Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Tuesday Open Thread

I'm celebrating a child's birthday this week (I have grown men now.) One thing I always tell parents of boys; record that little boy voice because when puberty hits, it goes away.  I can still hear my older son's voice in my head but not my younger but hey, it's all on tape.  Whether with video or not, get some audio of your son's voice - you'll be glad you did.

Interesting article from a blog about San Francisco public schools and "cussing."  I remember my older son being very startled at the amount of swearing in middle school.
This made sense because using “adult language” is a guaranteed way for tweens to signify they aren’t “little” any more. For middle schoolers, cussing becomes a way to individuate from adults, to push boundaries and test limits.
Even when cussing hasn’t been directed at them, these experiences have contributed to my girls feeling unsafe on the yard and in the hallways.  While teachers are going a long way to create positive climate in their classes, it seems most of the negative language my girls are experiencing is happening outside of the classroom.
The article does a good job to talk about swear words versus derogatory language AND whether school staff addresses it when it is clear the staff member heard the language.

Videos for the kids:
- wolves restoring Yellowstone
- bobcat catches a salmon in Hoh river

A beautiful video about kids given a choice of who gets a present - them or their parents.

What's on your mind?

23 comments:

Eric B said...

Every so often, someone swears in front of my 8th grader and then apologizes. She almost always responds, "You know I go to middle school, right?"

Anonymous said...

Haha! that's a perfect response.

Noel

Book Doctor said...

You know what’s on my mind? There’s an SPS teacher I really respect for the work she does to address poverty issues and promote literacy at a title one elementary near my home. She works hard to get the kids’ needs met. She recently made a comment on social media that broke my heart, though. She said her daughter was starting kindergarten in the fall and she would never send her to HCC because she absolutely did not want to be part of the HCC parent community.

This is crushing to me because HCC parents are a part of this teacher's community. Let me explain how:

Kids in Seattle never start out in HCC. There is no HCC for preschool or kindergarten at SPS and kids who join the HC cohort typically do so at some point between first and eighth grade. Some of the school children this teacher taught in the past are in HCC now. Some of the kids she is teaching right now will move into the HCC program at some point in the future.

Every single child in an HCC program attended a neighborhood school first (unless they transferred into the district or switched over from a private school). Many of these HCC kids attend their neighborhood school for years before switching into HCC. HC kids and their families are and have been a part of pretty much every school community in this city. They may still do aftercare at their neighborhood school. They may still attend school events. They may still belong to the PTA. They may still play on the school playground on the weekends. They’re neighborhood families. They’re kids you know, parents you know. They are a part of this teacher’s community.

There are currently also hundreds of HC-qualified kids whose families haven't chosen to move them to an HCC site, who continue to attend their neighborhood schools right now. These kids (and their parents) are very much a part of their neighborhood school communities. Does this teacher not want to be their teacher? Does this teacher not want them in her community?

In addition to that there are hundreds of kids, who attend school at an HCC site, who have siblings attending their local, neighborhood school. So, the parents are both HCC parents and parents at this SPS teacher’s school, at most SPS teachers’ schools. Wherever her daughter goes to kindergarten in the fall, there will be some people in the community of parents there who also have a kid in HCC.

It’s so deflating to hear that she dislikes these parents so much that she wants nothing to do with them, that she wouldn’t want her child associating with people like this, and that she doesn’t want to be part of the same community with these families.

Like so many hundreds of SPS families I have a child in the HCC program and another child at the neighborhood school. I get that she doesn’t like me or my husband or, I guess, my HCC kid (although the poor guy is just a little kid, a real sweetheart, a kid who’s had a really hard time fitting in at school, a kid who’s been shunned for being different, and punished a lot just for being who he is).

Her comment breaks my heart and leaves me wondering. Does she dislike my other kid, the one in the neighborhood school? Does she only dislike me when I’m parenting my one kid but not my other kid? Does she dislike her former students who have switched into HCC and their parents? Did she already dislike them when they were her students? Does she dislike parents of kids at the school where she works if they have a second kid who’s in the HCC program? Does she dislike her current students who may someday leave her school for an advanced learning program?

A while back another HCC parent organized a book drive to support this teacher’s school library and I totally donated books. And I’m pretty confident that, even knowing that this SPS teacher doesn’t want any part of being a community with us, we HCC parents would all donate books again. Because we actually are a part of your community. And all kids deserve books to read.

Charlie Mas said...

Again, I wonder how socially acceptable it would be for a teacher to say "I would never send my child to that school because I absolutely do not want to be part of the _____ community."

Now fill in the blank with a race, faith, or level of affluence. Fill in the blank with a sexual identity. Fill in the blank with a level of ability or disability.

One of the real benefits of public education is how it demonstrates that all of the children in the community are our children. They are all our children.

Melissa Westbrook said...

So Book Doctor, I'm going to have a lengthy post next week about this issue because of the out-in-front issue AL has become. And, the feeling from those who don't like gifted education that they can say anything and everything about those who do.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know what happened to the discussapp blog comments? It feels like nobody comments over there anymore.

--SeattleParent

Anonymous said...

There's a social media video going around from Ingraham High school showing a student yelling allahu akbar and throwing a black backpack into the cafeteria. Earlier in the day the same student claimed to have a pipe bomb in the same backpack. Worst is the same student a day earlier threatened a teacher by flipping over a desk and then using a hand gestures that was meant to intimidate.

Judging by the comments there are many students who are worried about the student actually carrying out some sort of attack.

Why isn't the district taking action?

Concerned

Melissa Westbrook said...

Concerned, does the district know? Did Principal Floe tell someone or act himself? I would say tell the Superintendent and cc the Board.

Charlie Mas said...

Once someone claims to have a pipe bomb the police should be called.
This is a violation of E-310 of the Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook and calls for an immediate one-year expulsion.

NESeattleMom said...

Seattle Parent, I don't know if this is current, but the moderator changed the way you have to register to post, and I believe that made the decline in posting.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the responses, to answer your question. We are all scared the individual or their associates will be able to identify who reported the incident or will be labeled due to the ethnicity of the person in question.

We know that school staff including the teacher knows of the incident, yet there seems to be no ramifications.

Concerned

NESeattleMom said...

Book Doctor, my friend and her child used to always tell us how they didn't want to test for AL and didn't want to go over there because "APP kids think they are so smart", (not exact quote). I "never" bragged about my kid, friends with that kid, nor about older sibling or that kid's friends also in APP at the time. Then, lo and behold, in 5th grade my friend's kid decided to test (just to see)--and got in. Then, I heard that kid wasn't going to switch over, was instead going to stay with friends and go to the very well-respected gen ed middle school.Then, when 6th grade rolls around, who is there? That kid is thriving in middle school--and I did not mention the past comments. Your kid's kindergarten teacher may decide to send her kid--she can't read the future. Sometimes we have to get off shared social media with people we know professionally--it can drive us too crazy. All of these parental choices and judgments of others may change when it is specific to our own kid.

Josh Hayes said...

Gosh, Concerned, there are at least a couple of Ingraham teachers who lurk, and occasionally post, on this blog. Maybe they can edify us about what's happening at the school vis a vis this incident.

FWIW, my daughter goes to IHS and has heard exactly zero about any of this. It's puzzling. I am NOT saying this is exaggerated, but it's strange: nobody keeps a lid on things at schools these days, and this seems like something that would have been all over the social media airwaves in the last couple of days, after school got out.

mirmac1 said...

I will expand upon Josh's comment and say that, in this day and age of racist fear-mongering, we gotta fact-check some of this possible rumor-mongering.

Book Doctor said...

@Melissa,
I'm glad you're going to do a piece on AL. Thanks for all your work on this blog and for our school system.

I decided to post my comment above because it struck me that all the HCC families I know are part of multiple school communities. In addition to our HCC kid(s), lots of us have kid(s) at non-HCC schools as well. And almost 100% of us did at some point. Plus we still live in our neighborhoods and are still part of our local communities even if the kids have aged out of the local school.

Many anti-HCC comments I hear make it seem like HCC families are some elitist, separate, distinct group of people that you could choose to shun or avoid if you wanted to. As if you would never encounter one of "us" in the wild. But in actuality there are probably HCC families in almost every school community in the city. I'm donating to two PTAs this year and volunteering at two schools. One is not an HCC school and one is. And that's very, very common. As a result I don't personally think the us vs. them way of looking at this issue is very useful.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Book Doctor, you are absolutely right. HCC does not exist in a vacuum in this district.

Anonymous said...

How rude!

I post some concerning information and labeling is exactly what YOU people resort to.

I guess that's why many students do not feel safe reporting the incident.Your actions definitely reinforced their concerns. Someone here might want to check snap chat. I'm not going to post students name or the teachers name, find them yourselves.

What would any of you be willing to bet that the previously mentioned events happened?


Concerned

Anonymous said...

@Concerned, if the incident has not been reported, how can the district take action? If students are truly concerned for their safety, but are only commenting on Snapchat, how do they expect the situation to be resolved? Posting in this forum, which might be read by SPS staff (or even the student in question - have you thought of that?), is not the same as actually reporting the incident. What's more credible? Hearsay or first hand accounts? Are you wanting someone else to step up and report the incident based on hearsay?

NESeattleMom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Book Doctor, thanks for posting that. We're another family with kids in a neighborhood school plus Cascadia and still very involved in our neighborhood school after 5+ years there between the two kids. It's not new but it still smarts when I see folks roll their eyes and smirk about HCC and as Melissa says, I'm still surprised how free they feel to make fun.

NE2

SammiT said...

BookDoctor, I hear you. But I also think as an educator that the reaction you are describing probably connects to much inequity this teacher has witnessed in our system. The parents are the visible scapegoat - the squeaky wheel that is getting the grease - and that can be heart breaking to imagine becoming a part of.

Lynn said...

Look. The state requires the district to provide every child with a basic education and goes to great lengths to define that basic education. The state also recognizes that for a small group of students a basic education cannot be provided without providing accelerated and/or enhanced instruction. There is no inequity in providing highly capable students with something different. The inequity exists when educators advocate for denying these children access to a basic education. If teachers are heartbroken when they imagine every child receiving the education our constitution promises them, they're in the wrong profession.

SammiT said...

Lynn, I think we're on the same side. I believe in enhanced instructed for accelerated learners and know no other educators who do not. What I'm referencing is an inequity of resources that results in basic education being denied for a great number of students throughout our district, which we are all aware of as an issue. The state is currently in breach of its constitution. The scapegoating of parents of advanced learners is misguided - there is a very real issue that educators are struggling with, but the fault lies with the system. I was attempting to offer this misguided view as a possible insight to the reaction mentioned above. Many children in our district are being denied a quality education and have no outside advocates. This is heartbreaking to witness.