Friday, May 08, 2015

Regarding May 19th and the Last Day of School for Seattle Schools

 Update:  I cannot find any notice of the closure of SPS on May 19th at the Times.  The newspaper of record in Seattle and they don't have this up? Hmm.  (I searched and if it's there, it's not easy to find.)

end of updates

From SPS Communications (please note, no info here on IB testing)

Seattle Public Schools Families,

Thank you in advance for your patience as we work to provide information and options for you around the May 19 Seattle Education Association (SEA) walkout and cancellation of school that day. Below is a list of frequently asked questions and information to assist your family in planning for May 19.

Last day of school for seniors and all other students
What is the last day of school now? What is the last day of school for seniors?

The last day of school for all students, except seniors, is June 16. Students will attend school for a full day on June 15 and be dismissed 1 hour early on June 16.  The last day of school for seniors is now June 9. Seniors will need to attend or provide an excused absence on June 9 to fulfill graduation requirements. 

I need to secure qualified child care for my child on May 19.
Parents/Guardians needing child care are encouraged to check with the child care program director at your child’s school as soon as possible regarding the child care programs’ status on May 19, as well as any availability. While many of our schools have child care programs on site, parents/guardians should not assume these programs are operating on May 19. You should consult directly with the child care provider and not assume that the provider is open. A list of programs is available in the “Resources for Parents” section of the district’s Early Learning page under ‘Afterschool & PreK Programs in Seattle Public Schools.’ 

What about other community based organizations that provide child care? Are there options?
The district is working with the city to provide opportunities for families and will share information as we receive it.

My school has an in-house before and after school childcare program. Will it extend to all day and can I participate in that?

Each school-based program is different; some will be open, while others may close. You should consult directly with the program at the school. 

After school activities on May 19
What after school activities can take place on May 19?
District-wide, all after school extra-curricular activities are cancelled with the exception of scheduled evening student performances and high school athletic competitions. Please check directly with your school if there is an evening performance or athletic competition scheduled.

My student has a camp scheduled for that day. Can it still happen?
Yes. Overnight camps with students will still take place and staff will be present to participate in those camps. Your school will provide you with specific details.

Unexcused absences
What are the repercussions of not attending school on June 16?
Washington state law requires 180 instructional days of school (175 instructional days for seniors). The only acceptable exception is an excused absence. Those not attending on the last day of school will receive unexcused absences for that day. By state law, school attendance is mandatory, and unexcused absences and truancy are prohibited. Children found to be in violation of this law may be subject to a truancy petition filed with the superior court after seven truancy days in a calendar month or 10 truancy days within a school year.

We will continue to provide information and updates as details become available. Thank you for your continued patience.


seattle citizen said...

That last bit about unexcused absences and truancy raises a question: How often is a student and/or parent guardian brought before a court on truancy, and (if it happens at all...) what are the demographics of those students? Hmmm.... Discuss. After this sunny weekend.

David said...

I am wondering, is this only necessary at all because our district runs so close to the minimum number of days of instruction required?

And, related, what are other districts in Washington State doing? Other districts also have strikes and lost days. Is Seattle's policy of extending our school year because of these strikes the norm or the exception for districts in Washington state?

Anonymous said...

"Children found to be in violation of this law may be subject to a truancy petition filed with the superior court after seven truancy days in a calendar month or 10 truancy days within a school year."

A lot of students are brought before a court for truancy (along with parents). That said, as students know it's only partially effective - scares/annoys some students enough to get back to school and/or convinces some parents to keep closer tabs on junior. Many, however, ignore even that as much as they ignore other consequences for non-attendance (detentions, failing grades, calls home, etc.).

Geez, although totally true that Tuesday June 16th is now a school day and skipping it must be entered as an unexcused absence (legally we teachers must report somebody as absent if absent more than 10 minutes of the period or if leaves without permission) - but why they had to emphasize the truancy court here is ridiculous. If a parent had a family event/vacation planned and the student otherwise has regular attendance then that one day of skipping isn't going to get the student into truancy court.

Yes, students wind up in truancy court a lot, but truancy is such a problem in the schools that by no means do all who meet the standard wind up there. Besides, the goal is to get them to class.

I'm almost certain that all the districts are extending school by a day to make up for the strike. I voted against the strike (for tactical reasons) but will definitely confirm that overall we are underfunded enough that no district is attempting to teach more days than they are funded for - thus sitting on spare days to avoid extending the school year. That's why the appeals some years for the lost bad weather days.

SPS Teacher

Anonymous said...

FYI on S-Times coverage of walkout:

Seattle teachers call 1-day walkout over state budget
Originally published May 4, 2015 at 8:39 pm

- Ramona H

Anonymous said...

At Ingraham, we were told that because our graduation day is June 8, our make-up day can't be June 9. Thus, at Ingraham, the make-up day is Saturday, May 30.

Someone should introduce the district's right hand to the district's left.

David Edelman

seattle citizen said...

Students and staff are expected to be at Ingraham on a Saturday? Can they even DO that?
Any wagers on how many students show up?

Melissa Westbrook said...

What I find strange is that this is not how all high schools are handling this. Why should each school decide what to do?

Anonymous said...


Ingraham didn't decide there would be a make-up day on May 30 for Ingraham students. The district dictated to us this plan. Or so I'm told.

David Edelman

Anonymous said...

Could ingraham just ask to be exempt from the whole thing because of the graduation date AND the IB exams? We could all write letters or something instead.


Melissa Westbrook said...

David, I asked that question because a teacher at Ballard said he hadn't heard a thing and didn't think they would be doing a Saturday.

But again, the district opens itself up for this kind of craziness by their own ineptitude.

I asked Communications for clarification and have not received any information.

NW mom said...

Ballard's graduation isn't until Friday the 12th of June, so their seniors can go to school on Tuesday the 9th no problem. If Ingraham's graduation is Monday the 8th I can see how that gets trickier. Ugh - what a mess.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they could have the Ballard seniors go two extra days instead of just one, and the Ingraham students could skip it and all the averages would still work out!

Po3 said...

Just call your student in sick for an excused absence.

With that said...I really wish the teachers would rethink this walkout. The only impact it seems to be having is on the students and families.

NW mom said...

Wow, to make things more complicated, they just announced the schedule for finals at Ballard. They are on June 8 and 9. Guess no one will want to skip that last day now.

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