Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Seattle Schools This Week

Update: here's the Executive Committee meeting agenda.  There are no links to any documents but the agenda packet is 90 (!) pages.  Kids, that may be a record.  Highlights include the City's preschool program.

- Amending Policy Nos. 1010, Board Oversight of Management, and 1240, Committees 
The minutes from the last Executive Committee meeting reflect 1010 being about risk management. 
- ADA Website Accessibility Settlement -
It looks like the District will have to pay between $675K-825K in order to meet the consent degree over not providing equal access to information on the District's website.  (Includes $5K for plaintiff.)
- Public Access to District Records Annual Report- page 54 of the packet.  The claim is for 2014-2105 there were 501 requests versus the previous year of 350.  They say that media requests are only 11%.  They say there is "one recurrent individual requestor" who accounts for 7% of all requests (no, I'm pretty sure that it's not me).  They compare SPS' requests to UW's and say UW only got 426 requests by August 1 of this year.  (That's 7 months versus 9 months so I'd bet if you went back to UW in October, they would easily be over 500 requests.)   
- Seattle Preschool Program – Service Agreement- It includes "space prioritization" and that one should be easy.  It's K-12 SPS students.  Period.
I note that Superintendent Nyland said this at the last Executive Committee meeting:
He commented on the good facility conditions of the Original Van Asselt & Van Asselt sites...
Old Van Asselt is in "good" condition?  I'd like to see the Meng report on that one.   The agreement had this language struck "desirable facilities for preschool instruction" and now has "many convenient locations for families conducive for preschool instruction." 
Apparently the City now still not going to pay rent but will pay for utilities and custodial.   See page 74 of the packet.

Q: How will space use fees apply to Seattle Schools’ Seattle Preschool Program classrooms?
A: Because these classrooms will be district programs, rental fees do not apply. Rent is implicit in the district proposed programs that employ SPS staff. Currently, all preschool programs in SPS sites are not charged rent, whether they are run by SPS or a CBO. SPS staff are exploring the issue of charging rent to SPP programs sponsored by community based organizations in SPS schools.
From page 69 of the packet:
Q: How will Seattle Schools prioritize space use?
A: Seattle Schools is developing a menu of options for prioritizing limited space for K-12 needs. We expect to have a draft of this document at the Executive Committee meeting next week. 

I note there is no clear author of the Preschool Agreement but it appears to have been written by multiple people. 
Nyland had this to say at the last Executive Ctm meeting:
... also noted how the City has worked with staff on working through and vetting the budget in terms of including foreseeable costs, which did result in going back and adjusting the City’s model so that it would fit the District’s pay structures. 

Supt. Nyland noted if this agreement is approved, then 25% of the funding would be covered by the Gates Foundation grant and 75% covered by the City, and if the District meets the performance measures of the program, then the District would get the 25% funding back from the City.
Nothing like complicated funding and twisted language.  I'll lay odds that, in the end, it costs the District money to host City preschools.  And is this for one year or what?

Apparently Holly Miller from DEEL came to that meeting and said any preschool program would be the "District's."  Oh please, the District has to follow all the City's guidelines about what "high-quality" looks like.  That's like saying "Common Core is whatever you decide it will be in your classroom."  

Jonathan Knapp of SEA apparently came in and just loves everything about the preschool program (and especially loves the Gates Foundation).  He says there shouldn't be any problems with the CBA (and that will be interesting to hear about when they vote on August 24th).  

Supt. Nyland noted the District can get the 25% money back when the performance requirements, which are largely process requirements, are met, as well as the possibility to meet the standard for more reimbursement. 
 Remember that phrase because when the time comes to take money from the General Fund because, somehow, these "process requirements" didn't get met, you can ask the Superintendent, "What happened?"

Ms. Toner noted some of the project-based learning that is successful for 3-4 year old children, sometimes take a shift in practice, and can help students surface what their interests are, which is considered a “shifting practice” for some teachers. Mr. Knapp noted one of the techniques for dealing with that kind of phenomenon is to have the preschool teacher move up with kids therefore there is not an adjustment period, which is not necessarily required, but may be a best practice to look into. 
Wait,what?  It would appear that Ms. Toner is saying that kindergarten teachers will need some kind of professional development in "shifting" and that the City's way of teaching is somehow better than what SPS is currently doing?  And Knapp is saying that may preschool teachers should become kindergarten teachers?  

Director Carr noted the City has been clear all along that this requirement is part of the formula when the Board reviewed and voted on the partnership agreement, she noted the City has come forward with something that has helped us get started and now, we as the District, need to come together to build that mitigation fund. 
Basically, the District needs to get with the program and fully buy-into the City's preschool program (at least according to Carr and Knapp).
In the minutes from the last Executive Committee meeting discussion of the Seattle Preschool Program:
Supt. Nyland noted if the District decides to convert the Gates Foundation grant at Bailey Gazert, one possibility would be to cover the possible shortfall. 
I know that Director Peters - during the Board discussion over having just an agreement with the City on the preschool program - asked this question and never got a clear answer.  But I'll bet the answer - via the Gates Foundation - will be yes.  But how long will they cover any shortfall?  Oh wait, the District "borrowed" $14M from the Capital Budget into the General Fund at the end of last school year.  Maybe they can use some of that money because, of course, there are no other classroom needs at this time.
- And look at this on the Executive Ctm agenda - WSSDA "Boards of Distinction" application.  I guess the Board can't be all that "dysfunctional" if they think they should get an award.

End of Update.

To note, the Executive Committee meeting scheduled for today, the 12th, has been RESCHEDULED for tomorrow, August 13th from 4:30-6:30 pm in Room 2750.

Thursday, August 13th
Executive Committee meeting from 4:30-6:30 pm in JSCEE, Room 2750.  There is no agenda available; I'll ask.

Audit and Finance Committee meeting from 4:30-6:30 pm in the Board conference room at JSCEE.  Agenda

Several items of interest:

- F&E Levy "community" - I don't know what that means
- Economic Stabilization Account Policy and Resolution (Technow)- no idea what this is
- Notification of Contract Exceeding $250,000 (Anderson) - uh oh, what could this be?
- District Reported Losses RCW 43.09.185 (Technow/Hammer) - if this is the annual report, it's always an interesting report
- Notification of Alliance for Education contract for Auxiliary School Depository and Disbursement Account Management Services (Technow) Ah, now we find out how AE is operating without an MOU with the district.
-Continuing Municipal Bond Disclosure Update (Technow) This one is never good news but perhaps all the movement of money from the Capital budget to General Fund might see some good outcomes here.

Friday, August 14
BEX Oversight Committee meeting from 8:30-10:30 am at JSCEE, Room 2750.


Rick Burke said...

FYI, The agenda is up now.
Several items not-to-be-missed:

- Amending Policy Nos. 1010, Board Oversight of Management, and 1240, Committees (these are a pretty big deal to get right)
- Seattle Preschool Program – Service Agreement (this is sure to be interesting, since it's been lacking in specificity so far and includes a sub-bullet for "space prioritization")
- Seattle Teacher Residency Program Update
- Resolution on Elementary Grade Suspensions
- Communications Protocol

Watching said...

"Notification of Alliance for Education contract for Auxiliary School "

What is an Auxiliary School?

Watching said...

Clarification and language from attached document:

• Notification of Alliance for Education contract for Auxiliary School Depository 5 mins
and Disbursement Account Management Services (Technow)

Interagency's Future? said...

Minutes from June 4 th Executive Meeting:

"Directors commented on their concerns around the use of space
at Van Asselt, asked if there was a need for this agreement when the District already has a preschool at Bailey
Gazert, and noted the Board will need to prioritize the needs of SPS K-12 students first. Directors and Dr. Flip
Herndon discussed the allocation of the new space at Original Van Asselt, noting how the current space is
being used by several programs, including Interagency. Directors asked where the Interagency program will be
moved to and Dr. Herndon noted staff will need to look into finding a better location for this program and how in
the next couple of years there could be space made available at Original Van Asselt for a preschool program.
Directors discussed their concerns around allocating preschool space at the expense of space used for K-12
SPS students.'

Lynn said...

This item is on the draft agenda for the September 9th board meeting:

ADA Website Accessibility Consent Decree and Settlement – (Exec) Approval of this item would authorize the Superintendent to enter into a Consent Decree, estimated to cost between $675,000 to $825,000, in exchange for full and final resolution of the Plaintiffs’ claims.

Lynn said...

Oh - I see that it's on the agenda for next week's board meeting as an introduction item.

Catherine said...

How in the world is the city getting around paying rent? I believe that's a violation of state law - the same state law that requires the new city contracted Ballard tent encampment to pay fair market rent to Seattle City Light. Has there been any conversation about this from the city or SSD?

OY said...

In early discussions, there was a discussion to loop prek teachers into K. It is absolutely essential for the board to know and understand whether or not this is the city's intentions. If so, the city will have inserted themselves into K-12 hiring system.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I agree, Oy, and it will be with Knapp's help.

Anonymous said...

RE: Q: How will Seattle Schools prioritize space use?
A: Seattle Schools is developing a menu of options for prioritizing limited space for K-12 needs.

PLEASE, do not forget about the Special Education Developmental Preschools, which, as required by law, have provided specialized preschool programs in the elementary schools (and "supplementary buildings") for more than 30 years. They always are always feel like they are low priority within the buildings, and feel forgotten. EVERY YEAR, they have been at risk of being moved from their classrooms or their buildings, as if they don't matter. I sincerely hope that space is prioritized for those programs as well.


Oy said...

There is a non-profit organization called MomsRising. They are on facebook at they have 111K viewers. They have launched a campaign and are asking the Seattle School Board to support the city's prek program.

The city is asking the district to support 3 prek classrooms- and we are seeing a big campaign. Odd.

It is worth noting that Moms Rising has been working with League of Education voters.

2 hrs ·

Join us now and thank the Seattle School Board for their leadership in early learning AND urge them to support the Seattle Preschool Program to expand access for our children! Our form makes it easy and fast:…

Oy said...

MomsRising is also asking individuals to ask the Seattle School Board to support prek on their twitter feed. Note: Their twitter feed has 41K followers.

I don't see one person's name listed on MomsRising web page.

Odd. Very odd.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Oy, yes that is quite suspicious. The petition itself is vague and wrong. They claim Seattle voters passed "universal" preschool and that is not true. We passed a pilot program for preschool with an eye to expansion. There is no money for universal preschool and that was not the language of the initiative.

I'll put up a thread about this.

Oy said...

RisingMoms prek campaign is becoming increasingly bizarre. On RisingMom's facebook page, individuals outside of Seattle are being asked to sign the petition for SPS school board to support the city's prek program.

An individual from SVP is pushing the city's prek program and the individual has a leadership position with a local educational organization. Is SVP a philanthropic/ astro-turf group?

It also appears that some of the individuals that have "liked" the campaign to push the city's prek program have made-up facebook pages.

Anonymous said...

The website for is registered in Bellevue, and they are registered as both a charitable org AND a corporation with WA Sect. of State. Here's the corp record that includes some officers

The president has a linkedin account that shows that Moms Rising is actually a San Francisco based entity - both the COO and President live in California (or at least did).

Ahh... the President is the woman who helped co-found - they are clearly a national group so why the focus on Seattle PreK??

So much for grassroots politics eh?
Things that make you go hmmm......


Anonymous said...

So weird. I liked their facebook page a long time ago but don't go there frequently so I don't get many notices.


Oy said...

SVP stands for Social Venture Partners. Does anyone know anything about this group?

Note: RisingMoms facebook/twitter pages launched a campaign for the Seattle School Board to support the city's prek program. Many of these individuals are outside of the city and state.

LEV launched the first campaign for the school board to sign onto the city's prek program, and LEV has been working with RisingMoms. As I see it, LEV is trying to stay in the background and gets RisingMoms to launch a nationwide(!) campaign. Can you spell stupidity.

Melissa Westbrook said...

SVP are corporate types who give money for public ed reform.

Yes, I think LEV has no real group to ask for help so they are asking Rising Moms (whose mission includes pre-K) to push for the City's. But the petition is wrong in its statement about universal pre-K and I think it should be corrected or pulled. It's misleading.

Oy said...

A quick google check and you will find some of the individuals supporting RisingMom's petition are connected to LEV i.e. Hannah Lidman.

The city wants three classrooms. Why the drama and deception?

seattle citizen said...

I thought Social Ventures was as their name suggests, venture capitalists that invest in social ventures, "profit while doing good" sort of idea. I.e. privatization. But I could be wrong.

AMS said...

Social Ventures is a positive group that supports local non-profits such as the CASA program.