Friday, June 12, 2015

Friday Open Thread

The Times has a great story about a student with Asperger's at Marysville Arts and Technology High School becoming valedictorian of his 50 student graduating class.  Chance Mair never told most classmates.  Good with math ("I can count better than I can talk sometimes") and loving bowling, he went from special education classes in his beginning years in school to regular classes.  He will be attending WSU  on a full-ride scholarship. 

In his speech to his classmates he said, "We choose whether we sink or swim, stand up or lay down, fight or fall, succeed or fail."  

The Olympian is reporting that Governor Inslee will be signing a new state law to expand computer science in high schools by creating standards for teachers and students.  No word on where the money would come from to create these classes. 

By popular demand, at least five people have sent me this article from the NY Times on kids and kindergarten.  I absolutely agree with the article and believe that the City's premise of a "6-hour academic day" for their pre-K program may be too much for early childhood education. 

Concerned that kindergarten has become overly academic in recent years, this suburban school district south of Baltimore is introducing a new curriculum in the fall for 5-year-olds. Chief among its features is a most old-fashioned concept: play.

Another recommended article is this one about artwork created by students based on their vision of standardized testing.

Director Blanford has a Community meeting tomorrow from 10 am to noon at the Douglass-Truth Library. 

Upcoming threads - Garfield student press conference, BTA IV updates, School Board race updates.

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

From the HCC blog:

Anonymous said...
Yes, Amy Schwentor has been the AP at JAMS this year and is going to be the interim principal at TOPS. From what I heard, she is going to be the interim since it's a quick placement and the community has not had input on the placement.


June 9, 2015 at 9:45 PM

The word on the street is that a TOPS families received a letter from the superintendent. I'm wondering when JAMS families will be notified and who Ms. Schwentor's replacement will be.


Anonymous said...

Any opinions on the C&I's proposed changes to the materials adoption procedures? They propose requiring 2 recommendations be put forth to the Superintendent, with a pro/con analysis, rather than "the" recommendation as is currently the policy. They also added Open Educational Resources to materials that can be considered for adoption, plus some wording about pilots of instructional materials.

Does this mean future Board votes on materials adoption will not just be a yes/no vote, but the Board selecting between two choices?


mirmac1 said...

The board will have more latitude - it's no more a rubber stamp of the adoption committees choice. McLaren wanted to have 3 choices.

I have no problem with number of choices. However, I don't agree that the adoption committee should "rank" them. The committee reviews many products. They narrow the list to three. At that point I believe they should present the three head-to-head, plus add pros and cons. Not rank 1, 2, and 3.

ProSleep Mom said...

Bell Times Task Force had it's final meeting last night and ended on a positive note. The vote on which of the options presented to the community to recommend to the Superintendent was done and Modified Flip was supported unanimously. (Note that some city employees abstained, as I think they could not vote without city authorization; and also some members were absent and their votes will be taken by next Monday.) But it was a strong statement by a group that has worked really hard.

The environmental impact statement should not be a big obstacle, according to Pegi and Joan. They are routine and there was one on our original timeline. The language is boiler plate, though it sounds rather alarming.

The report written by the Task Force includes strong endorsements of a Two Tier option as well as a Modified Flip with K8s in Tier 2, even though we were barred from recommending them. We did a chart detailing all the factors that were considered - and for Two Tiers, pretty much every box was checked. Task Force members can write minority opinions- I think several of us will do this to support Two Tiers and Modified Flip K8 Tier 2 even more strongly. (I hope our report does not get highly edited after the fact...)

I think the report will be publicly available by the end of next week- I'll put up a link when it is.

Continuing to let the Board and staff know that you want better bell times is important!

Keep sending emails, stressing kids and families need better times, and they need to figure out how to make this happen. Ask them, if cost is the issue, is this the cheapest the transportation can be done? Can you work the numbers some more? Fairfax County started with a $70 million cost and worked it down to $4.9 million- this is what we need to do to, because all of their numbers are severely on the high side.

Lynn said...

Michael Tolley on the SBAC exams in this week's Friday Memo:

Implementation Statistics as of May 29:
 All schools have reported that they started the assessment
 40 schools have reported completing the assessment; all schools are expected to be
complete by June 12.

Oops. Garfield has scheduled the math exam for juniors for next Monday and Tuesday. Coincidentally, several of my kid's teachers have told students there is no point in coming to school Monday and Tuesday unless they want to help clean the classrooms.

I understand that teachers need time to clean out classrooms, grade exams, etc but these are two of the 180 instructional days the district is required to provide. (Don't get me started on the instructional hours lost to testing.) Here's another place to spend McCleary dollars - pay teachers for a day or two more after the school year is over.

Anonymous said...

Any word on enrollment and waitlists? I see Hale's is still creeping up. I have been tracking it. It would be nice to get those kids enrolled and involved if there is room for them.


seattle citizen said...

They paid teachers for a day after school until last year. For some reason it went away. Of course it's ridiculous to try and reconcile the idea of finals and the last contract day being on the same day, but there you have it.
Teachers: You have 30 minutes contracted after the last final to get that thing graded, clean your room, and get out!

Anonymous said...

The budget is out-

I see the category "supervision of instruction" in central administration is up to 16 million dollars, from 11 million dollars in 2013. There is no rational basis for that. Those are the sorts of numbers that make my blood boil while my fifth grader sits in a class of 31 students. What say we take those 5 million dollars and hire teachers with them? And then maybe the original 11 million and use it to change school start times. Ridiculous.

I also notice sped is going way up. Is this remediation? Actual improvement? The cost of whatever whizz bang gadget "consultant system" they have recently found?


Anonymous said...

Parents at SB are trying to figure out what happened to policy C54.

Alternative Education Policy C54.00 - Seattle Public Schools

There's lots of confusion over the schools classification and how the new principle was hired without BLD and parent approval. ALso, we are not sure of his intentions and there a rumor he's working on possibly eliminating WEP, camps and other enrichment programs.

SB Parent

seattle citizen said...

Salmon Bay was absolutely considered an Alternative School under C54.00 when it was adopted in 2007. I was on the SPS Alternative Education Committee that met between 2006-2007 to formulate the framework (see below) that was the basis for the policy. As was Jodee Reed, Principal of Salmon Bay at the time.
Board Policy C54.00 includes subpolicy where the community has a say in who is hired (unless there are contracted union considerations):
1. Students, families and staff share and support the school’s philosophy, values [etc]
....• Instructional, support and administrative staff are at the school by choice.
2. Program design includes a shared decision making model.
• School community participates in the selection of instructional, support and administrative staff.

Alternative Education Committee
A Community Advisory Committee to the Chief Academic Officer
Seattle School District FINAL REPORT June 15, 2007

Anonymous said...

From the June 5 Friday Memo, a sad story of Superintendent confusion. Apparently, he was scheduled to visit Hazel Wolf as part of his goal to visit each of the SPS 97 schools during the school year. Inexplicably, he went looking for Hazel Wolf at the "old" location near Lake City Way. The Friday memo says that he'll have to try to re-schedule. This just a sad reflection on the amount of disconnect between JSCE and the individual schools.


ConcernedSPSParent said...

The superintendent could not find the school... If this were not written down by himself I would not believe it!!

Anonymous said...

Alzheimers might be in play here? Why didn't the limo driver know where Hazel Wolf is.

Little bow

Anonymous said...

We cant see C54.00 on the SPS website is this because of the web-site switch?

SB Parent

Anonymous said...

Can't he just look the address up on his smart phone? -NP

Lynn said...

Policy C54 is listed at the bottom of this page:

Anonymous said...

SB Parent, the principal was placed temporarily when the former principal resigned right before school started. He was hired after staff and families worked with the Executive Director and took surveys showing heavy support for his permanent hire, in addition to the parent group and BLT voting "yes".
Did you get the recent principal letter about looking into expanding the winter enrichment program to K-8 (as well as stating many other plans and intentions)?
I see you are concerned with alternative school autonomy. Look up step 3 of AYP improvement. Salmon Bay is currently in step 2.

- tired

Anonymous said...

(The point being that even if not a title 1 school, there are district and state pressures that make C54 difficult-- might working to overhaul those be a better use of time then worrying about rumors?)

Budget Sez said...

"The maximum amount the District can collect from voters in levy elections is set by the Legislature to a
percentage of our state and federal revenue. Operating levy revenue is anticipated to increase by $16.5 million
or 9.5% in 2015-2016."

The district will collect an additional $16m in levy funding. I'm having a hard time believing that the district can't fund elementary school counselors and supports for high risk children. Nyland will close Middle College to save $28K. Outrageous.

F&E Levy said...

P. 69
"The Family and Community Engagement budget decreases because the City is phasing out the
School Health and Family Support Services grant"

Wow. Voters approved the largest Family and Education Levy in the history of Seattle and the city is decreasing funding for school health and Family Support services. This is huge.

mirmac1 said...

The district doesn't update its info, neither does Google maps. Had a helluva time locating Old Van Asselt

Anonymous said...

What is on my mind is the absurdity of Common Core and associated testing.

Invalid and Unreliable--PARCC and Common Core, by Peg Luksik on Youtube.

The mandating of a competency level for all students is absurd. The school should be allowing each child to maximize learning.

SBAC is very similar to our defective WASL Math test but the biggest problem is that children do not all learn at the same rate ... but the Common Core is founded on an entirely different premise.

Defective vague questions masquerading as critical thinking become more a test of intelligence than content knowledge or skills. ... This is a mechanism for sorting children not educating them.

Meanwhile many in the legislature and on school boards are oblivious to the damage underway.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

@Tired Let's not pretend that the principal having the support of Salmon Bay's BLT or PTO is the same as having the support of the overall school community.

- seafarer

Anonymous said...

I'm with Larry on this one. Where and what is Hazel Wolf? The last one I knew of was a Waldorf.


Anonymous said...

Hazel Wolf K-8 is the school that used to be Jane Addams K-8. They were moved out of the Jane Addams building last year to make room for the new middle school. Hazel Wolf K-8 is currently in the Marshall Bldg on Ravenna until their new building is built on the site of the old Pinehurst school. The construction is underway, but only at the foundation level so far (it's in my neighborhood).

BTW, the new Jane Addams Middle School had 700 students this year and is expecting almost 900 students next year. These are students who used to be at Eckstein as well as NE Seattle APP students who used to be at Hamilton.


Patrick said...

Westside, I don't expect everyone to have heard of every school, but it seems like the superintendent should have. Jeez.

Anonymous said...

Westside, I don't expect everyone to have heard of every school, but it seems like the superintendent should have. Jeez.

With the move and name change, even district staff were confused. Orders for school books at JAMS got confused with orders for JAK8/Hazel Wolf, resulting in no books for some JAMS classes until almost the middle of the school year.

pretty sad

Old Timer said...


You'll be interested in this article:

Anonymous said...

Speaking of preschoolers and the 6 hour academic day (which is obscene for 3 and 4 year olds IMO), we're in June...the city supposedly has selected their 14 sites for next year and at least at some point in June, parents should be applying for next year. I just checked their website and twitter and thus far...nothing. I saw on SPS that Bailey-Ganzert wasn't full this year, despite the "extreme need". I wonder if they preschool program will get their act together in time for anyone to plan and actually pair it with a meaningful (and affordable) before and after care program so people who actually need childcare during the day could possibly make it work (of course, without transportation...).

NE Parent

mirmac1 said...

Not an endorsement, just pointing out that I don't know a superintendent who made it a point to visit as many schools as Nyland has.

Anonymous said...


Actually, Interim Superintendent Enfield did. Really. And she mixed with the bus drivers, lunch staff, and made a point of Soup with the Supe to connect with as many school communities as possible. In contrast, Banda, he was dialing it in from day one. Odd that his 'listening tour' didn't involve actual schools.

You are not a Susan fan, if memory serves. While I disagreed with her about TFA (and she got it because Smith Blum voted yes), I found her way more straightforward and - no doubt you will disagree - on the whole positive.

Dr. Nyland? He's got an agenda. He is not transparent. He is aiding and abetting the follies in transportation, preschool, Middle College closure, SBACs, Amplify testing, downtown school, and the lack of facilities planning. Then he vamooses in 2 years. Nice. So, while not an endorsement, he's not all that. Susan Enfielf did more and did it better. In less time.

Scared and Scarred

Lia.R said...

Nyland absolutely has an agenda and I don't find him transparent- at all.

He was quick to ask the board to become charter school authorizers and I'm confident he'll try, again, when a new board is seated.

Nyland asked Kohl-Welles to support a bill that links tests to teacher evaluations. Staff was in Olympia and asked the legislature to link test scores to teacher evaluations. Note this questions from a board member and response provide by district staff. This information is locate in Friday memos:

INTENDED (not shift its purpose as was done with MAP) AND FOLLOW THROUGH WITH

A. WE AGREE. The District is not planning to use Beacon assessments for any purpose other
than supporting classroom instruction and providing diagnostic information to parents about their
child’s progress in meeting district learning goals. Amplify benchmarks will not be used for
high-stakes purposes such as program placement, school accountability, or teacher
evaluation. Teachers may use Amplify results as one of the data points they consider as part of
their MTSS process to identify students for targeted supports and interventions based on
instructional needs. Teachers may optionally choose to establish student learning goals based on
Beacon assessments, but those are teacher-by-teacher choices. (Note: setting student learning
goals is a requirement for the WA State teacher evaluation system."

mirmac1 said...

My non-endorsements must carry a lot of weight to have others bother to rebut them...?

Anonymous said...

It's not you. It's the mention of Nyland that's provocative. Who can forget the SPED/Roosevelt data breach and the hasty approval of the Gates Foundation grant?

- seafarer

mirmac1 said...

I was only addressing school visits, of which he's made quite a few this year and does pretty thorough write ups (although I'll be it's Jacque Coe).

Totally agree on all the rest.

Anonymous said...

So far, none of the board candidates appear to be for SPS becoming a charter school authorizer. Are any of the incumbents for charter school authorization? It will only take 4 votes, but I doubt they will get any? What was the vote count last time it was brought up?


Anonymous said...

Was browsing Garfield's site and saw and watched a video on their Maui trip and guess what?

The video shows teachers and kids harassing and touching hono, the sea turtles, in violation of federal and state law.

Also lots of taking creatures out of the ocean and poking them.

What is wrong with that school? Can they just obey the law while they are on field trips and show respect for nature?

4:00 minute making the turtle cringe and flee after being touched

Might just contact NOAA and the State of Hawaii


mirmac1 said...

Turtles or no turtles, Howard ' s ignored enough federal laws that I'd be happy if he got his rubber room at JSCEE.

Melissa Westbrook said...

CC, there was never a vote on being an authorizer. There was a discussion and when it was clear there was not consensus (or even a majority who would say yes), it got tabled.

Marty McClaren, though, left the door wide open. I think Blanford did the same. I believe Peters and Patu would never agree to it if ONLY because the District has more than enough work.

I'd have to ask the SB candidates but I know that Harris and Burke and Geary would say no.