Sunday, September 11, 2016

Seattle Schools This Week

Sunday, September 11th
Remembering that horrible day - a school day - back in 2001.  I urge you and your children - if they are old enough to remember - to journal a remembrance.  It's important documentation about what your family experienced and your future relatives might be grateful for it.

Monday, September 12
Hey, it's first day of school for SPS kindergartners.  It's such an odd thing to let go of your child's hand and realize that you may never really know again how their day goes.  When they are in daycare, they aren't always old enough to communicate but kindergarten is old enough. 

Curriculum and Instruction Policy Meeting
I am being told that at the Board retreat the Board voted down $3M for new middle school math materials but may spend $2M.  I heard that the teachers at Aki Kurose and Mercer - which are doing great things in math with their students - have developed their own plans.  And frankly, I think that is as it should be.  It's seems folly to spend money on curriculum that teachers barely use.

Tuesday, September 13th
Audit and Finance Committee meeting - Quarterly Audit in Board conference room
from 4:30-6:30 pm.  Agenda

Wednesday, September 14th
Work Session on Community Engagement Options for Future School Schedules from 4:30-6:30 pm  at JSCEE. Agenda not yet available.
I cannot go to this one so I hope someone else can and will report back. 

Thursday, September 15th
Operations Committee meeting from 4:30-6:30 pm.  Agenda not yet available.

Saturday, September 17th
Community Meetings
Director Blanford, 10 am-11:30 pm at the Capitol Hill library.
Director Harris, 3-4:30 pm at High Point library
Director Pinkham, 3:45-5:15 pm at Broadview Library


Anonymous said...

And for all the back to school families who were kicked out of their hoe. School
AfterCare program or who are struggling to find quality aftercare it appears Queen Anne elementary has found a loophole or work around.
It appears that the pta at Queen Anne elementary has hired two childcare providers to provide onsite aftercare. They will watch kids from 2 to 5:30 until the after school clubs like Lego and Spanish start, then they will provide care after the club ends until 5:30. They are calling this a "mini club". Wondering how this is allowed given they would not allow the current onsite care provider kids co to increase capacity. Wondering if this is something other schools are doing? It's revolutionary and we need to spread the news to other PTAs.

mirmac1 said...

I wonder whether the PTAs have the appropriate insurance and licensing to provide this.

Anonymous said...

Just to be clear, the Queen Anne Elementary PTSA may have organized the mini club but they are not paying for it. Parents must sign up for limited spaces and pay. It's an interesting workaround but they are not paying for it.

QA Parent

Anonymous said...

Yes it cost money for sure. Is this a viable work around for the child care crush facing most schools?

Anonymous said...

Are there other schools doing this? I feel bad for the established providers like kids co but if this somehow legally gets around their numbers cap then we should spread this info to all PTAs not just the at the most privileged neighborhoods!

Charlie Mas said...

The most interesting element of the agenda for the Curriculum and Instruction Policy committee, for me, is the minutes of the previous meeting in which we get to read about the discussion of the proposed program evaluation and supports and interventions policies as well as the discussion of the superintendent's procedure for highly capable and advanced learning.

The agenda also includes the committee's work plan for the rest of the year. It has them settling on a new policy for highly capable and advanced learning at their December 12 meeting. Changes in this policy could require changes in the superintendent's procedure.

Charlie Mas said...

I just went through the presentation materials for the Board Retreat. There is an interminably long presentation on Closing the Gap that is completely full of jargon and cheerleading and completely empty of any actual action that it drives me mad.

Putting the word "Relationship" on a PowerPoint slide does nothing and helps no one. Same for "High Quality Instruction", or "Behavioral Health". An engine metaphor is equally pointless and unproductive.

Why do they waste time with this sort of claptrap.

z said...

To pound home what Charlie is saying above, look at this slide:

Eliminating Opportunity Gaps
September 10th SPS Board Retreat:

Today’s Objectives:
1. Provide the board with context and a framework to communicate with stakeholders
about eliminating opportunity gaps
2. Set the stage for dialogue about the budget

Look at the levels of indirection!
- provide context and framework
- to communicate with stakeholders

We're not even providing a framework for how to eliminate gaps, let alone moving forward to eliminate them. We're not even communicating with stakeholders, we're merely providing a framework to do so! ARRRRRRRRGGH indeed!

seattle citizen said...

Why does the board need context? Doesn't it already know about the opportunity gap and district committees, etc, such as ERAC?

What's a "framework to communicate"? Is this a template? A system? A heirarchy of approval of communications? A scaffold on which to place a soapbox? Can't the board just, oh, I don't know...communicate?

Anonymous said...

They are all very different people, representing very different communities.

Not easy

Lynn said...

The agenda for Wednesday's work session on Community Engagement Options for Future School Schedules is now available.

Staff is intending to make several huge changes effective September 2017 and they have left themselves very little time to complete the process.

On page four, we find a list of Interrelated Initiatives 2017-18:

Transportation Standards
24 Credits
Cascadia Capacity
Additional 20 Minutes
Late Arrival or Early Dismissal

There is no way they can get this done. The fact that so little progress has been made on the implementation of the 24 credit graduation requirement should result in someone losing their job. Who is responsible for that?

Lynn said...

Here's a live link to the agenda.

Anonymous said...

Understatement of the year:

"potential for significant negative public response"

What the? All this change for one year?! Only to have to go through it again in a year? Possible late starts at 10:45? Every week? 20 minutes added to the day, while still keeping three tiers? Would high school end at 3:40?

Why in the world did they not work this out in tandem with the later/earlier starts? Expect significant negative response. Oh, and then there's the capacity crisis that is hitting schools now. Why is that not priority No. 1??

-unhappy parent

Anonymous said...

This is enraging. No, a three tier system does not work with 20 more minutes. Elementary students cannot either start at 7:35 am or end at 4:05 pm. Both of those times are ridiculous. I can't imagine the bus ride lengths(and what proportion of the year those little kids are going to be walking in the dark in rush hour traffic) for a school ending at 4:05, nor the early morning bus times for a school starting at 7:35. Untenable. It has to be two tiers.


Lynn said...

Yes. It's enraging. Please also note that the extra 20 minutes will be spent in core instructional time rather than the increased recess time many are hoping for. They missed the opportunity to get the communication right when they decided to lengthen the school day without conferring with parents.

There is no way my elementary student will be starting school at 7:45 or 7:35.

Anonymous said...

SPS district staff were the ones who insisted on 20 extra minutes in the school day last year. They never made a clear reason why they wanted it. They provoked a massively unpopular strike for it. Now they come to the board to explain that it will be profoundly disruptive and worse, they have no plan for effectively implementing it.

All of this comes back to the board. We have a new board and that's great. Will the new board finally rein in an out-of-control and unaccountable bureaucracy that continues to make bad choices? Will the new board partner with parents and teachers to solve these problems, or wimp out and prove unwilling to stand up to the district staff?

I hope the new board makes the right decision.

Old Coug