Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tuesday Open Forum

Well, a lot of convergence on School Board races yesterday and it probably leaves just one incumbent standing for reelection - Marty McLaren.   I can direct potential candidates in District 1 (Sharon Peaslee) to people who know campaigns/School Board work for anyone who might be considering a run at the position.  Contact me at sss.westbrook@gmail.com.

I saw Director Carr's farewell e-mail.  She lists accomplishments over her eight years on the Board "working together as a Seattle Public Schools governance team" and I was astonished to see "began foundational work for a universal preschool partnership with the City of Seattle" on the list. 

Did you hear that the NSA doesn't want to go in the backdoor for your data?  Nope, they want the key to the front door....from Google (and others).  From Extreme Tech:
Instead of handing the NSA a unilateral window into encrypted communications taking place at Google or Apple, Rogers suggested a future in which the encryption keys to access such information would be divided between at least two groups — possibly more. In the simplest example, Google would retain half the key, while the NSA held the other half. Thus, the agency wouldn’t be able to unilaterally snoop inside anyone’s files — it would need Google’s support.

“I don’t want a back door,” Rogers, the director of the nation’s top electronic spy agency, said during a speech at Princeton University, according to the Washington Post. “I want a front door. And I want the front door to have multiple locks. Big locks.”
Speaking of privacy, a story about teachers remembering that showing student work on social media can be problematic and a violation of student privacy from Rafranz Davis.
We do not own student work. We cannot share personal thoughts of kids without consent. Trust matters.
Hey, looks like my post on "What Happened to..." found one answer.  Well, sort of.  The Times is reporting this morning about the story of  suspected cheating on tests at Beacon Hill  that - despite 6 months of work, $25k in contract work (with the contract extended twice) and hiring a handwriting expert - there's no answer to who did this.  FYI, I did sent an e-mail to the Board with all the questions from that thread. 

From the "Know Your Pioneers" section, here's Katherine Johnston, an African-American physicist, who worked at National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, (pre-NASA).  From Quarks to Quasars:

By the time the next year rolled around, Johnson had applied again and found herself with two contracts on her table. One was a contract to teach, and one was to work for NACA. 

You should read this because teaching's loss was the American space program's gain.

What's on your mind?


roosevelt parent said...

The class of 2017 at RHS is having an info night on the new ACT and SAT requirements. Anyone can attend.

The ACT and SAT are changing! The Class of 2017 Fundraising Committee is offering an event designed to provide you with information about the changes and how you can help your student make the most of these important college admissions tools on Sunday, April 26th from 6-8 PM. Susanna Cerasuolo of CollegeMapper, a college admissions counselor with 20 years of experience will join Mark Batho of Fusion Math and Jonathan Shapiro of Northwest Tutoring to provide important information on the NEW SAT, and the changes to the ACT, along with their advice on how to study for the tests, clever problem solving vs. standard problem solving, when private tutoring helps and when it does not, which scores to send, when to send and what types of colleges look for which scores. Please join us for this chance to connect or re-connect with other parents over coffee and dessert while gaining some valuable information! This event is not just for Sophomores at RHS. Any interested parent is welcome. Please spread the word!

Cost is $30 per person by advanced sale only. Proceeds go towards raising the $28,000 our students need to make the 2017 Senior Year events affordable for all and fund scholarships for those who would otherwise be unable to attend.

Space is limited - please RSVP to Anne at susalski at gmail.com today. Payments can be made by check payable to RHS PTSA Class of 2017. Checks can either be dropped off at the school office or mailed to: RHS Class of 2017, 1410 NE 66th St., Seattle, WA 98115. We look forward to seeing you at this informative event!

Historian said...

Seattle's prek program began during Enfield's reign. I remember hearing Enfield talk about prek and I was mystified. It all makes sense- now.

Historian said...

Enfield, as per usual, was working in conjunction with the Gates Foundation.

Po3 said...

About that SAT/ACT fundraiser event:

Anyone can attend. But it is $30 and space is limited.

Any scholarships for those who can't fork out the $30? Or do just those who can afford it get this insightful info?

Do 100% of the proceeds go to RHS Class of 2017 or just a portion?

And aren't students responsible for raising money for their class> This seems parent driven.

Is it just me or does this event seem odd to anyone else?

Anonymous said...

Over heard yesterday that not one junior showed up in the library to take the SBA test.


Anonymous said...

Shelter in Place at Nathan Hale. Student was beat up on campus.


Anonymous said...

Shelter in Place at Hale lifted. Suspect in custody.


Anonymous said...

Here is Principal Hudson's email to parents:
April 21, 2015
Dear Nathan Hale Families -
At 10:00 AM we became aware of an incident that occurred on campus where a student was injured by another student, who is currently suspended and not supposed to be at the school. Nathan Hale staff immediately contacted Safety & Security and Seattle Police. The student was treated by the school nurse.
Because safety is our top priority, Nathan Hale went into shelter-in-place for less than an hour while SPD searched for the suspect. Nathan Hale follows Seattle Public Schools and Washington state requirements by:
• Having crisis response plans in place that address a full range of emergency situations. We also conduct lockdown drills and fire drills regularly to prepare for all kinds of emergencies.
• Our school counselors and staff will be available to discuss student concerns throughout the week and we can also provide resources for families if you need them.
I am very proud of the way the students and staff conducted themselves and I assure you that we will continue to keep you updated as I am aware of information.
Jill Hudson, Ed.D.
Principal, Nathan Hale High School


Anonymous said...

When students participate in fundraising the proceeds must go to ASB. Students control that money & must vote on spending. When a PTSA, or booster group, do fundraising, then it must be parents or other adults doing the fundraising, no students. Then the spending is voted on according to the by-laws of that group. Those parent groups have more flexibility to spend money & they can donate their proceeds to ASB & often do. Senior events can be funded through ASB or PTSA & at many schools some events are ASB & other events are PTSA sponsored.

This is obviously a fundraising event. RHS staff also produce free events with information about ACT & SAT, college apps, FAFSA, etc, for parents.

-Former RHS

Po3 said...

I thought the PTSA was an organization supporting the school, not individual grades.

A group called "PTSA Class of 2017" seems very odd to me.

Anonymous said...

A PTSA or PTO or Booster or the ASB can have fundraisers that go to support different sub-groups. Robotics & GSA &Jazz Band can all have their own fundraisers through the ASB. They do need to be clear about where the money is designated to be spent. After that goal is funded though, those groups often to give the left-over money to another sub-group.

In this case each class would do the fundraising for the events that their class has decided to sponsor. Since the fundraising may be spread out over several years to reach the goals for graduation events, several classes may be fundraising at the same time & may have different lines in the PTSA budget. It is important for donors to know which class they are supporting & for the treasurer to know which budget line to record the donations.

If you are concerned about it you should look at the WACs concerning fundraising. It is very specific.

-Former RHS

Anonymous said...

Re fundraising for a specific class: at Hale each class's parents fundraises for several years to raise money for the all-night chaperoned graduation party. Parents are willing to give a lot so that most kids from the class go to a very fun, alcohol-free event, rather than risk having them out partying. The money raised reduces the ticket prices and helps fund scholarships.

Josh Hayes said...

I wonder if this merits a thread of its own, but I have given some thought to, at some distant point in the future, running for school board. First I'd like to get some years in the classroom under my belt, of course!

But this leads me to wonder - what does the readership think makes a good candidate for the Board? What makes a plausible, winnable, candidate? Are those the same thing? Frankly, I don't think earnestly caring about the public schools in Seattle is sufficient, but what IS the skill-set that we want to see candidates have?

Anonymous said...

Under the heading: How Did This Happen?

Which QA middle school who's name begins with an 'M' has a year long teaching sub who doesn't have teaching credentials?


Anonymous said...

@-DistritWatcher dude pick another name. I've been DistrictWatcher for years here.

Anonymous said...

APP is a White Privilege program as documented by The Seattle Times.

WSeattle mom

Anonymous said...

Pretty weak article. "My thing is moving" ???


Patrick said...

Josh, some points that are probably obvious: Knowledge of the district beyond single school or type of student (special ed, or APP). Experience working in a bureaucracy. Ability to collaborate on a board; continually being in a minority of one may be emotionally satisfying but doesn't actually accomplish anything. In order to win office, must be able to get funding from somewhere and impressing the Stranger's editorial board is a help.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"a plausible, winnable, candidate"

You'd have to define "plausible" because from who has gotten elected in the past, that's open for debate.

Winnable is another issue as well.

3inSPS said...

FYI- from the HCS AC list serve,

The topic of our next 2e meeting (Tuesday April 21st at 7PM ) will be executive functioning and twice exceptionality. A deficit in executive function skills — the cognitive processes that enable us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions, monitor our work, and multi-task – are commonly implicated in our kids’ school difficulties. But apparently there are solutions!

We are fortunate to be able to host Cindy Lehman, MEd, Director of Lehman Learning Solutions, who has decades of experience helping children improve their learning and their executive functioning skills. She will be discussing executive function interventions and will take your questions. We will be meeting at Lincoln High School library in Wallingford as usual. Hope to see you there!

Laurie Clark Klavins
2e Parent Support Group Leader

Anonymous said...


First,that article had nothing to do with fact and a lot to do with innuendo. Second, attempts to add diversity can't be used as proof that there is no diversity. As discussed repeatedly on this blog AL and diversity is a national problem and one that requires larger solutions -- and shouldn't get in the way of those students who are currently identified needing those services. Also, AL pathway is mixed with only two subjects as AL starting in 6th grade.

Times Hardlyright

Eric B said...

An effective board member:
Knows the history in the district, at least as far back as the closing/reopening debacle, and preferably further

Attends board meetings regularly before election so they are up to speed on day one

Has a basic understanding of the budget, departments, and major players in the District admin before election

Understands the role of the Board in the district (setting and enforcing policy, not day to day management)

Knows at least one area of the district well and is willing to listen and learn about other areas

An electable candidate:
Has access to a donor base for fundraising

Has a base of people who will volunteer to help the candidate win

Has a reason to run. Why are you better than the incumbent/your opponents? What will you do differently? How will that lead to better outcomes for students?

Can explain that reason for running to someone unfamiliar with the district in 30 seconds using positive language ("I know this district and what needs to be fixed" not "The district sucks and I'm the only one who can fix it")

Just my $0.02

Maureen said...

So Eric B, what district do you live in?! :)

WallyMom said...

Melissa, I know how hard it is to lose a loved one; still knowing what a hard year you've had I selfishly hope you will run for School board. We need someone who can ask hard questions and demand accountability.

Anonymous said...

"One friend kept her children where they were comfortable — without advanced learning — watching as their peers left in droves. By third grade, what remained was a classroom heavily weighted toward students with low skills and high needs."

View Ridge, Wedgwood, Laurelhurst maybe?

The HCC offers the hope of challenging work and certainly a lot less "students with low skills and high needs."

Only the most egalitarian and optimistic of parents would risk staying put when other parents are leaving "in droves".

SPS has created a giant vacuum cleaner that sucks in "gifted" children as fast as the can get tested and as its mass increases, it pulls harder and harder, like an accreting planet.

As far as the diversity, or lack of it, it's no big secret that the CogAT and other IQ tests all skew towards children living out of poverty and in homes with readers. Only affirmative action will change the demographics and the District chooses not to go that route, for some reason. Many AL programs do give extra points of some kind for low-income and traditionally under-represented groups.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps I should have prefaced my remakes that the quotes are from the Seattle Times series by Claudia Rowe.


Charlie Mas said...

From the 4/10 Friday Memo:
"At this time, there are still months to go before the start of school and the attendance area high schools (Franklin and Rainier Beach High Schools) will experience change in enrollment as students are added or removed. We are monitoring this situation carefully. At this point, 37 of the first 40, 9th grade students on the Franklin High School waitlist are assigned to Rainier Beach High School. Rainier Beach High does not currently have a 9th grade waitlist. As we get closer to the start of school, we will be able to make a determination on the ability to move the Franklin High School waitlist without having a significant negative impact on Rainier Beach High School."

What does that last part mean? Does it mean that some kid who should get into Franklin won't be allowed to enroll there because the shift would be seen as having a negative impact on Rainier Beach High School?

What are the rules?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Charlie, when you are desperate, then the "rules" don't count.

Anonymous said...

I thought whether or not a wait list moved was due to whether or not there were seats available at the school with the wait list?

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

North-end mom: I think that is what we ALL thought! Until this Friday memo. . . .


Anonymous said...

Why don't they have the waitlists for schools published yet? If you are on a waitlist, wouldn't you like to know how many others are on that list?


Lynn said...

If the district is not following the assignment rules, they may not want to make that obvious.

Anonymous said...

Waitlist numbers by school are at:


~ Looking

Anonymous said...

100% of Hale Juniors opted out!


Anonymous said...

@Looking- thanks for the wait list link.

So, it looks like there are 89 9th graders on the wait list for Garfield. After last year's SNAFU regarding the wait list at Garfield, with the district claiming that it should have been up to the school to move kids off the wait list, what's the plan for this year?

Are they going to allow the school to move kids off the wait list, or are we going to have a repeat of last year, with no kids taken off the wait list and then the district claiming that enrollment was so low that teachers had to be removed??

Of course, it doesn't just go for Garfield. Lots of desirable schools have large wait lists. The infamous Friday Memo now seems to suggest that A) the power to move kids off of wait lists is with the district, not the school, and B) the district can change the rules whenever they like without even telling anyone. Of course, I don't know why that surprises me...

-Seattle Parent

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

Ticked Off, I agree.

More administration at JSCEE or staff at schools to help kids? I know what I would choose.

mirmac1 said...

Ticked Off. There are strict timelines districts must follow. You have grounds for an OSPI Citizen Complaint.

The SPS Special Education Procedures Manual is intended for INTERNAL use only, all the more reason to share it with parents.


The timelines they must follow law are clearly stated.

Go to the link below and file your complaint. It's an easy 2 page form.


Anonymous said...

To be honest, I am concerned that they would retaliate if I file a complaint at this time. They have yet to confirm an IEP or a 504, although I have multiple outside evaluations to confirm my child's challenges.

I am concerned that they will decide against services and I'll have to fight another year on two fronts instead of one.

Ticked Off