Friday, June 09, 2017

Friday Open Thread

Good news for summer transportation for kids via KUOW:

As part of a pilot program to promote the use of public transportation among kids and teens, King County Metro and Sound Transit are offering reduced fares to kids from 6-18 years of age during the summer.

A bus trip will cost $0.50 and Sound Transit will offer a $1 youth fare. The reduced fares will be offered to kids and teens who use ORCA youth cards.

Free ORCA Youth cards (usually $5) will also be available to anyone who doesn’t have one. Kids will have to load money onto the cards online, at ORCA vending machines or at participating retailers.
(Dow) Constantine said this is an opportunity to answer questions about why young people do or don't use transit. 
Finally - the 2017-2018 school calendar was finalized by the Board.
Can a person phone/text another person to death?  That's the question unfolding in a courtroom in Massachusetts where a young woman is accused of goading her boyfriend into committing suicide for her own purposes.(bold mine)
“The key issue is going to be causation, of who actually caused the death,” said Laurie Levenson, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, who said people who kill themselves are generally considered to have acted of their own will. “Did she,” Ms. Levenson said, “or did the victim himself?”

Complicating matters in this case is the fact that Ms. Carter and Mr. Roy, who seemed to be in nearly constant communication and often wrote that they loved each other, rarely met in person. Their relationship unfolded mostly in expressive text messages, and the case could well turn on questions about the power of those words.
In another case of "words have meaning", 10 students had their admission to Harvard yanked because of Facebook statements found after they received their letters. 
They posted memes about rape and dead children and the Holocaust. They joked that hanging a Mexican child should be called "pinata time." And now Harvard has decided it doesn't want them anymore.

Meanwhile, others wondered if Harvard had gone too far given that the offensives memes had been shared in a private Facebook group. One incoming freshman described the group to the Crimson by saying, “This was a just-because-we-got-into-Harvard-doesn’t-mean-we-can’t-have-fun kind of thing.”
 Maybe one of the most powerful pieces of video I've seen in a very long time - alt-right Richard Spencer talking with former NBA star Charles Barkley and his lawyer about Mr. Spencer's beliefs and goals.  Surreal, painful and shocking but maybe show it to your teens so they see what is out there now and apparently, loud and proud.

No director meetings tomorrow.

What's on your mind?

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

I saw that wait lists were discussed at this week's board meeting, but I haven't heard of any movement. When will they start moving waitlists and has community feedback influenced the "process" in any way?

Transparency

Anonymous said...

Ballard students have started a petition about next year's later start time. Unfortunately, the switch to 2 tiers (a good thing!) is getting muddled with the early release, longer school day, and flipped times.

Two tiers = good. Later start + longer day = bad. If students want a return to an earlier release time, they also need to advocate for MS/HS to return to Tier 1.

-20/20 hindsight

Anonymous said...

@ 20/20 hindsight, have the majority of Ballard HS students disliked starting at 8:45 this year, and they would have preferred 7:50 instead? In other words, have they liked not being on tier 1?

I have a feeling most students, regardless of grade, aren't going to be psyched about the extra 20 minutes mosts days of the week. I suspect not that many realize their days are getting longer, irrespective of when they start and get out. But at least HS students are in a better position to enjoy those Wed early release days, given their increased autonomy. Sounds kind of fun, to me!

Here's the thing. HS students stay up later than ES students. If the typical HS student is up until 11pm and the typical ES student until 8pm, it would seem to make sense for the ES students to get out earlier. ES students already have limited free time in the afternoon/evening, whereas HS students have several more hours available to them. If an ES student gets out at 4pm and gets off the bus at 5, then has dinner and homework to do before getting ready for bed at 7:30, there's not much time for doing much of anything...including time to just be a kid. What a way to suck the life out of young kids.

However, if HS students get out at 4 and off the bus at 5, they still have about 6 hours of their day left. That's enough time for p/t work, sports/activities, homework, family dinner, etc. It might not be their ideal schedule, but in the big scheme of things it seems like the most fair approach. I hope those Ballard teens will consider the impact of their advocacy on younger students, too (although I know teens tend to pretty self-absorbed!).

snoozer

Melissa Westbrook said...

20/20, President Peters did bring up that the many issues to the change of the length of the school day were getting mixed up with the two-tier transportation. Naturally, the former influences the latter but that's not the main issue. The 20-minutes is now mandated so nothing will change that,nor the early release day.

Anonymous said...

@20/20 Hindsight - Do you have a link to the petition? Do the HS students make comments on it? I'd love to see it.

NE Mom of 3

SusanH said...

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/22/well/family/the-science-of-adolescent-sleep.html?rref=collection%2Fcolumn%2Fthe-checkup

Worker Bee said...

Thank you, Snoozer! This is exactly the problem.

My 3rd grader gets off the bus at 4:45 p.m. everyday. He has a learning disability and his homework takes him much longer than you would think (generally about an hour). By the time you throw in dinner, there's barely time for anything resembling free time before bed at 8:30. By the time he's in middle and high school I would expect him to be able to stay up past 8:30. And therefore have more time to do stuff after school and before bed.

Anonymous said...

If your child has a LD then please have the homework load modified or eliminated. Don't drive your child into the ground.

SPED Parent

Anonymous said...

For every article or study about adolescent sleep, you can find an equally compelling article or study about the importance of physical activity, participation in afterschool activities, etc. To fixate on the sleep studies, but ignore the need for PE, sports, etc., as a means of life long health seems shortsighted at best.

You can cite the same sleep studies over and over, but why not do an honest survey of SPS students and families this year? Has the change been a net improvement or is it leading to more stress and a host of unintended consequences? We don't know! It's all anecdotal at this point, but we do know there has been a substantial increase in tardies for ES. We know it is impacting HS sports. We know it's impacting afterschool tutoring.

-need analysis

Anonymous said...

Sure, analysis would be great, but it's a little late for that now (given how soon a decision needs to be made), and there's zero chance that we'll have the same schedule next year as this, so the results wouldn't be all that informative. It seems like a more feasible approach at this point would be to plan to roll out a new plan for next year, let people get used to it, then follow up with schools, families and students re: how it went. Maybe people can get some sort of commitment from the district--for whatever that's worth--that they'll do that analysis in the not-too-distant future.

@ needs analysis, you said "we know it is impacting HS sports." Impacting how? Are schools having trouble fielding teams? Are teams not doing as well? Most research says that well-rested students do better with athletics, have fewer injuries, etc. Or do you mean it's impacting athletes' academics, because they have to miss so much class on game days? If so, it sounds like moving to two tiers will help with that (fewer bus restrictions, so they won't have to go so early). I also wonder to what extent any potentially negative impact on student athlete academics would be offset by the improved academics often associated with later start times. Maybe it's a wash.

snoozer

Furball said...

My daughter is upset about the later start time. She says getting out so late "cuts into her homework time." Something she jealously guards.

Eric B said...

Transparency, the latest from staff on the waitlists is that they will not move until after June 16, when the latest school budgets are released. Staff has also said that the waitlists won't move unless the change has no effect on budget at either the student's old school or their new school. Which is code of "the waitlists won't move." I do think that community feedback is moving the needle with the board if not with staff. At least two directors said in their comments at Wednesday's meeting that the whole assignment plan will need major revision next year. Will that come soon enough for students on this year's waitlists? Dunno.

Anonymous said...

Some sports practices are being shortened because there simply aren't enough daylight hours - cross country runs through the neighborhood or a nearby park, for example, and it's unsafe once it starts to get dark. Won't this only get worse next year? Similar issue for young students waiting for buses in the dark in the AM.

-47degrees

Melissa Westbrook said...

Need Analysis, I'll just say again - this has been discussed for years. I have a file that is more than a decade old of research and outreach to various Boards. They had a taskforce recently. And, more kids would be able to have the health benefits of sleep - which cannot be underrated -than want to be in sports. I'm not saying don't advocate but to ask for a study at this point is late.

As for it being dark in the morning and dark earlier in the afternoon, that's the place we live. I think it might be worth looking at what they do in other areas of the country or other countries. Seattle cannot be the only place where this is a challenge.

If the Board doesn't do something about waitlist this year, then Charlie's theory about the culture of lawlessness will continue to gain strength. The Board cannot have staff making up policy as they go along especially on an issue like waitlists and enrollment.

Anonymous said...

"At least two directors said in their comments at Wednesday's meeting that the whole assignment plan will need major revision next year"

@Eric B- I hope that the two directors who made that comment will be among those who will be around next year.

-G

Anonymous said...

Furball - both my 14 and 16 year old have the same feelings regarding less time to do homework. It is actually my biggest issue with the later release. My 16 year old is up an hour or 2 or 3 past her "biologically appropriate" bedtime doing homework 2 or 3 days of the week during certain parts of the year (she is in theatre/not sports, but when they are in after school rehearsals, the time finished was going much later than the prior year due to the late release). It really cancels out the benefit of the later start since she is up until 1 or 2 am sometimes (even later some). My son is a very high achiever/straight A student who gets anxiety and wants to get his homework done as soon as possible so he doesn't worry about it. I've been working with him all year that it is okay to get a late start on that homework in order to do a sport or a play or Scout meeting or whatever it is at that time (he used to be able to get it all done before extracurriculars with the 2:20 release time). I'm a bit worried about how that would look like next year when he is in high school with much more homework and a potential 35 minute later release time.

That's why I am curious to see the teen comments on Ballard's survey. I know my kids say their friends feel the same way, but I'd love to see how widespread those feelings are. One of my kids is not as efficient doing homework, one of my kids is efficient but gets more stressed having to work later in the evening. I'm a bit tired of reading this is all about sports. It is definitely a factor, but this later bell time impacts many more than just student athletes.

Cut back the homework and I'm okay with the later release time. Saying this for our own situation/not the other factors such as after school jobs, childcare for younger siblings, athletes missing school, tutoring/volunteer time, etc. etc.

NE Mom of 3

Anonymous said...

@ 47 degrees, if it's too dark in the evening, maybe x-country will need to practice in the morning instead. My school always did that anyway, or had two shorter practices--one in the AM and one after school. As to young students waiting for buses in the dark, the proposed 2-tier schedule will make that a little less of a problem than is currently, won't it? Starting at 8am is better than 7:45. (And sticking with 3 tiers, with some elementary on tier 3, would mean a lot of young kids getting OFF the bus in the dark, right?) I don't know that there's a good schedule option that preserves daylight for all.

@ NE Mom of 3, aren't there still the same number of hours available in the day? How does your daughter have less time for homework? If she has a lot of afterschool activities, she was probably feeling the crunch already. I mean, if she's up until 1-2am now, and they're only starting an hour later, wasn't she up until 12-1am before? If she's waking up an hour later, she's getting the same amount of sleep as before, and has the same number of hours for homework. If she's taking advantage of the later schedule and sleeping an extra hour, yes, she'll have less time for homework. With extensive extracurriculars that might be challenging, but it's kind of what comes with the territory, no? At least your daughter seems able to handle it--mine has to forego all extracurriculars because homework takes too long with a learning disability...

snoozer

Anonymous said...

"Staff has also said that the waitlists won't move unless the change has no effect on budget at either the student's old school or their new school. "

Well, that is a disheartening statement. It implies to me that staff only considers simple one to one swaps to move the wait lists. There are normally a few schools involved when wait list moves happen. And in the end one school may end up with one student less, and another one student more - but that wouldn't impact either schools budget.

If only one to one swaps are considered, it is another clue as to why the wait lists don't and won't move.


-StepJ

Anonymous said...

There's no excuse for the Board not acting this year to move the waitlists. The policy is that they should be moved, but staff is still not doing it. There's no policy discussion to be had, only the enforcement of policy by the Superintendent, under the Board's instruction.

If the Board can't insist that the staff follow the duly decided policy, what good are they?

Momof2

Anonymous said...

If staff wants to suggest a change to the enrollment plan, they should do that and let the board vote on it, before open enrollment next year. I am shocked that the board might let this pass.

-HS Parent

Eric B said...

StepJ, there are 50+ 1:1 swaps that could be made at high school alone. Last I looked, there were quite a few at elementary and middle schools. I don't know that the board is going to push staff to move waitlists, but I also don't know that they aren't. I think most of them wanted to see what happened after the June 16 budget release.

That said, the Superintendent's evaluation rubric is up for board approval at the next board meeting. My public comment to the board last meeting was that the rubric should include whether the staff are following policy and procedure, and the next superintendent contract should eliminate bonus and salary increase for the superintendent if policy/procedure aren't followed even after the board makes a formal notice of that. Advocating for something like that would probably get the superintendent's attention.

Anonymous said...

Wow - @Eric B. That would be a lot of easy changes to make. Now it is even more baffling why the wait lists aren't moving. Why wait until after June 16 if moves can be made with no change in enrollment to the schools involved?

This doesn't make sense. Any guesses as to what is actually going on?

-StepJ

Lynn said...

I think those 1:1 swaps aren't being made because the students have a waitlist number. The second student on the waitlist for Roosevelt can't swap seats with the fourth student on the waitlist for Ballard for example because there are kids ahead of them on the list.

Anonymous said...

That makes more sense then. I know the wait lists need to move in order.

That is more the original point I was trying to make. Getting the wait lists to move is more than just looking to see if number one on the RHS list is at Ballard, and vice-versa. With a more in-depth analysis it might be that if the first five seats at RHS are moved, then seats will open up at Ballard, Ingraham and Hale. Allowing these four schools to trade enrollment and move their lists in order. But, it takes looking beyond just the one school to one school trades.

-StepJ

Eric B said...

StepJ, that is exactly what is happening. The 50 or so trades would involve students lower on the waitlists. However, you can do an awful lot of swaps and not impact enrollments at any school very much.I hope to be able to provide the in-depth analysis shortly after the June 16 budget is released, assuming that they also release data on where each students on the waitlist would be coming from.

Jet City mom said...

So in Ballard yesterday afternoon, someone took photos of Ballard high school ( they were wearing red & black as it was spirit day) students confronting adults who removing posters advertising truecascadia.com, and posted them on facebook.
Also apparently on KING 5.



Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that I now cringe when I see a letter from Nyland in my email. I'm bracing myself for the next bad decision, bad news. So weird. It shouldn't be like this.

Mag mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

Jet City Mom, just to note, administrators were shown the photos and the students were identified. Their parents were notified. It is unclear if the students put up the posters or were defending them.

Anonymous said...

At 46th district dems meeting, Jill Geary was NOT ranked.

So that means we are stuck with her for another 2 years, unless some other greener political pastures open up for her to go run off after, chasing to rise up to serve her lofty political ambitions.

46th

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thank you, 46th. I am disappointed that in going this route that she offered no statement to the public about why. She had a statement to the 46th as to why she was running for that position and I had expected her to make a statement to the SPS community as well.

I think she is very bright and cares deeply but yes, I'm disappointed that she sought another office while less than two years in this office.

Floor Pie said...

Posting here because the Laurelhurst post's comments closed before I had a chance to respond thoughtfully.

Melissa, I'm sorry some of the comments came at you like that, but I hope the hard truth in the message (and the pain that likely fuels such a tone in the first place) doesn't get lost. I have lived through an awful lot of this, both as a special ed parent and as a special ed teacher. This is the best I can say:

Those of us who work with children with challenging behaviors in public schools know that we can't afford to just wait for the "more supports" cavalry to come. The change has to come from OURSELVES. Yes, we sure could use additional skilled adults in our buildings, but more than that we need ongoing trainings in trauma-informed practices, restorative justice, disability awareness, and de-escalation so that WE can be the support we want to see. We also need opportunities for staff and families to build trust and rapport with each other, and we need reminders and opportunities for restorative self-care.

I heard a speaker at a training once say "Children today are anxious in a way that we haven't seen before." She's right. And these children are here to stay. We MUST step up and meet the challenge mindfully and passionately, and not wait for someone in charge to fix it. The resources are out there. If our principals aren't going to find them for us, we need to find them for ourselves. Books, workshops, TED talks.....or go have coffee with some special ed parents and let them teach you some of their own magic. We have to own this.

Now, about the "tone" thing. Yes. We special ed parents sure can rant. But, you know. There's a lot of pain behind those rants, and our tone says more about our own shell-shocked hurting than it does about whatever article or blog post we're responding to. Really. The stories I could tell....sometimes the truth is worse than a Lifetime Original Movie. You might know a lot, but unless you go under cover as a substitute SpEd IA or something, you'll never REALLY know.

Trust that many parents of special ed kids are straight-up traumatized after what they've seen happen to their kids (and the cold comfort we get from the adults at school just piles it on, makes us feel ashamed for even feeling the pain in the first place). I'm amazed any of us can string together a coherent sentence when we get triggered, let alone edit for tone. I know that doesn't make it okay for commenters to say mean things in this community, but I hope that this explanation at least takes some of the sting out of it.

Anonymous said...

I would add that using an example of a child's behavior, threatening to kill self in front of others, as part of the intro and then claiming it is only a post about leadership seems, well "mean". As does calling a response a rant when it was clearly based on personal experience and came from the heart. The commenter's response did not come from a vacuum nor do they own the responsibility to educate.

Baffled

Anonymous said...

As a reader of the blog, I found that post to be a rant as well. It belittled the problem of inadequate principals as a reaction born of parents who "hate" disabled kids. I was insulted to read it and I found Melissa's comments to be appropriate. If the comments derived from personal anguish and frustration, that doesn't change the situation.

-SPSParent

Jet City mom said...

Melissa, the teens claimed ownership of posters and tore up an inclusive poster the afults were putting up.
http://www.king5.com/mb/amp/news/local/seattle/white-supremacist-posters-appear-in-ballard/447591705

Anonymous said...

So Melissa, you confirmed Ballard students are involved in these white power activities?

The Ballard administration confirmed that it was Ballard students involved?

The news report stated that "teens" had been seen placing the posters on newsboxes, but never mentioned Ballard HS.

I'm concerned because our daughter attends Ballard and I always felt the school was very accepting of students of color.

I sent an email to principal Wyncoop yesterday and look forward to his response.

Where did the kids get these posters? Is Ballard harboring hate groups that have students as members?

I hope the district takes a close look at this and begins an investigation.

Thank you Melissa for getting this info out to parents and the community.

Beaver Mom

Anonymous said...

It looks like Lake Washington SD takes a serious approach to educating and caring for its SPED students:
https://www.facebook.com/LakeWashingtonSchools/videos/1526910217365934/

So Nice!

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Yes, we sure could use additional skilled adults in our buildings, but more than that we need ongoing trainings in trauma-informed practices, restorative justice, disability awareness, and de-escalation so that WE can be the support we want to see. We also need opportunities for staff and families to build trust and rapport with each other, and we need reminders and opportunities for restorative self-care."

Absolutely but without leadership in the building, it will be very hard to do.

There's a lot of pain behind those rants, and our tone says more about our own shell-shocked hurting than it does about whatever article or blog post we're responding to. Really.

I absolutely get that because, saying it again, I had a Sped child.

So Nice, that is a good report; thanks for posting it.

Beaver Mom, it was confirmed to me that it was Ballard High students even if KING 5 did not say it. I understand that administrators have ID'ed the students and notified parents. It is not clear that the students had anything to do with putting up the posters but were interacting with adults trying to take them down. Let us know if Principal Wyncoop does make a statement to the community.

As this did not happen on the grounds of Ballard, it is a free-speech issue and I'm not sure the district can do anything except try to educate students on why this kind of action causes pain and discomfort.

Anonymous said...

I sure hope your info is correct. Ballard students putting up the posters would mean that they have contact with the alt-right hate group, Truecascadia. Blocking the people from covering the posters while knowing they were racist, xenophobic, hate-filled posters would be also very problematic. But maybe they didn't know they were hate posters, maybe the story is incorrect.

I'm loath to slander students and a school before all the facts are known. If you have info that the school has ID'd the students, where did you get that? From Wynkoop? Are there leakers in SPS or at Ballard?

Just kidding about that,but the slander of students is still not cool.

Beaver Too


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