Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Tuesday Open Thread

Well, whoops - it appears that thousands of Northshore students, grades 7-12,  were accidentally sent spam emails that contained porn.  This was not a hacking issue.  The Times reports that the district's tech department was able to block anymore e-mails from coming in and shut down the students' Gmail accounts temporarily.

Also on the subject of Northshore, I had written how that district was going to revamp their long-standing highly capable program despite parents' displeasure.  Apparently the parents won the day as their board voted to keep the program the same.

Good story from KUOW about music in Seattle Schools via Seattle Music Partners.  The story covers students at Bailey Gatzert, Leschi, Madrona and Lowell.

Executive Director Scott Gelband says they chose to work at Gatzert, Leschi, Madrona and Lowell because they're feeder schools for Washington Middle School and Garfield High School, renowned for their outstanding bands and orchestras.

Seattle Music Partners started in 2000 after founder Marnie O'Sullivan, who had two children at Garfield, "observed an unfortunate cultural and economic divide: between the students that you would see at the schools in the hallways, and those you would see in the band and the orchestra rooms," Gelband says. 
To note, the Times also had a story, probably at least a decade ago, about how Garfield's jazz band did not reflect the diversity of the school.  They noted that some of that was likely that white students had more access to private music tutors (in addition to instruction at school) but also that many black students seemed disinterested in jazz in favor of rap and hip hop.

Last week several Mariners, including Robinson Cano, visited Concord International school.

The district's survey on their website closes June 3rd so if you haven't weighed in, please do.

A shout-out to Cleveland's media teacher, Teresa Scribner, who received the Journalism Education Association's 2016 Rising Star Award.
Established in 2006, the Rising Star Award honors new advisers who have shown a commitment to involvement and improvement for themselves and their students.

Scribner teaches multimedia and is also the adviser for Cleveland Publications, which handles the production of the school’s yearbook, newspaper and website. Under her leadership, the journalism program has won numerous awards and has gained a strong following after she incorporated video and social media into her classes.
Lastly, a gentle reminder - I understand how passionate opinions can be here.  However, unless you are at a school that is being discussed in a thread, please refrain from painting an entire school community with a broad brush.  It is wrong and unfair.

What's on your mind?


mirmac1 said...

The SAO reports what we all knew - Mary Walker School District was near insolvent

SPS continued to have some issues, this time with spending SIG funds

Melissa Westbrook said...

What I found interesting in the SPS report was page 43 on BEX and BTA. They are still spending BTA I money and yet are under what they even thought they would get from the levy.

As for Mary Walker, I hope to work with a couple of people about a narrative on Mary Walker School district. This needs to be documented.

Anonymous said...

Hmm...not great at financial stuff, but that Mary Walker report appears to be saying that not only were they nearly insolvent prior to taking on the Charter/ALE students, but because the ALE route was approved for by OSPI for 1 year only, they WILL continue to be running in the red. Am I reading that right? Interesting if so


Outsider said...

Your note about "painting an entire school community with a broad brush" is perhaps aimed at "reader" and "reader 1" in the Laurelhurst thread, and I would just like to say that I find their comments very valuable and hope you won't discourage them or delete them. Those individuals seem to reflect most closely the thinking of SPS insiders at headquarters, and as such, they are the most valuable commenters in the mix. Without them, the blog would be much less informative.

If they paint certain categories of parents broadly with a negative brush, that is information, not a sin. It reflects the fact that SPS has broad contempt for certain categories of parents. One authentic voice is worth a ton of spin and fluff. Let them be who they are.

Anonymous said...

Are BLT minutes supposed to be available to the school community? Just asking because Salmon Bay only has two sets available online from this school year.

- seeking info

Melissa Westbrook said...

Seeking Info, only if it is in the bylaws of your BLT. I will say how surprisingly out of date many school websites are on minutes from either BLT or PTA. If either is on the school's website (and therefore part of the district's website), the minutes should be there.

FYI, the Board wrote this about BLTs:
"It is the intent of the School Board that every school will have a school governance structure that enables school staff, students when appropriate, parents and community to work together. It is the responsibility of the principal to develop and maintain effective organizational structures and processes for collaborative decision-making."

"It is the intent" is fairly weak so principals don't have to have BLTs if they don't want to. That said, if parents asked and the principal said no, it really wouldn't look so good to the district.

mirmac1 said...

I recommend that someone make a public records request for all the working papers, exit items, management letters etc associated with the Mary Walker audits.

Anonymous said...

What are schools doing to prepare for next year's start time changes? Will Metro routes be adjusted at all? Some afterschool activities will need to shift from afternoon to morning, and vice versa. When will students and parents be notified of changes?


Anonymous said...

Thank you Melissa.
- seeking info

mirmac1 said...

OH Snap! We have the Blanford deciding that parent concerns are worth nuttin' when it comes to faceless bureaucrats doing what they will with important programs. I'm dismayed that the board thinks that Sped families need to testify as to the location/siting and quality of Sped programs.

While I respect most on the School Board, I reject an excuse that SpEd is the ONE program that must be held to scrutiny to the Board. LI isn't, HCC isn't, Alt progs aren't. But somehow Sped Fams are to be marshaled to Wed Afternoon board meetings to argue for who/how/or where our kids are taught. It's NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! Of any population most beat down, most powerless, here we have it! Given that the Board seems to accept staff's argument that "time-sensitive" needs mean that the Board should butt the heck out, well that's super encouraging that there's a change somewhere on the far off horizon. Meanwhile Kindergartners continue to be removed from their neighborhoods and friends to fit into the District's "services" model. BS.

mirmac1 said...

As Scooby says Ruh roo:

Editorial Gates Foundation failures show philanthropists shouldn’t be setting America's public school agenda


Lynn said...

I don't like the ideas coming out of the high school steering committee for changes to high school schedules.

Here's a link to the notes from one of their meetings: http://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/College%20and%20Career%20Readiness/24%20Credit%20Task%20Force%20page/HSSteeringCommitteeNotes.02-11-2016.pdf

z said...

re: Lynn's link above.

Feedback from Julie McCleery's lunch meeting with Michael Tolley. He wants all high schools on the same schedule on the same days so students can participate in Skills Center programs. Need to address this issue. Same as Running Start. Otherwise it limits students' access to Skills Centers and Running Start.

I call BS on Tolley's claim to care about start times with regard to Running Start. Kids at Garfield last year had to drop their RS classes at the last minute after Garfield was forced (at a very late date) to a 7:50 start time rather than its previous 8:00 start time. The school wanted to stay at 8:00, but Michael Tolley's (lack of) wisdom said No.

Now he cares? BS. He just wants everyone on the same schedule because he wants to standardize everything and everyone.