Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Seattle Schools This and That

I was told by SPS Communications that transportation letters went out this week.  If you do NOT get yours by Thursday, they ask that you call Transportation.

I received an e-mail from a parent that Dr. Nyland appears to have an Instagram account.  SPS Communications tells me he does not have one.  So if you get a friend request from that account, just know - it's not him.

Garfield was to have a 9th grade (parent) orientation on Thursday.  There was a terse announcement that it had been cancelled and will be rescheduled.  (When? Friday? Tuesday? That's all that's left.)

I asked SPS Communications about this but they said:

These are Garfield specific questions. You'll get the best info contacting them directly.

I could try but one parent who did ask for answers was told by Mr. Howard that he didn't have time to answer her questions.  He also said this:
Thank you for your email.  As you know GHS is getting prepared for the start of the school year.  We are not able to do small meetings at this time.  As far as the change in the meeting time.  We have to meet our entire community.  We have a total of 36 languages and we need to make sure we have interpreturs in place to make sure we can communicate with "All" our parents/students.

Thank you for your email and look forward to engaging with you in the future.
Except that Mr. Howard has done these orientations for years and he knows what it takes.  (And, I'll just say that I didn't see many interpreters at the orientations at the two high schools my sons attended.  That must be new.)

Here's what the GHS PTSA Facebook page says;
The school will reschedule it for the beginning of the school year. They plan to expand what is offered and be more inclusive of all 9th grade families. Please spread the word and remember to check the school website for updates.
That makes it sound like after school starts.  Not so helpful.  And what of parents/students who don't have computer/Internet access? 

I suspect this has a lot to do with Honors for All.


Anonymous said...

Ingraham does their freshman orientation the first morning of school. 10 - 12 graders start later in the day. Hale does Raider Day on the Tuesday before school starts. The times are staggered for when the grades arrive with 9th graders arriving first. Maybe Garfield is going to one of these models?


Anonymous said...

I think they don't know what they are doing. It isn't a huge confidence builder for parents, particularly after the way that this has been rolled out, that they cancel their own event because it isn't inclusive enough.

In May, the lead teacher on this change told the PTSA that he couldn't present at the PTSA board or general meetings because he was "really busy and had a lot going on".

In June, the Principal communicates this change (for the first time to 99% of parents) as eliminating honors in a Seattle Times article. Many parents are left believing that the Principal made that disclosure to deflect criticism in the article that he wasn't doing enough for African-American students. The Principal had previously told the PTSA leadership (in late May) that the teachers "weren't ready" and that the change would not happen in 2016-2017.

Three weeks go by before the school can even post an FAQ on their website - which promises quarterly checkins with the PTSA and more information to be posted. The teachers clarify that this isn't eliminating honors (even though the reporter and the Times fact checked this statement).

In august, they postpone the 9th grade orientation they scheduled (and had all summer to prepare for) without announcing a date. Note that this is the first time for parents to ask questions and get clarifications on a change described by the teachers as "enormous".

More than a little of the skepticism around this whole change comes from the school's total ineptitude in engaging with parents and implementing thoughtful change (see: the Ray Willis counseling episode, the parking of football and basketball coaches in PTSA funded college counselor roles).

Where is the accountability?

Cap Hill

Anonymous said...

To clarify, only the 9th grade parent orientation has been postponed, the student orientations will go ahead as scheduled.


Anonymous said...

Not to defend the actions of Ted Howard, but want to clarify that 9th grade orientation for students is happening on Thursday. It is the parent orientation that is canceled. He is teflon, it is always someone else's fault, and he is facing legal battles. That is his MO. And now he needs to line up 36 translators to hold a meeting with parents - a sure indication that parent meetings are never going to happen.


SusanH said...

Re: Garfield parent orientation cancellation: Thank you for letting me know! I've received no notice of that, so it's definitely still on my calendar. I did get a reminder this morning that the student orientation is happening tomorrow from 9 am - 2 pm.

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