Sunday, November 08, 2015

Seattle Schools This Week

Monday, Nov. 9th
Washington State Charter Commission meeting from 10 am - 5 pm at the STAR Center in Tacoma.

Highlights of the agenda:
- State Supreme Court Ruling Calendar update
- First Place Scholars presentation/update (after which the Commission has an Executive Session)

Curriculum&Instruction Committee Meeting from 4:30-6:30 pm at JSCEE.  Agenda

What a packed agenda and something for everyone.  CTE, TPEP (Teacher Principal Evaluation Program), Special Ed MOU, MTSS, Native American Education Report, Highly Capable and Advanced Learning Update, Waiver of Instructional Materials, Program Evaluation&Assessment, Academic Assurances.

COW of Operations (Committee of the Whole) on the Student Assignment Plan from 6:30-7:30 pm at JSCEE.  No presentation with agenda.

I suspect this will just be staff walking the Board thru what staff will be telling parents at the last-minute, we-really-don't-want-to-do-this Student Assignment Plan meetings this week.

It's a bit of a dilemma for me whether to go or not but I would like to hear what the Board asks them.  With an hour, I suspect not much.

Get those e-mails into the Board with your thoughts and questions about how this is "just two things" -
Tuesday, Nov. 10th
Work Session - Annual Evaluation of Facilities, at JSCEE from 4:30-7:30 pm. Presentation

These items in the presentation stood out for me:

Slide 4:Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats/Risks.  

Weakness - low ratio of supervisors to staff: 1 to 50.  Well then, take one of those people at the top and voila! Salary for two supervisors.

Weakness - "jurisdictional issues" with whom? the City?

Weakness - "employee morale" - I'd think that underfunding maintenance would be upsetting to people who want to keep the buildings in good working order but don't have the resources to do so.

Threats/Risks - "aging infrastructure/backlog of maintenance" - wait a minute, they constantly tell us how much that backlog is getting done, how can it be a problem?  Oh right, they don't do basic maintenance on 97 buildings and you can see how it might pile up.

Threats/Risks - "loss of instructional time due to major system failure" uh oh

Threats/Risk "maintaining critical non-supported software systems" - It's pretty interesting how much money is being poured into technology but it never seems to be enough.  I guess wireless in all the buildings (which the Superintendent touted in his State of the District speech) was more important.  We all operate on budgets; sometimes you spend money on making sure all things run well (even if it means less for each) and sometimes you decide one area is more important than another.

Slide 8 - They are doing well in dropping that energy use level in schools as well as meeting their target for water and refuse per student. 

Slide 10 has Benchmarking.  This is an interesting slide but what I find most interesting is that it is noted that the funding comes from the state (which is true.)  What the district doesn't say is that they make choices on what to spend the money on.  Maintenance comes from the General Fund and I believe a lot more gets diverted to other issues and the choice is being made not to keep up the buildings.

Slide 11 is eye-opening.  SPS doesn't staff for maintenance anywhere near the average by a trade association measure.

Slide 19 says it all to me (as someone who longs for better maintenance).  That slide is Looking Forward/Next Steps and is it a call for better maintenance?  No.

They reference two Board policies; one on Natural Resources Conservation and the other Donor Recognition.  They mention "supporting our Capital Team in the construction of new schools" and they name those new school buildings.

Look, Capital has its OWN money and its OWN staff - shouldn't Maintenance and Facilities be worrying about the buildings already in operation? 

Student Assignment Plan meeting at Ingraham from 6:30-8:00 pm. 
There is an Ask the Governor event tonight at 6 pm at UW's Kane Hall.  KCTS will be interviewing the Governor. 

To submit a question for Gov. Inslee, please fill out the form below:

The group, Washington's Paramount Duty will host a "half-baked"bake sale at 5 pm on Red Square (which Kane Hall faces.) Here's a sample question from them:

"What will you do in the 2016 short session to ensure that Washington State meets its constitutional paramount duty to fully fund education and bring the state in compliance with the McCleary court orders?"

Wear green! Please make and bring green signs (without sticks).

For kids: "I am your paramount duty."
For adults:
"Show me the money $$!"
"Where is the $$?"
"Fund Education Now!" and
"Comply with the Court's Orders!"

Thursday, Nov. 12th
Audit&Finance Committee Meeting at JSCEE from 4:30-6:30 pm. Agenda not yet available. (I'm hoping with the new Board that this trend of NOT having the agenda available until 48-72 hours before the meeting ends. I have no problem with the agenda getting adjusted before the meeting but I'm pretty sure the staff knows a week before what they will talk about.)

Student Assignment Plan meeting at Washington Middle School Library from 6:30-8:00 pm.

Friday, Nov. 13th
BEX Oversight Committee meeting at JSCEE, Room 2750 from 8:30-10:30 am.

Here's another thing the new Board might take on - overhauling this Committee which is a great group of people who really have no power and are directed by staff. I'm not sure I really get how much their input is used.

Mayor Murray is also participating in an Ask the Mayor event on Friday, Nov. 20th. The deadline to submit a question is 5 p.m., Friday, Nov. 13.

• E-mail

• Comment on Facebook.

• Call Seattle Channel (206) 684-8821.

Saturday, Nov. 14th

Community Meeting with Director Carr at The Hearthstone at Green Lake from 8:30-10:00 am.

This is Director Carr's last Community meeting with SPS - she has serviced for eight long years and deserves a great deal of thanks.


Anonymous said...

The vote is over, but interesting the stats and info coming out post fact. I wonder if this is part of the reason they pushed for a vote last week.

See page 75 of the C&I meeting agenda - David Elliott was?/is? not on probation; or else he's removed from this report already, which is interesting in that the approved separation of him as a principal isn't until June 2016

- B

Anonymous said...

Also do board members typically go (or even allowed to) to community meetings (such as on SAP?); if so, how does that work twice this week when the times overlap or touch?

Seems community meetings where board can't hear feedback is crazy, though I will admit not to being a protocol/process expert here.

- B

Lynn said...

Those meetings aren't for gathering feedback. Clearly they aren't interested in that. Staff just has to show they gave us information.

Melissa Westbrook said...

No, Board members don't typical go to these meetings (they can with 2 or fewer members per meeting.) It would be great if they did but as is pointed out, times overlap.

Anonymous said...

Well the C&I is avoiding the topic of informing the public of the New (and undisclosed) Math Scope & Sequence. -- Transparency??? Public Engagement ??? or is failing to inform now a JSCEE virtue?

I believe that C&I is made up of McLaren, Blanford, & Peters.

C&I might wish to look at CCSS as NAEP scores descended nation wide. Statistically significant declines occurred at grade 4 and grade 8 math same for grade 8 Reading.
Gates/Obama/Duncan are having difficulty spinning this. Clearly cutting back testing time a very small amount is not addressing the decline in any substantive way.

In WA state 8th grade reading dipped by 5 points.

-- Dan Dempsey

Watching said...

Facilities: Facilities needs a lot of support. Probably time to start charging the city and others for space.

Anonymous said...

Dan, you claim to apply objective data. You would know then that the decline in NAEP scores cannot be attributed to CCSS. And before you get your hackles up, I'll also say that the steady increase in NAEP scores over the past several years also could not be attributed to CCSS. Duncan was wrong to state so.

Let's avoid applying data selectively.

--- aka

Anonymous said...


I can remember when Board members attended community meetings. It has been a while, though.

-North-end Mom

Watching said...

C&I Agneda

"BAR for Policy 2255, Alternative Learning Experience (Tolley/Gonder/Andrews) 10 mins"

It is worth noting that Tolley has placed the Alternative Learning Experience policy on the agenda. Considering Tolley helped close Middle College...we would be smart to "watch" this issue.

Anonymous said...

Well, look at that--"pathway" references are being removed from the Highly Capable procedures, too. Draft revisions to the Superintent's Procedures 2190 SP start on p. 113 or so.

Policy 2190 says there are pathways. Is removing pathway language from the associated procedures really consistent with policy?


Eric B said...

I've seen board members at community meetings quite a few times, mostly (to my memory) student assignment/boundary change meetings. I suspect that the <3 requirement would be if they talk to each other since it might be considered a meeting that would need to have minutes, etc. The ones I remember, they stayed pretty far apart. Even when they came, it was only the directors close to where the meeting was held.

I'll be curious if there are any at these meetings.

Watching said...

Actually, there is quite a bit of information regarding Policy 2255. The information is located towards bottom of page. I just saw this information.

Jan said...

aka -- I agree with your point about the selective application of data -- but only to a point. The problem with not attributing rising/falling test scores to the implementation of Common Core, common core annual high stakes testing, etc. -- is that the very same folks who claim now that falling scores are not indicative of the worth of their initiatives -- are the EXACT same folks who wanted to use test scores in VAM and other evalutation schemes to evaluate, compensate, and fire teachers. It seems to me that while YOU can (based on just the inherent logic of your argument) fairly request that people not selectively apply/interpret data, the folks who have been in the very business of (mis)-applying selectively interpreted data to achieve their goals cannot now make that complaint. They don't get to fall back on fairness and logic when the numbers don't go their way, when they were willing to misuse data selectively and unfairly before.

What is the saying -- hoist on their own petards? Or something.

Anonymous said...

Jan, I don't disagree with anything you said. But politics is politics.

My request was for Dan, who I expect to be objective, to not fall into the same political trap. He challenges us all to look at the data and intelligently analyze it.

--- aka