Sunday, December 31, 2017

Let's Hope for Better (Always) - Happy New Year

It's hard to have millennial children.  They look around and, in most directions, don't see much going their way in terms of opportunities for the future.  Some like to dismiss them as whiners but honestly, I think it is a difficult time to be a young adult. 

For those of you with children still in school, I wonder how your teenager sees the future.  Or what can a child in elementary school possibly think of Trump and his behavior?  We were all taught - no matter the president - to respect that person and really respect the office.  I think it's a difficult challenge today, given Trump's words and actions.  I do not envy you as parents.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Seattle School Board Meeting, January 3, 2018

Here's the agenda

Just to note, if you want to speak, sign-ups start at 8 am on January 1.  Yes, January 1.  I suspect it will be a rather full speakers list.

Highlights:

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Seattle School Board Meeting, December 6, 2017 - Part Three

When we last left the Board meeting, it was about hour five and Enrollment's Ashley Davies had made a last plea for guidance from the Board to narrow the Highly Capable high school pathways down in order to facilitate the work of creating new high school boundaries.

Right after her remarks, came an interesting exchange between new directors Mack and DeWolf.

(I again note that some of the remarks will appear truncated because directors don't always speak in complete sentences and I was shortening for note-taking.)

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Seattle School Board Meeting, December 6, 2017 - Part Two

Part Two of the December 2017 School Board meeting covers one item - approval of the Student Assignment Transition Plan for 2018-2019.  Get a cup of coffee because this will be a long thread.  I have truncated some remarks as spoken so they will seem somewhat choppy at time (most people don't always speak in complete sentences).  I also note that a few directors really went to the mat for high schools in their region.

What was fascinating is how many people on the dais and staff at the microphone said:

- they welcomed discussion
- thought it should be a long discussion (the Superintendent said that he hoped to have a two-hour discussion - well, he surely got his wish)
- lamented that this discussion should have happened sooner (and that came from Board directors).

They are absolutely right.  These in-depth, multi-layers, intertwined issues should have been gone over much sooner and in a methodical manner.

I would fault both the previous Board for not pushing this harder and staff for their usual lack of full information to both the Board and parents and then getting to a "gotta get it done" place.

I will also cite the curious case of how HCC placement completely dominated the discussion and has dominated all discussions.  The number of HCC students, proportional to the overall student population, doesn't warrant that kind of status and yet both staff and Board made it so.  I have never seen it happen in other assignment plans to this level and I think there's has been a movement to elevate it in order to dismantle it.

FYI, here's the five-school pathway plan:

Seattle School Board Meeting, December 6, 2017 - Part One

Here's what I wrote in the normal "Seattle Schools This Week" about the Board agenda for December 6th:

It's a relatively light agenda and that's probably good, given there are two new Board members.  

And yet, the Board took that "light" agenda and turned it into over six hours for the meeting.   

The meeting was notable for several reasons.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Tuesday Open Thread

Quite nice to have such a lovely winter scene but I'm glad it happened on a school break; makes it a lot easier all around.

I finally finished watching and notating the last School Board meeting and I'll have a multi-part thread about it and the overlapping subjects that sparked discussion there.

Here's the agenda for the next Board meeting on January 3, 2018.  I suspect it will be a packed house because:
  • the Board's resolution against departures for zoning regs for Green Dot charter schools is up for a vote.  I just want to note that the hyperventilating over at the Washington Policy Center states that the Board is trying to close Green Dot.  Nothing of the sort.  Green Dot can continue to open their school; there is nothing in this resolution that even attempts to stop that.  
  • more discussion about high school boundaries and HCC pathways
In the meantime, some stories of note that have come across my desk:

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Thank You

As we approach the end of the year, I just want to say thank you to all the readers and commenters on the blog.  Even when I disagree with you, as a teacher, I appreciate your desire to make Seattle Public Schools as a good as it can be.  I know you all want what is best for your child.  I know it seems like the district does not seem to care, but know that at the school level, the teachers do care and are doing their best to help educate your child.  I know we are not perfect and yes, I know we can do better, but we do have the best interest of your child at heart.

Personally, I have a great job, I work with really great and dedicated faculty members and an administration that has to me, been nothing but supportive.  I am fired up to get back to school.

I finally want to say thanks to Melissa.  Without her dedication, we would be no where.  Please continue.  The students of the Seattle Public Schools need your advocacy.

May your 2018 be your best year yet!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Talk on Inclusion in Special Education

Creating & Maintaining Inclusive Schools 

Dr. Julie Causton, a Professor in the Inclusive and Special Education Program in the Department of Teaching and Leadership at Syracuse University will be a speaking at:
January 4, 7:00-8:30 PM.
Northshore Performing Arts Center (NPAC)
18125 92nd Ave NE, Bothell, WA 98011


This event is Free. 

Tuesday Open Thread

First up, I have received some news about an out-of-town environmental science field trip at Garfield - one that has been taken by students for 40 years - has been abruptly cancelled.  It had been approved, then reviewed and then denied...on the Friday before the break.  The reason may have been:

Tonight, Tuesday, December 19th


Saturday, December 16, 2017

Saturday Open Thread

From Soup for Teachers:

Super-duper proud of my wonderful PTA for voting to donate 6% of our annual budget to a PTA or school community with less resources than us. Humbled and inspired by the Concord community, and so grateful to be a part of it.
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Last batch of gift cards are ready to go out. We were able to give $5175 worth of Safeway gift cards to Louisa Boren STEM K-8 and Roxhill Elementary School students in need, split between Thanksgiving and Winter Breaks! Thank you to everyone who donated! I never imagined #NoHungryKids would have been this successful! 

Parents working for other parents so that we have better schools and successful students.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Near and Current High School Parents: Pledge to Act

Parents have some choices for what they can do over the high school boundaries/24 credits/HCC pathways but you must be willing to back it up with action.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Meeting Items of Note

Update: link to district update on the Student Assignment Transition Plan and High School Boundaries.

Documents for today's Task Force meeting.  I note that they will be making a decision for a recommendation on Cleveland today which is likely to be returning it as a comprehensive instead of a STEM school.  What a mistake.

Decision Timeline

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Tuesday Open Thread

I am behind on stories but will be doing much more towards the end of the week including:

- charter school lawsuit
- departures from zoning ordinances for Green Dot charter group and possible ramifications for the relationship between the City and the district/Board
- Lincoln high updates

Is the Cat in the Hat Black?  That's the name of a new book and the interview in the Washington Post with its author is insightful and engaging.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Seattle Schools Week of December 11-15

Update: A&F agenda and C&I agenda updated to include supporting documentation.

end of update

Monday, December 11th
Audit&Finance Committee Meeting, agenda

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Action Needed to Save U.S. Public Education

From the Network for Public Education:

The stakes could not be higher.

If the GOP tax bill passes, your federal tax dollars will be used to support the private and religious school tuition of any student, no matter how wealthy, in every state. 

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

New Board Goes to Town Tonight on SATP and HCC Pathways

 Update: my understanding is that by voting down the SATP, vote for the amendment to end HCC high school pathways is now void.

What a mess.  I think someone was trying a power play and it didn't work.  Lack of true engagement NEVER works.

end of update

I was neither able to attend the Board meeting this evening nor view it on tv but from reports I'm hearing, it was a doozy.

Rainier Beach in the News (for Cheerleading)?

I feel so sad when I see this kind of story in the news because adults should know better.  It looks like there are several speakers on tonight's Board meeting speaker list to talk about the issue.

From KIRO-tv:

Cheerleading activities at Rainier Beach High School have been suspended until further notice after two incidents at the school last week.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Your Kid's Student Data for Sale? It's Happening in Texas

Update on another student data privacy issue: from the LA Times on the SAT/ACT firms selling data:

Amazing Opportunity for 10th Graders

From Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib's office:
The Washington World Fellows program is an equity-focused academic fellowship open to 10th grade student applicants in Washington state. Starting in the summer of 2018, the fellowship will consist of a six-week immersive Spanish language study abroad program in Léon, Spain, with a full college-level academic schedule, as well as post-trip college-readiness support. Before departing for Spain, students will attend a series of pre-departure orientation sessions in the spring in preparation for the study abroad program, and after their return, will have access to leadership opportunities and college application assistance through their 11th and 12th grade years.

Tuesday Open Thread

Update:

Parent Workshop: ‘Positive Behavior Supports at School and at Home’

Monday, December 04, 2017

Charters Schools: Just as Segregated as Traditionals in Some Areas

Oh look, a story from the AP about charter schools and segregation.
National enrollment data shows that charters are vastly over-represented among schools where minorities study in the most extreme racial isolation. As of school year 2014-2015, more than 1,000 of the nation's 6,747 charter schools had minority enrollment of at least 99 percent, and the number has been rising steadily.

But schools that enroll 99 percent minorities — both charters and traditional public schools — on average have fewer students reaching state standards for proficiency in reading and math.

Howard Fuller, who was superintendent of Milwaukee schools from 1991 to 1995, rejects criticism of racially isolated charters. He says the imbalances reflect deep-rooted segregation, and it is unfair to put the burden on charters to pursue integration.
I have to give a side-eye to that last statement because charters have been throwing that at traditional schools for a long time.  Yes, segregation IS larger than what any one school or district can solve on its own.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Seattle Schools, Week of December 4-9

Of note from the district Communications:

Snow and Winter Weather Notification Information

Make sure your info is up-to-date so you don't miss a notice.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Friday Open Thread

The after-election Board is having its first retreat tomorrow at JSCEE from 10 am-3 pm.  It is open to the public but no input allowed.  However, they do take breaks and you could chat them up at lunch.  Agenda.   This is a VERY vague agenda that includes lunch with "partners," some talk about a "community focus group" and "interrelated initiatives review."  Hmmm

Looks like one topical issue that may confront new director, Zachary DeWolf - charter schools.  Green Dot charter group wants to open a grade 6-12 charter school near Rainier Beach High School in the New Holly planned community area.  It would also likely impact Franklin High School to the north. (I reported on this recently.)

Ed Specs for High Schools

As requested, a thread on educational specifications as laid out in this SPS document posted by Seattle Citizen.