Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Local This and That

 GiveBIG has been extended to midnight tonight because of technical difficulties yesterday.  Please consider giving so that your donation gets stretched from their giving fund.

Have you been keeping up with the story on Bellevue High school and their football team?  Long story short, they became a football powerhouse when they hired a new coach around 2000.  The team has won multiple state titles since then.  But their school board heard rumors of improprieties and hired two lawyers to investigate. The main issue is students who don't live in their district being on the team as well as some of them not even attending the school and being at some off-site non-Bellevue district diploma mill program. And, Bellevue High had many more transfers of students who ended up playing football there than other high schools in the district.
KUOW did an interview one of the two lawyers that did the investigation which took nine months.  The lawyer was calm but scathing in his tone about the investigation.  KUOW also interviewed the president of the booster club and he could not have been more disdainful and dramatic.  It makes for interesting listening, for sure.  And, their board meeting last night lasted seven hours with the majority of time spent on this issue.  Here's a good article from The News Tribune.

One interesting factor of this story is the enrollment part.  The coach says there are no state football rules that say coaches have to track players addresses and he contends that is his district's job.  But how does a district enrollment office know if a student enrolling is going to play football?  It's quite the dilemma.  I know SPS is pretty serious on anyone falsifying addresses but they generally wait for a complaint to act.

Looking over the speaker list for the Seattle School Board meeting tonight, it's a packed list with more than 13 people on the wait list.

The student speaker tonight comes from...The Center School.  That should be interesting as more than 150 students walked out of the school yesterday to protest cuts that may endanger their arts program (which is the focus of the school.)

The issue over the arts staffing at The Center School is just one more example of the district starting a program or initiative and yet not continuing to sustain it.  If Center School loses that focus, why are we then paying a lease at Seattle Center where the school was placed for proximity to arts groups?

Other speakers are to talk about the issue of IB funding.

Most of the people on the waitlist want to talk about the Garfield choir program and one person even stated his subject as "Carol Burton."  I think the Board might be relieved that most of them may not speak as they don't like to hear testimony on a specific staff person especially if it's a personnel matter still in play.

I am a bit confused why the 2016-2017 school calendar is not on the Action portion of the agenda as it was already introduced at a previous Board meeting.

K-5 Language Arts materials are ready for review.  From SPS:
Here are the options for review and feedback:
  1. View materials in person. Texts and other materials will be on display during normal business hours on the second-floor professional library at the John Stanford Center until May 20. 
  2. Attend our Open House. At the Open House, scheduled from 5-7 p.m. on Monday, May 9, vendor materials will be on display for examination and feedback.  The Open House will be held in the second-floor professional library at the John Stanford Center. Seattle Public Schools staff will be available to support participants. Translated feedback forms and interpreters in our top five languages (Chinese, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Vietnamese) will be available.
  3. Access materials online. Vendors have provided materials online, available to view with a provided username and password. Visit our materials webpage to find links, usernames and passwords for all 10 vendors. This page also includes links to the online feedback survey forms you may complete when you’ve finished viewing the materials.
Visit our English Language Arts K-5 Adoption webpage to learn more.
I'll have to get the backstory on this one but SPS is in partnership with the Eileen Fisher fashion company for their Fisher's Eileen Fisher Leadership Institute (EFLI.)  There will be a camp for teens in the group in August in Seattle but it costs over $2,000 to attend (there is financial aide available.)
From my reading, this is a summer program for boys and girls and it doesn't appear that SPS has a role.

The two photos they show for their summer camps in Seattle are telling.  The girls appear to be dancing and the main subject has painted nails and is wearing braided bracelets.  But there are several boys in the male picture who are out in the woods with helmets on.
PROGRAM OUTCOMESAt the Eileen Fisher Leadership Institute, we believe that systemic change starts with individuals. With this in mind, EFLI's program-wide outcomes are:
  • Wider exposure to leaders and broader definition of leadership
  • Courage to stand up and speak out with confidence
  • Capability to continuously re-envision and re-tell our personal stories with ownership of our vulnerabilities
  • Acceptance of responsibility for our own lives
  • A compassionate, empathic, bonded community
  • Introduction to social emotional intelligence/communication skills
  • Systemic change starting with individual shift
These outcomes guide the curriculum in all of EFLI's programs
 One final thing.  Arlington lost its superintendent when she left to become superintendent in the Edmonds school district.  So, Arlington is now looking for a new superintendent.  According to the article I read, Arlington has 5400 students in nine schools.  They are willing to pay someone $220,000 a year to be superintendent.  Nice work if you can get it.

7 comments:

Po3 said...

I did a little poking around Center schools climate surveys and see that in the most recent climate survey, leadership marks are not encouraging. Now, we hear there is declining enrollment, causing staff cuts.

Makes me wonder if this may be another Steven's story flying under the radar.

From the Survey:
The principal treats all faculty members fairly - 16% agree v.71% district
The principal is an effective manager of school operations - 20% agree v. 75% district
The principal communicates a clear vision for our school 21% v. 70% district
The principal encourages and supports open communication 29% v. 72% district

Ugh said...

The ELFI photos are hopefully more telling of their marketing department than the organization itself. The "boys" picture on the Seattle page is cropped from a larger picture (on the main website) that includes several girls as well. Not sure how all of the girls managed to be on the right hand side of the picture, but it made for easy cropping...

The photos on the main site are more diverse in regard to showing different activities. However, perception is important and a leadership organization should be more cognizant of the image they are putting out there which seems to be, "Girls, smile and be pretty!"

Anonymous said...

When our son was at the Center School the leadership was excellent and partnerships with arts organizations at the Seattle Center were a big plus.

Jon Greenberg offered an outstanding humanities class on racism that should have been a template for the District.

Instead, SPS tried to get rid of Jon and he had to fight for his job. Even though he won his case, the stress on him was enormous.

When is the District going to support good programs, schools and outstanding teachers? Why do they let good schools wither away?

If Center was a charter school you can be sure it would celebrate the unique arts program and teachers like Jon Greenberg. Parents would ask why SPS couldn’t do something like it.

Makes my blood boil!

S parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

S, I don't think most charters give their teachers the kind of leeway that Mr. Greenberg enjoyed for awhile. Charters keep a pretty tight rein on their teachers.

Anonymous said...

Maybe not, but if SPS had its way he would have been fired.

I am no fan of charters, but many supporters argue that they do more innovation than public schools do. Center was an innovation that the District now ignores or damages (Jon Greenberg).

S parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

S, good point. What is interesting is that SPS, via its alts and schools like Center School, really had charter-like schools long before charters existed. This new data-driven,Common Core focused district seemingly isn't interested in those kinds of schools even as they remain popular.

Anonymous said...

I agree. The arts curricula is what kept my son really engaged in school. Common Core and the endless testing would have only tested his patience.

S parent