Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tuesday Open Thread

Parents, the Enterovirus D68 has been documented in 40 states including ours.  There are about 300 cases nationwide, mostly in children.  From the CDC:

CDC is prioritizing testing of specimens from children with severe respiratory illness. There are likely many children affected with milder forms of illness. Of the specimens tested by the CDC lab, about half have tested positive for EV-D68. About one third have tested positive for an enterovirus or rhinovirus other than EV-D68.

All the confirmed cases this year of EV-D68 infection have been among children, except for one adult. Many of the children had asthma or a history of wheezing. So far, no deaths attributed to EV-D68 infection have been documented.

Symptoms of the virus, which can include coughing, fever and runny nose, can appear mild, the number of those infected could be exponentially larger than what has been reported. 

However, this has morphed into limb paralysis in some children in Colorado.  It is unclear what makes it more severe in some children and if all children will recover from that paralysis. From ABC news:

The CDC released a statement today saying nine children in Denver had reported a neurologic illness that led to some limb weakness or paralyzation. All of the children had reported having a kind of respiratory virus before showing symptoms of limb weakness. 

Six of the eight children tested were found to be positive for a rhinovirus or enterovirus and four of those cases were found to be the Enterovirus 68. The other two cases were still pending. 

Medical officials have not determined whether the Enterovirus 68 virus caused the neurological symptoms, but the CDC is asking other medical workers to report any similar cases as the outbreak of the enterovirus 68 continues to spread throughout the U.S.  

Medical officials have not determined whether the Enterovirus 68 virus caused the neurological symptoms, but the CDC is asking other medical workers to report any similar cases as the outbreak of the enterovirus 68 continues to spread throughout the U.S.

What's on your mind?


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

I found this over at Publicola about a meeting at North Seattle's 46th Legislative District:

The Prop. 1A folks, represented by state Rep. Gerry Pollett (D-46, N. Seattle) and a Montessori school worker, carried the day. The motion to endorse Prop. 1B, represented by City Council member Tim Burgess, former council member Peter Steinbrueck, and school board member Sherry Carr, only got 40 percent—and failed.

I assumed that school board members weren't supposed to lobby for this sort of thing.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure all parents of kids with asthma know this, but our doctor recommended that we be sure to give our son his preventative meds, as a precaution towards the enterovirus outbreak.

Fingers crossed that it helps!

- North-end Mom

Oy said...


If board members support 1B, does that mean they don't support better childcare/preschool for birth-5?

Directors need to remain neutral. Best for directors support better child care prek, but neither initiative.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Maje, that must have been some interesting LD meeting because I have heard three accounts now.

It is unclear whether Carr and Martin-Morris were representing the Board. They were apparently introduced as Board members and Carr spoke of resource issues (apparently there aren't any) but not clear if they were speaking as Board members.

Oddly, the 46th would not allow any rebuttals to either measure. Hmm.

I know that 1B is desperately trying to get more money into their campaign. 1A has pretty good funding via the unions but that is based on thousands of contributions from union members (so there are numbers behind that money).

I think 1B fears looking like the charter initiative and that if there are too many ed reform big donors, it will not look good. I know they are sending out e-mails begging for dollars.

Anonymous said...

OSPI is withholding $4,340,00 of IDEA part B funding! from SPS.

follow themoney

Anonymous said...

Sorry, it's $3,000,000.00

follow themoney

Anonymous said...

Apparently, according to the same Publicola piece referenced by Maje, the Prop. 1A folks "carried the day" because they got the LD to not endorse either prop.

"The pro-1A camp (1A is an unfunded union measure to increase preschool teacher pay and set training standards) was asking the district not to take a position."

--- swk

Anonymous said...

Two things:

One, submitting room reservations on behalf of our parent/student organization to SPS Building Rental dept.--does anyone notice anything arbitrary about the manner in which they assess service fees (e.g. heating)? Today I received an invoice for service charges related to an after-school activity that is supposed to start TODAY and of course, they include: "schedule is pending receipt of payment" language.

Two, when are employment searches usually conducted for say, an interim principal position? A few months into the school year or at its end?

Any feedback here is muy appreciated.

enya forever

Melissa Westbrook said...

Follow, what does that mean that OSPI is withholding that money?

Yes, 1A is content with "no endorsement" because it creates no "lean" for 1B and I think they perceive they will have a better chance at the polls.

I think because 1B has the far more complex plan, it's harder to sell.

Enya, no idea on the first question. On the second question, it is always better to start early because that's when potential candidates start looking. It is more likely to be an emergency situation if it is at the end of the year.

Anonymous said...

Follow the money,

The OSPI action was reported in the Sept 19th Supt memo here

Did you know that OSPI SPED is sending a staff person in one day/week to help SPS get its act together? Does that person attend the executive cabinet meetings? That is the group that also must hear what needs to be done and own it.


Anonymous said...

Does SPS's job posting for an Advanced Learning Curriculum Specialist indicate SPS will create criteria for teachers teaching advanced learning classes (particularly Spectrum and ALO) and actually hold them/the school accountable for doing so? This is included in the job description: "K-5 Advanced Learning/Highly Capable Services Curriculum Specialist desired skills: Knowledge of current best practices in the field of gifted education; Familiarity with the Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards; Understanding of the nature and needs of gifted students; Experience with developing curriculum for advanced students in Kindergarten through grade five in all content areas"

- need real program

Anonymous said...

I think this is what the OSPI on site staff will be working on:

Purpose Statement: The monitoring activities are two-fold; (1) to verify the actions taken by the district with regard to compliance requirements of IDEA Part B, and (2) to verify the actions and activities taken by the district with regard to the Revised Comprehensive Correction Action Plan.

Month Revised C-CAP
October 2014
(10/13/14 – 10/15/14) Staffing Structures
Data Management System
Roles, Responsibilities, and Accountability Procedures
Categorized Table of Compliant Decisions & District Actions
Verification of Evaluation/Reevaluation Compliance Training
Benchmarks and Compliance Reporting

November 2014
(11/5/14 – 11/7/14) Special Education Vision, Mission, Values
Written Internal Policies and Procedures Manual/FAPE
Benchmarks and Compliance Reporting
Child Count & LRE Reports

December 2014
(12/3/14 – 12/5/14) Verification of IEP Compliance Review Training
Program Specialists – 1-month Correction Percentages
Benchmarks and Compliance Reporting

January 2015
(1/13/15 – 1/15/15) Benchmarks and Compliance Reporting – Analysis & Systems Testing
Compliance Reviews
Data Management System

February 2015
(2/4/15 – 2/6/15) Verification of Staff Training on Internal Policies & Procedures
Review of Principal Survey Results
Benchmarks and Compliance Reporting

March 2015
(3/4/15 – 3/6/15) Targeted Professional Learning and Development Plan
Systems Testing Across Databases
Benchmarks and Compliance Reporting

April 2015
(4/1/15 – 4/3/15) Verification of Timely Initial & Reevaluations – Source Data
Review of Approved Budget per School for Special Education

May 2015
(5/6/15 – 5/8/15)
Benchmarks and Compliance Reporting
Review of Evaluation Compliance Data by School & Region

June 2015
(6/3/15 – 6/5/15)
Benchmarks and Compliance Reporting
Data Management System
Categorized Table of Compliant Decisions & District Actions

July 2015
(Dates TBD) Systems Testing and Verification of Benchmarks As of 6/30/2015

follow themoney

Anonymous said...

Full description for Advanced Learning Programs Curriculum Specialist is here: http://agency.governmentjobs.com/seattleschools/default.cfm

- need real program

Anonymous said...


On the Friday Open Thread you said that
"....... with Van Asselt being the City's center for preschool in East/SE, Webster could be the center in the NW."

I thought that Old Van Asselt, now housing only special ed students and support staff, is only a temporary home for preschool and that another school (was it Wing LUke?) would be moving in as an interim site in two years. I thought that was the reason that the city declined to put any preschools there at all this year.

Any current updates on the use of that building?


Anonymous said...

Lots of interesting reading coming through my news feeds lately (and on my fb feed too)

Gates – standardizing education
Gates on education: ‘Should Georgia have a different railroad width?’

The Path Least Taken: At a Glance

Harvard, Schmarvard; Why Getting Your Kids Into College Should Be the Least of Your Concerns

Kids and tech
Parenting as a Gen Xer: We’re the first generation of parents in the age of iEverything

Bell times

Later high-school start times: How 70 districts have done it


Anonymous said...

Can anyone recommend a good college counselor? Kid 1 had a great one at his private high school but the ones at the public high school that Kid 2 goes to are overwhelmed and can't really help. I am looking for one who will be able to advise on classes to take, which schools to look at, help with essays, help with interviews, etc. I am not really looking for help with the financial stuff. Someone recommended Crystal, but they seem very focused on the financial.


Anonymous said...

The Seattle Times has an article regarding the League of Education Voters' opposition to the class size initiative. http://blogs.seattletimes.com/educationlab/2014/09/30/league-of-education-voters-opposes-class-size-ballot-measure.There is no surprise there, but what is very surprising for the Times is the fact that the Times even acknowledges that LEV is funded by Gates and that critics suppose there is a link between Gates Funding and the positions taken by their fundees. What is very surprising is that the article links to an old Seattle Education 2010 blog piece written or co-written by Dora Taylor and Sue Peters. You'll be able to knock me over with a feather when the Times actually acknowledges that there is no league of education voters in the League of Education Voters.


Anonymous said...

The linked Education Lab article on school start times uses Fairfax County as an example - they set a goal of high schools not starting before 8am. Well, we are pretty close to that goal already, and were even closer before the District "aligned" start times and changed some HS start times from 8:00 to 7:50. So the point of the study is??

Melissa Westbrook said...

Casey, now I feel confused so I better check this out. (But it's not like these things are really out in the open so it's constant monitoring.)

HP, write to me at sss.westbrook@gmail.com. I know a good one.

I find LEV's reasoning not that sound. I get that the research on class size is mixed but guess what? Parents and teachers believe it will make a difference (to their child, in their classroom). It's a confidence thing.

So LEV thinks that not passing 1351 will not allow investments in early learning and college readiness(they say "our ability to make investments" and I assume they are talking about the state and not LEV - I would call and ask but the last time I did that at LEV, I had a lawsuit on my hands so no, I won't be checking).

I'm not sure a smaller class size precludes that spending but they do.

I'm going to have a thread on the class size initiative soon.

Anonymous said...

LEV also just announced that they endorsed 1B:


As someone earlier already mentioned, it really is a bit smarmy of their lobbyist to claim that the LEV supports all early learning initiatives and hadn't yet decided how they were going to endorse when he spoke at the SeattleSpeaks event.

Especially when they ARE the New school foundation (LEV and New school foundation merged in 2011) and the New school foundation is the org behind the Pre-k "partnership" with SPS and the City.

"when LEV merged with The New School Foundation (NSF) in the summer of 2011." on http://educationvoters.org/about-us/staff/

and SPS links DIRECTLY from the Early learning page (on the right under Resources for Partners):


to the New School Foundation's page:


It is just as blatantly dishonest and smarmy as Burgess repeatedly saying "If you are a family that makes 71k or less, you will get free preschool through this program" when that is a bold faced lie, since there is NO WAY that a total of 4400 slots over 4 years will be enough for all of the families in the City who need preschool that make that amount.


Eric B said...

The School Board probably shouldn't endorse one way or the other, but that would happen at a regular meeting with a vote. I don't think that there's anything against being for or against a measure as a Board director, but it would be good form to clarify at the meeting that you're talking for yourself, not for the Board.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I feel, I don't think the first four years of 1B is meant to cover all those families as it is a pilot. That said, they HAVE to save slots for middle-class/upper-class families because (1) they said it was open to all and (2) their program cannot achieve the best outcomes without those middle-class kids in the classroom.

I perceive that's going to have to be some kind of marketing plan especially when middle-class families realize there's no access to Montessori or Waldorf thru the City's plan.

Eric, I agree with your reasoning.

Anonymous said...

here's a link I found to the complete OSPI letter

OSPI Letter


Anonymous said...

Orca K-8 in Columbia City/Hillman City has some good news: we have been working hard to redevelop our site (and our playground, which was developed when Whitworth was a K-5, but now we have a K-8). We have been well supported by the Department of Neighborhoods, including a $100,000 Large Projects Fund grant. We just found out today that King County Parks is recommending us for a $75,000 grant. Along with other sources, we have raised our baseline funds for Phase 1 construction for summer 2015. Phase 2 would be built in 2016 or 2017, depending on funding. We are happy to be moving forward, and lucky to have the support of the city, county, and SPS. If interested, there's lots more info at www.projectorcaplayground.com.

- southpaw

Melissa Westbrook said...

Good for your community, SouthPaw.

Anonymous said...

Awesome news southpaw.

Please (please PLEASE) make the first really accessible playground in Seattle. I have seen a few Boundless playgrounds that are AMAZING. Rubberized surfaces, options for sensory input/quiet spaces, wheelchair/walker accessible! It is a shame children with more complex special needs need to go as far away as Gig Harbor for a safe, fun playspace they can actually access.

NE Parent

Anonymous said...

NE Parent, is Seattle Children's Playgarden not fully accessible? I thought it was pretty amazing, but maybe it doesn't have as much for older children as the place in Gig Harbor? I haven't been in a while, so it's hard for me to remember. I have heard the boundless playground in Gig Harbor is truly amazing.

Southpaw, very cool news.


Anonymous said...

NE Parent,

Check out Seattle Children's Play Garden.


name said...

HP, try collegology or empower college advising.

Anonymous said...

NE Parent-
I don't know what Boundless is, but I agree that we should have more accessible (in all ways) playgrounds in Seattle. We would love that playground to be Orca, but there's only so much we can do. Orca has a medically fragile classroom; these kids currently have very little access to the outdoors at the school. So our Phase 1 elements try to focus on improving outdoor opportunities for differently abled kids, and we've been working closely with the special education teachers about priorities. For example, first on our list is an asphalt track around the field, including a separate "pole and ramp course" for kids in wheelchairs to experience the undulating up and down motion. Depending on abilities, they can use their arms to pull themselves from pole to pole, or they can be pushed by an aide. We are also increasing our all weather surface area, and have other improvements. A new play structure with accessible equipment and expansion of the incredible garden (with wheelchair accessible garden beds) will be in Phase 2. We just don't have the resources to do it all at once. I wish we could do more.

Definitely check out Children's Playgarden - it's incredible. It's also not on SPS property so they have a somewhat lower risk management threshold.


Lesser2Evils said...


Actually, 1A is requesting a small amount of dollars from the Family and Education Levy. Last check, 1A wanted $3M out of the city's $232M. Any funding would need to be approved by the city council.

I heard your concerns that 1A will put some child care facilities out of business. That said, I believe the city's plan will also impact small child care centers/ homes.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I was told the City is sitting on about $30M in F&E levy funds so there may be money there.

I think both props will impact businesses but 1B more than 1A.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else with a HS student receive this email today from ConnectEDU about a request to purge student's data?
"Thank your for using the Connect! service. On July 2nd 2014, the technology which powers Connect! was purchased by Graduation Alliance from ConnectEDU. Graduation Alliance is excited to support the excellent college and career planning resources you've come to expect, and we're committed to managing your information in accordance with all FERPA, COPPA and PPRA guidelines.
Per the standard terms and conditions, we are required to provide all users of Connect! "reasonable notice" as well as "an opportunity to remove personally identifiable data from the service." Requesting your information be removed from Connect! is your right as a user, however it is important you understand requesting your information be purged will result in removal and destruction of all data currently associated with your account. Once purged, you will no longer have access to your account. Information such as resumes, career preferences, college recommendations, etc. will no longer be retrievable.
To request your information be removed from the system, you will need to visit the following web page and confirm your desire to expunge your account:
Remove my account
To remain an active user of Connect!, simply do nothing!
On behalf of everyone at Graduation Alliance, thank you for using Connect! We look forward to supporting the college and career planning of all current and future users.
Graduation Alliance"

HS parent

Anonymous said...

I do not support either preschool proposition. They are both seriously flawed in design and wrought with implementation obstacles.

But 1A will affect EVERY preschool in the city. 1B is a voluntary program.

My wife owns a Montessori preschool and we've looked at both proposals. 1A definitely would have a negative effect on her school. At worst, it would not allow her to operate her school and she would close. At best, it would significantly affect her ability to offer enrichment options like Spanish instruction, dance, and music programs.

1B might cause some families to choose cheaper options, but those could be made up for out of their annual waiting list and other middle class families who don't buy in to the city's prescriptive curriculum.

--- swk

mirmac1 said...

HS Parent,

On a related note, don't you find it ironic that the Ed Deformers insist on everyone ready for college - then eliminate college counselors at high schools?

Melissa Westbrook said...

SWK, I can understand how 1A affects more schools; it also reaches more kids. There are benefits and, apparently, downsides to that reach.

However, the City's plan won't allow Montessori or Waldorf (probably others) to be part of their group. That means people have to choose a one-size=fits-all curriculum which is not how preschool should be.

How would 1A affect the ability of what your wife's school offers for enrichment?

Anonymous said...

Melissa, the budget of the school is very tight as it is. The school has two classroom with 20 students with a teacher and an aide. That's the maximum allowed under DEL licensing rules. So, no more students could be added.

All employees would be required to make a minimum $15 per hour (and it's unclear as to whether or not benefits can be calculated as compensation --- e.g., the school provides health care benefits and other benefits to all employees). There are currently three employees who make less than $15 per hour --- these three are the ones (all part-time) who assist in the supervision of the playground, lunch room, nap room, and bathrooms; clean the facility; etc.

Under 1A, families would be not have to pay more than 10% of their income as tuition. Specifically, my wife can only estimate who those families are that might be paying more than that. But, there are at least a small handful of families.

1A would also mandate additional professional development for staff that would have to be paid for by the school.

In essence, the school's costs would increase (wages and additional PD) while revenue would decline. And because they're already at student-teacher ratio capacity, more students could not be added to shore up any revenue deficiencies. Tuition is the only revenue source.

Something would have to give and that would be the enrichment programs.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

NE Parent, there is an accessible playground at Lowell, although it is not very big or fancy (one large mostly accessible play structure). I wouldn't say it is fully accessible, as there are barkchips around the structures, which isn't great for wheelchairs or walkers, but there is a fairly hard path up to the ramp access to the structure. Also one part of the structure has one of those bridges that move when you walk on them - stiffer than most, but I'm not sure how it would go with a walker or wheelchair. it would be fine for a younger child, not sure hoe interesting it would be for an older one.

Mom of 4

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, your wife will have to pay $15 an hour at some point. That's already coming.

"Under 1A, families would be not have to pay more than 10% of their income as tuition."

My understanding is that is not one of the mandates in 1A but I'll check.

Both 1A and 1B have professional development and at least in 1A you would have a huge swath of people getting that training/professional development.

Anonymous said...

Joe Wolf,

Can you weigh in on the future of the Old Van Asselt site? Is the city planning on using it for preschools? Is it scheduled to be an interim site for SPS schools?
what's the latest?



Anonymous said...

Melissa, the 10% of income on tuition is right there on the checklist on the Yes for Early Success website front page: http://www.yesforearlysuccess.com.

The city would have to create a mechanism and bureaucracy to oversee this tuition requirement. Will families have to submit their W-2's to the city to pay tuition for private preschool?

And again, 1B is voluntary. My wife doesn't have to participate. It's not like she'd have increased professional development costs regardless of which Prop. is approved. If only 1B is approved, it will have virtually zero effect on her school. And given that hers is a Montessori school, she wouldn't get approved anyway.

This is not choice between the lesser of two evils for my wife and her school. 1A would be a bad. 1B would be ignored.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

I believe Thornton Creek @ Decatur has an accessible playground. -RR

Melissa Westbrook said...

While 1B might not have an affect on your wife's school, it will have an affect on some schools who may lose children to the City's plan.

It's fine to look at a vote thru any lens you want but, for my work, I have to look at the benefit for the most kids.

Po3 said...

Got a call about Prop 1a 1b

"Opponents say 1a will cost $100 million, proponents say it will cost $3 million, which amount sounds more likely to you?"

It was a laugh out loud moment.

Anonymous said...

I'm not taking a myopic view here. If the result of 1A would be for my wife's small, high quality preschool to either close its doors or reduce its quality, why wouldn't that be true of other small, high-quality preschools.

My fear is that the end result of 1A will be to blanket the city with large, corporate preschools like KinderCare, while we lose small, high-quality preschools around the city.

And I'm not supporting 1B either. The excessively high cost of this program --- given its number of and salaries for administrators, dependence on high-paid consultants, reliance on SPS capacity that doesn't exist, etc. --- plus its prescriptive curriculum and demand for student-level, longitudinal data makes this program a non-starter for me.

I will be voting no on the first preschool question on the ballot.

--- swk

Melissa Westbrook said...

Here's something hiliarious;

Seattle Channel is doing their "Civic Cocktail" event tonight with ballot measures. I read about it at Publicola where they leave off the panel of journalists but then have this:

"Hosted by former Seattle Times columnist Joni Balter, this two-part event starts off with a conversation featuring King County Executive Dow Constantine about Metro buses—the subject of November's Prop. 1—and the county budget, and ends with a panel discussion about the fall ballot in general (including a potential tax increase for preschool funding) and the potential for voter tax fatigue.

The panel will include former deputy mayor Tim Ceis and longtime political consultant (and PubliCola co-founder) Sandeep Kaushik, along with city council member Sally Clark."

To which I wrote:
"Isn't it a little weird to have someone on a panel to discuss ballot issues who is getting paid to work for an issue - Sandeep Kaushik works for 1B. And Sally Clark voted to put 1B on the ballot. And Tim Ceis also worked for the charter school campaign (it's related because 1B is backed by a number of ed reformers including, oddly, a lot of Republicans).

Nothing biased about that panel."

Geez, nothing like the powers that be in this town at work.

Anonymous said...

I am with swk on this. 1A doesn't seem well enough thought out to me -- there are elements of it that I like, but I think we could come up with a much better proposal -- it has always felt to me like 1A was an attempt to come up with something quickly (no clue whether that is true or not) to put up against 1B (which ought to fail on its own shortcomings, aptly summed up by swk).


mirmac1 said...

Interesting there's speakers at the board for the downtown school. There a cameraman but I don't recall seeing a news truck.... more DSA propaganda.

mirmac1 said...

Impressive showing of GH families asking for help with safety and and transportation.

Upset said...

Special thanks to Director Peters and Director Patu for voting against a research project that involved data and 8 low income schools.

Amplify was given to our children and I'm hearing that the teachers have SO much data that they can't use it.

Not only are our children being used for data, but they have also become guinea pigs for companies, Bill Gates and anyone else that wants their data.

I remember my Research 101 class. Rule 1: Who wants the data and what will data be used for?

Did anyone else notice that Michael Tolley wouldn't publicly acknowledge that the research project was going to be within low income schools? Patu tried to get Tolley to name the schools, but he referred directors to BAR.

Transparency Please said...

I believe swk is correct. 1A will absolutely impact small preschools.

Anecdote: I met a CEO of a large day care chain. I asked- How do you like being in the business of child care? The answer- "Great. You have a bunch of people willing to overpay and a bunch of people willing to get underpaid." I'll let you make your own decisions about this individual.

Unfortunately, both initiatives have problems that will impact the lives of many.

There are also qualified individuals that have child care businesses, but would need to obtain a bachelor degree under 1B. Think about single parent running a daycare in their home.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Jan, I'm not voting for either one.

My stand is that labor and governance need a cold slap of failure at the polls to get back to the table and bring ONE unified plan to voters.

mirmac1 said...

The fight between the two initiatives has been used as the rationale for why I have not seen ONE email from Burgess to Miller in the three months since I requested them. Somehow they keep sending me council powerpoints and draft council resolutions. They think we fell off the turnip truck in Tukwila but I know a scofflaw when I smell it. I will toast to their flaming defeat on election night.