Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Tuesday Open Thread

I attended the "listening tour" last night by members of the Legislature who appeared to want input on how to fund McCleary but had their own Senate bill that they presume will solve this issue.  I'll have a separate thread but the kid speakers did it best (along with the panel of teacher/principal/superintendents.  (One guy got thrown out of the room for interrupting and I had to ask a couple of legislators have a confab while I was talking if they might stop talking.)

Readers, I have a question for you - district or District when I am talking about our "district?"  I go back and forth but it seems I should be more consistent.  I'm thinking upper-case but I note that the Times goes lower-case.

The district has a blurb for parents about Schoology.  A couple of things to wonder about: 1) nothing is mentioned about student data privacy and 2) just like The Source, Use is optional for our teaching staff.

The only district meeting of the week is the School Board meeting tomorrow, starting at 4:15 pm.  I'll have a separate thread on there as there are several items to discuss.  One is whether to extend the Superintendent's contract (I thought he said he only wanted to be here for three years) and two, whether he gets a bonus/raise (I'll just vote right now and say no as I note that Chief Sealth is now the latest school to see an "after-school-starts" staff cut).

The Times has an article about Leschi and their breaking up the perceived segregation there, between Montessori program students and the rest of the school.  The article also states this:

Similar experiments are under discussion in other Seattle schools where tracked classes or special programs have exacerbated racial separation.  At Washington Middle School, for example, all sixth-grade students from Spectrum, one of the district's programs for the academically gifted, are being mixed with mainstream students.

The Montessori program actually played a big role in changing the demographics at the school from the '702 to today.  They also used to have a Spectrum program but are now an ALO school.

I was told by Enrollment that Montessori used to be a choice program (at least at Leschi) and now everyone is enrolled (this happened in the spring by the Board but I missed it).  I'm not sure how it happened that more white families chose Montessori than black families but anyone could enroll for this free program.

A good article at Crosscut about the Washington State Supreme Court - not on the charter school law ruling but on the court itself.

Respected independent studies by the University of Chicago Law School and the University of California Davis have consistently ranked Washington’s Supreme Court as second and third in the nation for quality opinions and the frequency of case citations of its rulings by courts in neighboring states. This means other legal scholars and courts often look to Washington’s top court for its thoughtful analysis and rulings.

Washington State’s Supreme Court consistently ranked among the top ten in the nation and among the top five for quality opinions most cited by outside states. The study also reviewed a U.S. Chamber of Commerce survey of corporate attorneys who actually ranked Washington’s Supreme Court in the top three for impartiality.

The McTeachers Night at McDonald's is back (story from NPR.)  Please let us know if your school chooses to work teachers hard by having them work a full day at school and then, in the evening, work behind the counter at McDonald's.  The National PTA is not aligned with McDonald's but our state PTA is and there are some areas where local PTAs are holding these events.

What's today?  Why it's the National Council of Teachers of English Seventh Annual National Day of Writing.  And here I am writing.  #WhyIWrite

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

An article today in the Seattle Times about the principal at Leschi getting rid of the montessori program and blending their montessori for math along with reading writing in their "contemporary" program. They did this for equity and for ending having two schools in one.

Melissa Westbrook said...

You did see that I mentioned this myself in this thread?

Anonymous said...

Our school suddenly appeared in Tier 3 in the Oct. 13 (?) presentation to the C & I Committee.

No notice at any of the public meetings. And, not even any notification from the district to our school about this change!

Two Tiers is the best option for students and their families. The educational benefit of Tier Three escapes me.


Anonymous said...

Can anyone confirm the Garfield projection numbers are garbage data? 2446 students in 2019-20. There were comments in previous threads asking same question but no answers.

All driven by roughly 1000 student increase in the APP enrollment. I assume there is going to be some dramatic changes to fix this but when do we get to hear about it? Not sure what I really want to see at GHS but would at least like to plan accordingly.

14/5 15/6 16/7 17/8 18/9 19/20
HCC 427 544 712 965 1222 1460
Normal 1159 1150 1138 1108 1052 986
Total 1586 1694 1850 2073 2274 2446

- 3 normal kids heading to GHS staring in 2018

Anonymous said...

Lower case, please. It would be distracting to refer to the City or the State. I think "the District" is similarly distracting.

Teach Everyone

Melissa Westbrook said...

Teach, I thought if you were speaking in generic terms, you used lower-case but if the "City" meaning Seattle, you used upper-case. I'm not particularly interested in grammar but rather, what readers want to see.

Anonymous said...

The Times article about Leschi was fascinating. There were lots of quotes from school district employees about "addressing inequities" and improving "diversity", but they never talked about the changes improving "academic performance". I guess their priorities are clear.

Academics First

Anonymous said...

Re: Leschi.
The only board member not to vote in favor of the change was Sue Peters. She was the only one who understood the rashness of this change that was made without analysis, and in the face of opposition from many Leschi families, including many families of color and FRL families of all colors who opposed both the elimination of a full day Montessori option and also the imposition of the Montessori model on families who deliberately did not choose it for their children. The decision was made by a small "equity" committee in the early Fall prior to obtaining any input from the school community, and the rest of the year was spent by the committee defending it and attacking detractors. Those committee members are the same few individuals quoted in support in the Times article, no surprise given the Times reporting standards, though the Times to its credit did mention some of the detraction but only a sliver. We need more Sue Peters.

no longer there

Anonymous said...

Academics First:
there was widespread opposition from families to changing to a two-classroom model due to the need for kids moving en masse throughout the day between classrooms, no home of their own space in each classroom, and the associated disadvantages of having each teacher responsible for 56+ kids at the elementary level, but that opposition was ignored obviously.


Anonymous said...

Wasn't that the Andrews concept at Madrona and that backfired and she "took" the Interagency job? So now reworking the same ideas at Leschi.

- Good to Know

Anonymous said...

Just received this email. Good for the student who reported this.

Dear Jane Addams families,

This morning it was reported to staff, that someone made a direct threat to bring a gun to school on Friday. A student saw this message written in a bathroom and immediately reported it to staff.
Within minutes, staff contacted Seattle Police and shortly thereafter we determined who wrote the message. The student has taken full responsibility, was very cooperative and said he was angry but did not actually intend to bring a gun or harm anyone.
Please know that we take safety in our buildings very seriously; the well-being of our students is our top concern. I am proud of how our students and staff responded to this incident. District procedures were followed and the situation was resolved quickly and safely.
We will continue to investigate to assure you that we are committed to doing everything we can to keep our students safe at school. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. I will be happy to speak with families and guardians directly.

Paula Montgomery
Jane Addams Middle School Principal


Anonymous said...

To 'Good to Know'-------

Don't miss that Principal Andrews of the years of the Madrona backhand to nearby neighbors ----e.g. we're not here to serve you------is apparently the partner of the Leschi principal if you follow the clues in the story.

Different person different school same neighborhood same issue.

Seen It

Anonymous said...


The only district meeting of the week is the School Board meeting tomorrow,..... whether to extend the Superintendent's contract .

The Board has one employee to supervise ... the Superintendent.

If Nyland's contract is extended, will that hamper the NEW School Board in directing effective change?

Likely four members will be leaving.... let them leave without extending Nyland's contract.

-- Dan Dempsey

Melissa Westbrook said...

I absolutely agree that the Superintendent's contract can wait (and I believe this was said at last week's Ex Ctm meeting that they didn't have to do it now). Why now? So they can stick the next Board with him.

He SAID he only wanted to be here three years (but I'm supposing if they throw more money at him, he'd stay) when he came on. Now, he changes his mind?

I think folks should write to the Board - SPSdirectors@seattleschools.org - and tell them to delay this action.

GarfieldMom said...

If you say Seattle School District, it's capitalized, but if just referring to "the district," use lower case. It's not a grammar rule, it's a style rule. Most readers will be accustomed to that usage because anyone who uses a style guide (which is every professional journalist/news outlet/magazine/publisher/etc.) would use lower case. Same with city, state, board, committee, etc.

Anonymous said...

Our school has done McTeacher's Night in the past and I assume will again this year. I am personally opposed from a health education perspective (including corporate McDonald's role in this country's obesity epidemic), however McDonald's is right in our neighborhood, I'm sure we have parents who work there, our PTA raises very little money as a high FRL school and so I think this is a complicated issue.

I do wish that all schools were fully funded so we didn't have to resort to this stuff. :(

southend mom

Anonymous said...

Good to Know and Seen It - deja vu all over again.

Since when is the student population at Garfield broken out into 2 groups - normal and HCC?? Seriously? Referencing the post at 10:55, the mom with 3 normal kids.


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

Do the Garfield projections assume 100% of HCC students will accept the default pathway assignment of Garfield, as opposed to choosing Ingraham, or their neighborhood school? Ingraham can be credited with alleviating a significant amount of Garfield (and other north end high school) crowding.


Anonymous said...

Those 5-year projections are here.

They show Garfield's HCC population more than tripling, while Ingraham's grows over 40%. There are a lot of assumptions though, so who knows if that's correct. The October Counts thread last week addressed this somewhat.

Why include both overall projections and HCC-specific ones? Easy. The district has no qualms about splitting and moving HCC students at will to meet capacity needs.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, I was not sure as we moved out of the Madrona area around that time as we had concerns about her "adversarial" style. Note that the Times article does not mention that Andrews is currently the Principal of Interagency. Interesting although that is different demographic but hmmmm...

And my friends kids are Ingraham were concerned that they were turning into Garfield lite with IB but it seems the faculty are determined to not let that happen as well.

Which also explains Washington and its odd switching. I wonder what this means for the new Meany? Five bucks it is "renamed" to have no association with the previous school

Is the South end getting the runaround? Didn't they try to split the district? There is more going on. There was an article in the Times yesterday about a wealthy dude who wants the Mayor to take over the schools, Alberg I believe.

We were right to move out of the area, sadly

- Good to Know

Divamom said...

Melissa, did you see this?


Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, and it's really nothing new. Districts lose NO money by opting out; they lose control of some of it. Is that good or bad? Hard to say in SPS given they never really give true spending data.

Watching said...

Op ed by Sara Morris and Jon Bridge:


mirmac1 said...

Wow. Feeling nostalgic. Seeing Jon Bridges' name had me digging in my archives.

More Powerbroker emails

These pithy emails were from the Big Push to sell us sad sacks on Susan Enfield. Among the biggest cheerleaders was Jon Bridge:

"From: Jon Bridge
Sent: Friday, March 04, 2011 12:19 PM
To: Enfield, Susan A
Subject: CCYJ

...Also, please call on me for any assistance you !night need in the new job - w/the communities of color and business - I m ready and willing to help.

Jon can help with "communities of color"? Other than spray tan?

Sara Morris critiques BFF Enfield's coronation speech:

- Tone requires perfect pitch: needs to be sober but aspirational at the same time. 1 know you can deliver this,
- Would love to see that values narrative (teachers as role models) you articulated this morning. Great emotional
connection there, and syncs well with Steve S message about teaching ethics, responsibility, etc.
- ...
- Would love a bit more imagery...something emotional and more evocative of what this work is all about... .a la "the big picture for me is made up of 47,000 faces..." [I can't get all "points of light" here but you get where l"m headed}
- Don't miss an opportunity to tie back to the bigger picture....strong schools are at the core of strong cities. Doing public education right Is an economic and moral imperative.
- As per Frank [Gehry]. take opportunity to enlist the city. The District owes the city a lot (restoration of trust demonstration of prudent use of public resources, delivery of a 2lst century education)
[WTF?!] BUT schools get better when their community commits to them~"

These people deserve to be exposed for the arrogant idiots they are.

TechyMom said...

Charlie had some maps a couple years ago showing that a huge number of APP students live in the Garfield attendance area, specifically in the northern part of it where there is no other neighborhood high school to send them too (Roosevelt just as full, Lincoln needed for north-end overcrowding, Queen Anne... Oh yeah, no Queen Anne). If APP were moved, would they move go with it? I kind of doubt it. I especially doubt they'd move to Ranier Beach, which is the only place with room. It's a long commute and does not have name recognition with colleges. An IBX program might be able to draw a few, but if that's being discontinued at Ingraham, it seems unlikely to be started at RB.

TechyMom said...

Ack, pardon the wrong too. My phone thinks it knows grammar better than I do.

TechyMom said...

Given the district's track record with enrollment projections, it also seems possible that some of the HCC students who live in the Garfield attendance area are being double-counted. I'm not sure how to check that. Any ideas?

mirmac1 said...

WS Blog reports on the Growth Boundaries meeting at EC Hughes

Then, it was asked, where will everyone go to middle school, with Denny and Madison filling up. Will there be a new middle school?

Herndon said there’s no “capital planning” for that – and that they wouldn’t be building a new middle school on the old Denny site, a stone’s throw from the new one – but they have options such as “what to do with the Schmitz Park site once Genesee Hill opens” (next fall) and he pointed out the space that’ll be left in the Boren Building after AH no longer needs to be there on an interim basis. Would other schools be moved around? “Almost anything’s possible,” Herndon acknowledged.

"There's no capital planning for that" - That goes without saying. Seems Herndon is recovering from his Downtown School let-down and realizing that West Seattle is about to blow. Oh yeah, cram a middle school into a middle school building occupied by a K-8. What kinda mess...?!

SF said...

mirmac, thank you for sharing those emails. "The District owes the city a lot..." WTF is right.

Anonymous said...

Dear West Seattle

You've been f* over once. Once was enough. It is going to happen to you again. Organize to stop it now before it is too late.

Remember when they tried to close your schools? And you showed up in droves with your baby stroller and said "What are you doing? Are you nuts?? What part of the stroller grid lock do you not see??". And, the District closed your schools and played shuffle the deck chairs anyway? We all know exactly how that ended up: (1)Genesee Hill is being reopened bigger than before, (2) Fairmont Park reopened BIGGER than before as a brand new school, (3) an additional emergency brand new school, K5 STEM at Boren was opened, and (4) Arbor Heights is getting nearly doubled. Meanwhile, your children are crammed in at Alki, and, Schmitz Park became a shanty town of 17 portables. Nice. Oh, and who lost their job at the District for this 'planning' debacle? No one. Of course. That cost a lot of time, money and caused a lot of unnecessary heartache. The District had to reverse everything it did to you. Did they issue an apology? No, but they asked us for money to correct their mistakes and they still co-located Stealth and Denny despite the obvious issues and constraints colocation locks West Seattle into for the next 75 years.

They are doing the exact same thing to you:

You are out of middle school space. Adding 2 or 3 cores to K5 STEM is not going to help fix the problem. They seem to think that Madison is an ever-expandable magical building. Can they count? Can they see? That is a might large elephant no one at the District is willing or able to see or address.

But wait, what is really, truly, insanely stupid? They are 'planning' to divert more kids into West Seattle middle school. They are pulling APP awayfrom Washington (WMS is about to be halved in population as Meany to the north of it is opening and taking half of the feeder elementary enrollment with it) to feed it INTO MADISON. That's right, to Madison.

Not making this up. There is a committee working on this right now. So, let's review. The burgeoning lower grade West Seattle cohorts are rolling up and are about to hit middle school, yet West Seattle middle school is near saturated right now, and the District's plan is to ADD kids into the crowded schools in West Seattle (kids who have always been served elsewhere) AND starve Washington of enrollment.

Huh? The kids who will experience the crowding at Madison are the exact same sardines crammed into Schmitzville now. You have to wonder, what did they ever do to the District to deserve such shabby treatment?

The kicker is, none of this is necessary. As it is now, APP kids from south of Lake Union all go to Washington. And, Washington has room: it has capacity because Meany is opening. In contrast, West Seattle has insufficient capacity for elementary, middle and high school students. Elementary overcrowding will be corrected once AH and GH are completed, but then, the capacity problem will roll up to middle school and land like a ton of bricks. And, the district's plan? ADD MORE KIDS WHO OTHERWISE WOULD BE SERVICED AT WASHINGTON. Can anyone say, "shortsighted"?

Pouring gasoline onto the fire. If there are not enough seats to go around, why would the District purposely, knowingly, pushing in MORE students?

Is this a District worthy of more capital dollars via the BTA levy in February? Think about that as you consider your BTA vote.

Facilities Planning?

Anonymous said...

I get the impression that Ingraham's HCC numbers are a somewhat carefully considered projection based on historic demand for the program there, and Garfield's HCC numbers are "everyone else." That said, if you look at Garfield's non-HCC numbers, they are not wildly far off from the same group at Washington & Meany, so I don't think HCC is double-counted there. Based on projections for Cascadia, I also don't think they are "garbage data." Just unfortunately very big.

TechyMom, you bring up a good point about HCC kids in Garfield attendance area not moving if the program moves. The same thing would likely happen in Ballard and Roosevelt. I hope the district realizes they have to make any sort of new pathway attractive to families, or suffer even more widespread capacity problems.


Lynn said...

Facilities Planning,

The solution of course is to move K-5 STEM to EC Hughes and reopen Boren as an attendance-area middle school. West Seattle APP/HCC students are a tiny drop in the bucket at Washington and Garfield - moving them out makes no sense.

mirmac1 said...

Yes Lynn, it is so obvious it's boggles the mind.

Anonymous said...

Hi Melissa, I really appreciate all the information your blog supplies.

Are you a reporter? If I supply you with information, how can I be assured you won't expose my name? If subpenaed, will you go to jail to protect my identity?

The reason I ask is I noticed you have turned against many people you have supported in the past, why should people trust you?


Anonymous said...

What is the capacity at West Seattle High School and Chief Sealth? They are both mid size schools with WHS smaller than CS. Do either have space to expand as needed?


Anonymous said...

The capacity numbers are WS 1294 and CS 1395 according to the most recent Facilities Master Plan I could find. Those numbers are indicated as "capacity without portables" and are able to accommodate current projections, assuming they are still accurate.

That report is here (HS capacity is on p 100): http://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/Migration/General/Revised%202012%20Facilities%20Master%20Plan.pdf?sessionid=91483500228d83eaaf8a75c5b61a2b6d

If anyone knows of a more current source for capacity numbers, please direct me to it.


Anonymous said...

Yesterday was interesting news day for education and social justice. The Times had the Leschi article. Last night on PBS Newshour, Garfield High and opting out of tests was a big story.


Anonymous said...

The Facilities Master Plan was Feb. 2012. "New" capacity for the same buildings without portables was about the same in the KPI report dated Oct. 2012: West Seattle High School rated at 1,215 and Chief Sealth at 1,317. And no, there were no footnotes to explain why loss the capacity to hold 79 high school students and 80 students respectively.

What would be better? Than digging around for FMP or KPI for mystery numbers reported without any context? The documents that the District has called the school info sheets, that clearly list how many classrooms each building has, and, the pull out spaces (library resource center, auditorium, gym, etc) they've got with the size limits. Go after those if you really want to see some inequity. It speaks to the educational inadequacy certain students in certain buildings are experiencing because every nook and cranny has been absorbed and playgrounds have shrunk as portables have mushroomed (which is ironic given that MORE kids need MORE space to play, not less).

The crucial part is the current and simulated future utilization (enrollment/capacity): but that is impossible to figure out since the District doesn't publish 'real' high school enrollments (they net off certain portions of students who do running start? who knows!).

Sealth has 1173 total count "enrolled", West Seattle 979 total count. But, here is the really bad news. Combined, they have 530 9th grade students. Bucket the lower grade bands that are rolling up in West Seattle, and you see the problem. The problem keeps getting successively worse.

Move k5 STEM to Hughes? That is a tiny school; remember, without any real plan, they made STEM a k8 - snuck that one in at the last minute, without reference to what the whole peninsula needs. An option school in that area proximate to those attendance area k5s would have made sense... So hell no, that is not the plan. The District wants to move Roxhill to Hughes. Which is a bad plan for so many, many reasons, not the least of which is it doesn't solve any real problem while there are a multitude of REAL problems now.

Consider that when looking at your BTA ballot in February 2016.

Scared and Scarred

dan dempsey said...

Anonymous unsigned put up the following link to PBS News Hour coverage of

Seattle's Jesse Hagopian and Standardized Testing.


This 6 minute piece is followed by another fine piece.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

Dear Jane Addams families,

This morning it was reported to staff, that someone made a direct threat to bring a gun to school on Friday. A student saw this message written in a bathroom and immediately reported it to staff.
Within minutes, staff contacted Seattle Police and shortly thereafter we determined who wrote the message. The student has taken full responsibility, was very cooperative and said he was angry but did not actually intend to bring a gun or harm anyone.
Please know that we take safety in our buildings very seriously; the well-being of our students is our top concern. I am proud of how our students and staff responded to this incident. District procedures were followed and the situation was resolved quickly and safely.
We will continue to investigate to assure you that we are committed to doing everything we can to keep our students safe at school. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. I will be happy to speak with families and guardians directly.

Paula Montgomery
Jane Addams Middle School Principal

So I'm wondering what actually happens in this sort of case? Is the kid still at school. How did they determine he really wasn't serious (I mean , you would tell the police you didn't mean it wouldn't you - even if you did). How do they know he didn't really intend to bring a gun to school (or that he still doesn't intend to some time?) Does he have access to guns at home? What will happen the next time the kid is angry - another threat, or actual follow though? I'll have a kid at JAMS next year and yes it worries me that this kid might still be there. I know kids make mistakes, say thiings in heat of the moment etc - the trouble with this gun crazy society is that too many of these kids have the means to actually carry out their threats.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Worrier, I can ask but I think his parents were probably asked about guns at home (to know if there was actually any possibility and I would hope that his parents would be honest).

Anonymous said...

From Jane Addams Middle School Principal Paula Montgomery:

Dear Families,
Thank you for your support and your concern about student safety at Jane Addams. I realize that any talk of violence in our schools is a cause for concern, and I want to update you on information regarding our incident on Wednesday.
Please understand that our responses are limited due to the confidential nature of student educational records.
Seattle Public Schools as well as the Seattle Police Department are continuing to investigate this issue to ensure that all students are safe. We have followed district procedures and the student has been excluded from school accordingly. Our school has referred the student to the Seattle School District Threat Assessment Team. The STAT team will assist in the investigation and coordinate the assessment, risk appraisal and case management of the student. Students who return to school after making threats of violence must be able to assure school district staff that they are safe to return.
Our school district policy regarding incidents of this nature can be found on Page 18 of the Jane Addams Middle School student handbook, posted at addamsms.seattleschools.org.
This Thursday, during advisory, students will receive similar information that is in this letter. By addressing this issue in a smaller group setting, we hope that students are able to ask questions and understand how to get additional support if needed.
Advisers will review the following facts with students:
• No weapons were on our campus.
• Only one person was involved.
• The Seattle Police Department continues to investigate the issue to ensure that our school is safe.
• The School District and the Police have very strict guidelines about when and how a student can return to school after making a threat of this type.
• School is as safe as it was before we learned about this threat.
• We have safety plans in place, and monthly we practice a variety of drills, including shelter in place and lockdown.
• There is greater attention to our school by the Seattle Police Department due to this threat.
We are also reminding students of two important lessons:
1) Report unsafe behavior to an adult as quickly as possible.
2) When and if you make a mistake, admit it, take responsibility and
begin to think about how to repair trust. We will help you.
We are fortunate to have a strong staff at Jane Addams that includes three counselors and a security specialist who students know and trust. The foundation of creating safe schools lies in the relationships and trust that students and staff develop.
This unfortunate incident has created the opportunity for important conversations to occur about school safety. Our counseling team is planning additional opportunities for students to learn and discuss issues of violence, safety, social and emotional learning, and anger/stress management.
Our staff and our counselors (Mr. Bilides (8th grade), Ms. Lucas (7th grade), and Ms. Sieg (6th grade) are available should you or your student need any additional support.

Paula Montgomery
Principal, Jane Addams Middle School

-North-end Mom