Monday, October 10, 2016

Friday Memos of Sept 23 and Sept 30

Nothing particularly earth-shattering or even noteworthy in the last couple of Friday Memos.

But what there is worth mentioning is mentioned below:



The September 23 Friday Memo begins with a lot of the usual meaningless blather about closing gaps. There's the usual disingenuous talk about duplicating successful practices and commitment to EVERY student. Here's a hint: if a writer needs to resort to capitalization, you should be suspicious. Saying something louder doesn't make it more true.

Mr. Tolley's memo tells us that " a two-year comprehensive MTSS professional development plan is currently in development with a targeted completion date of February, 2017." This is separate and different from the three-year formative assessments training that staff at some schools started. One has to wonder why the District waited until the fifth year of MTSS implementation to offer professional development.

Also, to help with MTSS implementation, the District has issued a RFP for a data platform specific to MTSS. Whether it will integrate with the District's other student data software isn't discussed.

MTSS resources and tools are under review (whatever that means). When that review is complete, there will be District-approved resources and tools posted online for teachers.

The September 30th Friday Memo included "Kudos" to district staff for their work on assignment areas for John Rogers, Cedar Park, and Olympic Hills. The superintendent wrote "I have never seen the number and quality of community engagement opportunities as I have in this work." I would love to hear if the members of the community share that view.

The Superintendent wrote about a Title I issue called "Supplant" which requires that Title I schools receive district funding of at least 95% of the district average - including salaries. To meet that requirement, more experienced and highly paid teachers and staff would have to work at Title I schools. That's not the pattern, so Dr. Nyland believes that the district will have a hard time meeting the standard.

The District Finance folks are planning some community meetings on budget development.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 from 6pm-8pm at the John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence, 2445 3rd Avenue South in the Auditorium

Thursday, November 3, 2016 from 6pm-8pm at the South Shore School cafeteria, 4800 S Henderson Street

There was a communications update with information about the Community Engagement Task Force.

11 comments:

Charlie Mas said...

Here's something funny. The Community Engagement Task Force meeting materials for their September 29 meeting isn't on their web site. In fact, there is no mention of the September 29 meeting.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"I have never seen the number and quality of community engagement opportunities as I have in this work."

Ha! That's because the community demanded it - over and over.

Anonymous said...

@Nyland--my assessment of community engagement efforts is TBD. If they make changes based on the feedback from Cedar Park, West Woodland, Sacajwea, and Broadview Thompson...then perhaps I will give them a "C", but they will never receive and "A" in my book because they did not engage or acknowledge the HCC community, which will be impacted just as much, if not more, than all the others.

Chasing Tail

Anonymous said...


Why do you two keep belittling the school district, you're feeding right into the charter school narrative. Is that your real objective here?

Skeptical Seattle

Anonymous said...

@Melissa,

Yes, none of this "community engagement" would have happened if the John Rogers and Olympic Hills communities hadn't demanded a re-evaluation of the Cedar Park boundaries this time LAST YEAR, and the School Board approved an amendment, submitted during last year's Growth Boundaries revisions vote,from Director Peaslee for staff to take another look. Some of us had been trying to daylight inequities regarding Cedar Park since the months prior to the 2013 Growth Boundaries vote, so this has been a long time coming.

I've attended all the community meetings that have been held for the John Rogers and Olympic Hills communities. The data they presented at community meetings for the Olympic Hills/Cedar Park/John Rogers boundaries included enrollment projections which appear to have been based upon geo-splitting kids from Olympic View and Sacajawea into Olympic Hills, with Olympic Hills being over-enrolled in almost all the scenarios.

Then, in a process not open to the community, the data presented during the race and equity analysis was basically ignored, and a decision was made to go with boundaries which result in even higher percentages of FRL/ELL/historically under-served students at Cedar Park.

Any scenario that did not involve boundaries for Cedar Park (i.e. an option school) was not presented to the community for discussion. I've tried to understand the point of view of SPS staff, as they are stuck presenting what had been previously-approved by the School Board, an attendance area school at Cedar Park. However, the race and equity analysis pretty much shows that, no matter how you draw boundaries around Cedar Park as a 300+ student school, then you will be creating an extremely high-poverty school.

At more recent community meetings, most of the presentation could be summarized as a pep rally for Cedar Park, and when asked why it was necessary to split the Olympic Hills school community in half, we were told that seats at Olympic Hills and Cedar Park, in Lake City (far NNE Seattle) were needed to solve capacity issues at NW Seattle schools like Viewlands, near Carkeek Park.

Bottom line is that SPS enrollment planning staff have spent considerable time analyzing multiple scenarios for Cedar Park boundaries (Scenarios A through L!), but all these scenarios were based upon assumptions that were based upon 2012 enrollment data, and have over 800 elementary school kids being reassigned via geo-splits in order to open one 300-seat school at Cedar Park. IMO, it is past time for a comprehensive analysis, and some big-picture direction on behalf of the Superintendent.

-North-end Mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

Skeptical, you'd really ask that question? I ran one of the No on 1240 campaigns. But this district's problems don't make charter schools better.

Belittle the district is not our objective. But this district operates in a secretive, incoherent and scattershot manner. That's an issue that Charlie and I have talked about for years.

We have always said that if the district was well-managed and well-run, we'd probably go away because, while we could argue about the vision/direction of the district, if things were going smoothly, it would be hard to argue.

NE Mom, read my latest thread on three top issues on the agenda for the Board meeting.

Anonymous said...

Skeptical,

If SPS doesn't continue to favor the privileged, yes, there are people who will try to destroy it. They'll take charters if that's they can't control SPS.

Look at the HCC situation. The defenders come out of the woodwork to maintain their self-contained "private school experience"on the taxpayers dime and the backs of the rest of the families.

Look at Cedar Park parents who are livid about their school getting too many poor kids.

Look at Loyal Heights picketing when all they had to do was wait like everyone else.

Privilege, Privilege, Privilege

But they really don't see it. They really don't Skeptical and every cogent, thoughtful, fair-minded post on this blog is overwhelmed with dozens of parents, parents who have a kid in HCC or in a nice school, complaining about the horrible treatment they receive and the horrible staff at JSCEE.

Expect this post to be deleted.

HCP

Anonymous said...

With all of his praise to staff it sounds like Nyland is signalling the Board to not intercede on behalf of Cedar Park.

-StepJ

Melissa Westbrook said...

HCP, I think your take is wrong.

The Cedar Park parents are whoever the district draws the boundaries around. So who they are (except for who lives within a couple of blocks of the school.) It's NOT about too many poor kids - it's about the quality of experience they will get as compared to the white kids at the new Olympic Hills.

Olympic Hills was designed - with an on-the-ground Building Design Team - to have a health center to support what was OH's mostly low-income population. That parents are upset that those F/RL kids won't get real access to those services is what the real concern is.

NO school should have been treated as LH was. That was ridiculous.

We only delete off-topic, offensive or outing comments. So I guess you are out of luck.

Anonymous said...

HCP -

If HCC were a private school, it would have long ago been out of business. HCC kids don't receive any more funding than kids who are not in HCC, so they are no more "on the taxpayers [sic] dime" than any other kid in the district. Your comments have no basis in fact, and they are needlessly divisive. If you think comments like your post above are "cogent," "thoughtful," or "fair-minded," then you have lost any sense of what those words mean.

- Bulldog Parent

Anonymous said...

HCP, it is not privilege to want and demand the best for your child. It is not privilege to fight for their needs. If we define it as such, we create a situation in which abuse and suffering will occur.

It is fair to ask that those who are active do so not solely on behalf of their own children but do so for every child. I think that happens in most cases but probably not all cases. Still, even when it doesn't, keep in mind these are parents doing their job which is to look out for their own child. You're never going to stop that or overcome it. So rather than react with resentment, let's instead try to find the path ahead that works for everyone.

Non-HCC Parent