Sunday, November 30, 2014

Seattle Schools This Week

 Monday, December 1st
 Want to get on the Speakers list for the Wednesday Board meeting?  They take e-mails/phone calls starting at 8 am (not before so don't bother).  Phone: 252-0040 or
Coffee Chat with Superintendent Nyland at Neighborhood House High Point from 6-7 pm.  The notice states:

Dr. Nyland looks forward to listening to your feedback, concerns, and questions.

So I think bring any and all input and questions.

Community Meeting with Director McLaren at Neighborhood House High Point from 7-8 pm.

Wednesday, December 3rd
Early enrollment for kindergarten - Kindergarten Enrollment Night at Dearborn Park Elementary from 5:30-7:00 p.m.

Please note that you may attend any event -- whether it is held at your neighborhood school or not.  (The district link does not provide a list of all these events so I'll wait for them to get that done so I can post it.)

School Board meeting starting at 4:15 p.m.  Agenda

Under "Board Comments" it states:

Narratives of Superintendent and Board Evaluations (to be posted on Monday, December 1st). 
So I venture that we don't get to know how the Superintendent - that the Board wants to unilaterally install that night - is doing.  
Election of Officers - Yes, in addition to the Superintendent vote, the Board is voting in new officers.  I suspect the entire roster will change because I truly doubt Sharon Peaslee will remain Board president.  My vote would go to Sherry Carr but it's hard to guess.
Superintendent Vote - And here's a question: why didn't the Board go with the middle road?  Meaning, extend Nyland's contract six months and revisit the issue?  You would have a better idea of how he's doing AND allow the next Board election to happen (with the majority of seats up for grabs) and let THAT Board figure it out?  It's not my favorite idea but it's better than what is being offered.
Action Items:

- repeal of old Highly Capable policy and adoption of new one
- amendment to policy for the Disciplinary Appeal Council

The amended policy makes it clear that all students with special needs, including students receiving Special Education, bilingual, or other special programs or services, will have the additional resource of a knowledgeable staff person from that program or service area present at the hearing to advise the Disciplinary Appeal Council (DAC) panel regarding legal or similar issues that must be considered while making their decision. 

- request for a waiver from the new state requirement for 24 credits for high school graduation.  

In order to allow for planning and implementation of a schedule conducive to a 24 credit requirement, Seattle Public Schools is requesting a two-year temporary waiver to delay the implementation of WAC 180-51-068 until the graduating class of 2021, as provided for by the legislation. 

A two-year temporary waiver from WAC 180-51-068 allows for needed time to analyze our current system and research, evaluate, communicate, educate and implement the structures that will foster the systemic learning model and opportunities for students in Seattle Public Schools. 

According to the Seattle Times, two other districts have requested this waiver, Longview and Snohomish.  Both their waivers have been approved and other districts are also considering this move.

- Award of contract for purchase of computers for online testing.

This one STILL does not have a dollar figure with it and is, according to the BAR timeline, seems to be way behind.  It does not appear that the RFP has been sent out.  

So schools may not see these computers until literally right before testing starts. 
  1. a)  Request For Proposal - Oct. 2014
  2. b)  Receipt of Demo/Review units from manufacturers- Oct. 2014
  3. c)  Technical and User Experience Testing & Evaluation- Oct. 2014
  4. d)  Vendor Selection and Board Approval- November 2014
  5. e)  Receipt of Equipment- Dec. 2014
  6. f)  Configuration and Distribution to Schools- Jan. 2014
It appears they are going for Chromebooks with these interesting notations:

Information Security: SPS has historically been extremely concerned about the potential misuse or access of personal student information. Google managing this centrally and (per latest reports) will disable tracking and “data mining” for a cost of $35/device/year.

I have not heard a lot about this "extreme concern" for student information.  And that cost for Google to protect that data?  

IMPORTANT NOTE: While it is anticipated that the purchase of the computers and keyboards identified above, combined with what is currently available at each school, combined with additional devices that may be purchase by Parent/Teach Associations over the coming months, will meet the minimum SPS quantity needs for SBA, it is highly recommended that the District identify additional funding to purchase additional devices, and improve the student/device ratio for both SBA and Classroom/Lab instruction. 
Yoo hoo, PTAs.  Could you provide funds so that your school has more devices?  

Intro Items

Includes Growth Boundaries for SAP, transportation, and several BEX/BTA issues. 

After these items, the Board will go into Executive Session to consider a bid for the Federal Reserve building, now under auction planning.  Again, where will that money come from?

One additional note: it appears that Director Peaslee will finally have a community meeting, next Tuesday at the Northgate Library from 6-7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 6th
 Board Retreat from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at JSCEE.  Open to the public.


Anonymous said...

Melissa, actually it looks like they are recommending against Chromebooks.

Half Full

Paul Bunyan said...

It is worth noting that this language was taken from the Gates contract. P5 also means prenatal to 5th grade. The language in the Gates grant is intended to create prenatal-5th grade charter schools, which are similar to the Harlem Children's Zone.

"This investment will support implementing a P-5 campus at Bailey Gatzert Elementary in September, 2014, as well as expansion of the P-5 model with Seattle Public Schools (dependent upon available capacity). This investment will also support the following systems-building efforts: increasing capacity within the SPS Early Learning Department to develop a three year plan for P-5 schools, reinforcing principals’ P-5 pedagogy and leadership, collaboration with the City’s Office of Education to build a more robust PreK-5 working group, coordination with the Educare/White Center Heights P-5 campus in Highline Public Schools to benefit from their lessons learned, and improvement of regional communication systems regarding P-5 approaches. This proposal will support initial costs of implementation, with the understanding that Seattle Public Schools will identify sustainable funding streams."

With the exception of Patu and Peters, when is the board going to wake-up?

Paul Bunyan said...

The board can insert language into the Partnership Agreement- wink, wink, it is a done deal- that would disallow the city from placing charter prek classes into SPS properties, but the city will not accept that deal.

Paul Bunyan said...

....or the Gates grant will be in effect and the board will have lost control of the process.

Let's remember district staff testimony regarding the "intention of the grant".

The board was warned.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I have read the WA state charter law. I do not see how there can even be charter pre-k under it. It specifically says "K-12."

So a charter pre-k certainly could, with Pre-K fed, state or city money, attempt to come into an SPS school but they could not get funding under charter law.

Most of the research I did on this show alignment between an existing charter and a charter pre-k. I'm not sure - for alignment - SPS would want a charter pre-k which likely would have its own focus which may be contrary to the SPS school.

As well, a charter pre-K is kind of charter in name only because they can charge tuition and our state law prohibits tuition charges for charter schools.

Anonymous said...

Re: the computer purchase, is the board really expected to vote to approve a contract with an unknown entity for an unspecified number of an unspecified product, at an unspecified price??? Is this really how things are done in SPS?

Half Full

Anonymous said...

I have a question about "Resolution 2014/15-09: Certifying that the New Middle School at Wilson-Pacific will not create or aggravate a racial imbalance."

The BAR says "The HCC-adjusted ethnicity percentage for future Wilson-Pacific attendance area would be 44% minority." This might be the case for the geographic boundary area of the new school, but since the school is expected to be an HCC site, it seems like geography-based race/ethnicity demographics are not appropriate to use, and that historic HCC demographics should form the basis for these projections instead. The BAR says the school is expected to house 953 HCC students. Do they really expect it to be 44% minority then? I understand that HCC needs a site, but I'd like to know SPS is using valid data in its official resolutions for state funding...

Half Full

Anonymous said...

No other school has a resolution about racial balancing.

And that would seem to be completely and totally unenforceable under the same Supreme Court decision that stopped Seattle's busing.

What gives?

signed: confused

Melissa Westbrook said...

Half Full, I'm a bit confused about whether they have selected a vendor or not. If they have, expect that to get filled in on Tuesday. Staff frequently leaves numbers off until the last minute.

Confused, that is not true. Go back thru the Board agendas and you will see all the redone schools have them. It's some kind of state reg.

Anonymous said...

Bryant is unveiling a new ALO plan on Wednesday night at 6:30. Might be interesting information for other ALO schools. Bryant has a very high population of advanced learners and hangs onto a fair number of HCC learners.

Bryant dad

Anonymous said...

The Bryant website states one of changes will be the report card. No longer a different one for ALO students. How does Bryant keep its HC parents happy?


Lynn said...

The Superintendent's November 21st Friday Memo to the board included this nonsense:

Lunch and Recess – We continue to work on compiling this information from each of the
schools. As mentioned at the board meeting, it is complex and we are squeezed by: state seat
time requirements; teacher contracts that limit the length of the school day; need for professional
development time; and in many cases facilities (small lunch rooms) or logistics (how long it
takes to get through the lunch line). We will continue to work on complying with the board
policy on lunches (20 minutes of actual lunch time) but that could well come at the expense of
. Ultimately, it seems that this is a cost issue. Adding 5 minutes to the teacher day
represents a cost of about $1 M.

Instructional hours as reported to the state are inclusive of intermissions for class changes (up to 10 minutes)in secondary schools, recess, and teacher-parent/guardian conferences. They are exclusive of time actually spent for meals.

Our elementary students are in school for 370 minutes a day and 177 days a year. We can allow 30 minutes for meals and still meet the instructional hours requirement. We could also allow an appropriate amount of time for recess. (I think that would be 15 min am, 30 min before lunch and 15 min pm). I don't see how the SEA contract would be affected by whether they spend that time in the classroom or on the playground with their students.

Anonymous said...

Bryant keeps its HC parents happy because it's located in Bryant! That would be my best guess. Bryant neglects advanced learners quite thoroughly, at least in our experience. Their website says the report card change was approved by Advanced Learning. I wonder if any representatives will be a their forum to try to discuss or defend ALO?

Former Bryant

Anonymous said...

Just curious - the personnel report attached to this week's Board agenda includes a new hire at the Deputy Supt. Level with job listed as "Manager Senior Project" - anyone what might that refer to?


Anonymous said...

ALO report cards are no longer necessary to maintain HCC eligibility, so that's probably why they are dropping them. Easier on the teachers.

Also, with the CCSS it seems HCC (and I assume ALO, to the extent anything is consistent across the board) will be targeting grade level standards. The old ALO report cards are based on above grade level standards.