Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Tuesday Open Thread

Speaking of class size, teachers in Kelso are trying two teachers in a classroom.  Story from Longview Daily News.

Thanks to new state money, the Kelso School District was able to hire Jennings to reduce K-3 class sizes at Rose Valley and Carrolls elementaries. That state money was a partial fulfillment of the voter-approved Initiative 1351, which the Legislature declined to finance fully for four more years. 

The teachers and their principal, Mark Connolly (who is principal at both Rose Valley and Carrolls), say doubling up gives them more time to work with small groups of students and improves their teaching skills by giving them another educator to talk with.

From Soup for Teachers:
WA PTSA's #1 priority is Funding McCleary. The Ballard HS PTSA board and general membership recently voted to pass a resolution urging legislators to promptly address the McCleary ruling. Please consider contacting your local representatives urging them to "Fund McCleary Now!" That's it. No need to write a long letter. Here's a link to find your state legislators: http://app.leg.wa.gov/districtfinder/

The governor also needs to hear from us. You can contact him at https://fortress.wa.gov/es/governor/.

Write the Governor today (and every week) and tell him this needs to get done.  The Governor and the Legislature need to fill some real pressure.

Following on the heels of the Rainier Beach HS town hall on transportation comes news that the King County Council voted to end a policy that criminally charged youth for fare evasion on Metro.  From KIRO:

County Code currently makes the non-payment of bus fare a potential misdemeanor offense for youth. The charge could also lead to the accused being banned from riding the bus, even if it is their only source of transportation. Now, fare evasion remains only a civil citation for youth and adults. 

On the heels of President Obama's announcement of the desire to cut back on testing (read the fine print) comes a KIRO tv report that includes input from Professor Wayne Au, UW Bothell, and SPS teacher, Jesse Hagopian.   A longer explanation of why Obama's words are somewhat hollow comes from blogger Peter Greene.

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

There are many schools that have two Teachers in a classroom and that works in more ways that one. Every school regardless of age needs two adults in the classroom. IA's need to be highly trained, ParPro's and others should have full certification avaliable and of course compensation that comes with it.

There is your problem, the money. The inablity to fund schools has shown that one person alone cannot do all that is required in today's modern classroom. But hey let's just have charters that have the luxury of picking and choosing who they teach, the number of students per room and a uniform curriculum with a wierd scary discipline program one step removed from military or prison and viola, success.

Two teachers in every room. On so many levels this would solve many problems.

- Pro 2

Confused Voter said...

Can someone explain to me why Seattle-area groups are so exercised about McCleary? My impression was that McCleary is mainly about funding schools though State funds rather than through local levies. I understand the issue of general (un)fairness of levy funding. But it doesn't seem to be an issue that's good for Seattle specifically, because anything funded out of state revenues is going to be disproportionately coming from Seattle taxpayers anyway. So it seems like levy funding benefits Seattle because we can pay for our own stuff and have the means to do so, whereas resolving McCleary means we move from paying for our own stuff though levies, to paying for our own stuff *plus* the rest of Washington's with our taxes.

In short: People are betting on McCleary to increase funding to schools, but it doesn't seem like it would have that effect for Seattle-area schools. Frankly, it seems to me McCleary proponents are more interested in using it as a platform to push for an income tax than as a real solution to school-funding issues.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday the WHO, World Health Organization, released a report listing cured meats, bacon, hot dogs, sausage, etc. are level 4 carcinogens, the same as asbestos and cigarettes.

How can SPS feed students food that is listed as carcinogenic?

Sorsha Morava

Anonymous said...

My friend who has since retired from a neighboring school district taught first grade SPED with some very low incidence students. She team taught with a general ed first grade teacher for many years. It was a double class room space, if I remember correctly. She loved that system. Often there were many more adults than two in the class room depending on the needs of that year's students. My then 4th or 5th grade kid went twice to spend a SPS holiday and enjoyed volunteering--that's how I saw the system.

Anonymous said...

Sun exposure increases the risk of skin cancer.

How can SPS allow students to play outside on a sunny day?!


Anonymous said...

Well, I'm motivated about McCleary because I actually care about the education of all the children in the state and am not happy with a solution that merely fixes the Seattle schools (even if one existed -- and I don't think voting on levies in every election is a good solution).

I also find the words in the WA Constitution worth fighting for -- as a principle.With McCleary, the Supreme Court declared them more than beautiful -- instead they are words that have legal consequences. So, it's not really a choice, whether to be a McCleary proponent or not. McCleary is (almost certainly) going to have to be implemented (though a lot of people are sticking their head in the sand). In addition, part of the McCleary decision does deem the current Seattle solution, to try to fund basic education with city levies, unconstitutional.

I do share confused voter's concern, though, that statewide solutions could actually harm Seattle schools, by defining minimums for basic education or teacher salaries that are untenable in Seattle (with its highly educated and demanding workforce). Therefore, Seattle voters and parents have to be active in the McCleary conversation, to make sure that solutions that address needs in the rest of the state don't damage our needs.


"It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders"

HFLC-Trim said...

Seattle Schools has an action report dated July 20, 2015 pertaining to Student Wellness.

Seattle Schools wants hunger-free kids. Seattle Schools receives federal funding from School lunch programs. Seattle Schools must have a Wellness Committee that promotes student wellness and preventing childhood obesity.

Insulin drives obesity. When the body consumes more insulin than it can handle, it develops a metabolic syndrome, a fat storage condition. To reverse metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance, a high fat, low carbohydrate diet is recommended. A diet in low insulinogenic foods contributes to insulin sensitivity, and thus helps fight obesity.

The insulin load of a food is related to its carbohydrate content, minus the indigestible fibre, plus about half the protein.

bacon has 16 g/Megajoule (MJ) protein, 19 g/MJ fat and 1 g/MJ carb and an insulin index of 9%.
Nitrite-free and uncured bacon are available in supermarkets.

From this Action Report:
Children struggling with obesity in the U.S. are at greater risks than the general
population of becoming obese adults. Adult obesity leads to higher rates of heart
disease, diabetes and cancers. Obesity in adults occur at higher rates in racial / ethnic
minority populations such as African American and Hispanic Americans, compared with
White Americans. Women and persons of low socioeconomic status within minority
populations appear to be particularly affected by obesity.

Not only are minorities more likely to be affected by health disparities, the onset of these diseases happens for them at younger ages, thus creating a cycle that perpetuates health inequities.

Students from underserved populations are particularly impacted by lack of fitness
opportunities due to lack of transportation, lack of opportunities in their area, safety and
expense. Healthy Youth Survey(2012) data from Seattle indicated that low socioeconomic
status (SES) students were much less likely to be physically active for 60
minutes/per day than high SES students (15% vs 22% respectively).

Significant disparities also exist in terms of access to nutritious food in Seattle. Forty
percent of Seattle Public Schools’ low SES middle and high school student did not eat
breakfast today, compared to 27% of moderate/high SES students. A similar disparity
exists by race/ethnicity, with 32% of students of color not eating breakfast today,
compared to 18% of white students. Only 25% of low SES students consume the
recommended 5 servings of fruit or vegetables daily, compared to 33% of moderate/high
SES students.

As a result, Healthy Youth Data (2012) revealed that students of color had higher
overweight/obesity rates (Hispanic 27%, Black 29%, Pacific Islander 33%, American
Indian 34%) than the Washington State average (23%).
bologna has 24 g/MJ protein, 9 g/MJ fat and 13 g/MJ carb, 3g/MJ fibre and an insulin index of 11%.

pepperoni is 10% insulinogenic, frankfurter 11%, pork sausage 13% and bacon 15%.

Probably SPS doesn't serve exclusively bacon and pepperoni, and does serve fibrous low-insulinogenic vegetables. But good for SPS for presenting low insulinogenic options for kids that they might not get at home.

Probably more US public school kids with metabolic disorders than cancers.

Basta said...

Pro 2, I was with you until your charter school comments. At heart and at a philosophical level, I am not a charter school supporter. We should absolutely be funding public schools sufficiently and equitably. But I volunteer in a charter school (as well as in "regular" public schools) and have not seen evidence of any of the evils you name. The school "picked and chose" its students through lottery. The students are primarily brown and low income. The classes are full to capacity and discipline is in the "warm but firm" territory, but hardly militaristic.

I love this blog, but at times would like to see contributors reign in the hyperbole and sweeping statements. There is power in precision.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Basta, understand that the rates of charters serving homeless, ELL and Sped kids is below regular public schools. And for Sped children who are very high-need, it's non-existent. They also choose their school size and are not obliged to keeping adding kids if their numbers drop. Real public schools have to find room for everyone who comes thru the door.

KIPP is a very militaristic type of charter but you're right; not all charters are like that.

Anonymous said...

More about rates involving charter's in NYC =>

from the Albert Shanker Institute

Student Discipline, Race And Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy Charter Schools October 19, 2015

-- Dan Dempsey

Robert Cruickshank said...

So, let's talk about charter schools. Some are great. Many, many, many are bad. We have to look at evidence from all over the country when we discuss charter schools, not just the tiny handful that operate (for now) in Washington State.

There's Eva Moskowitz' "Success Academy" in NYC where the discipline is brutal - and yet kids aren't doing any better there than in public schools: http://www.alternet.org/education/why-are-eva-moskowitzs-success-academy-charter-schools-suspending-students-left-and-right

There's the charter school in Nashville that sounds a lot like child abuse: https://www.facebook.com/AmyFroggeForNashvilleSchoolBoard/posts/1076413312382932?hc_location=ufi

There's the dozens of charter schools that closed in Florida, many of which are profoundly mismanaged: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/broward/fl-charter-schools-financial-audit-20150626-story.html

There's the fraud with charter schools in Ohio: http://www.ohio.com/news/local/charter-schools-misspend-millions-of-ohio-tax-dollars-as-efforts-to-police-them-are-privatized-1.596318

There's the big public backlash to the mass conversion of New Orleans schools to charters: http://www.salon.com/2015/08/03/reform_makes_broken_new_orleans_schools_worse_race_charters_testing_and_the_real_story_of_education_after_katrina/

There's the efforts of billionaires to use charter schools to privatize whole systems: http://cashinginonkids.com/brought-to-you-by-wal-mart-how-the-walton-family-foundations-ideological-pursuit-is-damaging-charter-schooling/

Including Eli Broad's new privatization effort in LA: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-broad-draft-charter-expansion-plan-20150921-story.html

We need a K-12 public school system in this state and in this country that is so well funded that every public school offers a rich, diverse curriculum that allows all children to learn and do well. We shouldn't need to turn to a charter school, which as Basta acknowledges only benefit those few kids who win a lottery anyway - unless those winning kids are pushed out because they have low test scores and make the school look bad.

Charter schools are a threat to the ability of every child to get the quality education they deserve.

Anonymous said...

Dearest HFLC (that means high fat low carb, some call it paleo)

What does cause diabetes and obesity? Is it fat or is it carbs?

The opposite of your diet is the vegan High Carb Low Fat community as represented by Drs. McDougle, Esselstyn(his son Rip writes and markets the Engine 2 high carb lifestyle) and Barnard; all lean and energetic guys. Youtubers like Freelee the banana girl and her boyfriend Harley(aka Durianrider) and countless others(like Sorsha Morava who I don't think is really blogging from LA) are fit, whereas the high fat gurus are frequently overweight or obese, like the late Dr. Atkins.

A vegan, no oil, low fat diet can get you off blood pressure meds, diabetes meds, give you a longer life, lake you lean, prevent cancer and heal many common illnesses from constipation to arthritis. It also doesn't involve the daily killing of millions of innocent animals.

Plus HCLF is not a calorie restricting diet, like high fat diets; you eat as much as you want, 'cause the fat content is so low and the whole plant foods are so filling. In fact many people have problems getting enough calories. Maybe you need to read The Starch Solution by Dr. McDougle or look at his website for how to do it, for free!

If SPS cared about students, they would offer healthy, whole food, vegan options for lunch, not certified poisons like hot dogs and bologna and pepperoni pizza.

HCLF Vegan

GarfieldMom said...

Melissa, as a reader, I don't like want to see debates about vegan diets (nor any particular diets, really) as a topic here. Not even throwing in the manipulative "if they cared about the kids" statements makes it a relevant topic for the blog, in my opinion. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Robert C. wrote:

"Charter schools are a threat to the ability of every child to get the quality education they deserve."

Looking for "threats" look at the system of public education. It is surrounded by threats both external and internal "to every child getting a quality education".

The reality is that decisions are largely based on money and politics, which is why so rarely doing what works is even discussed. Looking for relevant unbiased research -- good luck with that. If you find it, expect it to be ignored by the privileged deciders that wish to do something else. {{ The ongoing story of SPS Math }}.

Little wonder many wish for charters, with little if any knowledge of what charters might be.

The system is in need of improvement but it appears almost all the significant drivers of change are from those with financial motivations. Most of those changes have not been positive.

But this one has.... Spectacular results are coming from Basis Charters in AZ, and they are making a profit.

-- Dan Dempsey

-- Dan Dempsey

HFLC-Trim said...

Part 2

A vegan, no oil, low fat diet can get you off blood pressure meds, diabetes meds, give you a longer life, lake [think you mean "make"?] you lean, prevent cancer

I wonder why a vegan diet didn't work for Steve Jobs? Or why a vegetarian diet didn't stop Linda McCartney's cancer? Surely they had the money to afford good oncologists.

Testimonies abound from people who safely ended their blood pressure and diabetes medications because they followed the advice of doctors like Dr. Peter Attia and Dr. Richard Bernstein. Oils from olives, avocados, macadamias, cod livers, krill, coconut oils are heart-healthy and are low on the insulinogenic scale. Fish oils' Omega-3 fatty acids are known to be anti-inflammatory and are shown in epidemologic studies to have beneficial effects on triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, platelet function, endothelial and vascular function, blood pressure, cardiac excitability, measures of oxidative stress, pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines, and immune function.

It is misleading and intellectually dishonest to mention dead Dr. Atkins and conveniently leave out his cause of death as cardiomypathy. You can't name any obese HFLC gurus but merely state that there are.

But if I made the mistake of assuming someone with other views did not scout for, gather, assess, evaluate a plurality of diet plans before going with the one that had satisfactory results, I suppose I'd make at least one unsubstantiated claim (e.g. "um, Imma just gonna ignore all these studies that show I'm wrong, by bringing up one data point provided by a biased source with some evidence stating otherwise, because. Then I'm going to make an emotional appeal about food shouldn't have faces.") I have only science & truth on my side.

The food industry profits from selling cheap, low-fat, highly processed, nutritionally depleted and addictive food: be it palmitic and hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, additives and preservatives. Low socioeconomic students don't have the option of avoiding cheap, highly processed, nutritionally depleted food at home.

If SPS cared about students, they would offer healthy, whole foods. <-- this is the only partial phrase with merit. Everything else that follows is a misstatement.
Anyone can see from a monthly lunch menu that there are always vegetarian options. To suggest students have no options available to them but must have bologna, pepperoni and meats is to make an ignorant, inaccurate statement and to discredit the district's School Wellness Task Force.

Anonymous said...

Who isn't offering the newest, most rigorous, AP curriculum to all of its students? Seattle, apparently. Go...Auburn! And, um, Camas! And of course, Bellevue.


Anonymous said...

The AP Capstone sounds an awful lot like the IB Theory of Knowledge and IB Extended Essay, which are components of the IB diploma program.

-a reader

Anonymous said...


Did you ever hear back from MC on the whole UW grant that would only come our way if he was elected. Seems like Joan felt like he would get back to you. I am voting for Pinkham regardless but thought some follow up would be nice in the event he did explain his point of view.

-Thanks MW

Anonymous said...

I tried to post this before, but I don't think it posted. I'm sorry if this is the second time it is on here.

I overheard a conversation about district decisions leading to socioeconomic inequities at Olympic Hills and Cedar Park schools. Does anyone know more about this? I do not have anyone at either school but was curious by the little bit that I had heard. Can anyone help me fill in the blanks? I am pretty new to paying attention to the northeast schools.


Melissa Westbrook said...

No,Mr. Christophersen never did get back to me. I feel like the UW professor, whose work he referenced, gave a fairly clear answer.

Kate, I'll have to do a separate thread on that issue as it is yet another situation that is being set up to not play out well for the NE (not just the kids/parents/staff) involved.

Kristin said...

Math is driving me crazy. It's STILL different every year, even though in theory we adopted a math curriculum last year. The middle school website says it's doing CMP, my child's teacher says the district has no Common Core aligned curriculum and is making up her own, my child says it's too easy, and I think it looks boring as all get-out. My elementary school child now has Khan Academy for homework. . . I have kids in two different grades to keep track of and I just don't know how to evaluate what's working and what isn't!

Brian Duncan said...

Melissa, have you seen this news story of high school student violently taken down and arrested at her desk in math class for possibly texting during class?


Another case of non-immediate compliance with an order from an authority figure (first the teacher, then the VP, then the officer) leading to excessive and uncalled for use of force to reach compliance. Then, sheriff blames victim (HS student here) for causing a disturbance, assaulting officer. I think the officer, Vice Principal, and teacher all failed at a pretty simple and commonplace task: manage a typical classroom situation without escalating tensions unnecessarily, and in a reasonable way that protects all students and the integrity of the classroom program going on. Unreasonable, irrational demands for immediate compliance with directives from authority figures (in this case teacher, VP, police officer), when such is not called for by the situation (texting in class is barely,if at all, disrupting other students; it may be disrespectful of teacher and should be addressed, but not in draconian way) should not be standard operating procedure for teachers, administrators, or police officers. Maybe this event should have a dedicated thread?
Brian in Ballard

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

Brian, I have seen that disturbing footage. We could have a discussion but I think her actions and his actions are two separate things, neither one acceptable. His, of course, was far worse but there is really no reason that things had to get to the place they did.

Anonymous said...

We have been directed by the district to follow the district Scope and Sequence for math. There is no common math curriculum. Teachers are supposed to use whatever resources they want as long as they follow the Scope and Sequence, in other words make it up! It really is ridiculous!
Frustrated Math

Uripedees said...

There is power in bacon as well.

Anonymous said...

Parents should ask for Math in Focus in elementary. It is a proven curricula and should be followed. Scope and Sequence is a new approach put forward by a couple of central office staff members to work with Common Core.

So ready for a new board led by Sue Peters and Rick Burke to get math back on track.

S parent

Anonymous said...

Once again - how to we spread the word to parents that this is happening re math (as Frustrated Teacher above says). It makes me so mad that the district adopted MIF a year ago, paid how much for it????? and now is getting teachers to cobble together their own math lessons according to the district scope and sequence. That just doesn't cut it.
I want to get what I paid for - the tried and tested textbook math curriculum that the district paid for (therefore, I as a taxpayer helped pay for).
I want to get what I selected out of the several curricula offered (not personally of course, but via the committee members that vetted and recommended and board that voted to adopt on behalf of their constituents).
At no point has a district developed math scope and sequence been put forward for public discussion or vetting.
At no point has there been a democratic process by which our elected board members can represent us regarding this issue.
Some questions I would like answered?
Why did we have a curriculum adoption process and waste countless parent/community member hours on vetting the material if it is not being used?
Why were they not aware of any supposed shortfalls in MIF or any of the others in regard to scope and sequence prior or during the adoption process?
At what point was it decided that the district needed to develop its own scope and sequence ratther than follow MIF, on what basis, and by whom?
How much did it cost the district to buy the MIF material that is now being shelved (at least in some schools) -this is money going to waste in an already cash-strapped district.
What schools are using what materials? And does it now vary school by school, teacher by teacher? IF so, how can the district ensure quality math instruction is being received by all students? How is this equitable (SPS favorite buzzword)?
Where are our board members on this?
How this happen with no public notification or consultation leaving the parents and board have no say in it. It really does confirm that public engagement is either just window dressing or stalling tactics with SPS.

Math Matters

Anonymous said...

My kid brings home worksheets. No information on where they are or where they are headed. No MIF at all. Books sitting on shelves. Like kid's math teacher and teacher was doubled down last year on translating MIF into the classroom. This year, just worksheets. Seems like teacher threw up hands and gave up to some extent. I know the teacher's fellow teachers are PO'd about the MIF sideline as they worked together last year to align the school. They won't say anything official though. Only to trusted parents. Principal kow-tows to downtown with a career promotion clearly hoped for. According to both teacher and principal MIF sidelined because SPS downtown told them they have to be ready for SBAC. Test driving curriculum. So kids get worse instruction with test as end goal. So wrong. So very wrong.

Staying unnamed

Josh Hayes said...

As for the SC situation, the district did snap into action - they suspended the kid who took the video, for "School Disturbance".

I'm a classroom teacher and I can't begin to enumerate the failures that happened in that classroom long before a maniac was called in to go medieval on a student. Dollars - LOTS of dollars - to donuts that district is going to be paying out a major settlement over this.

Tresanos said...


Could we have a thread on the Olymic Hills / Cedar Park / John Rogers boundary debacle? I am going to echo Kate, heard lots but since the effects are mostly against high poverty families it hasn't really hit the mainstream airwaves. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Yes, as a tutor, I can attest to some elementary classrooms assigning Khan Academy as homework. It's good for skills practice (if you have access to a computer), but is it the only homework?? Where is the MIF?


Anonymous said...

Melissa can we have a MIF/new scope and sequence thread?

Math Matters

Kristin said...

@FrustratedMath, I went back and looked at some of the other posts, so I've got a basic gist, but . . . WTF is Scope and Sequence? My kids are handy with math, so we're incredibly fortunate that way, but as a parent I absolutely need the ability to look ahead and see what my kids should be expected to know this year and next. Oh, and I might be asking too much here . . . but I'd really rather if the content mastery expectations didn't change from one year to the next? !

Anonymous said...

It's all over the news headlines tonight that U.S. student math scores on international testing have dropped. I chalk it up to a final exclamation point on the Feds mucking about in education and the intense push to privatize public ed in the past few years. AKA Duncan's legacy. Happy to see him leave in December on a decided down note. Fitting.


Anonymous said...

Information about the Olympic Hills/Cedar Park/John Rogers boundary issue can be found on the OH PTA website, including maps, our proposed motion to adjust the boundaries, and links to public testimony from an OH teacher, and two OH parents at last week's board meeting.


OH Mom

Linh-Co said...

Here's the article from the Washington Post.


Math in UnFocused said...

Did the Seattle wants david Elliott fb group get closed or did I just get"the boot"? Lol. I wasn't even one who posted anything in disagreement with that groups efforts. I saw that they booted a few people who had said things in opposition of their view and then next time I logged on it doesn't even list it as a group. ...

Anonymous said...


Student has inattentive ADD/ADHD. For many reasons, we do not do meds (we've done/do other interventions). At the SIT committee meeting, the educators said student could get a 504, not a IEP. If we challenge that, do we bring an attorney with us to the next meeting? Would that have an affect? Having a 504 is not making a difference in remediating the behaviors that negatively affect learning.

Are there families with students with same diagnosis who did get an IEP in Seattle Public Schools?

Is it possible to get an IEP for this diagnosis? Is there a 'category' for this? How do you 'tip' a 504 into an IEP?

The disability is causing problems in learning that specially designed instruction would compensate for and train student to overcome.

Please, feedback?


Anonymous said...

Melissa, I appreciate your questions and probing nature. But there times when it appears you are waiting to pounce on SPS doing something wrong, instead of seeking a balanced accounting.
For example, it appears you close comments on David Elliott's resignation when people and educators add comments to support his removal.
Also, you note the laptop as a factor, but have ignored that two Queen Anne teachers have indicated that DE has not collected any data for their evaluations. Without teacher eval data the theft of a laptop is irrelevant.
Here are some questions that I think have been ignored.
Has DE had issues with teacher evaluations in the past? If so, did the other directors ignore it?
Is DE leaking information through his supporter parents to foster unrest?
I hope that SPS is interviewing the teachers.
SPS is a large institution and hasn't always handled their actions well, but at least they haven't leaked their side of the story.
Please keep up the good work and please keep asking all the hard questions,
Qae supporter

Mary G said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Regarding the video of the police officer slamming the girl in South Carolina around in the classroom. Melissa, I think you are really minimizing the behavior of the cop. This is a child in a classroom, posing no physical threat to anyone. This cop's behavior is outrageous. Really, what does the behavior of the girl have to do with what happened ? Absolutely nothing. And why is it something that people are talking about as if it has to be weighed against this cop's behavior? There should be no weighing of her behavior against his. Her rights were violated and she could have been permanently injured because of his behavior.

There are many skilled educators who deal every day with children who are disrespectful, who talk on their cell phones, who are disrupting the class. Those kinds of skills in teachers are what should have been brought to this situation, not harsh physical violence.


Anonymous said...

agree entirely with GL. i also find melissa's questioning... sad i guess. i love this blog and its politics the vast majority of the time, but it is frustrating to see underlying bias and racism come out in our community. would you find the cop's response appropriate if it were your own child sitting in her desk, with unknown prior behavior? can you even IMAGINE seeing such footage with a white child (especially female) in her place?

SE mama

Anonymous said...

Regarding Cedar Park/Olympic Hills/John Rogers...

1. The Cedar Park boundaries are gerrymandered to take practically all John Rogers' FRL and ELL kids, as well as the highest-poverty neighborhoods now served by Olympic Hills, and a large number of Olympic Hills kids will not be able to attend the new Olympic Hills building (the building designed to have a health center and other amenities to support high-risk kids).

3. The Cedar Park building was renovated to serve as an interim site, and does not have a dedicated/appropriately-sized library. It doesn't have enough restroom capacity or lunchroom capacity, and has no sinks/plumbing in the eight permanent modular classrooms (they are like portables, but with foundations). Though nominated for BTAIV, Cedar Park has not been placed on the list of proposed projects.

4. John Rogers was also nominated for BTAIV (building replacement), but was not selected.

4. According to the 5-year projections, Cedar Park Elementary will be over-crowded from day-one.

5. The planning assumptions used for the enrollment projections were a "geo-split" of kids from John Rogers and Olympic Hills into Cedar Park. This is made possible by a loop-hole in the proposed Student Assignment Plan that is up for Board vote Nov 4th, which states:

"As growth boundary changes are implemented, students and their
families may elect to stay at their current school, through a grandfathered assignment, if available."

Grandfathering "IF AVAILABLE" is not part of the current Student Assignment Plan. These two words give the enrollment planning folks carte blanche to deny grandfathered assignments at any school, for capacity reasons. There is no incentive to keep portables on-site or add more to accommodate kids who have been drawn out of their established schools.

This is not just a Cedar Park/Olympic Hills/John Rogers thing. There are 21 different boundary changes that have been approved for the 2017-18 school year. How many of those schools will be determined to have insufficient capacity for grandfathering students affected by boundary changes?

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...


So sorry that you are going through this. Getting an IEP vs. 504 is completely at the discretion of the SIT team. You are part of the SIT team. You can influence the decision. Bring a lawyer, bring outside expert or advocate. Make sure the team has members who know your child. Get letters from previous teachers, bring work samples. Know what kind of SDI will help & ask for it. You can get advice from the wa state office of education ombudsman oeo.wa.gov, they are very helpful & can help you negotiate.

One caveat, getting the IEP is easier than getting the SDI. Getting SDI, even when it is described in the IEP, is a constant battle. The SIT team is just the first obstacle.

Good Luck

-sped mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

I closed the comments on QAE because there were some commenters making accusations without proof. When I asked for that, the person said no (and has since sent me a story,again without documentation.)

Also, if Mr. Elliott's laptop was missing, even if there were no teacher evaluations on it, there could be a ton of personnel/student data on it.

I have no idea what is happening on either side but I gave people space here to discuss it. But if it gets to a point where there are wild accusations, I'm not going to continue that discussion.

As to the videotape of the female student being abused by the officer, GL, I said that the behaviors were two SEPARATE things. His behavior was, indeed, outrageous and wrong. But given you are so quick on the attack, maybe not a thread because I'm not going to be called racist.

Anonymous said...


Sped mama is not correct: the determination of eligibility for specially designed instruction occurs through an evaluation process. You can request that your child be formally evaluated. You have to do this in writing. Your SIT team may make this referral and as a member of the team you can advocate for that, but as a parent you can also request that an evaluation occur.

SIT teams may actually have a plan to address the severity of need that is preventing your child from accessing general education benefit, but they can make a plan for that while also suggesting that the child be evaluated. That would be the smart and proactive thing to do. SIT teams are not allowed to determine the necessity for SDI - that can only be done through a formal evaluation.

Another sped parent

Anonymous said...

I did not call you racist. I did not mention race at all. I thought your statements, as well as many others I have heard and read, downplayed the serious violence against the student.

Anonymous said...

Distressed, Another sped parent is correct in his/her advice, as long you have not already had an evaluation for special education.

Students with ADD/ADHD sometimes do qualify for IEPs. If they do, their category would be "health impaired." Make sure your request for an evaluation for special education is in writing. Make sure it is dated and make sure to keep a copy.The district has 25 calendar days to respond to your request. Include any information that you have that your child is not doing well in school, especially in regard to any accommodations that have already been put into place. The SIT team will decide whether to refer for an evaluation. If they decide not to have an evauation, they will need to issue a letter to you stating why they feel that an evaluation is not warranted. If they decide not to do this, you will have rights for dispute resolution. For more info please see http://oeo.wa.gov/wp-content/uploads/manual_students_with_disabilities.pdf.

Additionally, bringing a lawyer to any meeting is not a good idea. When you get to the point where you need to bring a lawyer to a meeting, you should notify the district, as they will not hold meetings where parent's lawyers are present and they themselves do not have a lawyer.


Melissa Westbrook said...

GL, sorry, it was SE Mama who brought up race.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this explanation, North End Mom. It is very informative.
Do you (or Melissa) have any suggestions of how people can get involved to help push the district to fix this? Any hope of them doing the right thing here?


Anonymous said...

I think it would be difficult to tell if this was another case if race was involved. You would have to look at how many times this officer or this school district or this town used excessive force against persons of color. Or there would have to be something else, like the officer making racist comments. Having said that, I don't blame people for thinking it is race-based, though, because it's been a hell of a year of videotaped use of excessive force against persons of color. And even though I say it's been a hell of year for videotapes, I have no doubt that this stuff has been going on all along. I can't blame a person who has seen and experienced violence against themselves and their children for no other reason than the color of their skin for viewing this as just another example of the same. I think we all need to admit it exists and this may be another example. It has to stop and we people who haven't been witnessing it all our lives need to open our eyes and use our power to make it stop.


Anonymous said...


Things that could help:

1. Advocate for Cedar Park improvements to be included in BTAIV.

2. Advocate for the rebuild/expansion of John Rogers (preferably in BTAIV). The JR building needs to be replaced, due to its condition alone, but if there were plans for it to be built bigger then perhaps it wouldn't be necessary to geo-split kids to Cedar Park?

3. Advocate that the School Board NOT APPROVE the proposed SAP as written (with the grandfathering loop hole).

4. Advocate that the Growth Boundaries Plan be amended and boundaries re-drawn, so that FRL/ELL students are not segregated to Cedar Park from John Rogers and Olympic Hills.

BTAIV and the Student Assignment Plan are both up for vote Nov 4th. There is also a vote on Growth Boundaries Plan Updates on Nov 4th, but these concern boundary changes proposed for next year in West Seattle. The Cedar Park boundary changes will go into effect in 2017.

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

@ North-end Mom,

Can you further clarify your thinking on the CP, OH, JR situation?

How likely is that Cedar Park and/or John Rogers could be added to BTA IV at this point? It seems late in the game for that, and if there's going to be excess capacity in that neck of the woods with the new OH facility, it seems like there are probably other, more urgent priorities.

Assuming neither JR nor CP makes it onto BTA IV, what are you recommending should be done with Cedar Park? If we don't geo-split kids there, are you suggesting a roll-up? Will there be enough excess capacity in that region to deal with low CP enrollment for that many years? Or are you suggesting that CP not be a neighborhood school at all? That perhaps another group of kids--maybe one that people wouldn't feel bad about sticking with an inadequate facility...hey, I know, HCC!--be put there instead?

I understand the issue with "the slice" and agree it seems problematic, but I"m trying to better understand the big picture, too.


mirmac1 said...

Once an employee has been "written up" so to speak, it is possible to obtain records from the personnel file. I have received numerous copies of staff investigations some redacted, some not depending on the outcome.

Anonymous said...

John Rogers has been advocating for a new building for a long, long, time. I agree that it is probably too late for either John Rogers or Cedar Park to be put on BTAIV, and, until recently, most people advocating for these schools had accepted that it would probably have to wait until at least BEXV. The enrollment assumptions of a geo-split that came out last week changed all that. I know it is a long shot that either Cedar Park or John Rogers will make it on BTAIV, but it's not over until until the School Board votes on it.

There was talk of John Rogers being a priority for BEXV, as a building replacement/expansion. It seems a little nuts to geo-split the school down to 260-270 kids if they are planning to build a new, much larger, building in the foreseeable future.

A roll-up at Cedar Park would be far more preferable than a geo-split. Roll-ups were used previously for Sand Point, Viewlands, McDonald, and Ranier View. There should be room at the new Olympic Hills building for them to grandfather assignments (enrollment projections show 300-400 empty seats in the new Olympic Hills building). Of course, without transportation, grandfathered assignments would not be very helpful to many of these kids. The Olympic Hills "slice," everything west of Lake City Way, needs to be re-instated into Olympic Hills, so kids in the Little Brook and surrounding neighborhood can qualify for transportation to Olympic Hills.

There are similar issues at John Rogers, with kids who live in Lake City Court and surrounding areas in the heart of Lake City who face re-assignment to Cedar Park. These kids currently receive transportation to John Rogers, and a lot of supports have been put in place to serve them at John Rogers. John Rogers was one of the few schools in SPS to self-initiate ELL services based upon identification of kids already at the school who needed those services. John Rogers has an active FEAT team, and the PTA generously-supports programs like HIP (Hunger Intervention Program), holiday food drives, etc... Accommodating/grandfathering the existing kids at John Rogers would be more problematic, due to capacity constraints, but probably doable.

It would seem to be much better for FRL-qualified kids to be spread out between multiple schools with more resources and more diversity, and not concentrated in just one or two schools.
Currently, FRL-qualified kids are spread out between Olympic Hills, John Rogers, Sacajawea and Olympic View. The way the future boundaries are drawn, Lake City-area FRL kids will be primarily assigned to Cedar Park and Olympic Hills.

Personally, I do think that Cedar Park should be used as something other than an attendance-area school. It is a very small building. There is no way to expand capacity at the site to accommodate growth, due to landmark status and lot-coverage restrictions, and, with the 2017 boundaries drawn as they are, the school will be over-crowded as soon as it is opened. An option school of some sort, with enrollment caps, would make the most sense to me.

-North-end Mom

GarfieldMom said...

Thank you, GL and SEMama for your points about the video.

It doesn't matter one bit what the student had done prior to what is on the video. The violence from the cop is inexcusable. We are sending a very dangerous message in thinking we can only call out injustice if the victim is 100% pure and innocent. Injustice doesn't require a worthy victim -- it can happen to anyone and everyone and it's always unjust. Watching that video, there is no point where the thought "I wonder what she did to deserve that" should cross a person's mind. If it does, that person has issues of their own that they need to confront.

And the often accompanying statement of "she should have just done what she was told" is downright chilling. The idea that citizens are to submit to authority without question should be anathema to our culture and our society. That way lies a very dangerous path.

Anonymous said...

About attendance area boundaries:

Seattle is a city of funky geography. Puget Sound on the west, Lake Washington on the east, ship canal in the middle bisecting the city, the Duwamish cleaving off West Seattle, etc.

School buildings in the extreme corners are going to have territories that cannot flex. They are literally backed into a corner. Those boundaries are not gerrymandered, they are simply the consequence of geography. Schools in the middle of land, like Graham Hill, can have boundaries that can be engineered to provide a better demographic balance, but, schools tucked into corners, like Rainier View or Broadview Thompson or Adams, are clearly going to pick up all of the territory that is squished between them and their water/municipal boundaries because no other school can do that. Such is the case with Cedar Park. It is placed in the most extreme NE corner of the city. The mismatch between capacity and enrollment is in the south of the NE, and so the rest of the boundaries are forced to pick up the slack. When a school is at the end of the line of geography, it means there is little flex in how it is populated. That is unfortunate when affordable housing is clustered in a corner that corresponds with a school because it super-concentrates poverty, but, it is not gerrymandering. Rainier View nor Arbor Heights nor Adams are gerrymandered, they draw from the adjacent residential populations, and so those schools reflect those neighborhoods. Cedar Park never should have been the school opened, it should have been Lake City, but, the district didn't understand they needed that building back when the lease holder came knocking saying for $3M, he would let them buy out his master lease and have it.

The real problem is housing policy that super concentrates poverty. Hopefully, the new agreement the city has negotiated with developers on the city's task force will change that, making for schools that are more balanced because neighborhoods will be more balanced. Addressed-based school-assignment systems mean that schools reflect their adjacent residents, the only way around this is a 'choice system' with bussing provided to support choice. Been there, done that. Olympia said no.

Cedar Park should not have been giving 8 portables to open with; Fairmount Park was not. FP was given a wing. CP should also have been given a wing. Of course, CP should not have been opened, LC should have. And, putting a huge new K8 at Pinehurst with its tiny 3 acres when Olympic Hills is getting a new elementary on its large 10 acre lot makes no sense either. So, CP is part of a series of short-sited, bad 'planning' for the northeast. And what keeps getting lost is that Olympic Hills will not be opening half empty. That part of the city is growing like mad with families! Sandpoint is full, John Rogers is full! Olympic View is full! OH is the pressure relief valve for that entire region. OH needed to be bigger to provide capacity for all of those kids in the north NE! Still, CP should be a roll-up like all the other elementaries were. Equity means no geo-split for k5 kids!

As you cast a vote for the BTA IV, think about how CP is getting a squat of 8 portables, whereas FP is getting a wing. Think about if the BEX IV decisions were best practice for northeast Seattle. Decide if you think this new capital list is going to be a good use of funds given what they've done (and haven't done) in the NE of Seattle. Vote accordingly.


Anonymous said...

Vicky Phillips to Leave Gates Foundation

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

@ FP.

I agree that Cedar Park should not have been opened with 8 portables. The feasibility study was done in 2012, with the idea that it would serve as an interim site, with 7 portables (but got 8). Not that 7 would have been OK for an assignment school...my point is that opening it as an assignment school was not the original intent.

Fairmount Park got a wing. Bagley is getting a wing. It looks like Magnolia will get a wing. EC Hughes has 9 portable classrooms on site that SPS is intending to purchase, but they evidently have plumbing and at least sinks (maybe even bathrooms?).

Schmitz Park and Thornton Creek are getting larger brand-new buildings, in order to get rid of their portable farms.

Cedar Park is opening with 8 portables. I agree, it makes no sense.

As far as the boundaries go...for John Rogers/Cedar Park the natural boundary would be NE 125th street, since it lacks crosswalks and signals in some places. Instead, they dipped down to 120th, within the John Rogers walk zone, to draw the southern boundary for Cedar Park. Just moving the line to 125th would keep some low-income housing at John Rogers. For Olympic Hills/Cedar Park, the natural boundary would be Lake City Way, but the Cedar Park boundaries extend across Lake City Way, to 30th Ave NE.

The party line is that they drew a boundary based upon an enrollment target of 400 seats, which is apparently what they felt they needed to add to NE Seattle when putting the big attendance area school at Thornton Creek fell through.

Nobody seemed to notice that the Cedar Park building, even with portables can't possibly house 400 kids AND have room for Special Ed, ELL, PCP space, before/after care, Head Start, etc... They also apparently didn't seem to notice that the boundaries that were drawn picked up all the low-income housing on both sides of Lake City Way. At the time, nobody seemed to question whether or not that was a good idea.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

If they're correct that we need 400 elem seats in the NE soon, can we make a roll-up at Cedar Park work? Or do all these schools need to fill ASAP, to relieve pressure in the "south" NE?



Anonymous said...

@HF - The enrollment projections (based upon the new boundaries) show 300-400 empty seats at the new Olympic Hills building. I think the North-NE will be OK. I have no idea if making Thornton Creek super-sized will be enough to handle the South-NE.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

The standards you want to look at are the Common Core standards. They are not changing. You can go to the OSPI website, look up math, and find the state standards for math. OSPI has also developed a list of prioritized standards for each grade level. Linh Co has a great post in the math thread on what skills kids should know at what grades.

The Scope and Sequence is an SPS developed document that tells teachers what standards they should be teaching and in what sequence. The issue is that the district adopted MIF curriculum does not align with the SPS developed Scope and Sequence. So instead of using MIF, teachers have to develop their own curriculum to match the district Scope and Sequence.
Frustrated Math

Anonymous said...

Just off memory so give me some leeway...The new TC building will open next school year (2016-2017) and add approx. 200 option seats. That will leave the Decatur building empty to add about 400(?) available seats. An idea floated in the past was a regional Kindergarten building. Then you also have seats available at Laurelhurst (?). Wedgwood is going to graduate some small 5th grade classes this year, so they will also have a smidgen of extra seats. (Only about 20.)

If all of these pencil out, it doesn't make sense to open CP as a geo-split and at full capacity year one.

In the past TC has expressed an interest in remaining a smaller program. With transportation would a swap of TC to CP be a consideration with the TC community? If a STEAM option school were to open in the brand new building on the TC site, I do think there would be a keen interest from families in the NE to sign up, and quickly fill up the building. Math + Arts is hard to resist.

Just tossing thoughts, not certain if there is interest. I do not mean to suggest TC move, unless it is something they desire.


Lynn said...


Decatur has been mentioned as an early learning center (so preschool - not Kindergarten.)

Linh-Co said...

@ Kristin

Leave nothing to chance. Your first graders should have their single digit addition from 0+0 to 9+9 memorized. By the end of first grade, students should be able to add 2-digit by 2-digit with regrouping. By second grade they should know corresponding subtraction facts to sums of 18. They should be able to subtract multi-digit with regrouping. By the end of third grade, students should memorize multiplication facts to 10x10. Third graders should be able to multiply multi-digit numbers by a one-digit number. By then end of 4th grade, students should know all the corresponding division facts to products of 100. They should be able to divide efficiently any number by a single digit divisor and multiply multi-digit numbers using the standard algorithms. They should know equivalent fractions, and go from mixed numbers to improper fractions. By the end of 4th grade, students should know how to add and subtract with fractions with like denominators and be able to add/ subtract "friendly" fractions like 1/4, 1/2, 1/3, 1/5, 1/6,1/8, 1/10 with unlike denominators. Fifth graders should be able to add/subtract any fractions, mixed numbers, and decimals, multiply fractions, decimals with whole numbers, divide decimals with whole numbers, convert fractions to decimals, percent and vice versa. They should be able to divide fluently with 2 digit divisors.

There are other strands like geometry, measurement,algebra, etc. that I haven't touched. The previous paragraph is the short list for basic arithmetic foundation for first through fifth.

If your teachers tell you they are teaching higher order thinking and your students can't do these skills with standard algorithms, and by that I don't mean partial product, lattice method, big seven division, and partial quotient, then your kids are behind.

Saxon and Jump Math are solid curriculum that teach solid foundation without all the fluff. You can get cheap used Saxon Math on Amazon for $10. It teaches all the properties of mathematics like commutative, associative, distributive, identity property of multiplication, zero property etc. Your kids will not only be fluent with standard algorithms but have a thorough understanding of the properties of mathematics. I have an end of course placement test for 3rd through algebra. They are 50 multiple questions and for each grade level. From there, you can see the strengths and weaknesses of your child's skills. If you're interested let me know. These are basic skills tests. Parents are often shocked when they see the results.

It is not rocket science. Unfortunately, the math department can't figure it out. It would be nice if we could get people with math degrees running the math department downtown.

Tresanos said...

@North-End Mom--

Great, insightful comments. Thank you! You make it very clear (in addition to the documents on the Olympic Hills PTA website). I hope we can have a thread on this and other impacts to families living in poverty. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Lynn, I was describing the time prior to the City current focus on Pre-K. Even if the City/and those aligned at JSCEE want Decatur as an early learning site, it is not the need of SPS for this overcrowded area of the district.

Back in the early discussions of Decatur - to demolish or not, with the opening of the new building, one of the options discussed for capacity relief for the area was a regional K site.

There is not a need to isolate those immigrating from war torn areas of the world to one school without support in regard to language or culture (such as shoving all low income/immigrants to CP). I believe that local families and their interest in the success of their students and community will provide better supports than the impersonal bureaucracy of SPS.


Anonymous said...

Cedar Park has a landmark designation - does that prevent additions to the original building? The report states 7 portables for classrooms, and 1 for use as a library.



Anonymous said...

Yes. The firm doing the feasibility study suggested an additional portable to serve as a library for the INTERIM school, since there is no library space in the building. Olympic Hills @ Cedar Park is using one classroom space as a temporary library. I don't think they have any art or music classrooms, or a computer lab.

The entire Cedar Park site is landmarked, because it was designed by noted mid-century architect Paul Thiry. SPS spent more money than usual on the portables, because the landmarks board specified that they had to have shed/low-slope roof lines and more windows than usual, in keeping with the midcentury-modern architecture of the original building. The portables/modulars also are on permanent foundations, instead of elevated like true portables. The modulars were sited on what was once the staff parking area. I believe lot coverage restrictions prevent the placement of more portables on site.

Back in the early planning for opening Cedar Park, I'm pretty sure they were considering building an addition, rather than using the modulars. The building's landmark status restricts alterations of the building's exterior, so that was probably why they couldn't do an addition. The modulars don't have classroom sinks, or drinking fountains, though I heard they do have fire sprinklers. They didn't add any restroom facilities when doing the renovations and adding 8 classrooms, and may have actually decreased the number of stalls in order to make the restrooms ADA-compliant.

Cosmetically, the recent renovations are a vast improvement, but functionally, not so much. It is a very small school. John Rogers looks like a palace in comparison.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

I should clarify my last statement. John Roger's building condition is horrible, but it is a bigger building than Cedar Park.

-North-end Mom

SF said...


Anonymous said...

Conflict resolution - it's not always all about the Rules - or, what is art good for anyway?


A Washington, D.C., police officer challenged a teenage girl to a dance-off, holding her own as the two did the "Nae Nae" dance.

A female officer arrived to break up a fight in a park on K Street SW Monday afternoon when she saw 17-year-old Aaliya Taylor dancing to the popular Silentó song "Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)," Aaliya said. The girl said she usually fears officers and was surprised by what the officer said. (more)


Christina said...

I read a nifty little book called Verbal Judo, written by a former police officer. Every time I see a viral video of LEOs going brutal on some women or children I think "there's a [soon-to-be-] disgraced officer who would have benefited from Verbal Judo." The premise of this book is that a LEO can resolve conflicts without bullets or death-inducing holds by remembering five universal truths of human interaction.

1. People feel the need to be respected
2. People would rather be asked than be told
3. People have a desire to know why
4. People prefer to have options over threats
5. People want to have a second chance

However, Verbal Judo does work best when the officer reframes her or his duty from "teaching them uppity folk a lesson" to "enforcing the law without causing bodily harm, death, or lawsuit." The officers need to see the law-breakers as people. Officers who prioritize the service of rough, immediate "justice" before getting sued, getting yelled at by supervisors and police chief, getting fired, and hurting some parent's child, some person's loved one have no business being police officers. They should be neutralized and conditioned to serve the public.

These universal truths I imagine would work well in a class of students of various cultural backgrounds also.

Brian Duncan said...

Here an officer gets it right:


Amen, dance on; use humor, meet people where they are, not where you want/insist they be. Doing the right thing should be celebrated. Thank you Good Cop.

Brian in Ballard

Anonymous said...

Can we swap the Seattle Public Library's board of trustees for our current School Board?

This, from an article on the library's decision not to go ahead with the name change: "When you go out and ask people their opinion and they give it to you, you better listen to it," said board member Marie McCaffrey.

Novel Idea