Friday, October 03, 2014

Friday Open Thread

Reports of shots fired in the Ballard High neighborhood this morning led to a brief shelter in place at the school.  SPD investigated around the area and could find nothing.  I tried to find out if the shelter in place was at Salmon Bay as well but could not reach Communications for verification.

In other big news in the district:

Seattle’s music programs have won a lot of well-deserved awards, but a Grammy? It could happen.
Beth Fortune, who teaches Orchestra and Eclectic Strings at Washington Middle School is one of only 25 semi-finalists nationwide for the 2015 Grammy Music Educator Award. She was selected from 7,000 applicants.

Ten finalists will be announced in December, and the winner will be announced during Grammy week in February 2015.

The nine finalists will each receive a $1,000 honorarium, and the schools of all 10 finalists also will receive matching grants.

Google announced the winners of their Science Fair and they were three teenaged girls from Ireland. 

Another teenager, Joshua Wong from Hong Kong, is leading the fight for democracy there. 

Mr. Wong emerged as a figure in Hong Kong’s activist circles two years ago, when he rallied students against a government plan to introduce “patriotic education” in schools, attacking it as a means of Chinese Communist Party indoctrination.

There are no Director community meetings on Saturday.

What's on your mind?


mirmac1 said...

Nyland has delivered another chatty and informative Friday memo

NW parent said...

I texted my kid at Ballard about the shots fired and shelter in place. She said "what, I thought we were having a drill or something..."

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting the Hong Kong story.

And now for the revolution at home:

For weeks, hundreds of high-school students staged raucous walkouts against a controversial conservative plan to review the U.S. history curriculum in Jefferson County, Colo., in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. The students, worried that the school district would censor history and promote a political agenda, held signs reading “Teach us the truth.”

In response, Jefferson County school board agreed Thursday night to give students and parents a voice in the curriculum review, though it didn’t promise to listen. (more)


Westside said...

A mess here in West Seattle.

kellie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Westside, thanks for sharing! What a mess SPS has made for these schools and Gatewood in particular. I wonder how much money SPS spent on sending JSCEE staff on their preschool bondoggle. Could have been way better spent supporting the teaching needs at Gatewood and FP.

Are there any other October surpises out there? I sure hope not!

-Beyond Baffled

Transparency Please said...

Ed Murray is creating a Department of Education and will use existing employees within the Department of Human Services:

"For the last several months, the Murray Administration has been working to shape the new department responsible for supporting early learning, K-12 and higher education in Seattle. Most of the positions in the new department would be filled by existing city employees moving from Seattle’s Human Services Department, Office for Education and other organizations"

The city will also be asking voters to fund a $58M prek initiative, which will be housed under the Department of Ed--which incorporates Seattle's Human Health Services Department.(!!)

Meanwhile, the State Auditor slams the city's department of Health and Human Services- again!

Tim Burgess says it will take 1-2 years to clean-up this mess. Do you believe him?

Tim Burgess and Ed Mayor would be smart to realize that any attempt to reach into the K-12 system would be unwise.

Another reason to Vote NO on the city's prek initiative.

Let's remember this the next time Ed Murray and Tim Burgess try to insert themselves into district operations.

Meg said...

Having read about staffing adjustments being made due to enrollment numbers, I looked at the SPS site to see what enrollment numbers were coming in at on a school-by-school basis. This information used to be available on the website in the form of the p223 enrollment form (you could read the adjusted or unadjusted numbers for every month - SPS has to file this form with OSPI every month).

Except... it's not available on the SPS site any longer. In data & reports, the most recent year available is 2009-10. Maybe I've missed something? This is basic information that the district files every month - tossing it up on the website is pretty simple. So am I just looking in the wrong place?

mirmac1 said...


You called it. Period.

Those who would be "held accountable" are long gone in this district.

Thank goodness your early warning call remains...

Mary Griffin said...

In a story involving former Chief Academic Officer for Seattle Public Schools, Carla Santorno (now Superintendent of Tacoma Public Schools) and former SPS attorney Shannon McMinimee, the Tacoma News Tribune is reporting in a story today that the Tacoma School district is suing two counselors and a teacher for disclosing private school information after they went public with accusations that Lincoln High School's principal had directed them to direct students who were behind on credits but working to catch up to enroll in a re-engagement center--a practice characterized by some as "cherry picking" to make the academic statistics for the school look better than they were. The employees may also face disciplinary action. The employees deny any student data was released and also claim that this is a distraction to the real issue. The employees are considering filing a civil rights complaint.

Too bad most school districts aren't very zealous about enforcing FERPA laws when it doesn't suit their purposes.

kellie said...

Here is the link to atiny bit of enrollment information.

43% of the growth is now at high school. This is quite disproportionate. 4 grades of 13 is 30%. So if growth were "even" you would see about a 30% growth at high school, so it is clear that the growth curve is moving into the high school years and some of the elementary growth is beginning to stabilize.

Ballard, Roosevelt and Hale are all identified as have more students in the attendance area than capacity.

kellie said...


The enrollment reports used to be on this Data & Reports page. There were there when school started but now they are all just gone.

Meg said...

To add the obvious to Kellie's comments on enrollment:

Even if elementary enrollment growth stabilizes, total district enrollment will continue to grow.

From 1997-98 through 2008-09, K enrollment didn't break 4,000. In 2008-09, it went over, and not only hasn't dipped under that since, but has climbed to almost 4,900. That's a big jump moving up through every grade, and it looks less and less like a bubble and more and more like a new normal.

A new normal that there isn't enough space for.

Meg said...

thanks, kellie. That's where I went looking. So I guess it's not just me.

kellie said...

Thank Mirmac and Meg,

i did a quick look at the total counts. If middle school (three grade) was 50% of the elementary school enrollment, there would be 3,000 additional middle school students over and above current enrollment and if that same ratio (4 grades to 6 grades) was applied to high school, there would be an additional 4,000 students.

So yes, while the growth curve is stabilizing at elementary as those students roll up through the grades, there are likely to be some big changes at secondary.

Anonymous said...

I went looking for enrollment data on the SPS website, too, and only found dead ends. I couldn't find anything for 2014-15 or 2013-14. I couldn't find the P223s, which I've been able to find in the past.

The School Reports for each school (accessed from the online school directory) gives an enrollment count, but the most recent ones that are posted are for the 2012-13 or 2011-12 school years.

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

How many of you are familiar with the Deer-In-The-Headlights look of a brand spanking new 14 year old high school student at his new school?
On Wed. the first of October, I was in the main office of a Seattle high school checking my snail mail before school started, and this youngster-who-looked-panicked-outta-his-shoes asked me ...

what he should do ...? where he could go ?? [in my head I'm trying to figure out what he's asking and how can I figure it without scaring him more] and I randomly asked "are you new here" or something like that and he said "yes".

"Ah ... " stalling while I do mental gymnastics, "where did you go to school before?"

"At ______, they told me yesterday to come here today."

Just them, some of the office staff regulars showed up & I gave a quick intro & 1 of the regulars said something about October 1 and the wait list moving ... someone escorted him to counseling to get a schedule.

This kid missed out on all the late summer get-the-new-9th-graders-settled-in stuff which happened over 2 weeks before Labor Day weekend.

I KNOW how to fix this idiocy!! Why don't we pass some more idiotic laws that aren't paid for! We'll flip a coin to figure out if the idiotic laws will come from the completely clueless over paid seat warmers at the Gates Foundation, or from the equally clueless seat warmers at the U.W. College of Ed!



Melissa Westbrook said...

So part of what the City is saying - for Prop 1B, their preschool measure - is that once they pass it, they can start applying for federal and state grants.

They can't even keep track of what they are doing now so why give them more to mess up?

City Council is taking on Parks and now they want to create a new Department of Education AND a new citywide preschool program?

Just say no.

mirmac1 said...

Grants for job creation at City Hall.

Reader47 said...

@Kellie and Meg
Not quite the same thing but on what should be page 8 of this report to OSPI (but is strangely renumbered as page 1 again) there some broad enrollment numbers by grade groupings as of 9/25/2014

All Allotment reports

And this one has fulltime enrollment as of 9/19/2014 by individual grade

Fulltime enrollment

Reader47 said...

Ack - sorry the 2nd link is actually from p223 as you've cited. (helps to read before posting,eh?)


Transparency Please said...

"So part of what the City is saying - for Prop 1B, their preschool measure - is that once they pass it, they can start applying for federal and state grants."

Absolutely. The city is unable to manage present federal grants without significant and sustained audit findings.

Anonymous said...

So yesterday I got lost at the Good Shepherd Building again! That place is like Padelford Hall, which is bizarre because Padelford is all angles and GSC is a classical building. Anyway, while I was walking around and running into blind corners I got a careful look of the place. It is HUGE, 5 stories! with wings!

Is there any way SPS could rent that building? That place could solve most or maybe even ALL of the North end's seat problems. It is larger than any building the district has! Meridian Park seems to be maintained by Parks people (there was a broken faucet one time and I called Parks & they came out to shut off the water & fixed the faucet). Anyone know if the City own the building, or does it still belong to the archdiocese?


Anonymous said...

got a careful look AT the place


Anonymous said...

Ok I just looked it up. The City bought the property in the '70's (after Wallingford defeated a proposal to build a shopping center there! THANK YOU Wallingford), then transferred the buildings to Historic Seattle to be used as a community center. So the grounds does belong to the City, and Historic Seattle is the building's landlord.

I wonder if it would be feasible for SPS to rent from Historic Seattle. The building seems to be in good condition, and it might be better to rent than buy or build, if things change and the student population goes back down.


dan dempsey said...

Arne Duncan is disconnected from reality ... all politics no data.

In the NY Times:
WA State political stand puts schools in a bind

According to Arne D in the article: The goal of teaching is students learning and this is a piece of evaluating what students are learning.

Yet WA State outperformed nearly every other state in NAEP score improvement from 2011 to 2013. So it is not about a state effectively improving student learning ... it is about WA State's refusal to obey Arne's dictates. {Note: there is little reason to believe that what Arne pushes will be effective in improving student learning because he has no use for real data.}

To improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data.

Josh Hayes said...

I ran across a fascinating article about the value (or lack thereof) of homework. It certainly makes me wonder about what I should be asking my students to do.

Here's the link. It's at the Washington Post, so no paywall is involved.

Anonymous said...

There is already a school at Good Shepherd's, The Meridian school. It is private but it has been there for some time.


Anonymous said...

There are many tenants currently at GSC.

Just an idea of a possible solution, is all. It is a rare existing building that is actually large enough for a secondary school in the North end that could solve SPS lack of space problems. I have no idea how feasible it is, just trying to brainstorm solutions. There were schools at the building Hazel Wolf is at now too.

Or we could just continue complaining about SPS' incompetency and fighting over Lincoln and WP, since that has been so fruitful and all.