Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tuesday Open Thread

I put up another update on the Center School incident yesterday.  It sounds like both staff and students did a great job in handling the situation.

Fun fact: there are now only about 20+ schools where parents pay for kindergarten.  The district has managed, through LAP dollars and other funding, to fill in that half-day that the state doesn't pay for.  McCleary can't come fast enough. 

I also note that the district has financial documents, like Race to the Top, that reference "in-kind" staff time "donations."  Keep this in mind around initiatives like RttT and preschool.  1B likes to say that SPS doesn't have to give space but I'm certain that any partnership will include a lot of staff time from several departments.  In-kind donations of staff time, whether dollars exchange hands or not, are REAL money.

A reader had mentioned this previously but here's a list from OSPI of school bus violations statewide by drivers in cars.  Number of vehicles that passed buses: 371.  Most were in the morning (190) with afternoon close behind (166).   There were 206 that passed from the rear and 165 from the front.   Most passed on the left but at least 14 passed on the right. 

The Board Work Session about the MOU with the Alliance for Education is today and yet there is no presentation posted.  No way for parents or the public to know what it is or to weigh in.  I will note that the Alliance not only covers its costs by handling PTA funds for some schools, they make a profit on it.  If they are making money, then that activity should go out to bid.  SPS needs to make sure they are getting the best possible deal for this work (and it seems unethical to not allow other groups/companies access to this work).

What's on your mind?

74 comments:

Anonymous said...

I read an article this morning detailing an incident that occurred at a Charter School in Denver. The teacher involved in the incident has since been fired and questions regarding hiring licensed vs. non-licensed teachers have been raised.

There is no question in my mind that a licensed teacher is a better option for my kids.

http://www.9news.com/story/news/education/2014/10/08/fired-science-teacher-no-state-license/16945045/

-GHS Parent

Anonymous said...

King 5 is reporting that students at the Center School told the principal last week that the student who was arrested was threatening to kill a group of six other students.The students claim the principal dismissed their concerns saying it was part of the student's disorder and he didn't mean what he said.

http://www.king5.com/story/news/local/seattle/2014/10/27/center-school-evacuation/18008487/

LP

Po3 said...

LP - That story made me go cold, especially after Marysville.

What type of disorder could any student have where the threat to kill another student should not be taken seriously.

I hope this principal is removed from the school today, pending the outcome of the investigation, because if true these students are not safe under this person!

Anonymous said...

I appreciate that later in the day the Center School did issue more information on the incident via the principal's report that Melissa posted.

However, I do not appreciate that the district itself has made no public comment other than 'no comment'. Nothing to parents at high schools other than Center about high school security. No reassurance. No next step information on whether - when - where this student could be back in SPS. Nothing. The kid brought a Molotov Cocktail to Seattle Center for god's sake.

Seattle District could get it together to write a flowery letter to Marysville but for worried families in Seattle the usual duck and cover. Horrid.

#watchful parent

Anonymous said...

A post on a previous thread gave Hazel Wolf K-8's Oct 1st 2014 enrollment as 711.

Can anyone confirm this?

711 is well under their budget allocation of 763 for this year.

From what I can tell from docs posted on the SPS website, their 2013 projected enrollment was 755, and the Oct 1st 2013 headcount was 737.

So, last year they were 18 shy of their budget allocation, and this year, if 711 is the correct Oct 1st headcount, they are 52 students under-enrolled.

SPS concluded that they would need to lose 1.0 FTE, but evidently there was some sort of last minute deal/agreement that the extra staffing is necessary for the Hazel Wolf program to be "viable."

How is viability determined, and is it a factor in these types of decisions for all schools, or does it only come into play during negotiations for option school staffing?

-reality check

Anonymous said...

Hazel Wolf enrollment:

K: 79
1: 74
2: 77
3: 71
4: 79
5: 66
6: 87
7: 108
8: 70
Total: 711

-options

Anonymous said...

I'm also wondering about why Pinehurst/Licton Springs was NOT on the teacher cut list. Their enrollment shrank, AGAIN. Really, is anyone surprised?

And, how viable or reasonable is having a K5/8 school for 116 students is? Overhead is $380,000 PER SCHOOL regardless of the school size. The school shrank yet again from 150 students...

With other schools having 600 students, that overhead is very efficient on a per student basis. Indeed, of the k8s and K5s, even a start-up school like K5 stem at Boren was able to attract MORE than 150 students (and that was without a permanent location, starting in an interim space, etc.) for its inaugural year. Uncertainty and poor facility did not dampen demand.

This makes no sense. I'd like to see that Enrollment per school data is the District , because it does seem like certain schools are protected (Licton Springs, hazel Wolf) from teacher cuts while other schools (BF Day, Madison) don't get that same protection. The magical OPAQUE equity bus rides again. Transparency would actually create equity.

Really, ditch a suit from downtown (take your pick) and save 2 teachers. That would be a sound management decision. And, treat ALL schools equally, use the same formula to staff them up, not special favors for politically astute principals.

Why can't Stevens get the SAME deal as Hazel Wolf? Are Queen Anne child simple less 'special'?

Is Licton Springs' FTE the same, or did they too fly under the radar and get extra FTE too?

The lack of transparency indicates very bad managment skill. The Board should be hopping mad.

shell game

Anonymous said...

What about Eckstein (post geo-split)?

Their budget allocation was based upon 948 students. I heard there's lots of room there, even with the portables removed. Did they make 948? Did they come close?

-curious

Charlie Mas said...

We need to continue to demand transparency.

Charlie Mas said...

The numbers don't necessarily mean what you might presume they mean without knowledge of the number and type of special education students at the school.

Anonymous said...

Eckstein: 881

6: 314
7: 285
8: 282

Meg said...

I just got these numbers, too, and am compiling them into a spreadsheet that lists enrollment from 2001-02 to present. It's not pretty, but it should at least provide information.

Anonymous said...

Those are Eckstein's enrollment numbers, Oct 1?

Then seems like they should get a teacher cut too. If they were staffed for 948, AND THEY LOST AT LEAST HALF OF THEIR F&RL KIDS, then, come on, they should have lost a teacher too from their adjusted post-open enrollment FTE budget. Yes, I realize Ecjstein will grow quickly next year and have to expand, but this dip from expected enrollment is big, not little.... floating along with extra staff when ours are cut to the bone makes no sense.


THIS IS WHY A L L DATA IS NEEDED NOW



shell game

Anonymous said...

@ Charlie

I get that SpEd factors into school budgets, but unless there were some SpEd program placement changes made after the Spring budget allocation adjustments, I don't see why the type or amount of SpEd would matter if a school was under their budget allocations come October 1st.

Re-posting for anonymous at 11:26:

Anonymous said...
Eckstein: 881

6: 314
7: 285
8: 282

If these numbers are real, then Eckstein is WAY below their target enrollment of 948.

Maybe Eckstein was in the original pool of schools slated for FTE cuts, but somehow avoided being put on the final list? Is Eckstein considered to be a "high equity" school? I know they have SpEd programming, but most of their FRL and ELL population was re-assigned to JAMS via the geo-split.

- reality check

Anonymous said...

I'm not totally in the know, but they did have to let teachers go at Eckstein earlier in the year. I think I heard they cut too many teachers and then had to scramble and hire a couple additional teachers. There were many students who were with subs for the first few weeks of school (one of my kids had a sub for several weeks).

I'm sure someone else can chime in with more knowledge, but I'm pretty sure Eckstein right sized it's staffing earlier on.

NE Mom of 3

Anonymous said...

Eckstein's budget allocation for 2013 was based upon an enrollment of 1252.

Eckstein's budget allocation for 2014 was based upon an enrollment of 948, so yes, they would have had to cut teachers.

Still, if those 2014 numbers are valid, they are under the budget projections by 67 students, so I think it is a stretch to say the school is now "right-sized."

Maybe there is a good explanation of why staff wasn't cut, but we will never know, because it wasn't even presented to the Board, much less the taxpayers who fund public education.

- reality check

Anonymous said...

@NE Mom of 3

Are you saying that you think Eckstein is being funded at some level that is under their 2014-15 budget allocation of 948?

If so, then it was smart for Eckstein to have made that correction early in the year, anticipating that they wouldn't make their budget allocation, rather than risk getting teachers pulled at this late date.

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

https://livingvotersguide.org/P-1B_Early_learning_services_for_children__alternative-City_Of_Seattle?results=true

Living voters guide, tell them how you feel about 1B.

HP

Carolyn Leith said...

Follow the money.

The Proposition 1B “Preschool for All” Wheel of Fortune: Same players, new game

Meg said...

I've compiled enrollment data from 2001 onwards, including the recent 2014-15 data, which I don't have verification of yet through a p223 or confirmation from OSPI.

I have not recently adjusted middle school reference area, so that will seem wonky on the spreadsheet, but here's the link

There may be other mistakes. I have not combed through for typos or missed formulas. If you find them, say so in the comments. It's a useful tool to track enrollment trends by grade, region, school, whatever.

Anonymous said...

I'm with the Stranger
Vote yes on 1B
The plan can be tweaked but it provides money NOW all kids to get preK-the BEST intervention to improve school success.
It isn't perfect, unlike our school district, but it WILL help many children, right now.
Yes on 1B

old voter

Anonymous said...

@old voter

So, where do you propose the City place all those preschool classrooms?

- North-end Mom

Meg said...

oops. Technical issues. And I wasn't even switching off the vax.

Here's the link to enrollment data. It's still a little sloppy, but functional.

Melissa Westbrook said...

There is no way 1B is going to help "many children." It's fewer than 7% of 3 and 4-year olds.

As I said before, 1A would help more low-income kids and sooner than 1B. That's where I want my tax dollars to go.

Eric B said...

North End Mom, a block or two from my house there's a preschool in a storefront. Seems to work pretty well, although I'm sure it needed a little bit of conversion work to make it to code. There is space in the city, just not in the schools.

Anonymous said...

@Eric B

Are there funds budgeted into the levy that would support 1B for the City to rent or buy properties to house preschools?

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...



@old voter

The city, state and federal government already provide free preschool for children with 11 Headstart preschool programs currently in Seattle schools.

http://www.seattle.gov/humanservices/children_families/school/early_learning.htm

http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/cms/pages.phtml?pageid=223310

http://www.seattle.gov/humanservices/children_families/school/early_learning.htm

Lets improve on what has been built instead of bringing in the latest unproven model.

PSP

Anonymous said...

@hell game
Can't say I'm surprised that Licton Springs lost enrollment, considering the loss of transport for kids outside the Eckstein/JAMS catchment area.
We also have no transport for the area we are moving to.
We had/have a majority of FRL students whose families may not have resources to drive their children to school.

under the bus

Anonymous said...


@old voter

lost a link :

http://www.freepreschools.org/city/wa-seattle.html

PSP

Jane said...

Don Nielsen is advocating to abolish school boards and to place a school superintendent on the mayor's cabinet.

Seattle's elite business class and politicos have lost the last two school board elections, and they want their control back.

Melissa Westbrook said...

There are funds in 1B for capital improvements. The City won't be buying or running preschools.

Anonymous said...

@Jane:
'Don Nielsen is advocating to abolish school boards and to place a school superintendent on the mayor's cabinet.

Seattle's elite business class and politicos have lost the last two school board elections, and they want their control back.'

Agree. Nielsen had his time on the board and accomplished nothing positive.

Westside


Eric B said...

Depending on how the I-1240 lawsuit goes, they may not be able to do mayoral control. Isn't the point of the lawsuit that the charters aren't common schools because they're not controlled by an elected board? I suppose you could do an end run like the parks district and make the city council the school board as well, but the moneyed interests are going to lose the council soon with district elections.

I'm not a fan of mayoral control, but a superintendent appointed by and accountable to the mayor is the least noxious form. If it happens that way, the mayor owns the schools, warts and all. Remember, Rhee brought down the mayor of DC. If the mayor appoints a board, all accountability is lost.

Anonymous said...

Very strange email from Salmon Bay School-

Academics

The Building Leadership Team, along with the faculty, have identified 3 areas to target for improvement in our Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (CSIP): Literacy; Math; and Differentiation. Articulating our vision and aligning resources to strengthen student learning in those areas is an important goal for all of us.

Math instructional cohesiveness, differentiation of instruction aligned with student needs, and student performance levels on state assessments have been of particular concern to many involved with Salmon Bay.

Our first quarter is coming to a close at the end of this coming week. There are several shifts happening as well among personnel and schedule at that juncture:

One area we are structurally addressing is our scheduling and composition of Math classes in the middle school. We are going to unblock Math and Science instruction for 7th and 8th grade students to return to daily math instruction. We are also adjusting the grouping of students in math classes to provide better supports and pacing for students at their instructional level. We met as a middle school faculty on October 10th to discuss these changes, this past Thursday, and will be meeting again this coming Monday and Wednesday. These changes seek to address some of the structural issues in providing differentiated approaches for our learners - both students ready for a greater challenge and those needing greater supports.

We are also planning to make a shift in the 6th grade schedule at the Semester (January 29th is the last day of the Semester) to move core content out of the 7th period block earlier in the day.

Serena Samar, middle school resource teacher, is moving to Garfield High School. Her last day with us will be 10/31. This leaves an opening at middle school, and Cody Bean will be moving from the elementary ACCESS program to that middle school resource room position. Cody will continue to work with the ACCESS team and families and in support of a substitute teacher until we complete the hiring for that position.

With the shift in Special Education Staff, we are also looking at some shifts in our delivery of instructional minutes. Cody Bean had previously been hired and partially supported through Family Education Levy dollars to support middle school mathematics. We are examining how we might better serve students with IEP goals in mathematics if we move to a specialization model on our staff.

8 weeks into the school year and there's lot of changes. I believe Serena only lasted 8 weeks and now many of these kids will have to start over.

SB Parent

Anonymous said...

What are the board's accomplishments over the past 3 years?

BTW, MIF adoption really isn't an accomplishment for us whose school had a waiver and where using Saxon math, so I would only give a partial kudos for MIF. Based on the first 8 weeks my opinion is MIF is a step backwards from Saxon.


SB Parent

Anonymous said...

1A has no funding
1B has 58 million dollars
By opposing 1B you are saying to 2000 kids, tough luck, you don't get a helping hand like all the kids whose parents can afford quality preK, maybe the next batch of kids will get the BEST intervention possible, but not you because it might create ... What is it again? Overcrowding in our overcrowded schools? If your kid was in the 7% I don't think you'd be so dismissive. PreK really works and we need to get it here now.

Old Voter

Anonymous said...

Old Voter, "preK really works" to do what? There is zero evidence that preschool for low-income students have any long-term effect on outcomes? The 1B proponents continue to cite one study on a single program, the Perry Preschool Program, as its evidence that preschool for low-income children saves money in the long run and shows positive long-term outcomes for program participants. Many researchers have pointed out research flaws in this study and no program has been able to replicate the results --- in other words, the Perry study results are bunk.

Please do enlighten us on how a subsidized, city-run preschool program for 3 and 4 years olds "really works."

--- swk

Anonymous said...

I put 3 kids thru preschool and believe everything they learned they would have learned on their own. I don't believe the pre-k did anything to enhance their learning.

This push will most likely be a huge waste of money with little benefit except to the parents getting free baby sitting an employees getting jobs. This is btw mostly a job creation program. Can someone provide any peer reviewed research of the benefit of preschool over meaningful parental interaction?

There are references made to peer reviewed studies showing the benefit for disadvantage children due to the lack of parent interaction in the home.That's what they want us to pay for, the lack of proper adult attention by the parents in the home.

Once SPS or the city takes on this role they will be required to follow the ADA and screen every child and provide services as needed, this will balloon the
cost. Remember they can't turn away disabled children.

If the program will in fact follow the ADA and screen children for Autism or SLDs providing early intervention then its a good thing, but just a look at the state of SPS special education. Really if the city truly cared about vulnerable children then why do they sit back as SPED ruin countless lives over the past 10 years.

NO PREK

Anonymous said...

Salmon Bay community

Translate that gobbledygook letter for us?

It's a lot of circular talking without seeing what they actually mean.

My interpretation is this:

Cluster grouping doesn't work (duh) ability grouping does work. So, from now on, we are dividing up the middle schoolers into math instruction by fast, medium, slow. That way, there is less of a dramatic spread of ability within a single classroom, so the teacher can scaffold more learning for more students more directly, thereby helping every child grow faster. Oh, and we will NOT be giving them critical core subjects like math at the end of the day when they're exhausted and spent, and really aren't receptive to learning anything anyway despite a teacher's best efforts.


Also, is the " instructional alignment" a code phrase for everybody's got to use the same textbook, because too many teachers were using their own materials, because CMP 2 sucks, but, Jon Halfacre busted us so now we have to chuck our various "home brews" (that worked) and "get with the program" like good little soldiers??

All of the above is just my best guess, so really hoping to here from Salmon Bay parents and teachers (those who are remaining), what the heck is going on.

SB curious

Nick said...

Old Voter,

Why are you going after Melissa? Do you not support the thousands of children left in questionable daycare centers? Why aren't you going after Burgess/ Murray for pitting two different initiatives against each other?

Burgess was at the helm of this project from the start and he botched it up.

Jay said...

swk is correct. The city's program is modeled after the Perry project, which doesn't have the financial capacity to expand.

Nick said...

Old Voter,

The city has also put aside $60M Family and Ed. dollars for prek. Don't try and lay a guilt trip on Melissa.

Anonymous said...

The Seattle Times says SPS administration is cutting the Garfield teacher despite the protest last week.

Veteran

Anonymous said...

Because this is an open thread, I wanted to note the double-murder suicide last night in South Seattle which took the life of a student at Aki Kurose and her mother at the hands of the mother's own father, and left a traumatized 10 year old survivor.

While this didn't happen at a school, on the way to a school or involve district personnel, I think it deserves mention. I'm sure lots of kids at Aki are hurting tonight.

Neighbor

Anonymous said...

Neighbor, thank you for posting. I had not heard about this tragedy. My thoughts are with the Aki community. --Another Neighbor

Anonymous said...

No PreK said:

"Once SPS or the city takes on this role they will be required to follow the ADA and screen every child and provide services as needed, this will balloon the
cost. Remember they can't turn away disabled children."

SPS is ALREADY required to provide services to children with disabilities. From birth. Not sure I understand your point there.

CR

Melissa Westbrook said...

Old Voter, the City is already funding preschool services. My goal is to get it right. I don't think 1B is the right thing. I can see your point.

I don't feel Old Voter is going after me; he/she is challenging my position. That's okay. That's democracy (although, as I said, Burgess tried to get me kicked off a panel, I guess because democracy is a problem for him).

Neighbor, thank you for that. I hear about that but did not know it was a student at Aki. Very sad.

Beyond concerned parent said...

Beyond Concerned Parent said...
This student had, in fact, made prior threats which were reported to the Principal and, because of a mental health disorder, was assigned a case manager. I brought my concerns to the attention of the Principal on Friday after my Center School student told me that the offending student had made threats to other Center School students. There is a trail of incidents that were being "documented" by the Principal of the students "inappropriate" comments. I was told today that the student was being regularly assessed as to whether he was a real danger. Someone, either the Principal, the district or the person who assessed this kid got it wrong, nearly to our children's and the entire Seattle Center communities peril. I want the policy on verbal threats in school to be made crystal clear by the district and followed through in the schools. It is untenable that our students were put in a position to tolerate threats of harm and that we parents were not notified of the situation so we could assess whether the school was in fact a safe place or support our student to manage a difficult school environment.
10/28/14, 7:25 PM

Mary Griffin said...

I dumped the data from Ragweed's link last week about PTA's supplemental staffing funds into a heat map located at http://bit.ly/137jybw. The data came from a table supplied by Seattle Public Schools which is located at http://bit.ly/1tCpi6V. As you can tell, the bulk of PTA/School Foundation supplemental funding is found in the Northeast, which reflects not only the activity level of those PTA but the different funding models in the Southend as well as federal and state funding such as Title 1. The total for last year was $3,075,894.

Anonymous said...

1st The NY Daily News and 2nd the National Institute of Early Education

There's a lot of info on the Perry Study and yes the far-right think tank The Brookings Institution thinks it is flawed> I'm not sure I want to lie down with that that group.
I'm saying we need to take the plunge and show good faith and make the effort to help these kids now. If it's not perfect let's fix it later. For the love of Pete, we are willing to leaglize pot and hash out the details later but not a poor kids preK?
Methinks some of us need to mellow out a bit.

Old Voter
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/experts-studies-clash-benefit-de-blasio-pre-k-plan-article-1.1699600

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=6&ved=0CEgQFjAF&url=http%3A%2F%2Fnieer.org%2Fpdf%2Fsmart-start.pdf&ei=cGdQVIbTBO6QigKJo4DABQ&usg=AFQjCNHGnzuTLMlfh3SLuxwzHy-Qf2df6Q&sig2=W5_-oR1zG5ih7EWaxd-XQg&bvm=bv.78597519,d.cGE

Anonymous said...

SWK and No Pre-K--

I am a kindergarten teacher in a school where the vast majority of students live below the poverty line. My Head Start pre-K graduates not only have pre-academic skills, but, more importantly, understand how to listen to a story as a member of a group, how to solve interpersonal problems (i.e., how to take turns with a special object), have greater mathematical understanding, and have a far greater vocabulary in both their birth languages and English. I have NEVER questioned the value of Pre-K. Frankly it's a luxury to be able to do so. I don't have any idea which I'll vote for, 1A, or 1B, because I've been too busy teaching to do my research, but I'll definitely be voting for something that increases access for the families I serve, who, although working and contributing in so many ways, cannot access quality early childhood education for their children.

K Teacher

Anonymous said...

Old Voter, not that it matters much, but Brookings is not a right-wing think tank. You may be thinking of Heritage?

parent

Anonymous said...


@KTeacher

clean up the fraudulent applications and more real needy kids well be served. Manage the existing programs.

http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-10-733T

PSP

Anonymous said...

Mind blowing:

John Standford International School PTA gave $445,000 of FTE! And that school had just over 400 kids. That was quite literally off the charts.

(for comparison, a "rich school" with 50% MORE students raised LESS than half as much -- Viewridge, 600 kids, $196K).

Is JSIS a charter? Must you give $1,000 to attend? Or more, if you have more than 1 child? (for example, having twins would mean tuition was $2,000, or of you had three kids attending, you would be expected to commit $3,000 to attend?)

Nothing else comes close to JSIS, except of course McDonald, that raised $375,000, which looked like it had maybe 370 kids.

Forget about Broadmoor, Wallingford must be the nicest place to live looking at these two PTAs.

I understand that schools that are not high poverty have slashed, bare-bones budgets, so that basic things like recess supervision, counsellors, or librarians are now 'student enrichment' items that either a PTA coughs up for, or, they don't happen. But seeing an average donation per child of $1,000 per JSIS child seems like it goes way beyond basics of safety and 'catch up' with schools that do get funds to cover library or counselling.

Does JSIS get tagged as "rich, white, and elitist?"

Just curious. Because that is what I hear some repeated 'accuse' other schools of being, schools that don't raise nearly that much or even come close to remotely raising that 'densely' per student.

Really though, if the legislature would fund k-12 education, all schools would have librarians and counsellors and supervision on the playground without bake sales and auctions.

J$I$

Melissa Westbrook said...

J$I$, you need to understand who they are supporting. It's instructional aides for every class.

In order to get the very best outcomes from dual language, you need two adults speaking in the class. JSIS and McDonald parents have dedicated themselves to raising the money to make that happen to get those best outcomes.

Understand that the other dual language elementaries don't have to raise these funds because they use Title One funds to pay for the IAs because they are low-income schools.

Frankly, I think the pressure to raise these kinds of funds is too much for JSIS and McDonald and that it is wrong to do so. But the district loves it and allows it. It makes the program better, probably gets them better test scores and, of course, costs them nothing.

You can decry that but it might be useful to know why they work so hard. And yes, I have heard some of those parents complain it's a terrible pressure and burden. I've seen McDonald's PTA say "well, you'd pay more at a private school and we have a lower class size." Also true.

I wish it wasn't happening but the district creates programs that they can't/have no intention of truly supporting (see IB as well).

Nick said...

Old Voter,

Have you researched 1B in relation to furthering a city take-over of Seattle Public Schools?

To me, there is enough evidence to believe that 1B will further the fore-mentioned agenda. The city already has enough administrative staff to run SPS, Murray and Burgess have already expressed support for appointed school boards and mayoral control of public ed, computer systems are being aligned between SPS and the city, Gates is offering funding for prek which extends into 5th grade etc.

I'm hearing from reliable sources that Burgess never intended on working with the union. He just plowed ahead with his own initiative and this was an enormous mistake.

I also support prek, but the funders behind 1B are disturbing.

A penny for your thoughts.

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

Posting for anonymous (choose a name next time):

I would like to say that I totally agree with K teacher about kids who go to preK often being much more prepared for the K experience.

I'm no expert, but I've been in schools for over 20 years with 3 kids, and done a lot of in class volunteering in that time.

I'm not sure it requires studies to figure this out...sometimes common sense and the voice of experienced educators and parents may be enough.

Anonymous said...

I'm not seeing this on any other threads, but heard coming into work on the radio this morning that the Center School principal was put on leave for her handling of the Molotov cocktail incident. Does anyone have more information on this?

Radiohead

Anonymous said...

Crosscut has a little something re: the Center School principal's administrative leave.

HIMSmom

Lynn said...

I think we'd all agree that a good preschool experience prepares children for kindergarten. Is that the problem we're actually trying to solve? The goal is for these children to be successful students through high school so that they move into their adult lives with as many opportunities available to them as possible.
From my reading, it seems that children from low income families make progress during the school year but lose ground over the summer. Meanwhile, children with more enriched environments at home progress more quickly during the school year and continue to move ahead over the summer. How will preschool solve that?
The solution to the achievement gap has to address the environment outside of the classroom. Economic policies that reduce the number of children living in poverty are the real solution.
In the meantime, early interventions in the form of parenting support/education seem to be helpful.We all know that our parenting skills suffer in times of stress.

Anonymous said...

Re the $1000 per kid fundraising at schools like JSIS:

I imagine a significant chunk (maybe 25 - 30%?) is corporate matching.

You can give with a 100% corporate match if you're at most big companies, which is what a lot of the people who can afford Wallingford houses are at. So I imagine there are plenty of parents giving $1000 with a $1000 match and that evens out the ones who only give $100. Or parents giving $500 who get a $500 match, totally $1000 donation.

At least I hope so.

Signed: Math Counts

Anonymous said...

J$I$,
Just to clarify a point, the $1000 per student is not required and can in no way be considered tuition. This is indeed the per-head cost of having an IA in every classroom, but it is well understood that some families can't afford to contribute and others can contribute much more.

I agree with Melissa that the district set up a program that they did not have the long-term financial resources to adequately fund. Additionally, the district isn't supporting transportation for heritage speakers making IA's all the more necessary.

I would love to see a stand-alone thread on immersion education, and hope that the new ED for the international schools would come on and participate. I think the district has some soul-searching to do about the program. It seems like there are several elephants in the room that have not been discussed community wide. My biggest concerns are the need for tremendous fund raising and parents relying on tutors to fill in deficits. I also question the wisdom of 50-50 dual immersion in the early grades. Another big issue is that Japanese teachers are not being compensated for translating the new math curriculum. (I haven't heard them complaining, but it seem unconscionable to me not to compensate them for such a huge task.)

Former JSISparent

Lynn said...

Let's add inequitable access to immersion programs to the list of issues.
On the fundraising, it doesn't bother me at all that JSIS parents contribute enough money to pay for IAs in every class. It does bother me that if my child's school tried to do that, the outrage would be deafening. More certified teachers is the ideal solution - but in the meantime, IAs would be better than nothing.

Anonymous said...

On the JSIS stream, McDonald, which is still a growing school, has not been able to fill 3 or 4 teaching slots for the native-speaking teachers (Japanese or Spanish). Students in those classrooms have, since the beginning of school, not had a certified teacher for half their day. If the District wants schools to be language immersion, the District needs to figure out how to find qualified native-language speaking teachers for them. Apparently there are so many language immersion schools now nationally that competition is fierce to find the teachers for them.
Mc

Anonymous said...

" I want the policy on verbal threats in school to be made crystal clear by the district and followed through in the schools."

I said this to my kids, and they told me that we should "help the kids who make the threats." I said sure, but not while they are sitting next to my kid in school, potentially bringing guns and explosives there. I am not sure how to reconcile this with compassion for mental illness, but I fear that schools are finding it difficult to draw the right lines. And, yes, I too would like to see clear information on the policies.

As parents, we have to remember that every student in the school has rights, but parents also have the right to know how the difficult situations will be handled. And, unlike the suggested solution in the Garfield field trip case, I do not think that more supervision, more security, more restrictions are going to be the solution to student v student/teacher violence.

zb

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your post ZB. I have felt alone worrying about my kids and kids at other high schools in the wake of the Molotov cocktail and Marysville incidents.

I see that the district has now temporarily removed the Center School principal. That must mean they are looking more deeply at safety procedures at Center School.

What I want is a very clear statement from the district on the policies for student and staff reporting, and district commitment to followup on school threats. Being specific on where the line between mental health manifestations and obligation to the larger student body is drawn is a place I think most of us can use education.

If the district treats Center School as an isolated incident I remain worried about the procedures at the rest of district schools.

#watchful parent

Anonymous said...

This was in the Nathan Hale Daily update for October 30, 2014:

BY NOW WE ALL KNOW ABOUT THE TRAGEDY THAT TOOK PLACE AT MARYSVILLE-PILCHUCK HIGH SCHOOL. This hits especially close to home because not only is it a quick drive away but over recent years Nathan Hale has worked to build a relationship with the school and its students. Today (10/30) we would like to send a message of support to the students and families of Pilchuck High School by wearing their school colors, red and black, to show that our thoughts are with them.
Today during lunch and the college fair we will have posters up for everyone to sign messages of support that we will take to them after school. So please pass on this message and wear red and black to show your support for the community of Marysville and Pilchuck High School. - Amital Orzech, ASB President.

I had no idea we had a special relationship between Hale and Pilchuck.

HP

Anonymous said...

This was also mailed to Hale families today:

To All,

Tragedy has struck two Washington communities in the last week. We have seen how Marysville-Pilchuck has been affected since last Friday, and earlier this week there was yet another fatal incident right here at home. Anahlia Cowherd, a student from Aki Kurose Middle School, was killed in Seattle. The grief her friends, classmates and community feel today is immeasurable. It is with two significant events in mind, that we ask all of you to join us in honoring the students that lost their lives this weekend.

We ask ALL FANS attending any Seattle school sporting event this weekend to wear something WHITE signifying HOPE and HEALING. This includes fans, parents, students, administrators and staff attending any and all sports contests — This includes playoff games .

It is at times like these that we must come together to support one another, even if we aren’t personally affected. We express our thoughts and prayers by coming together as ONE and wearing WHITE as a symbol of hope for a better tomorrow.

Eric McCurdy, District Director of Athletics


HP

Melissa Westbrook said...

I note that the Aki student had a sibling who lived. According to the Times, this sibling was about 10 so I suspect there is another school dealing with a very sad child.

Anonymous said...

Mc, that is astounding. Qualified teachers are an obvious necessity. Are they just holding those positions open? What are parents saying? Is the principal on the ball and doing something about it? I would think that IA grooming and recruitment into teaching would be a fundamental part of an international principal's job. What is he/she doing about it?

Former JSISParent

Anonymous said...

K Teacher, there is no doubt that children who come to kindergarten from a high-quality preschool are better prepared for kindergarten. That is not up for debate. The issue that I raised is that that preparation fades by 3rd or 4th grade, hence the "fadeout."

I agree with Lynn that the point of providing subsized preschool for low-income children is not to better prepare them for kindergarten per se but to better prepare them for lifelong learning. And there's no evidence that participation in high-quality preschool has any effect whatsoever on long-term outcomes for the participants.

I think we would all be better served if we provided health care, dental care, and nutrition for low-income children and job-training and parental support for their parents. As Lynn wisely points out, we need to address the causes and effects of poverty. Preschool is no silver bullet despite how much advocates infer that it is.

--- swk

Melissa Westbrook said...

SWK, I'd like to print your statement as a separate thread. That is the most succinct understanding of preschool I have heard.

"I agree with Lynn that the point of providing subsized preschool for low-income children is not to better prepare them for kindergarten per se but to better prepare them for lifelong learning."

Which is kind of what kindergarten used to be.

I also agree we need more wrap-around services (and maybe that will come with Dow Constantine's measure that is on the ballot NEXT year.

Anonymous said...

Melissa, it would be my pleasure to have you print this as a separate thread.

--- swk