Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday Open Thread

Two Director Community meetings tomorrow.

Director Peters from 11 am to 1:00 pm at Queen Anne Library.

Director McLaren from 10 am to noon at SW Library.

I see that next Tuesday the Board is first having an Executive Session on "litigation" followed by a Closed Session.  This may be a final decision on Ron English with a vote on what they will be doing.  ( I perceive that Mr. English is not going gently into that good night and will receive a payout to go away.)

 Interesting thought from the NY Times "Education Life" series from a Harvard professor:

Imagine you are Dean for a Day. What is one actionable change you would implement to enhance the college experience on campus?

A few years ago, the responses began to move away from “tweak the history course” or “change the ways labs are structured.” A different commentary, about learning to live wisely, has emerged.

On my campus, Harvard, a small group of faculty members and deans created a noncredit seminar called “Reflecting on Your Life.” The format is simple: three 90-minute discussion sessions for groups of 12 first-year students, led by faculty members, advisers or deans. Well over 100 students participate each year.

They guide the students thru five questions about what they want their college experience to be but really, what they want their life to be.  I'd love to see this in SPS high schools if only to get students thinking about their future.   But you could even do this with your own teen.

Speaking of the Times, they received

I heard this story and I initially thought, "They must be losing money on people sneaking in outside food."  Nope. It's guns. 

The nation’s largest theater chain, Regal Cinemas, announced it will be stepping up its security measures by checking bags and backpacks of customers.

The increased security comes after a gunman in Lafayette, Louisiana, killed two women and himself in a theater during a screening of Trainwreck in July. The next month, a man attacked moviegoers with pepper spray, a hatchet, and a pellet gun during a showing of Mad Max: Fury Road in Nashville. He was quickly killed by police.

Your kids use Spotify?  They are really giving up their personal information (mostly via their phone information).  FYI.

Worried about your kid versus the "cool kids" in middle school?  Seems like being cool on campus early is a good predictor for not doing so well later on.  From the NY Times:

“The fast-track kids didn’t turn out O.K.,” said Joseph P. Allen, a psychology professor at the University of Virginia. He is the lead author of a new study, published this month in the journal Child Development, that followed these risk-taking, socially precocious cool kids for a decade. In high school, their social status often plummeted, the study showed, and they began struggling in many ways.

Yesterday was National Radio Day and in the Puget Sound region, there was celebration over 15 new low-powered FM stations that will come on-line as part of the Puget Sound Community Radio.  Cohort.   These hyper-local stations can give voice to what is being called "media justice."  One of these has been co-created by Ballard High teacher (and uber-smart guy) Eric Muhs.  That station has a focus on Ballard.  The name of their group is Fulcrum Community Communications.  

What's on your mind? 


27 comments:

Anonymous said...

What was this I read,

"At the June 18th candidates meeting, Carr made it very clear that incoming board members should take care in not creating more work for the administration. She said, "the administration is sensitive to request, especially when not channeled through the superintendent first". I believe Leslie Harris can confirm this statement, as well as the others who attended."

I've never heard of the district holding a candidates meeting? Seems very fishy.
Who else was at this meeting with the "candidates" and what was the purpose and agenda.

Hale Parent

Lynn said...

Did I miss a discussion of this action plan for accelerating achievement for African American males and other students of color? http://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/Superintendent/closing_opp_gaps_actionplan.pdf

Melissa Westbrook said...

Hale Parent, yes, it's a first as far as my institutional memory. Nearly all senior management was there, according to my sources. The agenda? You'd have to ask the Superintendent.

Lynn, never saw this. It's odd because Director Martin-Morris and Director Blanford mention this issue all the time but never really present what they are doing. I find it strange.

Lynn said...

Melissa,

I found that document through a link in the Seattle Times (today's education round-up.)

On another topic, I had anticipated that lunch schedules were going to be adjusted this year to comply with Board-Approved Procedure H61.01 which says
Meal periods shall be long enough for students to eat and socialize – a minimum of 10 minutes are provided to eat breakfast and 20 minutes to eat lunch with additional time as appropriate for standing in line;


Our elementary school's schedule has been posted and it looks like this:

11:05-11:40– Lunch/Recess K-1
(11:05-11:25 in the lunchroom; 11:25-11:40 on the playground)
11:10-12:45 – Recess/Lunch 2/3
(11:10-11:25 on the playground; 11:25-11:45 in the lunchroom)
11:45-12:05 – Recess/Lunch 4/5
(11:45-12:05 in the lunchroom; 12:05-12:20 on the playground)

Nothing seems to change.

Vote Harris said...

The Executive Committee is comprised of Carr, Peaslee and McLaren. Every decision about prek was discussed in Executive Committee. Audit and Finance meetings were scheduled at the same time, and other board members did not have the opportunity to listen to E. Committee Meetings.

McLaren ran on a promise of Transparency and she isn't delivering. She shut down conversations regarding SBAC and conversations regarding an important initiative is not shared via work sessions etc. with other board members.

McLaren campaign slogan -- "collaboration" and "leadership". I'm not seeing it.

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one bothered by the special meeting between candidates and SPS administration? Were all the candidates there or only the ones they selected?
What current board members where at the meeting? It all sounds very Makavalian, did they place horse heads on the tables?

Hale Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

As far as I know, all candidates were invited for one session. It is unclear to me how many of them attended. I do not believe any current Board members were there.

Anonymous said...

You mean any other than Carr?


Hale Parent

Anonymous said...

@ Lynn, that closing the gap document was also included in the Friday memo just posted. According to Nyland, "principals have again been asked to set goals for reducing opportunity gaps. Principals will work in teams to set goals, adopt research based strategies and report back on quarterly progress." Will there be funding to support implementation of any of these strategies at schools? Who knows. But downtown will have a Cabinet-level Project Manager!

In other HR news, a recent reorg resulted in more internal promotions at JSCEE. Tolley and Herndon are now both Associate Superintendents.

HF

Lynn said...

OMG are they grooming Tolley and/or Herndon to take over when Nyland leaves?

Anonymous said...

Regal says its about guns but really, how many of these weapons were smuggled in in woman's purse? Terrorists like this are overwhelmingly white and male. They may have a backpack but more likely the weapon will be strapped to them. They will only find the Raisinette smugglers when looking in women's purses.

HP

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, I need to do a thread on the reorg. Also the Superintendent announced at the Board meeting that they are opening an office of Civil Rights with "about a half-dozen" staff.

HP, they are not talking about terrorists (unless you consider these shoot-up acts of terrorism - I don't). These are just idiots with guns.

Anonymous said...

Don't think for one moment the district is doing this out of the goodness of its heart!

The district is creating the OOCR due to numerous OCR findings. In the 7/25/2015 OCR settlement, the district agreed to create the position/s. There is also another investigation decision due next week faulting the district for various 504 and Title II violations, again the OCR in the order is requiring SPS to create the position of ADA administrator .

ADA 25years

Anonymous said...

Lynn, that was my fear, too. But I didn't want to put it in writing--too scary to see those words on the page!

HF

Melissa Westbrook said...

ADA, oh no, I didn't think that the creation of the Office of Civil Rights was out of the goodness of their hearts. Indeed, the Superintendent references a couple of cases. I was just surprised they needed six people to start.

Anonymous said...

Jonathan Martin has an editorial in the Times today about impact fees: http://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/shouldnt-growth-pay-for-growth-2/. I think it is high time that Seattle think reevaluate these in terms of schools. Seattle is the only major city in Western Washington that does not collect impact fees for schools and roads. Why are we dooming ourselves to constant struggle for capacity when the city is having a huge building boom with a focus on density?
---GL

Anonymous said...

The OCR order does not require SPS to staff the position with 6 people, the order reads that the new position of ADA administrator can be the same person as the 504 coordinator. I'm interested in what exactly Nyland said, where can I see or read his remarks.

ADA 25years

Anonymous said...

I watched the August 19 board meeting http://seattleschools.org/cms/one.aspx?objectId=15690, but I did not see Nyland comment on the creation of the office of civil rights inside SPS. Did his comments not make it into the video? or are you referring to another meeting?

ADA 25years

Anonymous said...

Hello all,
I am new to this blog.

My concern is that there are several hundred students (at least 240 for the international schools alone) on the waiting list for special programs that go above and beyond the mandated general education offered at various schools. My daughter is one of those students. She is 27 on a waiting list of 49 for grade K. And this is only one school!

I know that this issue has been addressed before on this blog. I feel that the access to these programs isn't equitable in that the majority of them are neighborhood schools (and the majority of people in Seattle cannot afford to up and move close to their preferred school), and the few options schools still give higher preference to families who live close (please correct me if I am wrong about that). I understand that there is probably more desire for a space in these programs, than there are places in these programs. However, it seems that if the school is offering something you can't get in another school, then the access to these programs would be more equitable if everyone had a chance to get in by draw and that these schools aren't "neighborhood schools" per se.

I recently wrote a letter to the administration about the issue (which I think was more succinct than this post...sorry!), and have been in contact with the Ombudsman. It seems to me that it might be beneficial if the parents who are on these waiting lists were to organize, our voices would be louder together and therefore harder to ignore. My email is shukira123@gmail.com . Please contact me with your constructive ideas and feedback. I really would appreciate it.

JL

Anonymous said...

Got an email update about the SEA bargaining and would like to know if you have more details on "The district is proposing to add thirty (30) minutes of instructional time to the school day for students, to support higher standards and state mandates."

Do our students really need a longer day? I'd rather have a longer school year.

-Nolong

Anonymous said...

Nolong,

Ugh, I just got that email too! What a terrible idea. On top of no sleep, no breaks, and no time to eat lunch, the LAST thing kids need is A LONGER DAY. An extra half-hour is likely to accomplish ... nothing.

Laputa

Anonymous said...

I just got the welcome back letter for Fairmont Park. Lunch in 3 shifts. 20 minutes to eat minus getting through lunch line and seated. This school is only 2 years old and already maxed out. Looks like they need an extra half hour just to provide minimum lunches to all students. These are elementary kids not Marines. They need a little time to relax and eat. I would also hope for some time to practice conversation skills over a meal, but I guess this is too much to ask.

6 hour school days do not allow parents to work without daycare. This only makes Seattle less affordable. Cost of living is crazy here. Another 2 or 3 hours, and no homework would help.

Another option would be to eliminate SBAC and Amplify, that would give many more hours of instruction, or a few more minutes for lunch.

West Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

ADA, I will put up a link to the Board meeting but unfortunately, the first hour, where the Superintendent spoke is not there (I don't think). I'll let you know if it is; otherwise, I will ask for confirmation.

West Parent, I will put up something on lunch; I saw those times and I think it's ridiculous.

NW mom said...

I don't understand the negative reaction to the longer day. I'm all for it. I hear over and over how rushed the day is especially in elementary. Many states already have a longer day than we so. Seems like a positive development to me.

Lynn said...

NW mom,

I commented on this on the post "Nyland on SEA Talks." If we expect adults to work eight hours a day, what is the appropriate number of working hours for six and seven year old children? Six hours is plenty. Young children don't need more time in the classroom - they need more frequent breaks in their work day and unstructured time after school. There are states and countries that are successful with shorter school days.

Anonymous said...

Just read a good book review in the NY Times. The Prize; Who’s in Charge of America’s Schools? by Dale Russakoff, profiles the ed reform experiment in Newark, N.J., led by Corey Booker, Chris Christie and Mark Zuckerberg. Their five year plan includes high paid consultants, a failed superintendent and an unwillingness of reformers to include parents and teachers in the process (surprise). The author’s conclusion is that it takes more than ed reform to improve the lives of struggling students.

Sounds like a very important book.

S parent

Anonymous said...

S Parent,

I concur. I am going to grab a copy as soon as it is available. (It comes out Sep. 8) The review at the New York Times is at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/23/books/review/the-prize-by-dale-russakoff.html?_r=0.

--GL