Sunday, September 13, 2015

Seattle Schools Closed Monday, the 14th

Update:  I did ask, "If both sides do reach an agreement by Sunday night, could school start on Monday morning?"  The answer was no and that would be because of transportation issues.

As well, all kindergarteners will be attending the first day of school that everyone else starts on.

end of update.

Latest update: Seattle Schools will be closed tomorrow.

Still in negotiations (don't know what time they started today).  It seems they are getting closer but only incrementally.

There was a new salary offer made today (no real details as we were given an old handout.  I don't get it).

All snow days are used up (there were three) but this is a year where the district has a full-week mid-winter break so days could come out out of that.  It was stated it could impact graduation dates but no specific were given.

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've been wondering where the makeup days might come from. Guess we shouldn't book anything too early (summer or winter).

West Seattle Dad

Alex said...

Especially in light that winter break will be cancelled, most likely, we are looking for a company to fly to San Diego to non-crowded amusement parks right now (4th-grader). It is very hard to fund spontaneous enough people, we already polled classmates. Please write to alexmaev4@gmail.com if interested to join us there.

Anonymous said...

Puyallup Fair tomorrow! (okay, I realize not all parents can take off and believe me, I'd rather be working - but I've always wondered why the Puyallup is so late after school starts?)

-- parentingnSeattle

Maureen said...

I think some schools have piles of free tickets to the fair. Can anyone confirm and tell people how to get them?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

We're headed to the fair tomorrow and I was just talking to friends about whether there was any way to get those free tickets.

NE Mom of 3

Anonymous said...

Call your principal. They are working . . . and if they are not, I'd like to know.

teacher3

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
GreyWatch said...

Wondering if our kids can get pick up their Orca cards from school. As they are going to school everyday for sports, would be helpful to have these now.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anonymous,

Yes, a rally/march is planned for Tuesday. This is what you do if you really want to get a good contract, to keep the pressure on. Then you cancel the rally if you are successful by Monday night. Duh.

Solidarity

Melissa Westbrook said...

No, Mid-Winter break (as I reported) is NOT cancelled. It is likely to go from a week (5 days) to 2-3 days.

And yes, folks on both sides make long-term plans one way or another. Planning a rally doesn't mean negotiations are not going on. They are.

Anonymous said...

"An Injury to One Is an Injury to All."

All of the working class in "One Big Union"

A little history in the heart of Seattle.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seattle_General_Strike



Unity

monkeypuzzled said...

March to Support Our Teachers on Tuesday: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SoupForTeachers/511481535674623/?notif_t=group_activity

Anonymous said...

Wonder if I can just walk up to a school at 8:45 am and go in to the office and ask for Puyallup tickets (on the way to the fair)?

If any principals or staff reading this blog - would that work? Are the usual tix in the office, or b/c schools haven't opened, are they not delivered?

--parentingnSeattle

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
seattle citizen said...

Anonymous, you need a "name" (as poster, or just write one at bottom) or you get deleted. It can be made-up name. It's for consistency so we can follow people's ideas.
That said, of COURSE SEA is trying to solve this; they're bargaining with district, compromising where appropriate...But a rally still shows strength, particularly of community support.
Of course SEA isn't going to tell us what they're willing to do in order to compromise - that would hurt their bargaining power.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous (again), Yes, from what I'm hearing "it sounds like the district has moved in the SEA's direction": wha-hoo! I'm not at the bargaining table (and neither are you), but I do know that the teachers' interests align with mine as a parent, while the district's rarely do. We all want our kids back at school, but I hope the teachers hold out longer if that's what they need to do to get the best contract possible for themselves and our kids' schools. This is not the time to get weak-kneed, it's the time to stand firm.

Solidarity

seattle citizen said...

parentingnseattle, I THINK the fair tix are in buildings now.
Orca cards might be, as well. Are schools answering their phones? Not sure....

Reality said...

Unfortunately their is simply not enough money! I truly think educators should make a living wage. However, I wonder if parents realize that as educators make more money their will be major cuts in our children's education....just ask Bellevue parents from a few years back- they stood with teachers on picket lines but once school was back in session and the cuts started they were so angry.

Anonymous said...

say a settlement is reached by a certain time on one day, ex. by the 3 pm presser, does that mean school will be in session the next day? or are there additional steps that need to happen between settlement and school starting (teacher contracts physically signed by all?) it would be nice to know for planning for kids at home/school.

laurenbaa said...

Does anyone here know why high school sports are still happening? Are the coaches not SEA members? I am wondering specifically because my child is in band, yet has not been able to play at football games due to the strike sidelining the band director. The games, however, are still being played. What gives?

Thanks
Lauren

Anonymous said...

Students at Hale all got their ORCA cards on Tuesday as part of Raider Day. I would assume that the ORCA cards are in the other school buildings as well. - Hale Mom

Anonymous said...

I can answer questions about ORCA cards and fair tickets. The staff who work 220 days are still in the buildings - these are the main office staff. They have the ORCA cards and fair tickets, in my experience, and you'd have to cross a picket line but can go in. Students and parents have been doing this at GHS.
- GHS teacher

Anonymous said...

Of course coaches are not SEA members, or not necessarily SEA members. Those are not union contracts, and are not subject to bargaining. They are stipends. Middle school sports appear to be cancelled

Sporty

Rufus X said...

Does anyone here know why high school sports are still happening?
SPS High School sports are governed by the State's Athletic Assoc., WIAA: http://www.wiaa.com

SPS schools participate in Metro league, governed by WIAA, and the league is comprised of more than just SPS schools.
Football teams - http://seattletimes.sportngin.com/page/show/1850497-metro
Volleyball - http://seattletimes.sportngin.com/page/show/1855453-metro
Girls Soccer - http://seattletimes.sportngin.com/page/show/1859827-metro

Are the coaches not SEA members?
No, not all. Some coaches are teachers, some are not. The coaching positions & stipend are administered by the district outside of a teacher's commitment/contract. There are several coaching positions still open, which can be found here: http://sps.ss8.sharpschool.com/cms/One.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=16489

my child is in band, yet has not been able to play at football games due to the strike sidelining the band director.
If marching band is part of the individual band teacher's contract (not separate, like a coaching position), then yes said band director cannot lead a "trip" to football games. Or, in the case of my kids' school, the director cannot let the students use district-owned instruments or music stands during unofficial, voluntary rehearsals offsite.

Rufus X (a parent of students who are both athletes & musicians)

Fed up said...

In regards to vacation and the summer. I'm going to make plans regardless to what the teachers and the district end up deciding. I know it's hard for them to believe, but the 150,000 parents and children lives still go on. This strike is just bull..... I feel trapped by both sides and the economic impact to my family will become enormous. My family is losing $500 per week minimum. I can just imagine the financial impact to the tens of thousands of families impacted by this. This needs to end this wee.

Anonymous said...

Many of the South Sound school districts have a half day "fair day" early in the year so they can go do the Puyallup. Or at least they used to. Who knows now that testing runs the system.

CT

seattle citizen said...

Anonymous 8:06 asked about what happens if an agreement is reached:
At general meeting (where strike vote took place) SEA members also voted to give Representative Assembly (RA - building reps) the ability to temporarily end a strike if it appeared a reasonable contract was there, one that could be brought to general membership for vote.
So if Bargaining Committee of SEA thinks it's good, they bring it to RA, RA might well agree and call a halt to strike, pending a general vote. So SEA educators would then go back to work.
Contract would still need to be voted on by all SEA (or at least a quorum) but that would occur in a week or two. They could potentially vote down contract and go back on strike.
Time line after Bargaining team thinks there's a good contract? Depends on when, on when RA gets it, on how long it takes RA to read 100 pages and discuss, on when they decide.
MAYBE if it goes to RA by, say, 5:00pm on any given day it could be voted on by RA by 7:00, which, I think, is the time the District might want to call families and get bus service lined up, etc.
But after it goes to RA, all I wrote is conjecture, time-wise. Everyone will try and rush it through, of course, but one would assume RA wants time to look at whole package carefully - in past, general membership has felt THEY didn't have enough time to scrutinize, and stuff got by them....RA, one eould think, would want to avoid that.

seattle citizen said...

Oh, and of course I meant to add that all my conjecture above would lead to school opening the next day. If things got later (maybe past 10:00? I heard that bandied about as a district cut-off once...) Then it might be the following day.

Anonymous said...

Might be tricky as they are in the building in our classrooms. You would have to contact the principal directly as they will as of tomorrow be the only ones in the building.

HP Gal

Anonymous said...

Read reply given above

HP Gal

Fairness for all said...

Could someone please address the following issue:
Secretaries will be greatly impacted by students being in school an additional half hour.
The office calms down once the students have left for the day, and that time is used to work on the many projects we have that are time sensitive.
Has anyone thought about compensating secretaries not just teachers for this additional burden?????

Anonymous said...

Fairness for all,
The secretaries is one of many issues that need to be worked out. The district says it not only doesn't want to pay secretaries, it also doesn't want to pay IAs. I know that there seems to be general consensus among teachers that this is a problem. I am not sure what exactly has been put on the table.

Fed up. As a teacher, I am assuming that many of my kids won't be there for whenever the days are made up. I know people have already made plans for mid-winter break. I wouldn't expect people to cancel flights,etc. I think the same thing about the end of the year...if they make up the days then. I am assuming we will make up days during mid-winter break to allow for learning time before high school kids need to take AP and IB exams.

who knows!

Frustrated said...

Ok, I will add a name to my formerly "anonymous" posts. I support quality teaching and quality learning, and I'm fully supportive of all the fantastic teachers in Seattle that my children have had. But what I hear from the union is they don't want to be assessed based on student test scores, don't want to work extra time and also want a recess period, and also want significantly higher raises than most families can expect in an annual basis. Additional pay for all is a fine ideal in principle, but it does nothing in the short term or probably medium term to improve outcomes for students in the classroom and does nothing to improve the skills of teachers who unfortunately are not good at what they do. My children have had entire school years lost in math and science because of poor teaching and, yes, an unwillingness of the school administrators to address obvious problems. However, those teachers are still in the same role this year and I feel sorry for the students who will have them. Why should Seattle parents feel compelled to reward that?

Lynn said...

Frustrated,

As a parent, you should also not want teachers to be evaluated based on student test scores because that has not been proven to provide meaningful information. It also sends the message to teachers that high student test scores are the goal of their work. It incentivizes cheating (see Beacon Hill International and Atlanta.) It encourages prioritizing test prep to the exclusion of science, social studies, music and art.

Maybe teachers don't want to work longer hours. Should every employee be expected to agree to increase their work hours on the whim of their employer? Maybe parents of elementary students don't want their children to have a longer school day either.
The recess issue is an example of teachers negotiating for better learning conditions for our children. Currently children's access to a break for unstructured play is controlled by individual principals. This is not right.

I am sorry that your children have received poor science and math instruction. Our district provides them with really poor math and science materials. This is mostly due to the legislature's failure - but district staff do tend to fumble curriculum replacement even when the money is available.

Certainly some teachers aren't very good at their jobs. If principals were good at theirs, those teachers would no longer be in the classroom. If you believe we need to attract more skilled employees to this career and to this district in particular, we will need to make working for Seattle Public Schools a more attractive proposition - both financially and by treating teaching as a profession worthy of respect.

Anonymous said...

I have seen very poor teachers coddled by the administration because they didn't rock the boat. But I have also (and this is close to unbelievable but it is true) seen the best teacher in our elementary school Fired...yes FIRED....for lobbying the district for better science and math curricula. The central administration is creating a culture in which inspired teachers are bullied out of existence or into private schools. This is why we need to support the teachers for as long as it takes.

-Parent

Anonymous said...

Parent, many of us teachers know that what you state is totally true. A very similar thing happened to me. Somehow mid career I was suddenly a horrible teacher one year... well, after I disagreed with something semi-publicly, and not very strongly, but it turned out it was the new principal's pet project and oh my). Crazy part is the test scores showed my students outdid the peers - provided to me on the sly after I left the school because the test scores weren't available until August. {Not saying test scores should be the basis, but if timely I obviously would have used them - although I still would have left that school}

Had that been my 1st year of teaching I would have just assumed I wasn't a good teacher and left. Very well regarded prior and since, although it honestly did shake my confidence a bit and the next year probably was my worst year of teaching effectiveness (as I now realize).

There is something to the "fair and reasonable" evaluations, but I also know from non-teaching experience that there are jerk bosses everywhere so this issue will never fully go away in any industry including teaching. Principals need to be fair BUT when they do have a poor teacher they need to follow a fair and reasonable process which includes documentation and providing support. Then if the teacher still can't pull it off it's time to have a serious discussion about career choices. Ummm, and for what it's worth, teacher unions and teachers have discreetly talked more than a few weak teachers out of the profession (conversations with teachers across the state at various conventions confirms this is a semi regular event). Some teachers have truly turned it back on with the right combination of pressure AND support.

Fair Reviews

Anonymous said...

Soup for Teachers is reporting that principal's have been asked to have one-on-one meetings with their building staff ... can anyone confirm?

North by NW

Frustrated said...

Supporters of the teachers union always put forth the same reasons why poor teachers are still in the classroom - e.g. blame the principal, the curriculum, the district, or that it is a first-year teacher who needs time in the classroom. And then there has to be a deliberate process to evaluate teachers' performance, mentor them, train them, which delays a decision. And the union rejects the use of criteria like student test scores, which at least provides some data to look at - and then there is always the unfair principal who acts arbitrarily. And meanwhile, entire generations of kids go thru these classrooms and nothing changes.

At my job, I have to set goals to meet business objectives and professional development objectives and I'm graded in part on how well I work with my colleagues. I am paid the same whether I work 8 hours a day or 12 hours a day, and and I'm evaluated twice a year to see if I'm making progress. And if I'm not suited for this, I understand I may have to find another job.

Teaching children is unquestionably different than the private sector - teachers are asked to inspire and shape the lives of every student who walks in the door, whatever their circumstances. I'm not saying teachers should be graded on a monthly basis, but why not every six months or a year. And if the union is truly focused on student outcomes, they should put forward an alternative, impartial system of evaluation that serves students, families and schools instead of just saying no.

n said...

Are one-on-one meetings legal during a strike? Isn't that intimidating? And requires that each teacher cross a picket line? I hope that's not expected. I would decline.

Frustrated: that used to be the province of the principal who was expected to know his/her teachers and supervise them and their teaching practice. BTW, we are not paid the same regardless of the hours we put in. If the district shrinks our hours by a day or two, we get paid less. As the district has shrunk our service days, our paychecks have also shrunk. And other things have contributed to the decline of teacher pay as well.

BTW, do you get bonuses? Perks? Working twelve hours a day would only happen for me if the salary were really worth it, there were bonuses to be earned, or promotions to be had. What incentive do you have to work twelve hours a day?

n said...

Also, frustrated, at my school two teachers have been terminated after a two-year mentoring program. I think that's fair. It is the principal who determines that. So your complaint should be lodged with the principal if you and others agree the teacher is a bad teacher. Unfortunately, there are arbitrary principals and other principals who don't want to take the time to do the paperwork and monitoring needed to oust bad teachers. Again, that is a principal thing.

As a teacher, I've seen first hand teachers that have been terminated because they are poor teachers but I've also seen teachers arbitrarily picked on or terminated because they are independent thinkers or too old or make waves a little too often. The kind of teacher I most admire is one who is often thought not to fit in with the status quo.