Packed room for start of meeting. A whole contingent of neon-yellow shirted kids from Schmitz Park Elementary, questioning the funding at Central versus school-based including class size.
RBHS students opened with a spirited call-and-response, singing and cheer-a-long. They recognized the Board especially those directors who are leaving the Board.
Nyland and other senior managers are now recognizing directors who are leaving the Board. Bernardo Ruiz really brought it home for Director McLaren.
Now the directors are coming down to shake hands and take photos. (I DO believe recognition was important but this part could have happened at a party.)
Due to lengthy agenda, I'm hoping the Superintendent doesn't go on long with his comments. Nope, he's going on. The natives (the kids up front) are getting restless. Singles out speaker Greg Wong from Schools First and their work. That's great but there are a LOT of other people here to speak on issues THEY consider important.
Thanksgiving schedule announced.
Student assignment plan was one that we removed from agenda two weeks ago to provide for add'l comments and had "three additional meetings." Well, what other meetings were there for community on these changes? Oh right, the "boundary changes" meetings.
Proposing to resolve tie-breaker and adjust waitlist date to May 31st "to see if it works" but he made it sound like a pilot so there's a win there. The rest of the Assignment Plan will be later.
Talked about SMART goals and several steps like decision-making, student achievement, etc. Mentioned amendments, only for wording,not changing goals.
Bell times will be discussed and he mentioned Times' story and "long journey" to tonight. Six rounds of community engagement. (Signs go up from the audience to signal their feelings.) Still recognize Tier Three is a "challenge" and will "work on that as we are able."
"Pleased to be of service to city I grew up in" re: his contract. He says he has "rebuilt community trust." Will give ENTIRE raise back to SPS (but did not say for entire length of his contract or just one year as he said previously.)
Talked about Beacon Hill,etc. Talked about State of District speech. I guess he just is determined to say every single thing that has happened in the last two weeks. Either determined or oblivious; these kids are very restless and I can't blame them. Finally, new Board members coming on.
Speaker list is again, mostly bell times. Big applause for QAE parent Tina Podlodowski as she spoke out - "Message you send to families and it's not positive and who is responsible for teachers strike and errors in staffing and parents needing to actlike detective. What about rat problem in John Rogers and QAE still waiting to meet on principal choice with Superintendent.
Laurelhurst parent Carin Towne gave a very funny speech, linking the vote on bell times with winning a game (see the Seahawks and Huskies.) "Seahawks/Huskies didn't win and SPS isn't going to win w/o for all. Using bus costs to keep Tier 3. Mentioned small numbers on many Laurelhurst buses and "it seems we have a lot of work to do and we need to make bus more efficient. Don't go back but keep moving work forward." She said "Don't pass the ball (laughter) but "Marshawn Lynch" forward for Tier Three.
Carolyn Leith spoke about the staffing issues earlier this year and her group's Half-Baked bake sale. Encourages Nyland to decline raise and what is the $13,000 question. She had many books on display with letters about what could be done with those funds. (Carolyn is a fierce and dedicated public ed activist and I am proud to call her friend.)
Impassioned speaking from parent Chandra Hampson on supporting Native American students. Looks like an activist who the Board and staff will not be able to ignore..
Finishing speaker list with Kevin Baker, representing large group in support of SMART goal #2 and wants focus to be on African-American males. Said they are not "against any other groups" and spoke of other groups as needing help and not shrink from pressure.
Came in a different form with the Internal Audit Annual report and Ethics report given by head, Andrew Medina. I'll try to get his presentation.
Director Carr said this was all in response of Auditor's report in 2010 (got Andrew from Port of Seattle) and he helped implement this program. Andrew works for Board and Chair of A&F is his boss. (She said, "People always say the Board has one employee - the Superintendent. Not so." Good to know.)
Superintendent Evaluation Narrative/Instruments
Director Carr made some comments. Said 2013 Bd made changes to Super eval be "more evidence-based" - moved eval from June to Nov. (didn't know that). But Banda left before November so they didn't do that last year. She said they believed November would better align with release of test data and future Boards can decide on timing. (I'm not sure I'm seeing that "evidence-based" data and,as well, the Superintendent's belief that that he has "rebuilt community trust." I agree that Banda did burn this district and this City but that was him leaving on his own steam and not under a cloud.
Blanford - thanked RBHS students. Thanked all exiting members. (Oddly, Martin-Morris did not look at him for most of his remarks unlike McLaren, Carr and Peaslee.)
Patu - thanked participation of community and RBHS students. Had Charles de Lint quote. She said that she was hurt by rumor that she did not support AA males and she did support ALL students. She said sometimes the mass criticism was hard to take. Talked about why she put forth amendment to SMART goal about closing opp gap. Said she helped open African-American Academy which was not a success and was closed (boy, she's brave - that may upset some to hear.) Well, I called it. A man stood up and said something about African-American Academy.
Thank you to each exiting Board member. Said Carr was the right leader when they needed it. (Again, I have no idea what Martin-Morris is looking down at but it's not his computer.)
Peters mentioned her community meetings and how a community member had asked about having at least one Board community meeting a week (she said sometimes that just can't happen with their family schedules.)
Mentioned annual MLK, Jr. celebration at Garfield and making sure it happens.
Thanked departing Board members and welcomed new members coming in December.
Mentioned Ballard High incident. Mentioned overcrowding at Ballard and that a new high school will open at Lincoln.
Student Assignment plan will be discussed but said waitlist could be expanded with some different language. (Not sure what this means but let's see when they get to this discussion.) Also mentioned pain of Tier Three that her children are in there as well. Mentioned issue of class size and said State didn't give the district enough money. There is a graph/chart that Ken Gotsch, CFO, created and she asked that it be posted out of the Friday memo as it could be helpful.
Mentioned the massacre in Paris (she lived there briefly as a young woman) and said it was important to teach kids to be independent thinkers. Said not just "college and career" ready but to be compassionate citizens.
He thanked his mother for emphasizing education as the vehicle to get further in life. Mentioned how hard staff works - "the people on the perimeter of this room" who work with "style and grace." Said all urban districts have issues but Seattle has "tools, smarts and people" to solve these problems. Said it was "hard, messy" work. Thank colleagues and said he and Carr usually talked many days at 7 am.
Thanked his wife for her support as well as his kids. Thanked community for opportunity to serve.
Thanked Board colleagues and said the Board was split and "slammed in the press almost daily." She said they were hardly thanked and often put-down. This Board came together. Says Nyland has played "significant role" in focus on "alignment." But said Board itself overcame themselves and that the Board "is not elected to agree."
Says Nyland deserves the raise "we are giving him and he is giving back." She said his leadership was "outstanding and remarkable." Seems like raise is certainly a done deal.
Mentioned Patu's concerns over the SMART goals and that the language in goal is "tweaked" so that all students in groups are benefiting and will not impact or dilute program for AA males. Says it is just a clarification. Cannot have "winners and losers." All of our kids need support.
Talked about her two adopted children and their challenges and said they needed (and all kids) need emotional support and exposure to arts. Was ruefully that her kids won't benefit from change in bell times.
Said we should be fully funding education especially for such a wealthy nation. Said this is a "tax-adverse" state. Said staff tries to do what Board passes and says they could use a few more people to help them.
Wished next Board the best.
Wrote out what she wanted to say. Loved RBHS performance and all testimony.
Great privilege to work with colleagues, "incredibly fulfilling experience." Lost to 3-1 margin and clearly many believed that we ignored popular opinion. She said she was regretful about not understanding toll on parents and teachers. She said she did feel attacked and "sometimes chose not to engage." Points to need to learn how to engage and partner with families and ask for guidance/help.
Want to testify to incredible integrity of staff, "not saints, not that they don't make mistakes." Grown to love and respect senior staff but did a shout-out to Board office head, Theresa Hale.
Said it was a "privilege" to serve.
Pretty classy and pretty brave to even bring up her loss at the ballot box.
Thanked Boeing who supported both her and Director Martin-Morris. Thanked her venues - Bethany Community Church and Hearthstone - for their help.
Thanked current and past Board directors. "Interesting kinship" with all of them. Offered support and help to new Board members.
Thanked the five superintendents (stumbled over the count to laughter.)
Thanked Martin-Morris and wife as well as her mother who is 89. She let me know when "someone wasn't nice to me." Thanked her family.
Spoke of accomplishments and says district she is leaving now (from when she came in around 2007) is much better. Thanked staff and say work is not done. Said chronic turnover at the top. Listed the turnover. (My comment is that this is not all about turnover at the top - I believe that turnover is also due to the culture of the bureaucracy at JSCEE.)
Spoke of honor to serve.