Monday, October 31, 2016

Patu Asks for Postponement on Growth Boundaries Vote

From the updated School Board agenda for Wednesday:

Board President Patu has requested to postpone action on this item and any amendments to the November 16th Board meeting to allow for a Board Work Session on November 09th to discuss Director Amendments.

I have to believe that most directors will go along with this action, given how complicated the work is before them.

Seattle Schools Announces High School Community Meetings

Update from Capital Programs:

These meetings do not include information about specific programs nor services at any of our high schools. 

end of update


From SPS:
Community Meetings to be held on
Educational Specifications Design Standards

Seattle Public Schools will present three community meetings on Educational Specifications Design Standards for high schools. District staff will share information and ask for public input and feedback. Architects base school designs on a predefined set of guidelines that set space requirements for elementary, middle, and high schools to create the best schools possible. With the new design process, each school has more flexibility in adapting the design to fit the needs of its learning community. 

The meetings will take place:

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Does Your Vote Matter? Yes, It Does

According to the Seattle Times, the latest Elway poll has the race for state superintendent of public instruction at a dead heat between Erin Jones and Chris Reykdal.  A lot of undecideds out there.

I think like many of the down ballot judicial races, many people have no idea who to vote for for state superintendent.  You may have friends who don 't have kids in school and/or don't necessarily pay attention to public education issues.

Help them out and tell them how you are voting for state superintendent.

Again, I'm supporting Chris Reykdal.

I believe he has the best skill set and background.  He is a steady presence and supported by legislators on both sides of the aisle as well as by top leadership at OSPI.  He has been endorsed by the Network for Public Education that was started by former deputy secretary of education and noted educator, Diane Ravitch.

Can School Districts Use Race in Enrollment Policies?

Yes, you can.

The question is - why is Seattle Schools saying, in document after document - you can't?

From the majority opinion:

Seattle Schools This Week

Tuesday, November 1st
Board Work Session from 4:30-6:30 pm at JSCEE.  Agenda

There is one topic  - Annual Evaluation of 2015-2016 Board Governance Priorities and Superintendent SMART Goals, Part 2.

This particular topic has - no kidding - 164 pages for the Board to review.   Most of it is around Cedar Park and its enrollment.  I do not understand sticking this topic in with SMART Goals.

Then there will be an Executive Session to "Evaluate the performance of a public employee" (likely the Superintendent as it is time for his annual evaluation.)

I am hoping that the Board will soon take control of their own Work Sessions and not allow staff to eat up time with endless reviews and/or documentation delivered before whatever the topic at hand gets actual discussion.

Wednesday, November 2nd 
School Board meeting, starting at 4:15 pm.  Agenda

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Lincoln High Reopening Meeting

Kudos to Director Burke for attempting to take on the issue of the reopening of Lincoln High School in 2019.  The estimate of how many parents packed the library was about 300 people.  Staff included Flip Herndon, Michael Tolley as well as Hale principal Jill Hudson (who is on the 24-credit committee as well as being the planning principal for Lincoln.)  She was the only staff member to speak.

Burke outlined the goals of the meeting:

Friday, October 28, 2016

Tick Tock; Where's the Board Meeting Agenda with Growth Boundaries Amendments?

 Update: here's the agenda.  There are nine amendments including one to postpone (that one from Director Harris and I think she's right.)

end of update

I do believe that the "end of the day" means 5 pm especially since the JSCEE closes at more like
 4:30 pm.

I suspect the amendments are what is holding up the agenda.

I'll update when I can.

First Indigenous Peoples' Day at Chief Sealth

Dominique Salinas (Jicarilla Apache/Navajo) and Marcos Arellano Martinez (Mexivo, Otomi) performing a Deer Dance.


Wonderful celebration of cultures at Chief Sealth International High School - these photos make this event look like it was a fantastic one.  All photos by Leda Costa for the West Seattle Blog.

Halloween; What's Not to Like

FYI:
The City of Seattle is teaming up with Uber to offer discounted rides this Halloween. At a time when children are trick-or-treating and adults are celebrating during weekend festivities, it’s important to be alert and stay safe on Seattle streets.

From Friday, October 28 to Monday, October 31, new and existing Uber users can safely catch a ride home in Seattle by entering promo code HALLOWPOOL for a free ride, up to a $10 value.
I'm sure I've said this before but I do love Halloween.  No presents, no relatives, no cooking (unless you want to) and you get to dress up and eat candy.  Life is good. 

Seattle Schools' 2017-2018 Budget: What is the Real Story?

One statement that Superintendent Nyland likes to say is "We can do anything, we can't do everything."  

This week Seattle Schools hosted  two community meetings (which, for some reason, they called "work sessions." Confusing.)  At the meeting I attended on Tuesday, the 25th, there were four community members including me. Here's what staff said in their announcement for the meetings(partial):

Friday Open Thread

So many threads to get to including Director Burke's meeting on the reopening of Lincoln High (about 250 in attendance.)  And, he has the sole director community meeting tomorrow, Oct. 29th, at the Fremont Library from 11 am-1 pm.

If Richard Sherman of the Seahawks played Quiddich who would be on his team (and guess who is a Seahawks fan?)

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Important Special Education Stories

The first story is from OSPI who released data on restraint and isolation for Special Education students in Washington State.  The story from KUOW:

Friday Memo Surprises on Boundaries

During the discussion at the Boundary Changes thread, I was asked to create another thread on what readers found in the Friday Memo on this subject.

One reader noted that two of the attachments that were supposed to be in the original BAR are finally at the SPS website.  (And use that in any argument you want to make about going forward - information was not given to the Board and the community in a timely fashion.)

Tell the Kids to Get Out There and Vote

From the News Tribune: 
Washington state’s annual Mock Election is back, and kids can cast symbolic votes on real candidates and measures from 9 a.m. Monday to 1 p.m. Nov. 4.

The event is open to all students in kindergarten through 12th grade in public, private and tribal schools, as well as homeschooled students.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

High-Roller PAC Seeks to Oust Supreme Court Justices

I had heard about this PAC on the radio, Citizens for Working Courts Enterprise, WA.  Apparently, they are seeking to defeat Justice Charles Wiggins over decisions they believe hurt business.

However, you look at the list of names and I see ed reformers in there.

Tuesday Open Thread

Today is the last day to take a short survey about the Seattle Public Library's website.

Annual free health clinic at Seattle Center this weekend via the Times:

Monday, October 24, 2016

Seattle Schools' Boundary Changes

I wanted to put up the thread in response to this query:
Anonymous curious said...
I know Kellie has tried to explain, but I am still pretty clueless. The board is voting on Boundaries 11/2, correct? I've received no responses from SPS or the board related to boundaries. Given all the distractions lately, I'm not sure what we still need to advocate for and by when. Is there a list of new board amendments somewhere? I found the staff amendments, but they don't seem to address anything that matters.

I'm mainly curious if anyone is suggesting to eliminate some of the geo-splits since they move so many kids from one packed house to another. I am also curious if any feeder patterns are changing for north-end middle schools.


10/24/16, 10:17 AM

Erin Jones Gets It Wrong (Again)

Update 2: it appears someone has either tried to hide the Holland donation to Jones or sent it back (AFTER this thread was posted) because it's no longer posted at the PDC.  Hmm.

As well, look who else joined the party...Vulcan just kicked in $2,000.

End of update 

Update: A few interesting developments.

1) Remember those donors to Jones' campaign, Clyde and Rena Holland,who also gave money to Tim Eyman? Know who else they gave money to? Donald J. Trump for president (via the Puget Sound Business Journal.)  Now, Chris Reykdal got rounded criticized for mentioned Trump in a donor letter but apparently, he wasn't too far off the mark.

2) Once again, I am getting heat for reporting what a candidate said.  There are even a couple of people who think Senator Carlyle is not telling the truth.  You have to ask yourself, "Why would he lie?"  That Jones remains silent on this issue should tell you something.  I also note that I would have to wonder about her effectiveness with legislators once they hear - and they will - that she distorts what is said in personal conversations.  What legislator is really going to want to talk candidly with her?

end of update

Two updates on the race for State Superintendent of Public Instruction in Washington State between Chris Reykdal and Erin Jones.

Once again, I do not believe Jones is ready for this office.  Her tendency to say what she thinks people want to hear - and then go back and rearrange her thoughts -  is not a good trait for someone in public office.

I'm supporting Chris Reykdal who has been consistent in his views and his words for the entire campaign and is the best qualified candidate. 

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Seattle Schools This Week

Monday, October 24th
The district is still looking for input on the K-5 ELA instructional materials (at select schools or on-line) until November 30th.

Let's Talk About Race (Part One)

Update: good interview on NPR with one of the researchers who founded the theory of implicit bias, Mahzarin Banaji.
BANAJI: In order to just think about where implicit bias comes from, it's a good idea to think about it as a combination of two things. First, our brains - human brains have a certain way in which we go about picking up information, learning it. If I repeatedly see that doctors are male and nurses are female, I'm going to learn that. But the second part to implicit bias is the culture in which we live.

But the mark of an evolved society is how quickly do we come to terms with it?
How quickly do we realize that finding out that we're biased need not mean that we have to remain biased? So I have great hope just because I look at the history of this country, where we used to be and where we are today, and I see nothing but a path that is on the way towards doing better.
End of update

We could start this discussion with the micro-view of what is happening in Seattle Public Schools.  But that doesn't work because that's just peering down into a silo and trying to figure out what's happening.

The real pressures of the entire society AND our nation's history cannot be ignored.  (This is one place where I part company with ed reformers who just want to look at the micro-view and ignoring what is happening out in the greater world.)  Poverty and racism do not stop at the schoolhouse door.

But we will talk about racial equity as it relates to schools in Part Two.

Rules of engagement:
- NO name-calling especially of children.  It will not be tolerated.
- We all bring to this where we were brought up, who brought us up and their thinking, our education (both K-12 and beyond), where we have lived and worked and who we partnered with, etc.  That is all part of where we ALL get our implicit bias.
- I do not profess to know everything on this topic nor have the answers.  I'm learning and I hope all of you have that desire as well.  But with these initiatives rolling out the district - without any widespread discussions in our communities - I worry about the outcomes.

Part One of this discussion is about helping each other learn. 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Teaching Compassion from One Teacher's Story

You may recall the story earlier this year about a Tacoma kindergarten teacher who was removed from her classroom because she was drunk.  I think most of us were aghast at hearing that.

But one person, reporter Matt Driscolll at the Tacoma News Tribune, wanted to know more.  He wrote this piece that appeared this week,

This kindergarten teacher was fired for being drunk. Three months later, she was dead. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Friday Open Thread

Show the kids what a bear - Big Baloo - looked like right before he goes into hibernation.  (With that physique, I think he's good to go.) From the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Just wanted to point out the powerful story from KUOW's Ann Dornfeld on Black Lives Matter Day.  She, like all the press, was not allowed into any Seattle school to observe and report on the day but she's a resourceful journalist and went to Highline SD.   Seems like this class did just fine with their discussion with her present.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Houston, We Have a Problem..Outside Thurgood Marshall

A reader sent me this and said there were 2-3 of these around signage at Thurgood Marshall.  I am told the Board knows about this.

I was kind of surprised to hear an HCC parent at Soup for Teachers say this: I agree with the sentiment (and I'm an HCC parent) but I wouldn't do it this way. Let's not shame kids.

Okay, HCC parents, do you think your child is enrolled in a "apartheid" program?  Here's what the dictionary says (after explained it means "a state of being apart," an Afrikaans word.

"Apartheid was a system of racial segregation in South Africa enforced through legislation..."

There is no enforced separate in HCC.  The program is open to anyone.   The program is not just one race, there are many, many Asian students (despite attempts to make that sound like it does count which baffles me.)  Of course, there is underrepresentation by black, Native American and Latino students and that needs to change.  But apartheid?  

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Franklin High Students Asked to Sign "Convenant"

This apparently happened yesterday and the reactions are quite interesting.  The document is below this text.

From the Soup for Teachers Facebook page:

One Autism Story

From the Love What Matters Facebook page:

"See this moment? I've never experienced a moment like this. Yesterday was the first day my 5 year old Autistic son met his new Autism Service Dog, Tornado. We are Americans that live overseas in Japan and have prepared for nearly two years to meet Tornado.

Dentistry Care for Special Needs Kids

From the Seattle Special Education PTSA Facebook page:

Save the date! The Special Families of Puget Sound Seattle Parent Support Meeting is going on a field trip to The Center for Pediatric Dentistry. The Center for Pediatric Dentistry provides comprehensive health care to kids with all types of special needs.

Black Lives Matter Day

Views from today.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Before Tomorrow's Black Lives Matter Event

I asked the district if I could go to one elementary, one middle school and one high school tomorrow.  I figured Bagley because I hear they were having an assembly, HIMS because it seems to have focus on this topic and Hale because it's an active school and near my house.

The district has declined to allow me to go to any school.  I have to wonder if other media are being turned away.

I see Ingraham is inviting people to come so I may join other members of the community there.

Friday Memo of October 14

Another week, another Friday memo.


Mega-Thornton Creek? Might Be

The district has a couple of ideas out there about what to do with HCC students. Boy, there are some doozy of ideas from staff.  This is all around the possible usese of the Thornton Creek campus. Here's the document from the district to Thornton Creek parents.

First, the district says:

Tuesday Open Thread

Via Director Harris:
Concord International Elementary School’s Parent Teacher Association (PTA) is hosting an informational meeting on testing and student assessment of learning. Dr Wayne Au, an expert in educational equity, high stakes testing, and educational policy studies will be presenting. The event is scheduled for Tuesday, October 18 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the South Park Neighborhood Center (8201 10th Ave S). For more information, please contact the Concord PTA president, Robin Schwartz at robinschwartz@hotmail.com

Monday, October 17, 2016

Chris Reykdal for State Superintendent of Public Instruction (Part Two)

 Update 3:

1) Jones' campaign has hired the former lobbyist for Stand for Children and is using the well-known/notorious campaign director, Christian Sinderman.  

2) The Stranger put out their November endorsements yesterday (partial)
While we understand the case Jones makes for representation in education leadership, we can't support electing someone with views so dangerous to LGBTQ students to the highest position in the state school system.
Reykdal also filled out that right-wing questionnaire, and his answer was definitive: "The standards do not promote cross-dressing and other fabrications of the extreme right," he wrote. "They teach gender identity and self awareness. These are good things not to be vilified."

Vote for the progressive educator without any anti-gay/anti-trans fundamentalist Christian baggage in this race. Vote for Reykdal.
Reykdal is looking better and better by the minute.

end of update

Update 2: The Olympian said it was close but they gave their endorsement to Rekydal, noting his overall experience with both teaching and learning and legislative knowledge.  They also noted this:
Despite her enthusiasm for education, Jones missed several opportunities to vote on public school bonds or levies for North Thurston Public Schools, where her children were enrolled. Reykdal has used this to question her commitment to local schools, but Jones quickly acknowledged to us that she was “irresponsible” not to vote.
end of update

Read more here: http://www.theolympian.com/opinion/editorials/article107958547.html#storylink=cpy
Endofend
End

Endof 
Update: from the Public Disclosure Commission - two ed reform PACs and Vulcan have paid $167,600 for a mailer in support of Erin Jones.  This action comes out of national Stand for Children office in Portland, Oregon.  

Here is how it breaks down:
-$50,000 from Stand for Children Inc.
-$9,000 from League of Education Voters PAC (Education Voters Political Action Fund)
-$108,600 from Vulcan Inc.

This is the second-largest independent expenditure so far this election season, after a $194,300 IE from No on I-732 people.
end of update

I have previously endorsed Chris Reykdal but with ballots going out this week, I wanted to add to my reasoning.

The newest issue is that another LGBT issue has cost Jones another endorsement.  From The Stranger (bold mine):
The Seattle Metropolitan Elections Committee (SEAMEC), a nonpartisan group that rates candidates for local elections based on their positions on GLBT issues, is revoking its rating of state superintendent of public instruction candidate Erin Jones.
When SEAMEC then looked back at its candidate questionnaire from June, group leaders realized that Jones had also stated to SEAMEC that she was against a ban on conversion therapy for minors—in other words, that she was against banning a widely debunked and harmful practice that attempts to force LGBTQ youths into being straight or cisgender. In early August, two months after Jones submitted her SEAMEC questionnaire, Seattle banned conversion therapy on minors.
Jones, who has been working closely with LGBTQ advocates to educate herself after her earlier statements on gender identity and sexual orientation came to light, has since reversed her position on conversion therapy.   
"The more we learned, the more disturbed we are by this candidate," Herb Krohn, SEAMEC spokesperson, said. "We have revoked her rating, and we have voted to endorse Chris Reykdal. I don't know if we settled on what her final rating would be, but it will be substantially lower, and we'll probably be putting a comment next to her numerical grade because of her enormous inconsistencies about her statements in so many venues."
But how could SEAMEC have missed Jones's original answer on a conversion therapy ban?  "We go through 180 candidates in two days," Krohn said. "We overlooked it. Mistakes happen. We're human. But what's important to us is making sure the record is correct and putting out accurate information to the constituents."
This is the second time Jones has reversed her stand/comments on LGBT issues since the campaign started.

I want to circle back to when Jones served as a chapter leader in Spokane for the Christian youth group, Young Life, because I think it goes to the heart of this issue.

Upcoming Events to Get on Your Calendar

Besides this being #ClosetheGaps week for Seattle Schools, it is also DiscoverU week.  What is DiscoverU?

DiscoverU is an exciting week for our community to come together and support students in exploring career and college options. Through fun activities in school and in the community, students throughout Seattle and South King County will have opportunities to explore their futures. DiscoverU puts student interests at the center and helps connect their aspirations with the many pathways to get there.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Growth Boundary Discussion at Seattle School Board Meeting

I do want to put forth an accounting of the Board meeting last Wednesday, the 12th, but the MOST important thing is to tell parents to get your feelings/thoughts/ideas/amendments into the Board as soon as possible.

My take from public testimony is that there are a couple of big concerns:

- grandfathering (many, many calls for this to be expanded)
- uncertain pathways to middle school
- boundary changes that affect too many schools and their communities

I cannot urge you enought to collaborate with other parents/schools and get those thoughts to the Board ASAP.
Either:
spsdirectors@seattleschools.org (for just the Board) or schoolboard@seattleschools.org (includes senior management)

Here's what was said during the Board meeting on this topic.

FAQs On Upcoming Black Lives Matter Event

On October 19th, 2016 hundreds of Seattle teachers, counselors, paraprofessionals, nurses, instructional assistants, librarians, and other educators will be wearing Black Lives Matter shirts to school in an unprecedented action, “Black Lives Matter At School.” 
That's how the Seattle Equality Educators' FAQ document starts.  I have previously only seen the day called "day of solidarity" but now it seems it is officially "Black Lives Matter at School."

There are a couple of confusing things. 

Seattle Schools This Week

Thursday, October 20th
Operations Committee Meeting from 4:30-6:30 pm at JSCEE.  No agenda yet available.

Again, I see that last Saturday, October 15th, there were four community meetings with directors and yet this week there are none.  It continues to puzzle me that the directors cannot try to space out meetings so that there is at least one per weekend. 

To note: the Mayor and the Superintendent met to try to talk about a new high school at Seattle Center as the City thinks about revamping that area. 

Update on City Parks and Homeless Living

If you are wondering how the Friday meeting of the City Council on the issue of homelessness went, look no further than the account of the 4-hour meeting from Seattle City Council Insight. As relates to schools and playfields (bold mine:)
O’Brien also asked whether the 2100 people living outside in tents (another 900 live in vehicles) will all have places to be — whether the city has done the math to ensure that after prohibiting camping in parks, sidewalks and school property, they have confirmed that there will be enough space. 

For the problematic ones, such as one on a playfield, he said that the city needed to move quickly to remove them, but for the rest there would still be robust notice, outreach, and storage of belongings. 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

No, No and NO

No, you are not going to use this blog to create trouble for the Day of Solidarity.  I'm only pointing out my concern that the day could get hijacked by bad reporting.  A few of you seem to want to whip up real trouble.  Bad move.  (Keep in mind we are talking about schools with children in them.) 

No, creating a Gmail account in order to send threatening e-mails to others so they think they are from me isn't going to work.  People are not stupid and will not believe those e-mails are from me. 

Readers, if you get an e-mail from me that has ssss.westbrook@gmail.com - ignore it.  I am sss.westbrook@gmail.com.

NO, this blog isn't going anywhere despite the efforts of a few, pathetic souls who would like to silence our voices and not allow the free exchange of ideas and discussion. 

Onward.

NAACP Voted YES to Approve Moratorium on Charter Schools

Despite enormous ed-reform and political pressure, the Board of Directors of the NAACP stood strong and supported the delegates' resolution for a moratorium on charters.  You can read the press release issued by the NAACP here.  It says:
We are calling for a moratorium on the expansion of the charter schools at least until such time as:

(1) Charter schools are subject to the same transparency and accountability standards as public schools


(2) Public funds are not diverted to charter schools at the expense of the public school system


(3) Charter schools cease expelling students that public schools have a duty to educate and


(4) Cease to perpetuate de facto segregation of the highest performing children from those whose aspirations may be high but whose talents are not yet as obvious.
Thank you to the courage of the national NAACP and King County NAACP (which took this stand first.) 

Macklemore Visits Interagency, Tell His Story

An interview he did for MTV.  Really a great kindness with great courage on his part to help out kids who are struggling just as he did.


Friday, October 14, 2016

Please

Friday Open Thread

Well, we can all just look at the window and see what kind of weather it is.  If you have to go out, I wish you luck with the traffic.

Michelle Obama gave an impassioned speech yesterday and it's worth listening to in defense of girls and women.  It's worth a listen.

A couple of thoughtful reads for this weekend.

One from Education Next about school discipline:
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights announced this spring that the number of suspensions and expulsions in the nation’s public schools had dropped 20 percent between 2012 and 2014.

The news was welcomed by those who oppose the frequent use of suspensions and expulsions, known as exclusionary discipline. In recent years, many policymakers and educators have called for the adoption of alternative disciplinary strategies that allow students to stay in school and not miss valuable learning time.
 Parents and public discipline: Should you intervene? From the New York Times.

Here's a great listing of Halloween events from The Stranger.  Many are adult-based but there are several (U Bookstore, EMP, pumpkin farms, etc.) for teens and kids.

Great story from Huffington Post on a barber shop that cuts prices for kids who read during their haircut.

What's on your mind?

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Update on Washington State Charter Lawsuit

I'm at the Charter Commission meeting today (although still hasn't started due to rain and traffic, whew!)

I see this included  the packet of materials on the charter school lawsuit from Executive Director, Joshua Halsey:

"The parties to the charter school lawsuit have agreed to a summary judgment briefing schedule with a hearing on Jan. 27, 2017 at 10 am.  In a summary judgment motion, the moving party argues that the issues presented to the judge are purely legal (rather than factual) and can be resolved based solely on briefs and arguments at the hearing."  


Former NBA Player to Speak on Addiction at Ballard

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Northgate Elementary and Meals for Minds

From United Healthcare:
UnitedHealthcare is donating $50,000 to fund Food Lifeline’s mobile pantry food distributions.

Half of the donation will provide gap funding for the Meals for Minds program for the 2016-2017 school year. Food Lifeline’s Meals for Minds program is a monthly in-school food bank for students at Seattle’s Northgate Elementary School, where 75 percent of the students qualify for free and reduced-price lunches. The Meals for Minds gives Northgate students and their families 22 pounds per student of food including fresh vegetables, milk and chicken.

Major Storm Coming

From the Weather Channel:

A series of Pacific storms, one fueled by a remnant of a typhoon, will hammer the Northwest into the weekend, with the potential for destructive winds, flooding rain, huge waves and coastal flooding in Washington, Oregon and far northern California.

Update on Homeless Encampments on School Property

City Councilmember Mike O'Brien put out a strongly worded statement about this legislation:
Let me correct some misinformation that has been circulating: I do not support a policy that allows camping on school grounds, sidewalks or maintained park spaces. I am in favor of revamping our protocols to clearly define unsafe and unsuitable areas, such as schools, sidewalks and maintained parks — and we should allow people to stay in areas that are not problematic while we work to get them housing and services as quickly as possible.

Unsafe and unsuitable areas should be defined with input from neighborhood residents and businesses. In coordination with the Pathways Home and other housing strategies ramping up, this policy would expire in two years. The legislation has evolved significantly from what was introduced.
 I read the revised ordinance legislation and it now clearly states:

Friday Memo from October 7

The October 7 Friday Memo is now available and makes for interesting reading.


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Black Lives Matter Day of Solidarity in SPS

October 19th Fundraiser - unisex shirt design - front
Update: Sebrena Burr, the president of the Seattle County PTSA said the board unanimously supported the teachers’ action planned for Wednesday.

end of update

(I can't seem to get comment moderation on so I am asking for civility.  If not, then I'll turn off the comments.)

The Seattle Teachers Association has been planning a Day of Solidarity on October 19th for African-American students in Seattle schools.  As well, the teacher group, Social Equality Educators, is part of the planning for this day.

I support this day and I support the district's efforts to close the opportunity gap for all high-risk student groups.  

However, this is may be a charged conversation but I am going to attempt to be clear about my concerns, not for the purpose of the day, but how it will play out.

Tuesday Open Thread

Good article from the West Seattle Blog on the future of Roxhill and the E. C. Hughes building.  (They also had some interesting tweets last night about the growth boundaries meeting at Denny; I'll put up that story when it becomes available.)

There's a petition on the topic of allowing the homeless encampments in parks, on school grounds and other public spaces (Council Bill 11894) in Seattle.

Do you pack Lunchables for your child's lunch?  There's a recall on.

Great thoughts on raising confident daughters from the Notorious RBG via Inc.  I particularly like number four and number six.  Luck is really preparation meeting opportunity.

Any interesting events at your child's school for Indigenous People's Day?

What's on your mind?

Monday, October 10, 2016

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Seattle Schools This Week

Update 2: to include items from BEX Oversight Committee meeting on Friday.)

(Updated to include analysis of the Board meeting on Wednesday.)

Monday, Oct. 10th
Curriculum and Instruction Committee meeting from 4:40-6:30 pm in the Board conference room.  Agenda

Vote, Vote, Vote

Quite the weekend politically.  I'm not sure what else could be said except I'm a woman - a sister, a mother, a daughter - and I vote.

I think the NFL is going to see quite a drop in viewership for the Sunday night game because of a debate that could be the most incendiary one in history.

The deadline for online voter registration for the November 8th election is tomorrow (Monday, October 10th) If you're not already registered to vote at your current address, take care of it now.

The deadline for mail-in voter registration has passed (October 8th.)

The deadline for in-person registration is October 31st.  You can register to vote at the DMV if you are completing a transaction there. 

Friday, October 07, 2016

Advanced Learning, Part Two

I'll list what did/did not happen at the meeting and then go into specifics. 

Communities Starting to Rise Up on Growth Boundaries

Below is a letter from the North District council (" representing the North Seattle neighborhoods of Meadowbrook, Pinehurst, Maple Leaf, Cedar Park, Olympic Hills, Jackson Park, North Matthews Beach, Lake City, Victory Heights and Northgate") to the Board and cc'd to Superintendent Nyland and City Council member, Debora Juarez expressing concern over Cedar Park's opening and its possible ripple effects for the region.

I am also learning that there are parents gathering information about growth boundaries, possibly to challenge the district legally. 

I am not surprised at any of this given the gravity of the situation, both district-wide and for specific regions.

Advanced Learning Work Session, Part One

The Board work session on Wednesday had three components; a discussion about distribution services (very straightforward stuff), a 15-minute update on "Interrelated Initiatives for 2016-2107" and Advanced Learning.

Friday Open Thread

Tonight the Seattle Channel will have a discussion with OSPI candidates at 7pm.  (After the first airing, SC usually has video at their website for viewing.)

Saturday Events

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Lakeside Considering "Micro-School" to Satisfy Demand

Seattle is growing and with it, there are more school-aged children.

Most of you know that Seattle has always held steady - at least for the last 30+years - with private school enrollment of about 25%.  At one time, that was a problem for SPS but now, I'd be willing to bet the district is glad so many people go private.

A reader let me know that Lakeside, one of top private schools in our area, is considering opening a "micro-school" to meet demand.  From their newsletter:

Upcoming State Superintendent of Public Instruction Forum

Supreme Court Rules That Legislative Fines Will Continue

This morning, in an 8-1 decision, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that the $100,000 per day fines against the Washington State Legislature over the Legislature's inability to get public schools fully-funded will continue.

Basics of the ruling:

- the fines continue
- the Legislature must open an account and put the fine money into it
- the Legislature must have a plan - with funding and implementation - by the end of the 2017 Legislative session
- the Court is leveling no other sanctions against the Legislature

From the ruling in the section labeled Background:

District Seeks Input on Added 20-Minutes to School Day

The district is conducting a survey on the mandated 20-minutes more to the school day.  The survey is available at your school in a paper form as well as on-line. The link provides charts that show the different options.

All surveys need to be completed online or due back to the school by October 21.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Advanced Learning Work Session

Update 2:  Wyeth Jessee is laying the groundwork for basicallyl race and equity (and, oh by the way, there are a lot of kinds of giftedness, not just academics.  Look, a squirrel.

I should not be surprised that this is happening. They don't want to really talk about this program, the meltdown of Spectrum, etc.

I'll try to stay to the bitter end but I'm really unhappy with this direction.

Update: Well, the gang's all here.  I have never seen so many staff for a Work Session about a program.  The budget?  Sure but there are staff lining the walls.  I also see Phyllis Compano from the SEA.

End of update

I'll be doing a little bit of blogging from the meeting.

A couple of items of note:

Please Write to Board and City Council on Homeless Encampments at Schools

Update: here is a letter that Superintendent Nyland sent the City Council on this topic.

Also CM Lisa Herbold got right back to me and she says:

Advanced Learning Work Session

The Board will conduct a work session on Advanced Learning this evening. Here is the PowerPoint.

The presentation doesn't address the community's primary concern: Is advanced learning a fiction?

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Growth Boundaries: More Info

Two interesting items about growth and boundaries from readers.

In Advance of Halloween

One new trend? The creepy clown sightings.  Apparently, there are those who dress as a clown (or, wear just a clown wig/mask) and try to show up in unlikely places to frighten people.

Tuesday Open Thread

Got a middle-schooler?  Is he/she "flipping waterbottles?"  I have to say this one makes me smile for all its low-tech fun.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Seattle Schools This Week

Monday, October 3rd

Starting today and thru November 30th, the district is asking for input on K-5 instructional materials. 

Growth Boundaries meeting from 6:30-7:30 pm at Viewlands Elementary.

SEA Joining in "National Day of Action"

The National Day of Action comes from a public education coalition group called The Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools.

The National Day of Action is on Thursday, October 6th.  Here's what is happening in Seattle schools:

- Wearing red
- Creating posters about what items your school community has bought in support of your school especially around back-to-school supplies
- Gathering a team from each school with 4-5 educators and parents/families
- Bringing the Poster and your school team to the closest town hall meeting that day, either at Roosevelt HS or Washington MS libraries from 4-5 pm.

SEA has confirmed several of our Seattle legislators to be in attendance for the town halls.

I think this is a terrific idea so legislators know just how much investment parents/families are making at our schools. 

Also, on September 19th, the SEA made this announcement:
Guest Post
Summit Atlas Public Forum

By Greg Harrington

On Thursday,  September 29th, I attended a public forum event for the potential Summit Atlas School tentatively scheduled to open in the fall of 2017. The purpose of the sparsely attended event was to provide information to prospective parents and interested community members. As a West Seattle resident, tax payer, veteran educator, and admitted critic of charter schools I am particularly interested in how this particular school will impact my local area.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Care about PE? Here's a Way to Show Support

 (Moderator's note: the bell times folks found great success with their cause when they got UW researchers to come and testify to the Board, repeatedly, on the benefits of late start for teens.  This new coalition detailed below could do the same for PE.)

Helping Students Learn the (Financial) Facts of Life

From OSPI:
State Superintendent Randy Dorn will preside today over a ceremonial adoption of the standards – the first of their kind in Washington. The ceremony was sponsored by the Financial Education Public-Private Partnership, which was tasked by the state Legislature to write the standards.