Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Tuesday Open Thread

I'm off to Olympia to cajole/plead/stare down the Education Taskforce.  As I say in my remarks, instead of feeling like an advocate for public education funding, I'm starting to see these trips as pilgrimages and all that's left is coming in on our knees.


Sad story about a good group of young people (many of whom come into Seattle Schools to help) -City Year workers speak out.

Want to read the PTA mom story to end all stories?  A multi-part series from the LA Times tells it all (luckily it's not directly about PTA.)  I'm thinking it will make a great movie someday.

I'll be putting up info today about protecting your child's privacy rights at school, complete with an opt-out form.

What's on your mind?

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thornton Creek's open house of the new school, scheduled for this evening 4-7, was canceled yesterday because of "district construction schedule delays." Yet TC students will be arriving in that new building before 8 am tomorrow for the start of school. I can't imagine what work is going to be done to complete construction between 4pm Tuesday and 8am Wednesday. Really hoping the building is finished and safe for kids when school starts.

TC DAD

Melissa Westbrook said...

TC Dad, there were some areas that seemed unfinished to me. When I asked, I was told it would all be done by the start of school tomorrow. It did look like staff was make a huge effort but again, it looked like a lot of work to me.

SeaParent said...

My son's 2nd grade class didn't send out a class list this year. Wanting to know who's in his class I called the front desk, and they told me the district doesn't allow sending out or posting class lists anymore. She said it's a HIPAA violation. But of course HIPAA is "Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act", and part of the act keeps insurance companies and doctors from sharing your health data.

Is anyone else seeing this? I'm fairly sure all of the other schools in our neighborhood posted their class lists as usual.

Anonymous said...

Equity in education? Tour Coe elementary and then tour Northgate elementary.

-McClureWatcher

Anonymous said...

TC DAD

OMG ready...get a life or go back.

UW primadonna

alex said...

On my mind is that my child's after care program is now $150 a month more expensive, due to extended hours due to the bell time changes, additional hours that I did not want, nor will I keep my kid in care an hour later, and we didn't need before care before, so it's not just a shift in costs. It's an additional cost. $1,500 a year. Thanks, SPS. That's NOT revenue neutral for me.

Sarah Washburn said...

Does anyone know how or with what the Alliance For Education is being replaced as the SPS fiscal agent? When In the past when I donated to schools I usually sent a check to "Alliance For Education" and on the check notated where the funds were to be directed (Aki Kurose, Roxhill etc). This was what the principals advised. But now the Alliance is out of the picture.

Thank you.

Melissa Westbrook said...

UW primadonna, that's was an unkind remark. All TC Dad said was that he hoped the school was ready for the kids.

The Alliance is unlikely to be replaced. I think the district would find it difficult (not to mention the PTAs.) The district half-heartedly tried to find another company but said no one would do it for the Alliance price. (I didn't believe that.)

Robert Cruickshank said...

SeaParent, the staffer likely misspoke and meant to reference FERPA - the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Apparently it's now common for schools to not give out class lists, citing FERPA. Yet the US Department of Education continues to ignore FERPA when it comes to giving private companies in the "education tech" arena access to student data.

Anonymous said...

The interesting thing about Thornton Creek is that there were no construction crews on campus over the weekend. We live close by and have been watching things happen, and I was surprised that they didn't have the diggers/backhoes/etc working at least on Saturday. Additionally, I did hear a rumor through the grapevine that school may not start tomorrow - apparently they were going to send an email out this afternoon and I haven't gotten anything, so I'm hoping that means we are on for tomorrow.
-Waterlogged

Carol Simmons said...

Thank you Melissa for your continued advocacy in Olympia for students.

No easy task.

Watching said...

Thanks for testifying in Olympia, Melissa. I appreciate your passion.

Anonymous said...



TM has gone ahead with their plan to mix social studies. Not great IMHO. Let's hope that this slippery slope isn't greased with MT's slimy desire to bring down the burdensome HCC.

-Ohwell

Anonymous said...

Ohwell, TM cannot go ahead with their plan - it has not been Board approved. They have to participate in a waiver process.

Ohwell2

Lynn said...

It turns out that the waiver process requires approval by the staff rather than the board. There's no way for those of us outside the TM community to know whether they have a waiver or not.

Charlie Mas said...

If Thurgood Marshall has a waiver, they sure got it fast.

The waiver process wasn't even in place until just days ago.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, it is wrong - given the general interest and the issues involved - for the district and the Board not to say if the waiver has been given. I will ask directly.

Anonymous said...



It may be a misunderstanding on the part of the TM Administrator (they have neglected nuanced policies in the past) but I have been told that they are moving forward this year.

Oh well

Anonymous said...

Look at who is heading up the Alliance now:

Dear HP,

As a trusted friend to the Alliance for Education, I wanted to let you know that we've hired our next President & CEO!

Lisa Chick formally accepted our offer as President & CEO last month. Lisa is a longtime champion for kids in Seattle, having served nearly two decades in various leadership roles at City Year. She started her career as a teacher and has been committed to educational equity ever since.

We at the Alliance for Education are thrilled that Lisa is coming on board at this important time. We're focusing on closing opportunity gaps and ensuring that every child graduates ready for success, no matter their circumstance. Lisa has deep roots in our community and strong relationships with Seattle Public Schools and the broader education community, which will be key in making educational achievement a reality for all kids in our schools.

Lisa will formally begin her role at the Alliance on October 3, leaving plenty of time to prepare for our annual Black and Orange Gala on October 29 - more information here!

I hope you're as excited as we are to have Lisa at the helm of the Alliance for Education. We'll keep you updated on opportunities to meet Lisa and welcome her aboard.

Best,

Jane Broom
Chair
Board of Directors
Alliance for Education

P.S. Read more about Lisa Chick in the formal announcement on our website.


HP

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, on the surface, Ms. Chick sounds like a fine person. But I read the Alliance's announcement and here is my comment:

"In November 2015, Seattle Public Schools voted to formally restructure their relationship with the Alliance for Education after 20 years of partnership, prompting a period of introspection for the Alliance."

Or, you could call it SPS ending their long-time MOU with the Alliance (save some accounting functions that the Alliance continues to do.) The district did try to work with the Alliance but the Alliance wanted more ability to set goals/vision than the district and Board wanted (and this was the old Board, not the new one.) Kind of like Mayor Murray is currently trying to do, learning new tactics from the mayor of San Francisco.

I think partnerships, both with government and private groups, is great for SPS. But vision, goals and governance is the domain of Seattle Schools. I think that's how parents and the public want it.

Something to consider.

Anonymous said...

Regarding second grade class lists: we encountered that problem in the past too. We (as parents) got around it by organizing an opt in list where families agreed to provide all the relevant info (name, address, phone #, email etc.) and we circulated it. - NP

Melissa Westbrook said...

I call BS on classlists because of HIPAA. And, no one has to participate. The teacher can ask parents to put as much or little as they want but having a class list - that is only for class business - is a big help to parents.