Sunday, January 11, 2015

Seattle Schools This Week

Updated from Sunday morning, 1/11, with two Tuesday, Jan. 13th events.

Monday, Jan. 12th
Financial Aid Event: College Goal Washington Financial Aid Event for Seniors at Franklin High School from 5-7 pm.

Curriculum & Instruction Committee Meeting from 4:30-6:30 pm. Agenda
A seemingly brief agenda for a two-hour meeting.  The total items seems to clock in at about an hour but two items,
  1. Special Education RC-CAP (Jessee/Clancy/Hanson)
  2. MTSS (Heath/Dysart)
would seem to need a lot longer than 10 minutes each. 
Tuesday, Jan. 13th
Financial Aid Event: College Goal Washington Financial Aid Event for Seniors at Cleveland High School from 2:30-6:30 pm.

UPDATE: Chief Sealth IHS PTSA meeting at 7pm in the Confucius Center for a discussion of the "blended" honors program.

Director for the region, Marty McLaren, is unable to attend.  She did say this in an e-mail to the CSIHS PTSA:

The challenges faced by IB staff and students have been on my radar for at least a couple of years, and I’m very invested in supporting IB more fully. On the other hand, realistically speaking, SPS is overextended in the sense that we can’t support all of our programs well, and we may need to make hard choices. Given that McCleary funding by the Legislature is a mystery at the moment, I suspect our strategy will be to delay cuts, as much as possible, in the hope that funding will be more adequate going forward. We’re pledged to use the Equity Lens in evaluating possible changes of any kind, district-wide.

UPDATE: Seattle Opt-Out Group meeting, Beacon Hill Library from 6-7:45 pm, everyone welcome.  Speaker is Professor Wayne Au from UW Bothell. 

We will be discussing high-stakes testing, the roll-out of Smarter Balanced Assessments in Seattle Public Schools, and the option that parents have to refuse them.  Also, actions that are planned around Seattle in the next month will be announced.   Seattle-Opt-Out is on Facebook
  Wednesday, Jan. 14th

Kindergarten Enrollment night from 5:30-7:00 pm at Concord Int'l School.  (Please note that you may attend any event -- whether it is held at your neighborhood school or not.)

Work Session on Resource Stewardship: Process Improvement/LEAN & Governance Priorities/Strategic Plan Update from 4:30-7:30.  Agenda

Quite the "everything but the kitchen sink" work session, no? And what is LEAN? Here's a paper, from a company that using LEAN for ed purposes, explaining it but in a nutshell (from the paper):

The Rand Study called for the Education Industry to adopt Lean Process Improvement Principles and reap the benefits other industries have realized. Lean Education Enterprises responded to this challenge by creating Le2 TM , the Lean Program specifically designed by a practicing licensed k- 12 educator and a Certified Lean Master to meet the unique needs of education.

Lean is a program of organizational improvement that empowers each and every worker in a school system – from student through superintendent – to increase their personal performance.

Here's quite the telling story from EdSurge:

Fail quickly. Fix quicker. If you’re an entrepreneur that mantra might sounds familiar, if you’re a teacher, not quite so. But just as many companies in Silicon Valley have been inspired by the book, The Lean StartupSummit Public Schools, which serve 400 students in grades 9th-10th grade in the San Jose area, is figuring out how to adopt and adapt this concept from the business environment to offer better learning experiences for their students. How are they doing this? With data, data, data and… data!

Because there is no presentation attached to the agenda, I'm not sure if this is exactly what they are talking about but I would guess so.

Hey, I'm all for a better-organized, leaner SPS but could someone tell me if the district is doing this work on their own OR is it buying into yet another consultant-laden initiative?  

The red flag for me is that they are tying this to "governance priorities."

If you look at the agenda, this work session is two parts:  Resource Stewardship: Process Improvement/LEAN and then,Governance Priorities/Strategic Plan Update. I don't know; maybe it's just a time-saving to put these two together but I don't think it's any accident.

Thursday, Jan. 15th
Financial Aid night for Seniors, 6-8 pm at Nathan Hale High.
Financial Aid night for Seniors, 6:30-8:30 pm at Chief Sealth

Operations Committee Meeting from 4:30-6:30 pm.  No agenda yet available.

No Saturday community meetings with any directors.  


Anonymous said...


Anybody else notice that the new-shiny "lean in" has been TRADEMARKED! Awesome!

Because it is TM, clearly, it has a big mystic and awesomeness and will obviously make all educators, umh, that's what you and me (the plebeians) quaintly call 'teachers', instantly awesome... as if they were stumbling in the dark before the big silicon brains explained to them how to 'lean in'.


How many teachers out there, in front of kids, think that the one thing, the most important thing, you need to be successful in reaching struggling kids is some guru who did a computing device start up in silicon valley telling you to 'lean in' (trade mark)?

What if instead of having 31 kids in a K-5 classroom, you had 15? Would that help you be a more effective teacher to the students in front of you? Especially the struggling ones? You know, more time per pupil in real time? What if the load of a secondary teacher was not over 150 students? Might they be able to do more than simply check out writing assignments were handed in? Actually correct them and give constructive feedback??

Nah, just 'lean in'.

Good luck with that.

This is what the staff at the glass palace do all day?

That explains a lot.

Maybe less staff at the glass palace means less interference and time wasting of actual teachers who are in front of actual kids. Maybe that is how we get classroom teachers to be effective with struggling kids: have fewer bodies in the glass palace.


Really LEAN said...

Will administrators PLEASE stop buying things and put the resources in our classrooms?(!)

Let's fund IB, dual language,provide new math for middle school, put teachers back into the classroom etc.

What is the cost of LEAN?

I'm absolutely confident that if McLeary is funded, we won't see dollars in our classrooms.

Christmas is over, folks!

Anonymous said...

Seems odd to have the special education topic on the agenda again, when they will merely repeat what was stated at last week's board meeting. What is the committee thinking it is going to accomplish?


Anonymous said...

They hope if they hear the same sweet nothings about special education enough times, it will just go away.


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

.."the Lean Program specifically designed by a practicing licensed k- 12 educator and a Certified Lean Master to meet the unique needs of education."

You've got to Google "Certified Lean Master".

Anonymous said...

"We’re pledged to use the Equity Lens in evaluating possible changes of any kind, district-wide." What does this mean?

Citing "equity" always seems to be the way to end discussion rather than start one.

My student is at Sealth. She's been told by one of her teachers that there will be changes to IB next year. Fees waived? Two levels of IB? Finally, that all students will be in some form of IB. She has not other details. She'ss not enrolled in IB this year. I'll contact Sealth and find out more.


Melissa Westbrook said...

"Citing "equity" always seems to be the way to end discussion rather than start one."


Anonymous said...

Special Education RC-CAP (Jessee/Clancy/Hanson)

OSPI CC 14-70 was forwarded to school board members on Jan 1st.

Only one member responded?

We offered to allow SPS to investigate if similar violations are occurring at every school forcing special education students to attend learning labs and studies skill class.

This a opportunity for SPS to step up and own their violations and voluntarily correct them.
If SPS does not respond timely then a CC will be filed against every middle and high school in SPS.

We are about to see what these NEW administrators are made of.


Anonymous said...

Lean In (TM)?

Maybe they'll all lean in so heavily, they'll tip over.

That would be great fun to watch.

If only.

--lean some more!

Anonymous said...

LEAN only works in a manufacturing environment. Go ask Boeing how LEAN worked outside of building didn't !

Flushing money!

Anonymous said...

Haha, at my organization, Lean has come and gone. It was replaced by "Respect for People."


Anonymous said...

A ministry for silly walks - could we just have that instead of LEAN?

TQM, ISO 2000, LEAN, "Respect for People", whatever. Teachers have been teaching kids for decades. Sometime well, sometimes not so well. The challenge is teaching children who are gathered together when the kids all face hungar and violence and lack emotional, physical, social and spiritual supports... well, I doubt those teachers in that context are very effective. And I doubt it's because the kids are lazy or stupid or the teacher are lazy or stupid. I think poverty is soul-sucking. And LEAN is not going to fix poverty. So that's why I prefer the silly walks. At least that would be entertaining.

-lean some more

BwaHaaaa said...


Exactly, I can't wait to hear the price tag attached to LEAN. I'm confident the price tag is anything but LEAN.

We have Nyland making $300K with benefits and multiple administrators in the $200K club (benefits included)...these individuals should already know this information.

Anonymous said...

Michael. Have you even read the complaint? The only resolution was to "have a V8". Err, I mean "have an IEP meeting", for 128 students. Same as every other OSPI finding. I expect they will change 128 (or was it 126) IEPs to match whatever they have. In point of fact, this finding is ridiculous. You seem to have the idea that they aren't going to have special ed classes, or maybe you just object to calling those classes a "learning lab". How will they deliver services, if not by having a class? They can pretty it up, but they will still have it. Are they supposed to have a different class for each of the 126 students? How exactly does that work.

Inquiring Mind

cmj said...

WASTE NOT, Lean isn't related to Lean in. It's a philosophy used in industry.

Lean is most typically used with manufacturing processes and aims to cut down on unnecessary steps in the process. For example, make sure that workers can easily access the supplies they need -- don't make them walk a few miles every day just to pick up supplies.

I'm not an expert in lean processes. I'm not sure how well it would translate to an educational setting. A lot of lean thinking is just common sense, but there are some major differences between a factory and a school.

Lean does have some good ideas that I'd like to see applied to schools
- catch mistakes/failure early. It's easier and less expensive to teach a struggling student how to read in third grade than to wait until they're in seventh grade.
- if your projects are going to fail, make sure they fail early. If your new textbooks are terrible, figure that out three months in, not two years in. Or start with a pilot project at one school -- don't find new textbooks and then make every school use them if you don't know that they'll work.
- simplify processes to avoid waste and duplication of effort. Make forms easy to find, easy to fill out, and easy to process.
- constantly work at improvement
- solicit opinion from the workers on how to improve processes. For schools, this would be teachers, students, and parents (the actual customers).

Anonymous said...

Sorry OSPI has ruled the Roosevelt "Learning Lab" as a sudo homework club and must change the class to provide SDI for all students. Downplay this all you want, but this is huge.

If RHS parents sit back and do nothing then you could be correct that nothing will change and to tell you the truth based on what I've personally seen parents except as services it's highly likely parents will sit on their collective hands and continue to look the other way. It really up to the students to band together get a lawyer and sue the living $ out of SPS.

If SPS students need an example of lack of social justice they need to look no further than SPS special education.


Anonymous said...

Michael. You might want to attend a homework club yourself, to fix your spelling and grammatical errors. Districts can definitely embed SDI into homework or class assignments. Aren't you the one who wants all your kids' SDI in-class? It will be embedded if that is the delivery method your IEP team chooses. A few tweaks to the learning lab and it will all be fine. No lawyer has ever done squat for special education. And your complaint also had very little substance. The district would do well to provide whatever it is that the 1 complainer asked for in this case. Not a big deal. Simply not.

Inquiring Mind

Anonymous said...

Right. Lean's good ideas. Industry's very own common sense primer. Really. Try Ben Franklin's Poor Richard's (or Aesop Fables or every nagging mom's mantra) like:

"Buy what thou has no need of and ere long thou shall sell thy necessaries."


Anonymous said...

Lean is used in many hospitals now to reduce errors and improve patient outcomes. Lean in hospitals started at our own Virginia Mason.

As an engineer, we joke about using Lean all the time at home but in reality, I have applied principles I have learned about Lean to our household. SPS administration could really use the Lean overhaul.


Anonymous said...

Lean can be a great management tool. Toyota's success is proof. The tricky part has always been the implementation part. Otherwise it's slick and expensive HR talk. It can work in the public sector with some modification. Still what does the process demands: audits, management accountability & visibility, agility, rapid response, verifiable goals, clear working process, clear and attainable standards, focus on simple tools, sustainability,etc. To make it all work, an organization need:
-Clean & effective communication
-Effective senior management willing and able to implement (you actually need capable people here)
-Organizational readiness
-Adequate resources
-Staff buy in and ownership

Are these things in place at SPS to implement lean?