Sunday, September 28, 2014

Seattle Schools This Week

Tuesday, September 30th
Meet Superintendent Nyland from 6 pm - 7:00 pm at New Holly Community Center,
7054 32nd Ave S

Wednesday, October 1st
Meet Superintendent Nyland from 8:30 am-9:30 am at John Muir Elementary,
3301 S. Horton St.

School Board meeting, starting at 4:15 pm (note: there is to be an Executive Session on Potential Litigation from 8-8:30 pm

On the Consent Agenda are various Board policies that have been revised.  Of note is that the Board will not be posting their agenda three "working" days before the meeting but three days.  Under the old policy, you could see the agenda on Friday (with Friday, Monday and Tuesday being the three "working" days) but under this new policy, you may not see the agenda until Sunday. 

Action Items (partial)

Race to the Top money for Pre-K-3.  

Parents, we need to have a very serious talk soon about the district's PreK-3 Action Plan.  I did not know this existed until today (and it's in its fourth year of five).  I think I mistook these funds for RttT for K-5.  (To note, the SPS Early Learning Department has quietly changed its name to Pre-K-3 Early Learning.  Almost as if pre-K (except for Sped Pre-k) is a district duty under state law.)

While I do support curriculum alignment as well as access to quality preschool, I'm putting out the warning flare right now. 

I'll write a separate and more complete thread but understand that in the City's Prop. 1B, a partnership with Seattle Schools is THE linchpin to it working.  The City needs SPS space and needs it very desperately.  Why?

1) Schools are everywhere in our city and dealing with one entity (SPS) would make it a lot easier for the City.
2) If the preschools are in school buildings, it makes alignment with K-5 easier (in terms of staffs working together). 
3) The City would NOT have to work with regulations that other private preschools HAVE to, both for facilities and staff.  If SPS is the sponsor of the preschool, even if it is in a building that the district doesn't own, the City would avoid these regulations. 

What does this mean to you?
  • It means that our district has been working on finding space and building pre-K capacity in our district with the City and LEV for four years.  
  • It means that with preschool in a building, it must have its own bathroom and play area.  
  • As well, it seems the district has been giving in-kind "donations" of staff time to these efforts.
  • All of this as parents and staff at the schools have struggled with issues of overcrowding and lack of capital funds to fix many facilities problems.
I tell you this not to pit pre-school against K-12.  But indeed, K-12 is our district's legally state-funded mandate (and an underfunded one at that).

And we are facing down a high school capacity problem.
  • Do you want staff attention taken away from these capacity issues?  
  • Do you want district dollars expended for a role that is NOT in its state mandate?  
  • Do you want space taken from your school especially if you are a K-8 or K-5. But, to note, Ballard was built with a dedicated preschool space.  It was run by a Montessori program that also had dual-language with a program where the Ballard students would work with preschoolers.  That got ended when Ballard said they needed the space.
I'm pretty sure the City is eyeing that space right now.  So yes, we could even lose high school space.  Something to think about going forward.

Hiring of consultant for Special Education C-CAP

From the RC-CAP document, Activity 4.3 states that SPS shall retain an educational consulting group to assist in implementation of the Revised C-CAP and leadership development and that consultant shall be contracted by 9/30/14. Sped is also required to include the status of this contract in the first quarterly report due to OSPI on 10/10/14.

Contract for Seattle World School @ TT Minor project.
What's interesting here - for those who wonder why there isn't money for high-level maintenance - is that this budget has more money in it from BTA II ($5.5M) than BTA III ($1.8M).  How is it that more than a decade after it passed, BTA II STILL has money in it?

Board Governance Priorities for 2014-2015
  • Stewardship of Resources; District Systems and Internal Controls   
  • Bell Times Analysis 
  • Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)  
  • Special Education: Implementing the Revised Comprehensive Corrective Action Plan (C-CAP)
 There are no Board community meetings on Saturday. 


Anonymous said...

One more note on the Ballard preschool space.

The original idea was it was a place where teen mothers could drop off their children and attend high school in the same building. When they were done with class they could walk over to the preschool room and pick up their kid.

I don't know if any teen mother from Ballard ever actually took advantage of the space while also attending Ballard. But that was the idea.


Charlie Mas said...

Why does the Board even bother with their "priorities"? The staff certainly doesn't.

Anonymous said...

Melissa, I'm curious about your statement that the City preschools would not have to comply with rules and regulations that private preschools have to. Are you saying that the state Department of Early Learning (DEL) would not license these City preschools and, thus, would not regulate and/or monitor these schools?

--- swk

Melissa Westbrook said...

SWK, no, I'm saying that school districts get to operate under different regulations than private operators. It's a lot easier to open a preschool within a school district program.

In fact, that's what I said in my piece and did not say that City preschools "would not have to comply with rules and regulations that private preschools do."

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Melissa. I was confused. This is helpful.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

How many POTENTIAL law suits do these clowns have?

ss parent

Anonymous said...

Any word on Beacon Hill MSP results that were under review? OSPI has this posted:

Note: Reading and Math results for this school are being reviewed. Final results for this site will be refreshed on September 26th.


Anonymous said...

Missed the beginning of the news item on KUOW but it sounded as though we would know this week which charters have been approved for next year. I'd be surprised if Green Dot Seattle isn't in the mix. Thinking this development would immediately be on the SPS board and staff radar. If not, it should be. There will be plenty of questions.


Melissa Westbrook said...

EdVoter, it is Green Dot and it's a 6-12. I haven't seen yet where it might be located in Seattle but likely in the SE.

Charlie Mas said...

Why is it that Green Dot can find space for a school and SPS can't?

Anonymous said...

Hell, Charlie, private Montessori can find city-owned space. it's sps that has cooties.

chris S.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Green Dot can find space because (1) they have a large infrastructure behind them and (2) they probably have Gates Foundation dollars helping them.

I have to say, I'm glad it's not KIPP (although they don't really do high school).

To note, Summit (coming soon) and Green Dot both flew out parents currently in their schools, paying them to speak. So they have a lot of dollars to invest in expansion and growth.

As well, Green Dot's application (the first round) stated that they like to have their schools collaborate and so they like to stay in one region. They will expand throughout the Puget Sound region.

mirmac1 said...

Regarding Beacon Hill MSP results: how much you want to bet Stephan Blanford is, once again, conducting his own top notch investigation...?

Charlie Mas said...

Seriously, folks, questions for Dr. Nyland at his community meetings:

Is it your job to enforce policy? He will say that it is.

How do you enforce policy? He will give some BS response.

If a policy violation is reported to you, can we be assured that you will take enforcement action? He may waffle a bit.

Will that enforcement action include holding staff accountable for violating policy? He will definitely waffle.

How can we be assured that you will hold the members of your staff accountable for violating policy? This is where we learn that the box is empty.

Maybe you should just jump to the last question.