Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday Open Thread

It appears the Board agreed to bid on the Federal Reserve building.  Interesting thing, though, is that the feds have lower the opening bid from $3M to $1M.

On the one hand, the district could get themselves quite the bargain if no one else bids.  Or, it may go Ebay style and have multiple last minute bidders.  The district is paying for its own appraisal and can go 10% over that amount (with these "capital reserves" that are apparently sitting around).  I'll try to find out what that amount is.  (If the district is successful, look for this project to be number one with a bullet on BEX V.)

The district is looking for members for a taskforce on the new 24-credit graduation requirement.

In January 2015, the Washington State Board of Education approved the district’s request for a two-year waiver of the new requirement, which will increase the number of course credits needed for graduation from 20 to 24. Seattle Public Schools students currently are required to earn 21 credits.

The new rule was due to take effect with the graduating class of 2019, but with the waiver will now take effect for the graduating class of 2021 (current sixth-graders). 


To note (bold mine):

While many of our students do earn 24 credits, the new requirement leaves no room to recover credits for students who may fail a course or want to access additional courses.

The waiver affords the district an opportunity to rethink its systems for high school students, which may include revisions to schedules. Community members, staff or students interested in serving on the task force should send an email expressing interest by Feb. 20, 2015, to Erin Stoen, Director of College & Career Readiness, at emstoen@seattleschools.org.


The district has also annnounced that the whole district is now totally wireless.  

Tomorrow there is just one community meeting with Director Peters at the Magnolia Library from
11 am to 1 pm.

What's on your mind?

44 comments:

Carolyn Leith said...

More on Bill 1497

Bill 1497: Looks like Mayor Murray wants to run the school district now

Anonymous said...

They won't tell you what the appraisal amount was because then their hand is shown for how much they could bid, and other bidders would have an advantage. That's why they did their own appraisal and didn't go by the Fed's appraisal, so the amount is secret.

Just sayin'

Anonymous said...

It appears that the vast majority of civil rights groups as well as disability advocacy groups are lining up in opposition to proposals to reduce annual state testing for ESEA/NCLB.

Even Sen. Elizabeth Warren is opposed to getting rid of annual accountability testing, per her statements at the Senate HELP Committee hearing on testing this past Wednesday.

--- swk

Lori said...

As someone with a student in the class of 2021, I'm intrigued by the language in the task force announcement, to say the least.

Current 6th graders will be the first class that needs 24 credits to graduate. Getting 24 credits is apparently already challenging for some students with the 6-period school day. Add in the coming capacity crisis at the high school level, which is particularly acute in 2017 and 2018 in the northend (ie, before Lincoln comes back on line in 2019), and there seems to be no other option but to do extended day high school. Seriously, how else do you increase course requirements in an era of extreme undercapacity? Are there other viable options?

I wonder when they'll start to really draw out what all of this means for families. Class of 2021 starts high school in just 2 years! Where are they all going in the northend and what does their school day look like?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Just Sayin', yes I may not find out before the Jan. 28th deadline but yes, they DO have to tell me at some point. It's public money.

Anonymous said...

Lori,

Part of the problem is that Wa state graduation requirements are not the same as college entrance requirements. Also different colleges have different requirements & your student may want to have those options.

Many students already end up taking some required courses online or at community college in order to fit in both sets of requirements. High schools waive some graduation requirements or allow outside experience to count as credit. For example, students might volunteer in the school counseling office to get occ ed credits. I don't know too many students going to 4 year colleges who were able to fulfill all the graduation plus entrance requirements with-in the 6 period school day. It is already a problem.

-HS Parent

Anonymous said...

I'm with Lori on this one--they need to be thinking about HS requirements in the context of HS capacity. This would be a good time for Teaching and Learning and the facilities planning staff to release updated projections for the next 5 yrs re high school enrollment, and to inform us of what options are under consideration to address any capacity shortfalls. If it doesn't come out sooner, hopefully the HS grad requirement folks will demand this information. I don't see how they could do their work without it.

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

I don't know too many students going to 4 year colleges who were able to fulfill all the graduation plus entrance requirements with-in the 6 period school day. It is already a problem.

Wow, HS Parent, that is troubling. Our schools don't even provide the opportunity to fulfill basic 4-yr college admission requirements??? Depressing. We have to change that.

HIMSmom

Watching said...

The board needs a clear funding mechanism for the Federal Reserve bld. As I recall, there is no mechanism to pay for the John Stanford Center after 2018.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Watching, they claim they do - it's those "capital reserves." As for JSCEE, I believe it's actually 2017. President Carr likes to wring her hands over this one but you have to wonder.

Anonymous said...

Here is a comparison between the new state minimum high school graduation requirements and the minimum college admission requirements:

Graduation Core 24 and CADRs

--- swk

Po3 said...

Students are able to fulfill college requirements w/o online and/or Running Start. Saying otherwise is wrong and just creates panic.

Here is the pathway grid, which shows that 4-year colleges and universities look for 15 core credits.

The bump is for the selective colleges, they require 23 core credits. Students seeking admissions into these schools could also fullfill their requirements in a 6-period day over 4-years, but probably will need to give up electives along the way or take online or Running Start - but it is a choice they are making, it is not because the 4 year highschool pathway doesn't allow for it.

http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Graduation%20Credit%20Requirements%20NELA%20-%20Know2Go%20-%206_11_14.pdf?sessionid=796b94bbf3ca6035d28a8820efc91952

Anonymous said...

Wow, Po3, this might be the first time we are in total agreement.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

I assume that HS Parent was referring to challenges in getting access to all the HS classes one needs, given how overcrowding can impact schedules, no?

There's a lot more alignment between the new Core 24 and the CADRs, which is good. A student who takes everything in the core 24 including 2 years of a foreign language will be in good shape. But given the areas in which the Core 24 reqts exceed the CADRs (extra science and extra art, plus also need some health/fitness and occupational ed), students don't have much flexibility in their schedules. If things don't always work out neatly so they can get what they need on the appropriate timeline, it could get ugly. As overcrowding increases, that's likely to become more of a concern, no?

@Po3, it looks like your URL is for an outdated table. It doesn't reflect the 24-credit requirement we're discussing.

Yes, it's definitely possible to fulfill all the college requirements in a 24-credit HS program. The question is whether or not all students are able to get those classes when needed. If kids are forced to look outside SPS to get the core classes they need--due to scheduling challenges or overcrowding or course cancellations or whatever--that's a problem, no? If some kids are facing that challenge now, under the current requirements, it's likely to be worse in a few years, when there are not only more requirements, but also greater obstacles due to overcrowding. That's my concern--but I'm happy to be reassured that it won't be an issue, so by all means bring on the data to support it!

HIMSmom

Po3 said...

The core college entrance requirements are not changing, so the document is still a good guideline to use when planning your child's pathway.

I have never heard of a student not being able to fullfill the 15 core credits required by universities/colleges - now maybe the 21 core credits are a problem for those students wanting to apply to selective schools.

I don't know of any students who are being forced to take core classes outside of school.

I know many students who choose to take core classes as well as electives outside of school for many different reasons.

There is a difference.

As far as overcrowding at high schools, with Lincoln coming online and several new charters in the pipeline I am not convinced it will be as dire we may think.

And no I am not a charter supporter, I just know they are here and families will choose them and that will impact capacity at the high school level.

Anonymous said...

When you just say there are only 15 core required by colleges, that makes it sound like it should be easy to get them if you have 24 credits worth of opportunities, no? But do you see the potential issue when the Core 24 places increased restrictions on what you take? Instead of the current 5.5 credits of electives under the current requirements--which allows a lot more flexibility in how you obtain those 15 core college reqts--students under the new plan will have to spend additional time in classes that don't contribute to that core 15 and thus only have 2 units of electives. That's not a lot of wiggle room.

I hope you're right re: HS capacity. Lincoln won't really come online in time for my kid, and it sounds like things are already tight. I'd love to see some capacity projections that support your optimism!

HIMSmom

Lori said...

So far, the charter high schools that we know about will be relatively small and in the south end.

Lincoln doesn't open as a high school until 2019.

And, according to FACMAC's numbers about a year ago, the north end of the city will be short 1600 seats the year *before* Lincoln opens and still 500 seats short after Lincoln opens.

I guess that because I've been going to community meetings about capacity for 6 years now, starting when we enrolled in Kindergarten, and I've seen all the predictions come true (programs growing out of their buildings, interim locations, no room at the middle school), it's hard for me to think there isn't anything to worry about at the high school level.

mirmac1 said...

Friday Memo has some interesting tidbits:

http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Departmental%20Content/school%20board/Friday%20Memos/2014-15/January%2016/20150116_FridayMemo.pdf

Anonymous said...

ASB funds. Does anyone know what is required to be reimbursed from ASB? I bought items used as part of a fundraiser for a sport group. The kids participated so the funds raised go in the ASB account for the sport. I submitted receipts for the items I purchased for the event, but they are saying I need to submit credit card statements too. Is that normal? It is obvious the items were purchased and received because we gave them out during the fundraiser. Why would they need more than the receipts? The credit card statements have too much private information on them for me to be willing to hand them over.

HP

Anonymous said...

Well, you can go look at the common data sets of each college your child is interested in. You will find that they expect more than the CADR chart shows. Some require very specific courses for certain majors (like high school chemistry & physics for engineering), or require a specific number of credits in one subject pathway (like 3 years of the same language or 2 years of the same art). Some don't look at credits the same way your high school does, like Speech may not count as English credit & ASL may not count for foreign language.

Remember that various Seattle High schools have added their own graduation requirements too.

Colleges also tell prospective applicants that the most important factor in admission is to take the hardest possible classes available in their school. 'Taking the first couple of years of a subject & then stopping before hitting the AP/IB or Honors level makes a student look like a slacker' according to one admissions officer. Not taking a 4th year of math & science won't persuade an admissions committee that your student is really interested in STEM major.


The students I know felt they needed 4 years of math, la, history, science, 3-4 of foreign lang, 2 of arts for the colleges they were interested in. Add in the required PE, personal fitness, health & occ ed. Then it gets sticky even if you are not taking music. Also many kids are required to take a study skills class each quarter to keep their IEP. So most students I know took some classes of health, PE, personal fitness, art & occ ed outside of school.

I would do my own homework on the colleges you want to consider; don't depend on CADR. Even the UW is pretty competitive these days. Just look what their common data set says.




-HS parent

Anonymous said...

"As far as overcrowding at high schools, with Lincoln coming online and several new charters in the pipeline I am not convinced it will be as dire we may think. "

until you some families are mapped out of Roosevelt with the new HS assignment plan...oh the howling

ParentofThree

Po3 said...

The only thing that concerns me about the Core-24 is Career Concentration going from 1-3 credits. I think this is the one place where students could get jammed up and schools will struggle to meet the demand, just in terms of being able to offer additional classes. They may need to include a 4th year or math or science under this umbrella.

Anonymous said...

"Capital requests for Seattle include one project for growth and attention to several distressed buildings..."

From Dr. Nyland's Friday Memo.

Will he share with the crowd, please?

WHAT is the MOST pressing capacity problem (unmitigated) in this District (and why -- i.e., data). WHAT is he envisioning doing to FIX it? WHEN will it get fixed, and, with WHAT dollars and HOW MANY dollars?

WHY DOESN'T HE TELL US?


My bet? They are prioritizing the downtown school. Why? Did you see the smug Jan. 2 2015 Jon Scholes (CEO of the Downtown Seattle Association) interview in the Puget Sound Business Journal?

Yeah, the fix is in.

Despite having several REAL capacity problems RIGHT NOW, despite Mr. Joe Wolf, head of K-12 Facilities Planning, telling the Ops committee the worse problem was high school north, the District, or better put, Flip Herndon, is focusing his staff on the downtown (is there some political patronage appoint he'll get after he delivers this?). Even though Lowell sits there, half empty... Why doesn't the Board REJECT this play??? WHY OH WHY??? (I guess I know the answer, when you have Marty who specializes in deference, and, Sharon who doesn't care unless it is about her precious K8, and Stephan who is arrogant, and Sherry who seems to have lost her mind... who is left to turn this hulking ship around from plowing into the iceberg? Harium? I think not).

Sorry, high school north, no fix for you! Sorry, West Seattle, your middle school crisis is a couple of years away with no fix! Sorry, Ballard elementary, portable saturation and beyond is coming your way soon!

The arrogance and incompetence -- which is worse?

My second bet? The next ask, after downtown is Magnolia. Why? Because it is low hanging fruit. They own it and it is empty. Not because it is the best solution to the worst problem. Just because it is 'd-able'. So lame. It is so obvious the way this 'team' 'think'.

Does anyone trust them to bring on Lincoln High School? With no field? No track?

Parents of current 5th graders who are destined for Ballard and Roosevelt, look out! They will be coming for your kids, to geo-split them out into "Lincoln" to be the inaugural 10th graders. You are the ones who will experience the most instability. Watch out.


Facilities Planning

seattle citizen said...

Also coming soon is demand for more instructional time. HSs are being told to start planning for 1080 hours per year, rather than current...1040? average hours. This on top of 24 credit schedules. Lots of churn. What else is new.

Lynn said...

Speaking of instructional hours, Garfield had a two hour late start today. Freshman and their parents attended a program on Restorative Justice. (Just one of six freshman family engagement mornings scheduled for the year.)

Is there a limit to the number of hours students can be kept out of school while others take exams or attend family engagement meetings?



seattle citizen said...

Lynn, I believe OSPI will be looking a bit more cloly at this issue of non-instructional time as ROW on seat time tells districts to up the averages. I don't know if SPS has policy on this, but imagine schools are all over the map in deciding what counts as "instructional time." Is silent reading? Is an all-school pep assembly? State test time?....Freshman-only programs, with parents (and the whole school had a late start because of that?)

Anonymous said...

HS Parent said:

"Colleges also tell prospective applicants that the most important factor in admission is to take the hardest possible classes available in their school. 'Taking the first couple of years of a subject & then stopping before hitting the AP/IB or Honors level makes a student look like a slacker' according to one admissions officer. Not taking a 4th year of math & science won't persuade an admissions committee that your student is really interested in STEM major."
--
Agreed, 100 percent. If my daughter's experience is representative, then every parent of every high school student who has college in mind should print out this paragraph, and put it up on the wall, where their student is reminded of it every day.

Jumping into Running Start with a full load after 10th grade -- taking NO high school classes except for PE -- got my daughter a full scholarship to UW, and the UW Admissions and Financial Aid people were not shy about telling us that had been the major determining factor, along with her making the Dean's List at the community college level.

-- Ivan Weiss

seattle citizen said...

Reflecting on instructional time mandates (an increase to 1080 hours) it's important to factor in that the US demands far and away the most instructional time by teachers compared to other developed countries. Teachers here are already in front of students over 1000 hours per year, while other countries are in the 650 hour range. Teachers in other countries are given much, much more paid non-instructional time to plan, collaborate, watch each other teach, take PD classes....grade....
So if we want to a) lower class sizes; b) increase credit requirements; c) increase instruction time; AND d) give teachers the non-instruction time they really, really need (and not ask them to sub for absent teachers during their prep periods due to a lack of subs) then we need to spend much, much more money. Will we do this, or will we continue to pile more "reforms," hours of instructional time, and accusations of teachers being lazy or part of the status quo onto our educators?
Want a good education system? Pay for it. Or turn it into a digitized, "adaptive program" on laptops. That'l save those pesky labor costs. After all, even though Bill Gates told students at Lakeside that the great thing about his school was the small classes that allowed human relationship between teacher and student, he later told all us peons that class size doesn't matter: stick the kids in front of a wonder Microsoft prodcut and the data will do the rest.

Kate said...

On my mind is this article from the New Yorker. While it's about Jeb Bush, it's really about ed reform as the nexus of profit, data and politics. Wow, if we could claw back all of these profits that are being sucked out of public education we'd probably be a long way towards adequately funding it. Link:

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/01/26/testing-time?utm_source=tny&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=dailyemail&mbid=nl_012215_Daily&CNDID=28155562&spMailingID=7443737&spUserID=NTE4MjYwMDQ3MDMS1&spJobID=602743913&spReportId=NjAyNzQzOTEzS0

Melissa Westbrook said...

Jeb Bush is a very dangerous person for public education. On that single issue alone, I oppose him.

Kate said...

And how much money and data are Amplify (that is, Murdoch) and Pearson pulling out of our district?

seattle citizen said...

That New Yorker article is a horrifyingly concise look at the privatization of public schools. *shudder* The only relief in reading it was the cartoon of the young boy telling the young girl that her sharing at show and tell was "brave." Yay!

mirmac1 said...

The project for growth is the Magnolia building.

mirmac1 said...

Kate, here's a shorter link to that NY article

http://nyr.kr/1EFtBBX

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I know it is Magnolia, but

WHY

(where is their precious 'data driven' decision justification? Oh yeah, no where, they didn't do it. Good job, Flip.)

and

HOW

(who is going where? how does QA/Mag get high school capacity - because that is something they happen to be missing...)

I am kind of in shock that the active folks of QA seem not to be at the headwaters of this 'conversation'.

Conversation is in quotes because... since when did the District actual REALLY ask the parents what makes the most sense given the constraints, the needs, the enrollment numbers, the residential growth, the costs, the capacity, and the ability to place portables? Oh, and, ha ha, preschool?


The elephant, it is so very, very large.



not optomistic

Anonymous said...

Not optimistic,
I think QA and Magnolia are not at the headwaters of high school capacity issue because the enrollment bubble is just starting to hit middle school. Those parents are not aware of the looming crisis - it's just not on the radar. When I try to talk to people about it, I get puzzled looks. Plus there is a lot of confusion about enrollment in general...people hear that there are lottery seats and then stop listening, not realizing that in crowded schools such as Garfield, Ballard, and Roosevelt, the lottery is a figment of the imagination.

QA Mom

Anonymous said...

I wish they would look at the Amgen building for a possible high school. They could sell the old school building on top of Magnolia that is quite old. The Amgen building could be leased, would have up to date lab space and is near bike trails and public transportation. They would draw students from all over the city since it is a nice central location.

I have written Flip and the school board and only Sherry Carr expressed interest.

S parent

Ann D said...

HP wrote:

ASB funds. Does anyone know what is required to be reimbursed from ASB? I bought items used as part of a fundraiser for a sport group. The kids participated so the funds raised go in the ASB account for the sport. I submitted receipts for the items I purchased for the event, but they are saying I need to submit credit card statements too. Is that normal? It is obvious the items were purchased and received because we gave them out during the fundraiser. Why would they need more than the receipts? The credit card statements have too much private information on them for me to be willing to hand them over.


I am not trained in accounting but I've done research into expense management processes for work and it isn't standard to require more than receipts for expense reimbursement. Procedures can vary by organization, and typically there are rules such as requiring pre-authorization for certain types of expenses or over a certain dollar threshold. I also checked with my partner who has a background in finance and he said a credit card statement is not standard accounting procedures.

I expect that you are being asked for additional documentation by someone who has no training in accounting practices and has no idea what they are doing. I suggest you contact someone higher up the food chain if you aren't able to be reimbursed with the receipts. There can be limitations on how long you are able to submit receipts after a purchase so don't ignore it or you will be out cash and not even have the chance of being recognized for an in-kind donation should you decide that is what you would prefer to do.

seattle citizen said...

ASB and other pockets of student monies in schools were recently dinged for being haphazard. I imagine that the request for cc recep is because of that: building staff in charge of those funds being hyper-vigilant.

Anonymous said...

@ HP - You can also just photocopy your credit card statement and black out anything not pertinent to the reimbursement. Just leave your name visible and the relevant charges. - NP

Anonymous said...

Amgen building is BIG. 40 acre campus, 750,000 sq ft. office space. And new!

Here's geek wire's take:

http://www.geekwire.com/2014/amazon-coms-rd-lab-four-possible-ideas-amgens-beautiful-seattle-waterfront-campus/

Amazon, spaceX, SPS? Wouldn't that be a coup if we can do a co-location with one of these wonders and make it the STEM HS city and industry leaders talk so much about and do so little to support? (Think Raisbeck Aviation HS) But most likely, the best we'll get is on site day care. Oops, I mean quality preK.

reader

Watching said...

I've been trying to get support behind the Amgen building. It is new, has access to bus and bike lines/trails, would support the growth in Ballard, Magnolia and Queen Anne etc.

There is talk of U of W occupying this space, too. Lots of potential, here.

I am also advocating for the district to sell the John Stanford Center, which is a noose around the district's neck. The Amgen property has plenty of space for administrative staff and relocation is possible.

Admin Diversity said...

Does anyone know if Seattle Public Schools reports on the racial diversity of the central administration staff?

There are reports for students and teachers, but I cannot seem to find any reports for administration staff. If there are no reports, I am wondering why administration wouldn't report their own racial diversity profile, given that schools are required to produce it. If there are reports, I am wondering what they say, both overall for central administration staff and for the executive management.

Does anyone know?

Anonymous said...

I am with Watching on the Amgen building. The location is superb, right near the water. You could have an environmental high school here, with a focus on science. It would be a wonderful location for Q.A. and Magnolia families and we could give Ballard H.S. back to its own neighborhood.

Email Flip Herndon and the Board on this idea. I wish they would consider leasing at Amgen instead of a downtown location filled with asbestos.

The SPS administrative staff might also like this location better than the Stanford Center. Don’t let this opportunity be missed.

S parent