Sunday, November 16, 2014

Seattle Schools This Week

Monday, November 17th 
College Application Event, 2:20 PM - 5:30 PM at Franklin High School.

State of the District Speech at Group Health headquarters from 4:30-6 pm (with a wine reception to follow the presentation).  RSVP only.  Put on by the Alliance for Education (although, oddly, no mention of it at their own website). 

Tuesday, November 18th
State of the District speech at  JSCEE at 4 pm.  It is a 20-minute presentation that will be broadcast live streaming and on Channel 26.  I don't think there will be a wine reception.

I think of the two dueling speeches (and their location/format) as the Snobs versus the Slobs. (No disrespect to anyone but when a state of the district speech - the first one, the main one - is not at district headquarters, you have to wonder.)

Work Session
DistrictScorecard/Operations Data Dashboard from 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm.  Presentation 
There are quite a few interesting stats in here but I may write a separate thread (but feel free to read and comment here). 

Wednesday, November 18th
College Application Event, 3:15 PM - 6:00 PM at Nathan Hale High School.

School Board Meeting starting at 4:15 pm.  Agenda

This should be lively.

First, Native American parents and students will be giving a presentation in honor of November being Native Heritage month.

Then, what else?  Oh right, massive FERPA violation, installing Interagency across from John Hay Elementary, etc.

Agenda items of Interest
- look it's the Program Evaluation and Assessment Annual Report.  Charlie waits so eagerly for this every year and like Charlie Brown with a football, he is always disappointed.

Action Item
- 2015 State Legislative Agenda.
This has been modified since its introduction two weeks ago.  I note that under Capital Fund Funding, along with facilities, technology has been added.  Yes, that's pretty vital considering all students are supposed to take the Smarter Balanced test on a computer.

I had an issue with the vagueness of some of their agenda.  Here is it now expanded:
  •   Work to restore State’s eligibility for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act No Child Left Behind flexibility waiver, which includes asking the U.S. Department of Education for the same two year reprieve that 48 other states have received, which allows Districts freedom and flexibility to use Title I funds to benefit students in other ways.
  •   Fund additional dropout prevention and student support initiatives that keep students engaged through graduation by implementing comprehensive guidance and counseling, effective interventions and support for at risk youth.
  •   Fund strong and equitable educator professional learning systems across State; increase investment in regional professional learning infrastructure (supports statewide secondary level English language arts (ELA), elementary level math and science coordinators; and teacher leader fellows network that funds substitute teacher costs for five annual regional professional learning workshops.
  •   Improve technology literacy initiatives to provide students with meaningful technology.
  •   Enable learning to address inequity within the district’s students access to adequate technology supports.
 But, I had said this document lacked the phrase "K-12" which IS the only state-funded mandate for our district.  I have a feeling that leaving it out is no accident.  It's just as easy to put in and yet, it's not there.

- Grant from Gates Foundation for a preschool at Bailey-Gatzert.  
This had me wondering last week because, in a draft of this Board agenda, it had a different name with no reference to the Gates Foundation.  That was quite odd.

Of course, the big difference from when we last saw this item is that the City's preschool measure, 1B, has passed.

It is understood by the funder that Seattle Public Schools will determine external sustainable funding by the end of Year 3 or programming will be discontinued. Internal funding will not be requested.

Well, whether the Gates Foundation or the City "request" the funding, the big pressure will be on to keep any preschool once it is opened.  And as head of Early Learning, Cashel Toner, put it at the last Board meeting, "It would be heartbreaking" to take away the program once started.

Well, I think it would be heartbreaking for the district to be on the hook to fund a program that is NOT part of its mandate.  The State or City should fund it if they want to keep it and the district should just say that upfront.

Gates would fund Year One and then the City would take over, via their new preschool program, for  Years Two and Three.  After that, well, it's on the district.  It's unclear to me why the City would not fund a preschool classroom that they created but that is NOT in the proposal.

There is a LOT of blended talking in the proposal to the point where I'm not sure where the district's words start and the City's end.  

As well, in the district's application for the grant there is this (bold mine):

Creating PreKindergarten – 5th grade elementary schools within the Seattle Public School system will achieve the following outcomes:
1) Higher graduation rates, decreased costs for special education, grade repetition and criminal justice.

2) Equitable access to high quality PreKindergarten for children of all income levels

3) Expanded high-quality programming, resulting in greater availability of PreKindergarten

4) Children will experience fewer transitions between PreKindergarten and K-12

5) Aligned instructional practices, resources, and supervision

6) Increased family engagement and family support services 

It is my observation in the world of public education that to say "will achieve" in any situation is folly.  The district can make no such guarantees.  It can be a "goal" or "a hope" but "will?"  No. 

It also says this:

Seattle Public Schools has an opportunity to use our institutional and academic expertise to lead this work and design a model high quality program.
Really?  Because I have never read that SPS will be doing this.  Never.  The City is designing the program and may include the district but now the district is doing it?

Allowing the PreKindergarten classrooms to be taught, supervised, enrolled, and supported, by Seattle Public Schools deepens the alignment opportunity and streamlines resources. 
What? That is not what was said during the 1B campaign. SPS will be enrolling these kids?  Won't that be an added cost to SPS for enrollment services?  Who's paying for that?

I also realize that a lot of this "Bailey Gatzert has no preschool" is true BUT that BTA III had dollars for four Title I schools, including B-G, to have their facilities altered to include a preschool. It was in the capital projects plan all along.

Intro Items
- Highly Capable program policy
- resolution for a 2-year temporary waiver from high school graduation req'mts. 
Thursday, November 20th
Operations Committee Meeting from 4:30-6:30 pm.  Agenda not yet available.

Saturday, November 22
Community Meeting with Director Patu from 10 am to 11:30 am at Caffe Vita.

12 comments:

Charlie Mas said...

Regarding the proposed policy 2190.

It says that "all Highly Capable and Advanced Learners will have equitable access to academically challenging and appropriate programs and services" but that isn't true so long as Spectrum is not right-sized. Are we to believe that students living in the attendance area for Spectrum schools will have no better access to the Spectrum program than students living outside that school's attendance area? Are we to believe that students in all parts of the district will have equitable access to Spectrum when some programs are full with a waiting list and other programs are practically empty?

The who middle section with the A, B, C, D objectives for the programs and services is not HC specific. We should want those things for all students. They are going to have a very hard time assessing their accomplishment of those goals.

The policy says who will be in the programs, but it doesn't say what the programs will offer. It offers no promise to families and offers them no recourse if they don't think their child is being adequately served.

Wondering said...

21
Strategic sourcing as a percent of total spend Pegi McEvoy
6.3%
8.0%
18.0%
16.0%
17%
21%

What exactly is Strategic sourcing? The number of total spend goes from 6.3& yo 21%.

ODD said...

Will the Alliance's event be televised? If no, why not?

I'm finding it odd that the Alliance would receive this speech- first.

Why are there two events?

Melissa Westbrook said...

ODD, no, the Alliance's event won't be televised because, in essence, it's private. I mean Murray, Burgess and every other person up the food chain will be there but allow the actual taxpayers and parents of Seattle to hear the Superintendent's words about this district?

No, that's for special people to hear first.

I wonder if any media types are covering this or will point this out.

The Alliance started the idea of a state of the district speech (to the best of my recollection). It's a fine idea but the Alliance wanted to shape and control it and they do, down to where it is and who gets in.

There are two event because I pointed out to the Board how bad this looks and a second one got hastily added. But, clearly, it the lesser one.

Odd said...

Does any other governing entity give a speech with, essentially, the Chamber of Commerce before presenting to the general public?

odd said...

"ODD, no, the Alliance's event won't be televised because, in essence, it's private."

SPS is a public entity and I'm finding this extremely odd.

Need Clarity said...

"2015 State Legislative Agenda
1. Operating Budget Funding – Provide state funding to enable school districts to provide a high quality education for all students. With the full state funding of basic education, current local funds will be available for local programs intended to close the achievement gap and increase graduation rates."

The Legislative Agenda calls for funding ALL students. The board needs to clarify whether or not they intend to support expanded definition of basic ed..to include prek.

Will local funds be used to expand prek? With the city, one never knows. The city could also use those dollars for charter school start-up costs, and Family and Ed. dollars are available for charter schools.

Patrick said...

So wildly inappropriate! Like the President giving the State of the Union speech first in private to a select group of his/her major campaign donors at one of their places of business.

Anonymous said...

People who feel special because of their economic resources want to be catered to. That's the bottom line of the Alliance SOTS. It's kowtowing to the wealthy Business Set (and the Politicians who live by their campaign funding) by stroking their egos with an exclusive event.

It's not worth getting bent out of shape about because the presentation is inevitably good news marketing fluff and a lot of staff scurrying around to look important. There won't be an iota of critical policy work unveiled. There will be a powerpoint! (Which makes me think it really is unfair that the public second event doesn't offer alcohol LOL)

All the Alliance wants out of the event is potential new donors and probably a checkmark on their Performance Matrix to justify their very generous salaries. All staff wants out of the second event is for their bosses to notice that they were present.

Skip both events and spend the equivalent time attending a board meeting or workshop. Better yet, spend equivalent time volunteering in an SPS school.

And next year, why not a midday press conference and press release. 30 minutes to present the latest district marketing fluff, easy distribution of that information via reporters, and more time for most central staff to work on the laundry list of much more pressing matters.

The Alliance can still fund a holiday wine and cheese for their donors, the vast majority of whom have no clue or desire to get into the nittygritty of SPS anyhow. The Alliance can still have a powerpoint if their patrons are unable to function without one.


Veteran Reader

Odd said...

I agree with Patrick.

mirmac1 said...

The event tonight was interesting. I thought it would be oppressive but it was actually quite liberating. It was an all around pleasant experience. Dr. Nyland gave a good presentation that noted the successes and recognized the very real challenges - SpEd first and foremost. His presentation was worthy of applause.

I could go on with my usual snark but I'll leave it that I found Nyland's remarks hit a balance between certain "stakeholder" interests and the real goal of providing quality K-12 education for the children of Seattle, including (I hope) students with disabilitis.

I saw far more SPS staff, than any other group. Of the others I quickly gravitated to those who were there either as parents or teachers) than for any other reason. They were a treat to meet and talk about how to help those who need help in our district.

It was titillating to hear subliminal messages about the City and District as one...village(?). The Mayor's entourage (and it was one) was remote. I saw Tim Burgess leave alone. Many SPS administrators were quite friendly and welcoming. They know based on my work that I don't want to burn the place down, and that I will be the first to support them in efforts that directly benefit students.

Now to the important work of properly engaging SpEd families and living up to the rights and goals of students with disabilities, under IDEA. Including privacy.

Charlie Mas said...

The State of the Union is required by the Constitution.

The State of the District was started by the Alliance as an Alliance event.

They are not comparable.