried about leadership turnover. But where is he now? OSPI publicly stated that leadership stability in special education was a goal in the C-CAP Where's that commitment? Why isn't. OSPI in town, demanding adherence to that point. Isn't the C-CAP so important?

Parent

mirmac1 said...

No. The C-CAP and RC-CAP are the fig leaf to shield him from the Feds. You know, like he's actually doing something besides making work for his friends.

Anonymous said...

McWilliams certainly has critics, but not because she can't change a system that has been resistant to change for many years. She has critics because she hasn't been able to understand and lead her own department.

Critic

Anonymous said...

Decided for your self what this email means.



From: McWilliams, Zakiyyah B
To: Taguba, Diane G
Cc: Wright, Charles E; Tolley, Michael F; English, Ron; Apostle, Paul A
Subject: RE: Proposals Received from the Sole Source Request
Date: Monday, December 16, 2013 4:44:48 PM
Diane
1. I will share the proposals that I received today during tomorrow’s meeting at 12
noon.
2. My supervisor, Michael Tolley, directed me to use the “sole source” process and it
was recommended by Doug Gill, SPED Director at OSPI as well.
3. The process I used meets “sole source” criteria.
4. After re-reading your email communication, I am very concerned regarding the
“threat and assumptions” made by you to me in the last paragraph. I find this level of
disrespect unacceptable. If you were upset that as an Executive Director I did not
take your recommendation to use the RFP process – this was not the appropriate
way to express that frustration. I’m including Mr. Apostle on this email
communication.
Zakiyyah

CT

Anonymous said...

Here's the threatening email referenced.


From: Taguba, Diane G
Sent: Friday, December 13, 2013 4:43 PM
To: McWilliams, Zakiyyah B
Cc: Wright, Charles E; Tolley, Michael F; Klopfer, Pamela; Anderson, Jennifer R; English, Ron; Gotsch,
Kenneth C
Subject: RE: Seattle Request for Special Education External Consultant(s) - Sole Source
Hi Zakiyyah,
Thank you for the email. Given that you have found 6 possible candidates that could meet your
service needs, it seems it would be difficult to justify this contract as a sole source contract. Based
on the sole source considerations listed on the justification form, I don’t believe this will meet any
of the criteria. As I mentioned to you back in November when we spoke about this, Contracts is
able to conduct a condensed informal RFP process that would have proposals back to you in less
than 2 weeks.
Given the potential contract amount (you stated possibly up to $150K), your process does not
follow the District’s Superintendent Procedures 6220SP.D for Contracting for Services. I believe
that this contract can and should be competed in a manner that is in line with our District
procedures through Contracting Services to ensure we are following good business practices,
maintaining a level playing field for competition, and maintaining compliance so to not leave us
vulnerable to a possible audit finding on this.
I have included Ron (Legal) and Ken (Finance) on this so they may weigh in. If you do not intend to
follow the District’s Procedure for Contracting, a formal request for an Authorized Exception to
Superintendent Procedure 6220SP.D should be submitted justifying why your situation requires a
process outside of District procedures. This request should be reviewed and approved by all
impacted department heads with a final approval/authorization from either the Asst. Supt. for
Business and Finance or the Superintendent.
Thanks,
Diane

CT

Anonymous said...

And then... there's email from Doug Gill, directing McWilliams to be sure and specify, without a doubt, that TIERS will forever more be the SPS contractor... getting millions possibly. He won't approve the C-CaP unless his friends are in it, by name.
(I'm sure Mirmac can post that one too. )

Hello?!!! We have an ELECTED school board for the big buck contract approval. And we didn't elect Doug Gill on our school board did we?

Hollering

Anonymous said...

Umh, where's the threat? Ms. Taguba's email is straight forward, and, indeed, helpful.

Was Ms. McWillisms just having a really, really bad day? Hence, the sniping email?

We all have bad days and snarly moods from time to time. I don't know the context of any of this, but I am the forgiving type when I am on the recieving end of such a weird missive (of course, if the nastiness is part of a pattern or the go-to style of the correspondent, that's different). Me, I just try to spread good karma and do onto others.... you know.

But anyway, regardless of Ms. McWilliams' presumptive bad day, I don't get it. Did she just try and steam roll this thru? If so, why? Because she was convinced she was right, and, could sole source it? And, she wanted to sole source it because maybe she genuinely thought the vendor was superb, insightful, consultant who already did such a great job, and was ready to hit the ground running? Why wouldn't she just pick up the phone and talk to her colleague in contracting, you know, like the way a grown up would, and sort this out? Is that Ms. McWilliams' style?

The fact that the "report" was and would be pretty useless is just, saddly, beside the point. And therein lies the really, REALLY big problem. My hunch is Special Education Advisory Committee could just outline the key problems, bucket them in relative priorities, offer suggested fixes, and get the district instead focus on expending efforts to train teachers and principals and hire more SpEd teachers rather than sit around 'throwing down' over some contact for some high paid consultant who would tell them things are broken and need to be fixed.

And Charlie, what the problem here is, this is the problem. Because, the real problem is that special needs children are not having their educational needs met, let alone respected. Yeah, laws are being broken, etc, but it always make me sad that we need to refer to law when common sense and common decency ought to seem guide the moral compass to taking care of children.

But, that's just me.

2E mom

Anonymous said...

2E mom, the sniping? TOTALLY par for the course for McWilliams on a GOOD Day.

And correct, she had no idea how to work with or make use of the special needs advisory committee.

Good Riddance to ...

Anonymous said...

After sending that totally unnecessary email to Diane Taguba accusing Diane of threatening her, Z later sent a follow up and apologized for it.

I'm not going to dig through the hundreds of pages of emails posted by Mr. Assange, but basically Tolley told her to cool it and apologize and that Taguba meant no harm.

I'm not saying that Zee's hands a clean in this mess, or that she's an effective manager, or anything. All I'm asking is, if when she was questioned about the RFP process she ran it up the chain of command to Tolley and English, was does it appear she's taking the fall on her own?

northwesterner

Anonymous said...

The problem is SPS staff should walk over and speak to others face to face.

You cant believe the stupid things they put in emails.

And it's OSPI that called for Z's head, not SPS.

CT

#AMess said...

Does anyone remember Ron English's testimony to sell MLK to First AME? The argument didn't make sense.

Then, we learn that MGJ wanted to do something for the community, which was not in the district's financial interest.

Who does Ron English represent? Does he represent the district? Or does he represent the interest of the Superintendent? In the case of First AME, the superintendent's actions were not meeting the best financial interests of the district, but he followed orders of his boss.

I am also remembering a vendor that complained that English kept changing the weights of application process. Yet, the board is dependent upon the district's legal analysis to make decisions.

To me, it seems there needs to be a different administrative structure to assure the board receives neutral information.

Anonymous said...

What is loud and clear from this mess is the degree of pettiness and CYA that appears to be the culture of of our gatekeepers at JSCEE. It was already obvious that JSCEE is highly dysfunctional, but this unfolding f#@$ story is like being a fly on the wall in a therapy session.

It puts the victimhood of Charles Wright into perspective--you know, when Blandford (whose wife just retired from this culture) accused the board of "bullying". Being the spouse of a JSCEE employee, it is likely that Blandford was/is routinely apprised about the office politics by his wife, who undoubtedly had/has her own alliances.

The new guy needs to clean house.
These immature, incompetent people don't deserve to be making decisions about our students.

--enough already

Anonymous said...

Hey - that CT posting above is not me CT. I've been using my initials for quite some time when I post here. I have little to no knowledge about SPED in SPS, so please don't associate this person's posts with me.

-CT

mirmac1 said...

That didn't sound like you CT. Thanks for clarifying. : )

Anonymous said...

Ha! I saw the posts and thought I was nuts at first because I had no memory of writing that. But no, not me.

-CT

mirmac1 said...

Happens to me all the time. It's called blackouts... : )

Anonymous said...

While I appreciate a focus on OSPI's inability to insist on any particular standard of practice from SPS for the 25 years that Doug Gill has been in charge, let's not forget that our own Teaching and Learning Department has consistently failed to provide vision and leadership from the general ed side to ensure that our students with disabilities are first class citizens in buildings, along with everybody else. Whatever happens with the SPED Dept leadership now, I would like to hear from our interim Superintendent and from Teaching and Learning leadership about how they're going to be addressing the vast chasms of neglect of our students and families by building administrators come September. Doesn't the buck stop with principals? Education Directors? W

I thought that one of the main messages coming out of the "open mic" nights with the consulting group (last April) centered on the need to improve customer service in the buildings for our students and families. So much neglect, misunderstanding, incompetence, and outright bigotry. I think that much was reflected in the consultant report, not that it wasn't known very well before that report. So .... ?

AnneS

Anonymous said...

They sacked the Salmon Bay principle over SPED issues and two SPED employees went downtown.

Salmon Bay is in trouble.



NB Parent

Anonymous said...

@NB parent:

Huh?

When did this "firing" of the Salmon Bay principal happen? Was it a 'retiring' or something else rather than an actual firing? Who is the replacement - was the community involved in choosing a replacement (like the way TOPS k8 got a hiring committee with parents on it)?

And the two other Salmon Bay staff, were they teachers? Were they demoted? Or were they promoted?

What was so bad at Salmon Bay K8 sped that caused the district take these steps? Was it purely SpEd related?

I am sad to hear this, I had always heard Salmon Bay was a great community that did great things with their SpEd students. They have high sped enrollment #s in their middle school, so I figured it was because they were being taught well. I had always thought of it as the bright spot (perhaps it is and this firing info is misaligned).

Hoping to get clarification.

-SB sped?

Anonymous said...

What will it take for us to be free of Teflon Tolley? How many actions and decisions that harm students point right back to him?

open ears

Anonymous said...



Dear Salmon Bay K-8 community,

I am writing to let you know about an unexpected leadership change at your school. Jen Benkovitz, your current principal at Salmon Bay K-8 has decided to leave Seattle Public Schools effective August 15. This vacancy, so late in the summer, creates a number of significant challenges for all of us. However, I am pleased to let you know we are appointing Dr. Neil Gerrans as interim principal, which will ensure the Salmon Bay students and staff have strong leadership in place for the 2014-15 school year.

Dr. Gerrans has served as principal at Lawton Elementary since 2011, where he developed collaborative relationships between the PTA and the Building Leadership Team, including creation of a new mission and set of core beliefs for Lawton, helping guide the community. During his time there, Lawton significantly closed the performance gap between low-income students compared with non-low-income peers, moving from a Level 4 to a Level 5 school. This past year, Lawton was a Washington Achievement Award Winner earning special recognition from OSPI for reading and math growth over the last three years.

Before serving as principal at Lawton, Dr. Gerrans taught grades 1-4 in the Renton School District. He completed his administrative credentials through the UW Danforth Educational Leadership Program. Before going back to school to become a certificated teacher, Dr. Gerrans worked at the management consulting firm of McKinsey & Company as a strategy consultant and was a research assistant while earning his Ph.D. at Carnegie Mellon in computational electromagnetics.

A proven leader with strong beliefs in social justice and equity, we believe he will be a great fit for Salmon Bay, and, in partnership with newly hired Assistant Principal Darren Frink, will provide a seamless and positive transition into the new school year. I know both Neil and Darren are excited to partner in this coming year, and are already looking to set up a time for families and community members to meet and hear more about their vision for the coming year.

Jon Halfaker, Executive Director of Schools for the Northwest Region will be in constant communication with Neil and Darren during this transition and opening of school, and will also attend a community meeting once a date and time can be established by the Building Leadership Team to answer questions and share further information on the transition.

Please welcome both Neil and Darren to the Salmon Bay community, and at the same time join me in wishing Jen all the best in her future endeavors.

Sincerely,

Larry

Dr. Larry Nyland
Interim Superintendent
Seattle Public Schools


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NB Parent

Anonymous said...

This now makes 12 changes in staff for 2014-15.

NB Parent

Anonymous said...

Thank you, NB parent for further info.

Please, can you give some context?

Why did the principal leave in summer? Anything known about that? What is she planning to do career-wise?

Thanks for anything extra you or others can add. Salmon bay is a great caring community and regardless of the principal, I am confident those families will continue to make SB a great alternative learning community that appeals to lots of families!

-SB sped?

Anonymous said...

She left 21 days before the start. Her AP left at the end of the year.
This makes 3 principles and 3 assistants in 4 years.

This school has a turnover problem I bet it's days as an alternative school are numbered.

NB Parent

Anonymous said...

Salmon Bay is getting a brand new ACCESS program, eg. an "inclusion" program. Can't we just go back to calling them "inclusion" programs???? Marni's long gone, Stacey's gone, Banda and Z never really were here. Who is it that hates "inclusion" now? That doesn't sound like Salmon Bay is having a problem with special ed. It sounds like special ed is great at Salmon Bay. It also sounds like the district needs to foist some sped students off on some school because it is way to crowded at neighborhood schools. Guess what? They won't complain if you send 'em to Salmon Bay, but they will definitely howl if you send them to Pinehurst in a dump somewhere.

Parent

Anonymous said...

I believe Salmon Bay has had issues and lawsuits over the past two years. One issue was parents touring where told the school had no room for more special ed students.

There was a lawsuit over dispensary issues and special ed.

There were two citizen complaints and at least one due process hearing. These are just the issues I have seen believable information on.

Then there's all the talk of students not being served, bad IEPs and abuse of studies skills class. Maybe this is typical of all the schools, but I hope this isn't what "great" is.

NB Parent

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately NB - "no room at the inn" is something SPED parents ALWAYS hear, and we always hear it most from popular schools where sped is going great. (or, as great as it can be going in SPS). A lawsuit/complaint over that is not something directed at Salmon Bay - it's directed at the complete lack of an assignment plan for students with disabilities at the district level. And at the use of special ed students merely for capacity management purposes alone. And - Good luck getting Doug Gill at OSPI to lift a finger. If you do win, he'll just say "oh yeah - we'll have our expensive consultants get right on that one. Oh look, they didn't mention it in their report, must be fine and dandy. Maybe they will figure something out in a decade or so. Or... maybe not. Doesn't matter, I'll be retired by then." But more likely - OSPI will just look the other way, as usual.

Is there an assignment plan for students with disabilities? Nope. The only students without one. They aren't really people - so they don't need an assignment plan. So we have to go begging for a room in the inn every year. Stacey promised one - but well, that was 2 directors ago and nobody remembers that. Last year - the only place with "room at the inn" was Pinehurst. The place where a majority of the students are already in sped. The place where every year is a crap shoot. We were all told it was going to be closed. Miracle! That's where all the sped is going. Not closed after all. Hooray!

Parent

Anonymous said...

It looks like many IEP teams at Salmon Bay are going to being performing a start over come September. Can't say if that's good or bad, just seems unfortunate to do a wholesale turnover and it looks like the 8th graders are going to be hit the worst.

Regardless of what the district thinks these kids have made a connection with their team members and any changes are upsetting. High school is only one year away and to loss traction in 8th grade could spell disaster for 9th.

NB Parent

Anonymous said...

@parent

Dumping students into Pinehurst k8 (now, with a different name) so that their respective "full" K5 NW and other attendance schools didn't have to accept them (like they must accept with the neighbor kids -- oops wait, SpEd kids ARE neighborhood kids) was a low blow, but par for the course ( meaning, in line with historical -and inappropriate- patterns of 'dumping', err, I mean 'placing' SpEd kids in the least desirable seats).

Where was Ms. McWilliams in all of this? Did she understand it to be inappropriate? Did she advocate for correction? I am not talking about any families who may have chosen the alternative option school in the interim location, I'm talking about those who were assigned there without their knowledge or choice. ( Note, SPS added 3 SpEd classrooms there, because, well, that is a long story with different perspectives).

Some non-naive SpEd families of incoming K students pushed back. What happened?

For the benefit of lessons learned, the resolution should be discussed because (1) capacity is going to get worse, and it MUST NOT be SpEd kids who bear the brunt of this like they always have and (2) it is telling about Ms. McWilliams performance and her suitability for her position. It should have been Ms. McWilliams who fixed this right away, but I wonder what she did do.

-Wondering

Anonymous said...

Wondering, my guess is that McWilliams replied with her usual dose of concern and even outrage at the latest sped injustice, and then gave contradictory information when asked about her follow up.

Follow the pattern

mirmac1 said...

As the person who filed that OSPI complaint re: discriminatory assignment of PreK risers to Pinehust on behalf of families; I am the only one qualified to answer these speculations. Because that's what most of McW's critics seem to offer up these days. Otherwise they would have to talk about how they're just mad that they didn't get what they want.

I was very up front that this complaint was going in. As soon as it was submitted Heather Brown and Micaela Clancy were into damage control. They were in the best position to fix it since they were in the position to create this issue in the first place. They heard from McW that this was in clear violation of IDEA and that it was yet another lame, BS, incompliant and discriminatory thing to do. So in fact an Access room at Pinehurst was moved to SB.

Given the contradictory reports I've heard about SB in the recent past, I would not be surprised that some in the building were feeling put upon by, yet again, doing what too many other buildings in this district feel is their right to do: deny students their full right to FAPE.

I have the emails from this mess, and have a (typically token) victory from Gill and crew. I'm more upset with his staff's mediocre reasponse than I do with the district's. I'd be interested to know what, if any, effects this unilateral change to concentrate the pain on the few schools doing it right; had to do with personnel changes.

Anonymous said...

I was very up front that this complaint was going in. As soon as it was submitted Heather Brown and Micaela Clancy were into damage control. They were in the best position to fix it since they were in the position to create this issue in the first place. They heard from McW that this was in clear violation of IDEA and that it was yet another lame, BS, incompliant and discriminatory thing to do. So in fact an Access room at Pinehurst was moved to SB.


Hello???? Mirmac! Michaela Clancy and Heather Brown work for the executive director. If they were out of control, it's because their boss, eg McW, did not manage them! Indeed, she promoted Clancy, twice. Musta liked her work. Hard to understand your defense of that!

Really???? You want us to believe that McW told her direct reports that this was incompliant, and that they shouldn't do it, and they did it anyway? Who in their right mind would believe that?!!!! Do you have email for this one too? Was that in official complaint? Or just some private talk?

At the end of the day. Families in the know and who complain, even a tiny bit, will get plum assignments at Salmon Bay. Those who do not complain - can go to Pinehurst (which may turn out well despite it all). Ain't equity grand?

-Equity Please

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

"inclusion" is a defunct program type, Jack. And a whole lot more of "inclusion" kids are headed to Salmon Bay! Not because they asked for that assignment, btw. The district is putting an ACCESS program there in the 11th hour, so it wouldn't have to put "them" in their neighborhood schools where they aren't allowed. (whoever "they" are) What is ACCESS a code word for? Well, "inclusion" of course! But, glad to hear that you are getting a whole lot more for SLD students. You will be getting a new teacher for that, and it will be great. Who cares if they all are getting new IEPs? That sounds like a great idea to me. New year. New IEP. Looking good! Let me guess. OSPI complaint resolution was "You win, SPS didn't make a really good dot somewhere. Here poor boy, have another IEP". Is that what happened? Another IEP, is always awarded by OSPI. Nice.

(btw. The largest group of IEPs is the resource room, not SLD. All sorts of disabilities are represented in the resource rooms too. No way you would know what they all are, though you might suppose. You are likely wrong about that. Students with autism are also in the resource room, believe it or not! They are Pervading everywhere!)

Parent

Anonymous said...

Salmon Bay is super special now

Anonymous said...

@mirmac1

So, sounds like perhaps Ms. McWilliams, as director of sped, when the assignment issued was outed, didn't really resolve it?

Sped, as equal citizens, ought to be placed, mostly, in neighborhood assignment schools, as their IEPs permit. And if there's no room at the inn, tough. Make room. Plant another portable. SPS would do that for 'regular' neighborhood kids, per the NSAP; they have no choice, they have to! So, they didn't do this for this September to accommodate SpEd kids in their own assigment schools? Did Ms. McWilliams not understand this, did she not seek to rectify it?? It may not seem like a big deal to some, but to me it really is the ball game. Shunting the most vulnerable students around like they are stateless refugees because they are vulnerable is really low, offensive, and must stop. The info said 3 new rooms of Sped was being pushed into Pinehurst. That seemed crazy when I saw it, because it didn't have a stable past, and the interim site didn't confer 6 years worth of stability, so it seemed implausible that 3 whole rooms' worth of SpEd parents would *choose* it or that this would represent the ideal circumstances to implement more/new SpEd classrooms. Might some parents have deliberately choosen this? Sure, a few perhaps. But, that many? Nah. So, McWilliams did not seek to fully remedy it with straight up assignments to neighborhoods or existing (stable) option schools right away? That is sad. As director, she should really be the biggest watchdog and protector on the block. Yeah, I know, silly me.

She wasn't here when we had our SpEd issues, a whole different crew was at the helm. And they were awful gatekeepers. I wish students and families would simply be treated with respect and students' needs would be understood and met without having to resort to complaints and lawyers. It is unproductive, gross (who needs such adversarial angst) and unnecessary.

It is a very difficult situation for anyone to walk in to and helm, though. Very, very difficult.

-wondering

Anonymous said...

Wondering. Wonder no more.

Nope. Not a single access family chose Pinehurst. They were all placed there, involuntarily, after having been placed somewhere else. This is a fact.

Nope. Not so difficult a job, if you prioritize needs of actual students. If you try to satisfy something else - then it becomes a real quagmire. And yes, in that case, you're very likely to mess up.

Reader

Anonymous said...

Pinehurst, hanging on by a thread continually threatened with closure because of test scores that aren't high enough. Pinehurst, of all schools expected to serve kids the neighborhood schools don't want because? (because test scores will go down perhaps?). Then, when the district decides to close Pinehurst again they can say it's because of the low test scores. Ugh. Why can't the neighborhood schools serve the kids in their neighborhoods? Why is that so hard?

Gen Ed Mom

Anonymous said...

@mirmac re "I am the only one qualified to answer these speculations. Because that's what most of McW's critics seem to offer up these days. Otherwise they would have to talk about how they're just mad that they didn't get what they want."

Wow! That is the biggest load of crap yet. The executive director of special education isn't responsible for anything! All those special needs parents are just a bunch of entitled and impatient whiners ...in a pout because we didn't get our Cadillac. WAH.

Let's start with McWilliams's failure to address any aspect of the RISER process in a straightforward way for 2014-2015 with so many confusing comments that the special needs pta and the sped advisory council wound up writing to ospi : http://seaac.www.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/SEAAC/SPS%20SEAAC_SPED%20PTSA%20Placement%20Concerns%202-24-14.pdf?sessionid=336ba34827096856293bf684b6d2e412




reader

Anonymous said...

program placement/services at n'hood schools is kind of the number one civil rights issue for students with disabilities. wasn't McWilliams a compliance person before coming to SSD? Yet according to mirmac, McWilliams not only left these matters to ad hoc decisions by others in her department, she also failed to supervise these persons' decisions in a timely manner. That is just plain incompetent. I agree with the previous poster, it is convenient to blame the parents and of course the underlings. Always the underlings.

underling

Anonymous said...

program placement/services at n'hood schools is kind of the number one civil rights issue for students with disabilities. wasn't McWilliams a compliance person before coming to SSD? Yet according to mirmac, McWilliams not only left these matters to ad hoc decisions by others in her department, she also failed to supervise these persons' decisions in a timely manner. That is just plain incompetent. I agree with the previous poster, it is convenient to blame the parents and of course the underlings. Always the underlings.

underling

mirmac1 said...

My complaint asked for the remedy of placing portables to expand capacity at neighborhood schools with the appropriate services. OSPI just shrugged. Typical.

My complaint resulted in the district providing more options to families. And of course I won't drop the issue.

The incompetent, politically-motivated underling is now the one in charge (not Wyeth Jessee, c'mon). Great.

Anonymous said...

"As soon as it was submitted Heather Brown and Micaela Clancy were into damage control. They were in the best position to fix it since they were in the position to create this issue in the first place."

So how did the Pinehurst decision get made? What was the role of the sped department vis other departments that were involved? I hope all those involved will be held accountable. More than that, how can they be trusted.

North end reader

mirmac1 said...

It is apparent to me via the emails that the decision was made by the Executive leadership team with input from facilities - and communicated to enrollment and SpEd. So Tolley, Wright, and Herndon.

Anonymous said...

Those 3, Tolley, Wright, and Herndon, have to go!

If they don't get it now, when SpEd has endured such enormous issues and is under intense (though noneffective) outside scrutiny, then they never will. And, they should get "it" WITHOUT outside scrutiny. They are educators (well 2 out of the three are), and they should just 'get' and care about kids. Really. It's that simple. Some will say, 'no, too much turnover, too much spin'. But I say, no great loss. Better to keep cycling through bad ones til we get some keepers. The problem isn't turnover. The problem is bad people (and bad culture).

Herndon especially. He was told explicitly NOT to screw over SpEd. You gotta know he's looking for his next job already, his next step up. Let's hope some idiot recruiter comes surfering for his spiffy looking résumé soon, like now. For him to do that to kids is appalling. He'll make some other, smaller district a fine Superintendent, or maybe Banda will come and try and entice him down to Sacramento, that would be awesome (for Seattle).

For Tolley to do this to kids, when he knows OSPI is scrutinizing? If nothing else, you'd think he'd fake being caring enough to not make this problem ocur in the first place. He must be accountable. Doesn't the Board care, at all? What about the decision to boot out SpEd kids from Jane Addams k8, because those kids no longer 'fit'? Rather than taking 1 less kindergarten, for example, they simply booted out older SpEd kids, by telling them they would no longer get services in their new location (one wonders, did they snatch their school t-shirts too as they showed them the door, to eradicate evidence that they were ever there in the first place? "sorry, Ethan, but you are used to our old building, you will be happier there, and, we will need our T shirt back. Bye!"). And what did Ms. McWilliams say about this? Did she advocate to protect them? Did anybody?

And the whole RISER process --- same deal, really. It's all about student assignment, which could be seen as dovetailing in with 'program placement', which hits the capacity crisis problem. Which the district, meaning Herndon, can't manage at all. He is way out of his league. He should have stayed in Bremerton. Done us all a favor.

And Wright. What does he do, exactly? Does it matter? Does he care about kids, or 'data'? If he disappeared from Seattle, would any child in any classroom notice or be impacted? Then, why have him at all. When he decides to screw over kids, that when he decides he is not a 'fit' for our kids, our District. Go find your next start up or think tank gig now. Please.

It comes down to this:

-don't screw over SpEd kids because of capacity problems. Capacity problems are all kids' problem, don't just isolate the pain to SpEd kids.

-is there anyone who is compassionate and moral and competent who will do their da** job and do what's right, simply, and without worminess in SPS?

-feeling hopeless




Anonymous said...

You are right - Herndon's MO is to move on before the s*** hits the fan. I agree that he is probably already out there looking for another position. He's been a principal and a Supe, now this job. What's next? How about the BMGF?
As for Tolley and Wright....hopefully Dr. Nyland catches on quickly and has the power to make some changes.

-CT

Anonymous said...

The 'context' around Ms. McWilliams' leave seem to be getting mire and more disheartening.

Who, in the District's cabinet, has the kids' backs?

Who?

Banda? (no - gone -good)

Wright? (no - bell times - hissy fit)

Tolley?

McWilliams?

Herndon?

McEvoy?

Anyone?

Might someone know of someone in the Superintendent cabinet who represents kids? Consistently? Overtly? Unequivocally?

I'm hoping lots chime in, and share why those executives are kid-centered 100% of the time. Positive examples would be nice.

-wondering

Anonymous said...

No the school board doesn't care AT ALL. Really just try and meet with any of them. They run away from SPED like it's the plague. No one sees a career advantage to helping SPED so they do nothing or maybe just give lip service. I can think of a new member that flat out lied about NOT knowing what was going on in SPED.

I don't know which is worst not knowing or knowing and not caring.

NB Parent

Anonymous said...

Bell times? I thought we wanted later starts for High school?

I just got the email and start time went from 8:00AM to 7:50 AM WHAT.

I think we are done with SPS.

Bye bye

Anonymous said...

Don't shoot the messenger; it doesn't matter what names sit in the HQ or the board. The MO of SPS is that the current crop of SPEDvocates are more about gotcha than problem solving and the institutional knowledge shaky as it is says no point in trying for collaboration.

The next batch of admins won't work any better with families than this batch and the loud SPED voices won't change their tactics so nothing will change. We'll just have to keep on keepin on in the classroom while the 'voices' duke it out. We get no help from the state, the TIERS report was about as dumbed down as could be straight-faced turned in for big bucks, a crop of the parents are impossible to work with, another crop is overwhelmed, a third has no idea of their kid's problems let alone how the system is supposed to work. Administration has more problems than it can handle. They are overworked and in some cases underqualified.

Then there are the bulk of SPS teachers who don't see SPED kids as their problem.

Same as it ever was.

Inside SPED

Anonymous said...

Wait a blasted minute. "and the loud SPED voices won't change their tactics so nothing will change"

We have tried to work with SPS for years. I've run out of cheeks to turn! Now it come down to the court system and you think it's our fault?

Really. SPS need to understand who they serve and BTW it isn't so great in gen ed either.

SPED Parent

mirmac1 said...

Inside SPED, your attitude about parent concerns are a HUGE part of the problem. I don't fit any of your blanket generalizations. But if I happen to meet you and get that vibe then we're going to have some issues...

Signing Off said...

"No the school board doesn't care AT ALL."

Sigh. I'm thinking of a particular board member that has been a constant voice for those that struggle. Comments like this will only serve to defeat your purpose.

Anonymous said...

Ok Inside SPED what's your solution/s?

Step over the line and the past is the past? OR maybe stop reporting violations?

Before you can fix the academic progress issues don't you agree SPS needs to STOP violating the basic laws of the IDEA? Does SPS really need myself or others to inform them of these basic violations?

I think the problem is teachers are forced into violating the law out of fear for their jobs, others maybe just don't care to fight anymore and then there are some who just refuse to support SPED students. I would agree that a percentage are making lemonade.

So what are your suggestions to fix this?

SPED Parent

Anonymous said...

Ok name the member and don't say Patu.

I've looked thru all the board meetings archives and do not see SPED mentioned with any level of urgency.

You would think perhaps it should be a priority and listed on the 2014-2015 list,its not. In fact the last time SPED was on the list 2009

Special Education and Bilingual

and it was coupled with Bilingual...WTF.

SO no this type of attitude is not the problem, its the reaction to the boards failed action.

SPED Parent

mirmac1 said...

feeling hopeless

Amen. That is what most of us are after...

Anonymous said...

>>the loud SPED voices won't change their tactics so nothing will change.

Gee Inside SPED, really? You want to "blame the parents"?

On the one hand, we have 2 incredibly damaging reports stating that the district is failing to provide FAPE, a free and appropriate public education, for thousands of students. (There was another audit in 2007 if you remember.) On the other hand, the TIERs group also chastised parents for making the lives of administrators tough. Golly. What should parents do when students are not getting an appropriate education? Nothing? You would blame some nebulous SPEDvocates for the district inertia? Was it the families that hired and then immediately fired or somehow got rid of: Michelle Corker-Curry, Sara Wolverton, Colleen Stump, Fred Rowe, Becky Clifford, Marni Campbell, Stacey Smith, and Zakiyyah McWilliams? Did families lose track of how many sped students there are, so that the district couldn't get IDEA funds? Did families fail to apply for funding from the state? Was it those families that did not submitted Safety Net funding applications? Those pesky kids are sooooo expensive - yet nobody in the district is able to do even the basic book keeping that is part of their JOB, to get the funding students with disabilities need. They are all available to complain though.

>>>a crop of the parents are impossible to work with,

>>>another crop is overwhelmed,

>>>a third has no idea of their kid's problems let alone how the system is supposed to work.

Sounds like you have a diversity problem, and that you have a problem with families. Parents are as diverse as their students. Guess what? Parents, for better or worse, are equal partners of the IEP teams. Parents will live with their children with a disability for a lifetime, unlike you who will have them for a few hours a day, for a few years. Yet you think you know best. You are the worst kind of educator. Without advocates for the disabled, you wouldn't even have a job at all. IDEA was the result of the efforts of parents. And, parents alone. There were no marvelous special education professionals back then.

So, the next time you meet one of those impossible, overwhelmed, or just plain stupid parents - you really should say "Thank you for providing me a job! Thank you for giving me a chance to educate your child! Thank you for being an advocate!"

When you do that, you'll always get great results. And that's a cultural change right there.

Another Sped Parent

Anonymous said...

Blaming parents for the problems in Special Education in SPS is about as believable as the inept administration blaming the board.

If only these micromanaging parents and board members would let the SPS administration keep being incompetent and career-climbing, our jobs would be much more pleasant.

Sorry JSCC, your days of blaming the messenger ran its course a while back.

--enough already

Anonymous said...

I did not blame the problems in SPS SPED on the parents. Again, do not shoot the messenger.

Nor did I say that parents should not point out the many deficiencies of SPS SPED.

Nor did I argue against legal action. It is necessary at times.

I said some parents who think they are helping the cause are not. Personal public attacks will get you nowhere in HQ nor in schools other than a tune out from administrators and SPED professionals. Then you will spin yourselves up more and SPS will listen even less.

Yes there is a tune out list of names at HQ.

Inside SPED

mirmac1 said...

Ok. I kinda see that in your initial post. Thx for clarifying

Anonymous said...

Inside SPED. You are right about many things. You are a messenger. Sped is the same as it's always been. Like you said. Actually it's quantifiably worse. We have many more students in expensive out of district placements than we had at the time of the first audit. Why should the district have to send any kids to CHILD on Mercer Island, when the district could easily provide the same service? It costs around $45,000 a kid. The school board asked not one question when it approved a half dozen expensive out of district contracts, like the one at CHILD, for school aged kids. Just 7 years ago, there were about 6 students.



Personal public attacks will get you nowhere. Not sure about that one.

Public criticism, public demands, and just plain pig headed mean-ness - unfortunately, is very effective at getting solutions for individuals. And the more we move to a dog eat dog street fight for special ed services, the less equitable special education service delivery will be as a system. The meanest, loudest, scariest dog on the block will win every time.

Families who play nice. Are polite. Try to collaborate. Sometimes that works, and it's worth a try - for a while. But mostly you just get steamrollered. How many parents try and try - but nobody even answers the phone? Mostly, you will learn quickly, or eventually, to become that scarey dog.


Let's look at advocates. Mirmac single handedly (actually I'm sure people helped) forced the district into offering placements at Salmon Bay. Obviously, they did listen. Obviously, advocacy did work. How do you explain that success? Families that stood with her, reap the benefits. Others - well, they will get whatever dregs are left over. Thank you Mirmac! Keep up the good work!

It's hard to change a whole system. But even a mediocre advocate has much to gain through advocacy, even if it is for a few students. And the weaker the administrative staff, the greater the need for advocates - to even get the most basic things done.

Inside the Inside

Anonymous said...

We should just wait and see how SB plays out. The clouds are forming and they are dark. September's forecast is for heavy rain and flash floods.

The school is bleeding staff and the gen ed parents are circling the wagons.

Having multiple children at SB I can tell you it's worst there than other schools. I can't understand why people think SB is so great.

SPED Parent

Anonymous said...

Well SPED Parent, you'd be welcomed with open arms at Pinehurst. There's no playground. And most of the students are disabled. There's also no winter skiing, or multiple camping trips, or any frills. You wont know until June whether or not your kid will have a school, every year, where it will be, or if it includes your kids or not. And since you're an SLD (didn't you say you were?). there's also your neighborhood school. Plenty of wagons out there. After you look at all of those, you might notice how nicely you really have it. Or, maybe you won't.

Another Parent

Anonymous said...

Yep your right I cant keep track of all the professional skiers coming out of SB and camping is a fair trade-off for not being able to read.

Just another you think you have it bad parent rant.

BTW wait until your SB student hits high school then you will see just how good SB was at educating your child. BTW SB is our school so don't go thinking we shopped schools. We did move one of our students out of SB this last year and it been a 100% improvement over SB.

SPED Parent

Anonymous said...

Below is part of an email by John Chapman about how we saved the school:

“We saved AS1 because of the efforts of everyone who wrote a letter, sent an email, made a phonecall, gave public testimony, went to a meeting, and helped encourage others to stand up and be counted.

We saved AS1 because some dedicated members of the School Board, foremost among them Sharon Peaslee, supported our vision of the importance of alternatives, and the importance of having schools that serve students who are not served elsewhere.

We saved AS1 because of the voters of this city, who elected school board directors who would be responsive to the community, who believe in diversity and value every student, and who rejected the corporate model of education where students are nothing but numbers on a test score.

We saved AS1 because of the efforts of every teacher and staff member who worked to make this school worth saving. Sharon would not have fought like a tiger to keep us open if it were not for the vibrant program, and the stories of the students that thrived at AS1 despite incredible difficulty, which is directly due to the tireless work of our faculty.

We saved AS1 because of the students, especially Alia and Cameroon who had the courage to stand and speak at the board meetings, but also every student who spoke at the public hearings, every student who signed a petition and sent an email, every student who told their family how important it was, and every student that lives the spirit of compassion and justice in the classroom and on the playground every day. We can be a haven for the most vulnerable of students only because of the larger community of students who make that possible.

WE saved AS1, because of you. “

So what wrong with Pinehurst IT WAS SAVED!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

There is nothing wrong with Pinehurst. Pinehurst is a fine option school for people who choose it. It's totally fine to swap out a lot of things offered at comprehensive, neighborhood schools for an alternative school that you choose•. Special ed families did not choose Pinehurst. Why should special ed have to prop up a school that can not sustain enrollment? Nobody else is force assigned to Pinehurst. That doesn't mean Pinehurst is bad.

SPED parent, why aren't you sending your kids to a different school if SB is so awful? Especially if you already know it's 100% better (for you) than somewhere else. ???? Seems like a no brainer.

Another Parent

Anonymous said...

Yep why don't you up root your child ,pull them away from their friends cause more damage.

Do you think it's that easy to switch schools? It took the involvement of OSPI to move one OUT of SB for NOT being served.

So SB is just the best of the worst now I get what your are saying.

SPED Parent

Anonymous said...


One week down! Feds are at OSPI today reviewing the SPS SPED situation.

Follow theMoney

Anonymous said...

Follow the money, practically speaking what does this mean?

wondering

Anonymous said...

Seriously FTM. Put your pants back on. You think the "Feds" are going to do something? Beyond pushing a paper? Just who are these "Feds"?

Laugh On