SPS closed the Highpoint location of Middle College High School.
SPS has removed Middle College High School founding teacher Roger Rigor from the UW location (aka the Ida B. Wells School). (He has been reassigned to The Center School.) Administrators have removed three other teachers of color.
SPS has removed the Middle College High School social justice critical pedagogy curriculum and replaced it with the Bill Gates championed Big History curriculum.
Kshama Sawant enters the fray. She wants to get other council members involved. As well, King County councilmember Larry Gossett has expressed his concerns.
So what's on the agenda tomorrow night? A lot.
Early on there will be a "Levies 2016 Update" that starts off with this ludicrous statement:
Safe, healthy, efficient, and well-maintained facilities provide a positive environment for our students, staff and community.
Words, just words. Our buildings are not-well maintained and it is directly because senior staff have chosen to spend maintenance dollars in other places. Period.
It's another busy agenda with 14 items on the Consent Agenda, 25 speakers signed up for public testimony with 11 on the waitlist, 14 Action items and 7 Intro items. Most of the speakers are speaking to either the Seattle Preschool Program Service agreement (Intro), the ending of suspensions in elementary schools (Intro), and Middle College.
- Resolution on use of SBAC. I have to smile. This resolution is so de-fanged that it comes across as fairly timid. And, I see Director Peaslee has made it worse by adding an amendment to remove one section. (I note this amendment could not have been on the agenda before Monday, maybe even Tuesday, as I was checking the agenda. Is she going to get chastised like Peters and Patu when they did the same thing on another topic?)
Remove the 2nd BE IT RESOLVED statement on page 2, which states “Now BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board of Directors of Seattle Public Schools calls on Congress to continue to permit students to voluntarily opt out of taking SBA tests, but to discontinue the penalizing practice of giving these students’ scores of 0%. This practice invalidates statistical accuracy and misrepresents the cumulative scores of students within a school;
Peaslee's amendment says that not all the Board Directors were there when it was added (well, whose fault is that?) and that the Superintendent doesn't support it. Fine, but it's a Board resolution after all and doesn't the Superintendent work for the Board? He does. Peaslee' pointedly says that if the statement is not removed, the whole Resolution may be in danger.
- Approval of Families and Education levy grants which includes putting the money back for Emerson and Sand Point.
- Approval of grant from LEV Foundation for $1M a year for South Shore Pre-K-8 for each of the next two years. They note that this is down from previous years where the New School Foundation was giving about $1.5M (about 40% of SS's budget). This $1M represents 20% of their current budget.
- Resolution to approve Operations and Capital budgets for 2015-2106. I was unable to testify at the public hearing last week on these two budgets (darn you, Comcast guy). I still have not heard a complete accounting of where the $39M that is being taken from the Capital budget to the General Fund is going. The only real specific is $8M for servicing the debt on the JSCEE. It's called transparency but apparently we are all just to trust staff.
- Extension of lease on Nordic Heritage Museum in the Webster building for 2 more years. So even as they list the building on BTA IV, they wouldn't get to work on it for at least two years.
- Movement of $3M from BEX IV program contingency fund for the World School project at TT Minor.
There is are two glaring issues. One, the reasons they give for this $3M need seem lame to me.
Two, this project already has a CEP "loan" of $3.6M.
- Seattle Preschool Program Service Agreement. Many, many holes and many, many places where staff is directed to do work to figure out what impacts this will have on SPS. Naturally, this costs the district time and money for staff to do this. Did anyone do a cost analysis on whether this is worth it in the first place given the district's lack of space?
Another thing that is a mystery - what happened to the Gates grant that was to fund the first year at Bailey-Gatzert? Seems mum's the word. I also wonder about the wording about who enrolls at Bailey-Gatzert preschool in the future. Is it to be just students from that region as some Board members have asked or will any child be able to be there?
- Resolution for a moratorium on out-of-school suspensions for elementary students in 2015-2016 and development of a plan to reduce this across all grades. And hey, it's from the Justice Thomas of the School Board, Director Martin-Morris.
This is a big one and an important one.
Lastly, I see from the calendar at the end of the agenda that there are no more Director Community meetings until mid-August.