Friday, June 22, 2018

Summer Fun and Help

From Seattle Public Library:

- Summer of Learning Early Learning
- Summer of Learning for Kids
- Teen Book Bingo
- Adult Book Bingo

From the City of Seattle:

The City of Seattle funds a summer meal program, providing no-cost breakfasts, lunches, and snacks for kids and teens ages 1-18 years. The 2018 program runs from Tuesday June 26, 2018 through August 24, 2018. 

Summer Fun for Deaf/Hard of Hearing kids

Help Your Anxious Child

Special Olympics in Seattle  
July 1st 

Free summer concert line-ups, info from Red Tricycle

Free outdoor movies , info from Red Tricycle

Regal Theaters is having cheap ($1) movies on Tuesday/Wednesday mornings.


Olympic Sculpture Park - free fun every Thursday night; live music and an activity for the kids, starting July 12th.  Saturdays, they have free yoga in the morning and Zumba in the afternoon.

Free bowling for kids

Free showings of World Cup games in Pioneer Square

From King County:

This summer, kids and teens ages 18 and under can eat free at more than 200 sites throughout King County.

Meals are healthy, tasty, and available at participating parks, libraries, community centers, schools, and more. Most sites offer a combination of breakfast, lunch, and morning or afternoon snacks.

Community summer meal programs are open to all families without paperwork or registration — just drop in! Many programs also offer arts and crafts, games, and hands-on educational activities to keep kids active and engaged all summer long.

Celebrate the free Summer Meals program at a free, all-ages field day near you. Enjoy a bounce house, music, and free games and activities for the whole family, including face painting, crafts, an obstacle course, and more! A free lunch will be provided to all kids, teens, and adults.

Date Time Location Address
Thursday, June 28 Noon – 3 p.m. Roxhill Park 2850 SW Roxbury St. Seattle, WA 98126
Thursday, July 12 Noon – 3 p.m. Northacres Park 12718 1st Ave NE, Seattle WA 98125
Thursday, July 26 Noon – 3 p.m. Othello Park 4351 S. Othello St, Seattle WA 98118

Friday Open Thread

Last day of school, always a mixed feeling.  I have to smile looking at the window at this typical "summer" day for the last day of school. 

The district will be participating in the Gay Pride Parade this Sunday:

All students, staff, families, and friends are invited to join Seattle Public Schools in the Seattle Pride Parade on Sunday, June 24 at 11 a.m. 

You can ride on the yellow school bus float or march alongside. We will provide snacks and fun items you can hand out to the crowd. Meet at the parade staging area on 4th Avenue early if you would like participate. The parade ends at Seattle Center where there will be a rally, music, food, and entertainment. 

Surprised to see this but there is Work Session scheduled for Monday the 25th from 4:30-6:30 on BEX V.  

I'll have a separate thread but apparently the Trump administration wants to merge the Department of Labor and Department of Education.  Something about overlapping interests, cost-cutting but really, it's much more about aligning education to work. 

Again, there is a huge difference between educating and training and we need education to have citizens who are not only productive but also able to have the skills to vote and participate in civic life.  Not be told how to vote or who to vote for or what is real news or fake news but to be able to do those important items themselves.

Given the events of the past weeks on immigration, I don't believe a word being said by this Administration nor do I trust their motives for this merger (which Congress would have to vote for and I'm not sure that can be done).

The issue of meetings around union contracts being open to the public is discussed here in an article from the Tri-City Herald where that district's school board is going to vote in July on opening those meeting up.

Apparently other districts are considering this and one, in Pullman, has done so.  Thoughts?

There are no director community meetings this weekend (and likely not again until August).

What's on your mind?

High School Science Updates (almost) Straight From the District

I was sent a couple of memos that went out from the head of the district's Science Department, MaryMargaret Welch.  Pretty eye-opening but more to the point, troubling.  It sounds like this whole revamping needs a reset (and some oversight by the Board).  I'll print the key memo at the end of this post but here are the concerning issues.

1) Physics A

In early May, Welch told one Science teacher this:

The adoption is fully funded.  Monies have been allocated for instructional materials purchase.
The application will be made available in the fall. Please watch the web site and do plan to apply.

However, it appears that schools may have thought this was an adoption and that the adoption had happened but neither thing is true.
  
Here's a reply from one school:

Thanks for the information. Consider the cost of PEER, 420 per unit per class, 3 units of phys A is 1260, 9 physics A classes in (BLANK) cost $11340 annually. We can’t afford even  half of the cost year after year.

2) Then there was a memo dated June 21st.  

- The head of the Science department says that they didn't know what kind of science budget high schools have.

We had NO idea the size of your building budgets. They are super small and it truly amazing how much you do with so little. We are a bit embarrassed that we even asked about the cost sharing when we found out how little you have for your entire department

- As well, she admits that  - probably for months - that some teachers didn't know what she was talking about because her communications were not clear on what an adoption is and what this current effort is.

Like these changes coming to high school sciences are not an adoption so it's not the same as one, including funding for resource materials.

- They will figure this out by the end of July?  Boy, that doesn't leave a lot of time for teachers to get up to speed on whatever materials are selected AND write lesson plans to work with those. 

- They want teachers to share class sets.  I'm not a teacher in a department but I'd lay odds that sharing is probably not an easy thing.

It would be helpful to get a quick head count per school who wants to use the PEER supplemental resources and how many class sets you need per school (doing your best to share class sets please).

It's unclear what is going to happen in high school science in the fall. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

National Education News

From Education Week:
The Trump administration, which is in the midst of a top-to-bottom review of the federal bureaucracy, is turning its eye on the U.S. Department of Education and the Department of Labor, sources say, with the possibilities ranging from a shifting of some offices to an even more radical combining of the agencies.
Did you hear?  The first top tier public research university - the University of Chicago - says they don't care about your student having an SAT score.

From NPR's Education Roundup:

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Families and Education Levy Approved by Council to Go Before Voters

The Times has an article about the City Council approving the levy sent by the Mayor (after some massaging by them).  The City Council cut back on how much the pre-K program would get, favoring programming already at SPS elementary schools.

Good Reflections from College Grads on High School and College

The first is an op-ed written by a recent college graduate, Grace Gedye, from the Los Angeles Times, about the stress that students have in college, The tough pre-college talk I wish my parents had initiated.

Tuesday Open Thread

Civics is coming back in a big way and hooray for that.  In this day and time, we need smart citizens.  The NY Times had this article today.

2018 Graduations Have Started


Image result for 2018 graduationBest wishes to all the families of Seattle Public Schools' grads.  It is a very exciting time and I hope each family feels the pride of seeing your child getting to the goal of graduation.  

Update on Kindergarten First Day Of School

I queried the district about this issue and this was their response:

Thank you for contacting Seattle Public Schools with your concerns about the overlap of Rosh Hashanah with the first day of Kindergarten. We acknowledge the difficult choice this presents for families who naturally want their children to be a part of significant observances in all aspects of their lives.

Like other districts, Seattle is working to reconcile operational exigencies like labor contracts with the traditions significant within an increasingly multicultural community. Our hope is to find a way, through opportunities afforded by our transition process, to make each child’s first day special, whenever it occurs - as you can see in a posting on the SPS home page

https://www.seattleschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=44178052

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Hamilton Moves to Garfield Model for Spectrum Students

Or, at least, that is what the letter sent home by the principal would seem to indicate.  Then letter is printed in its entirety at the end of this post but I'll put out different statements.  (Also, fyi, Hamilton parents, that principal, Tipton Blish, is leaving.)

I've said this before - I might not have as much of a problem with the changes to Advanced Learning IF everyone at JSCEE was being honest about what they are doing.  Changes are not just a Thurgood Marshall thing or Garfield thing and now, Hamilton thing.  This is an Advanced Learning  program change.

And let me just say to those in the district who have anything to do with the program - what a bunch of cowards.  Stand up for what you believe and clearly explain it to ALL parents.  Don't use your principals as proxies.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Seattle Public Schools enters apparel agreement with Cloud 9

From Office of Public Affairs


SEATTLE – Seattle Public Schools announced a three-year deal today that makes Adidas the official athletic uniform partner for the district’s athletics program following a competitive bid process. The agreement with Cloud 9 Sports, which is an official Adidas distributor, will be in effect through the 2020-2021 school year.

Religious Accomodation in Public Schools

Sometimes it's hard to understand how SPS functions as it does.  I know (because I know the people) that SPS has many talented, bright people.  But then there's issues like the current upset over the 2018-2019 school calendar which has kindergarten starting on Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year).

Eid-al-Fitr

On this last day of Ramadan, Happy Eid-al-Fitr to our Muslim readers.

Lincoln High School Issues

I have a new policy of cutting off Open Threads when I write the next one but I see at the Tuesday Open Thread that several people had started a discussion about Lincoln High.  Below are those comments and now here's a thread to continue that discussion on.

Friday Open Thread

 Quick - what American has spent the most time in space?  That would be Peggy Whitson who is retiring from NASA.  Show the kids this article from NASA.

District Updates

Lots of good news in the last Friday Memo from Superintendent Nyland including:

Thursday, June 14, 2018

BEX V Work Session

The Board had a Work Session on May 30th about BEX V.  Director DeWolf was the only Board member not attending.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Tuesday Open Thread



Congrats to Nathan Hale - national girls high school frisbee champs!

Speaking of Hale, tonight they are having a welcome dinner for incoming new students.  Good for them.

Is that the Dalai Lama with a Denny shirt?  Yup.  From SPS Twitter:



Wow!  On a recent trip to Dharamshala, India, Lori Markowitz, representing the Youth Ambassador program at Denny Intl Middle School, presented the with a school "we all belong" sweatshirt as a gift from the Denny community!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Seattle Schools, Week of June 11-16, 2018

Quite a busy week as we roll up to the end of the school year.

Of special interest - a district survey on communications.

Monday, June 11th
Audit& Finance Committee meeting, 4:30-6:30 pm at JSCEE.  Agenda

Among the items on the jam-packed agenda, I see these ones of interest:

Items Requiring Board Action
1. BAR: City of Seattle Families & Education Levy (FEL) CBO’s (Stone)

5. BAR: Private Schools Proportional Share Services (Mills)
9. BAR: Economic Stabilization Fund (Berge)
10. BAR: Resolution 2017/18-18, Fixing and Adopting the 2018-19 Budget (Berge/Sebring)


Special Attention Items
- Policy & Procedure Update: 5253 Maintaining Staff/Student Boundaries (Codd)
- Annual Report: JSCEE bonds/building update (Fleming)
- Notification of Contract Exceeding $250,000: Project Management & Quality Assurance (Berge)


Magnolia Elementary Boundaries:
Community Meeting to discuss updated information about setting boundaries for Magnolia Elementary School.  McClure Middle School, 6:30-7:30 pm.

Tuesday, June 12th
Curriculum&Instruction Committee meeting, 4:30-6:30 pm at JSCEE.  Agenda.

Of interest:
- Annual Approval of Schools (C-SIPs) (Starosky)

1. High School/24 Credits Update (Perkins)
a. Proposal on Foundational Personal Fitness Course
b. Proposed Changes to Credit Attainment Policy
c. Professional Development Plans for High School


2. Instructional Materials Update (Kinoshita) 


- School Board Policy Nos. 2021, 2022, 2023 – Electronic Learning (Kinoshita/Krull)
- School Board Policy No. 2200 – Equitable Access to Programs and Services Quarterly Report 
Special Attention Items
1. Annual Assessment Report (Roach)
2. Advanced Learning Update (Hanson)
3. Counseling Update (Perkins)
4. Naviance Implementation Update (Perkins)


Wednesday, June 13th
 Magnolia Elementary Boundaries: 

Community Meeting to discuss updated information about setting boundaries for Magnolia Elementary School.  , 6:30-7:30 pm. Catherine Blaine K-8. 

Special Education PTSA Meeting,  JSCEE, 7-9 pm

Work Session for SMART Goals for 2018-2019, JSCEE from 4:30-7:30 pm (includes an Executive Session at the end) 

Thursday, June 14th
Work Session on Families & Education Levy, JSCEE from 5-6 pm (there will be an Executive Session immediately following the Work Session)

Executive Committee, JSEE from 3-5 pm.  No agenda yet available.

Maple and Van Asselt Boundary Change meeting, 6:30-7:30 pm, Maple Elementary.

No director community meetings Saturday, June 16th.

Friday, June 08, 2018

Great Turnout for Franklin High School Call to Action

Hundreds and hundreds of Franklin students came out today to line Rainier Ave S in a call to action following the death of senior Ryan Dela Cruz last weekend.   Wearing bright orange t-shirts, they stood for an hour, shouting and waving.

Supported by many Franklin staffers, the students made their voices heard.

I also talked to several people including a couple of students from Washington Middle School (whose mom allowed them to join the action).

A big shout-out to this restaurant in the photo below that generously offered bathrooms and water to the students.  


Curriculum and Instruction Board Committee Meeting Round-Up (including Naviance Updates)

 I attended the Curriculum & Instruction meeting on May 15th; Rick Burke was chairing with Zachary DeWolf in attendance and Jill Geary on the phone.

I will make a plea to department heads and directors that I have made in the past; for all documentation there should be a title, who created it, department, date and contact info.  I just don't get why this is so hard to do.

Friday Open Thread

Update: OSPI is looking for members for the Washington State Dyslexia Advisory Council. Deadline is July 12th.

It's been a tough week for celebrity deaths and, for the purposes of this blog, the school-aged children they left behind.  News came earlier this week that fashion designer, Kate Spade, who was an inspiration to many women for her work and her person, killed herself.  Today we learn that world-class chef and traveler, Anthony Bourdain, has also killed himself.  Both leave behind daughters.

Please, talk about suicide with your children.  Doesn't have to be super heavy or dwell on details but let them know that life, well, with all it's ups and downs, IS beautiful.  And, there IS help and light at the end of the tunnel. 

Suicide Hotline
King County Resources

And, today is a Call to Action at Franklin High School in memory of senior, Ryan Dela Cruz, who was killed in a Seattle park last week.  I'll be participating in the events.

Director community meetings on Saturday:
Director Rick Burke - 4:00-5:30 pm at Greenwood Library

I'll have updated info soon on the use of Naviance.

What's on your mind?

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Ed News Roundup

Our favorite secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, had this interchange with Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont about the new taskforce on school safety.  Note her kinda creepy smile thru most of it. From the AP:

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Let SPS Know if You Are Leaving

It should go without saying but there are students on waitlists.  If you are not going to be in SPS next year, please let them know now (the sooner the better). 

Tuesday Open Thread

Sad news to report; a Franklin High senior was shot and killed while hanging with friends in a park and telling ghost stories.  From the Franklin website:

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Seattle Schools, Week of June 4-9, 2018

Monday, June 4th
Update: apparently even though Juneau will be around the district in June, her first official day is
July 1.

This marks the first day of the Denise Juneau administration.  Welcome, Superintendent Juneau and thank you to Superintendent Larry Nyland.

Last Words from Superintendent Larry Nyland

Final words from Superintendent Nyland, The Journey of Transitioning: Looking Back to Move Forward (partial):

Parents, Teachers and Communication

As this school year winds down, I see two articles from teachers about student behavior in the classroom and trying to talk to parents about those issues.

Friday, June 01, 2018

Friday Open Thread

Following up on the Lowell Stevens Elementary story about a deranged man who entered the school some weeks back (because apparently the police couldn't handle the situation early on), the district let me know that the man did enter the building via a gym door that was open because kids were using the gym and the playground.  Normally, those doors are locked when not in use so the school had no real way of preventing this event.

The district had a raising of a pride flag and a transgender flag this morning at JSCEE to kick-off Gay Pride month.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

On Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (and Cohorts)

A reader - Isolation from Peer - recently had this to say about inclusion (bold mine):
The HCC issue is part of much bigger philosophical issues at play in the district, which really don't just have to do with HC students. It goes well beyond that. There has been a misunderstanding and an oversimplification of detracking and inclusion. Just because these are OFTEN forces for good does not mean that in every case they are ALWAYS forces for good. HCC is caught in that battle, but HCC students aren't the only ones.

Some students benefit from having access to peers who are like them, from not being the only one like them in their class or school.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Tuesday Open Thread



 Update: Congrats to Garfield High's boys soccer team - 3A state champions!
A former teacher vowed to write to President Trump every single day and one day she received a letter back.  Did I mention she was a high school English teacher?  From the New York Times:

‘OMG This Is Wrong!’ Retired English Teacher Marks Up a White House Letter and Sends It Back

This and That

Stories from NPR Education:

 - Following the lead of an education blogger, former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan urges parents to boycott schools until gun safety measures are enacted. 

Friday, May 25, 2018

Friday Open Thread

Opening with some sad news; a fifth grader in killed himself this week.   Please talk to your kids about their stresses and offer them ways to defuse those.  From KIRO-7 tv:

Thursday, May 24, 2018

EU Notice

 Update: after consulting with someone, I appear to have few cookies on this blog so the notification isn't coming up.

But just so you know, Google may be keeping track of you but I'm not.

end of update

A notice came up on my Administrator page for this blog:

Please Talk to Your Sons

No one is missing the pattern in high school mass shootings, right?  Alienated white boys.

I'd be the first one to say - because I believe it to be true - that it truly is harder to be a teen today than when I was a teenager.  Not to say that we didn't all feel angst and pain - the sting of rejections, slights, bullying, etc. - that's teen life.  Kids can be thoughtless and hurtful to each other (and, of course, bullying is never acceptable).  But kids today are able to do all those things faster and get messages out to masses of more people than we did.  It's pretty horrible.

As the School Year Starts to Wind Down


Sunday, May 20, 2018

Dress Code Dilemma

When the weather gets warmer there is always the issue of dress codes in Seattle Schools, mostly especially in high school.

Apparently, this has been quite the issue at Garfield where several readers let me know that students - almost entirely girls - have been ambushed while coming to school by administrators.  One issue that gives the girls much unhappiness is that boys are able to use the field without shirts on while girls have to cover up.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Not to Start a Fight but Here's News on HCC

Way back in January, I made a public disclosure request to the district for emails and other documentation about the Advanced Learning office.  I recently read a number of emails that offer at least part of the picture of the thinking in that office.  (I have been told that there 10,000 items in response to my question - something of a record for me -and I'll be reading them in installments.)

The emails were largely among several people:
  • Katie May, principal at Thurgood Marshall
  • Stephen Martin, Director of Advanced Learning
  • Mathew Okun, Consulting Teacher
  • Thurgood Marshall parents on their equity team
Details of interest:

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Washington State Charter Schools Convention

I attended the Washington State Charter Schools Convention several weeks ago down in Sea Tac.  And tomorrow, the Washington State Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the lawsuit against the current charter school law.

The convention came on the year anniversary for the head of the Washington State Charter Schools Association head, Patrick D'Amelio.  (Patrick is one of the good guys and boy, I wish he had stayed at the Alliance for Education where he been CEO.)  He said the conference was full but when I looked around the dining room, it seemed to have many empty seats.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

High School Science News

I see that's there's a state science exam,WCAS, coming up for high school.  Just to note, your child does NOT have to take this test.  Right now, all kids that do take it are doing is piloting it for the State.

Federal law requires science testing but it does not require linkage to graduation. However, Washington State Board of Education has chosen to do so.

Taking and passing the WCAS will be a high school graduation requirement for the class of 2021 and beyond.  But that doesn't mean your child has to take it at all for now.

Tuesday Open Thread

Congrats to the Franklin High Mock Trial team for winning the National Mock Trial competition!  The Franklin team came out on top of a field of 46 teams in Reno, NV the weekend of May 10-12.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Parsing the Curriculum&Instruction Meeting Agenda

Here's a copy of the agenda for tomorrow's Curriculum & Instruction Committee meeting with documentation attached.  There are some notable issues that have a deep dive.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Seattle Schools This Week, May 14-20, 2018

Monday, May 14th
Audit and Finance Committee Meeting, JSCEE from 4:30-6:30 pm.  Agenda
Of interest:
- BAR: Families & Education Levy (Stone)
- Informational Only: Coast Property Management Contract Terms (Skowyra)
- Notification of Contracts Exceeding $250,000:Sum of Learning and CHILD (Mills)
- Informational Only: 2018-19 Schools’ Funding Allocations (Purple Book) (Sebring)

- Informational Only:Items Financial Impacts of Capacity Issues (Committee)

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Noteworthy Articles about Teens and College

Every year the New York Times puts out a call for college essays from high school seniors.  This year's is a great collection; perhaps show your middle schooler or young high school student for inspiration.  I think the first writer in the series - Eric Ngugi Muthondu - is going to be a great writer someday.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Ballard High in in Shelter in Place

Update: SPD was investigating a burglary nearby and suspect ran toward school and school went into lockdown to protect students.

Happy Mother's Day

Some ideas (with freebies for mom) from The Stranger.

Friday Open Thread

As noted previously by a reader:
From the Capitol Hill blog, a man high on crack was arrested this morning inside Stevens elementary..
This was Tuesday, May 8th.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

What's Happening with Charter Schools? Let's Review

It's almost hard to know where to start but one thing seems to be happening - charter schools are having a harder time with the passage of time. 

Monday, May 07, 2018

Thank You, Teachers!

It's Teacher Appreciation Week!

Image result for teacher appreciation week graphic
And that includes substitute teachers!

Also, it's National Nurses Week and that includes our school nurses - thank you to all of them!

For the past 16 years, the Gallup poll has named nurses as the most-trusted profession in its ratings of honesty and ethical standards in professions.

And a shout-out to my own mom, a former surgical nurse for 40 years - people in my home town used to tell me she was the last face they saw before they went into surgery and the first they saw when they woke up.  For this upcoming Mother's Day, I remember my late mom and honor her work.

Seattle Schools Week of May 7-12, 2018

To note, this week is Teacher Appreciation Week and it's Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Board Work Session on Capacity Management, May, 2018

All the directors were in attendance at the Work Session on Capital Projects Annual Report and Capacity Management Annual Report.

Noted capacity expert (and SPS parent) Kellie LaRue was there.  She let me know that surrounding district like Northshore and Bellevue no longer accept out of district students.  They, too, are overcrowded.  What's also interesting is that they have created new high schools or high school space and she suspects that SPS had been pushing off enough students to Running Start to not have started on that until the reopening of Lincoln.

The first portion of the meeting was on the Capital Projects Annual Report and the latter was the Capacity Projects Annual Report. 

Highlights and director comments

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Board Work Session on Capacity

I'll be attending today but a lot of meaty info here.

Story to come.

Tuesday Open Thread

Volunteering this morning in my classroom, the teacher was explaining to the kids about many dates in May (Cinco de Mayo, Mother's Day, Memorial Day, etc) AND that they were in the last full month of the school year.  Wow, time has flown.

Looks like, once again, Denny Middle School is going hard core for the SBAC.  From the Seattle Opt-Out Facebook page:

Public Education is a Risky Business

If you are a person of certain age, you may remember the report, A Nation at Risk, put out during the Reagan years about how bad public education had gotten.  Turns out, not so much.  From NPR,

What 'A Nation At Risk' Got Wrong, And Right, About U.S. Schools

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Seattle Schools, Week of April 30th-May 5, 2018

Monday, April 30th
Equity and Race Advisory Committee Meeting from 5 p.m. - 7 p.m., JSCEE Auditorium

City of Seattle Departure meeting for Webster School, at Adams Elementary from
6:00 PM to 9:00 PM

City of Seattle departures meeting regarding the modernization and construction of a gymnasium for Webster School.

I have heard district activist Chris Jackins reference this issue in his remarks to the Board.  I'm not sure I understand it totally but it appears that the district wants to construct a full-sized gym in an elementary school.

Madison Middle School Security Issue: Epic SPS Communications Fail? Or School Issue?

Our friends over at the West Seattle Blog had this story on Friday:

Madison Middle School starts day sheltering in place because of threat

Friday, April 27, 2018

Friday Open Thread

Should the ACT/SAT be given online?  A story of interest from the New York Times:
Like Chisholm, Tulsa already gives all its end-of-year tests online. But this is the first year that SAT scores must be reported to the state for Oklahoma’s school accountability report cards, and principals just did not want to risk an internet problem or power outage, explained Erin Lester, director of assessment. There are other challenges for this urban district, too, like how to give an online test to those likely to be in jail, juvenile detention or a mental health facility, a number that could range from dozens to more than 100 on testing day.

“Some of the jails don’t even allow computers with internet accessibility,” Ms. Lester said. “We wanted to be equitable.”
A teachers strike in Arizona and a teacher walk-out in Colorado are gaining steam.  You have to be humbled and amazed by teachers in Arizona who first got offer a 1% (!) raise and then it went up to 20% but they said no.  They said no because of other staff who need help and, of course, the supports they need in their schools.  From the New York Times:
Hundreds of public schools were shut down in Arizona because of the walkouts, which turned the streets of Downtown Phoenix into seas of crimson as educators and their supporters marched to the State Capitol wearing red T-shirts and chanting “Red for Ed,” as the movement is known here.
Widespread teacher protests have in recent months upended daily routines in the conservative-leaning states West Virginia, Oklahoma and Kentucky. 

But the sight of public workers protesting en masse in the Arizona capital, one of the largest Republican strongholds in the country, and demanding tax increases for more school funding, spoke to the enduring strength of the movement and signaled shifts in political winds ahead of this year’s midterm elections.
Yes, those mid-term elections.  That should be a lively time. 

A story from NPR on high-paying trade jobs going wanting:
In a new report, the Washington State Auditor found that good jobs in the skilled trades are going begging because students are being almost universally steered to bachelor's degrees.

Among other things, the Washington auditor recommended that career guidance — including choices that require less than four years in college — start as early as the seventh grade.

"There is an emphasis on the four-year university track" in high schools, said Chris Cortines, who co-authored the report. Yet, nationwide, three out of 10 high school grads who go to four-year public universities haven't earned degrees within six years, according to the National Student Clearinghouse. At four-year private colleges, that number is more than 1 in 5.
On the inequities around PTA fundraising, a great story from SPS Communications about sharing between North Beach Elementary and Northgate Elementary: 
Left to right: Phillipa Dugaw, Kate Eads, Dedy Fauntleroy, Guillermo Carval and Brooke Walker pose with symbolic check.On the evening of April 3, Phillipa Dugaw, North Beach PTA president and Brooke Walker, North Beach auction chair, presented a $10,000 check to Northgate Elementary. Principal Dedy Fauntleroy, Family Support Worker, Guillermo Carval, and Librarian Kate Eads were present at the PTA meeting to receive the donation on behalf of Northgate. 

“For a long time, our PTA has talked about partnering with a school in Seattle that doesn’t have the opportunities we do,” said Dugaw. “I’m excited that we finally made it happen, and I hope that we can continue to work with Northgate and help to eliminate the opportunity gap.” 

Northgate librarian Eads is ecstatic about the partnership between the two schools, specifically because the donation lends full autonomy to Northgate, which allows them to use the gift as they so choose. She explains, “Often gifts are tied to specific needs in our school, as directed by the gifter. What is special about this case is that North Beach allowed Northgate to maintain agency in what this is used for - library resources.”
Director Community Meetings tomorrow

Director Patu at Raconteur, 9:30-11:00 am
Director Pinkham at Northgate Library, 12:30-2:00 pm
Director Harris at Delridge Library, 3:00-5:00 pm

What's on your mind?

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Superintendent-Select Juneau Speaks (and other SPS stories)

It wasn't the most exciting press conference this morning with Denise Juneau, the newly-signed superintendent-select.  But she did do one thing that I think even some of the jaded cameramen were surprised at - she shook hands with everyone in the room.

My takeaway from her comments:

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

OSPI Wants Input

State Superintendent Chris Rykdal is seeking input on two areas.

Superintendent-Select Juneau to Attend Tonight's Board Meeting

Update from last night's Seattle School Board meeting via district communications:
Starting July 1, Denise Juneau will become the next superintendent of Seattle Public Schools. The seven-member school board voted tonight to approve the contract it negotiated with Ms. Juneau since announcing her as their preferred candidate on April 4.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Of Interest From the Times

Robert Eagle Staff Middle Schools, Licton Springs K-8 and Cascadia Elementary are all relatively near Aurora and North 90th which makes this very close to the tiny home housing for homeless addicts, the subject of this recent article in the Times.

Tuesday Open Thread

The Washington Policy Center is have their "SolutionsSummit 2018" soon.  Among their discussion sections is education where they say, "How public charter schools are helping kids and saving money."  Wait, what?  I hear a LOT of whining from the right about how charters don't get as much money from states as traditional schools and now it's "we do more with less?"  Hmmm.

I attended the City Council's Select Committee on the Families and Education levy meeting yesterday.  Not great.  First, there was a pretty big crowd for 10:30 am; most people appeared to be those who work for non-profits in support of childcare, pre-K and public education sectors.  Many people signed up to speak as did I.  Usually, the public comments come first or just a little later but co-chair Rob Johnson announced that first there would be a pre-K presentation,then a K-12 presentation and THEN public comment.  He said, "Around noon."  Amazing that he thinks that all these people can sit for nearly two hours before addressing the Council.  I also note how confidently Early Learning head, Monica Aguirre, spoke about working with the district to find more pre-K space. 

Interestingly, CM Sally Bagshaw pointed out that there was not a lot of extra space anywhere in the district and Aguirre backpedaled and said they were looking for space in community centers.  The City didn't look for space in their own buildings first?  Bagshaw went on to note that School Board President Leslie Harris was in the audience.  There were only eight CMs there and six of them continued to look at their computer screens when she made that statement.  I thought that blindingly rude to not even acknowledge President Harris' presence.  Makes me wonder how those negotiations on working with the City will go.

Also on that note, I attended the Executive Committee meeting last week where it is discussed about needing to up the money for consultants who are guiding the process of the City and the district deciding on their partnership for Memorial Stadium and a possible downtown school.  This work is from April-August, 2018 with Triangle Associates.  Each side is paying $160K.  It also includes "public engagement" of three whole meetings and yet oddly, does not list "the public" or "taxpayers" as an audience for the public engagement plan.  Of course, there are very specific audiences for this work but these are two public entities that get their money to run from taxpayers.  Might be nice to include them.

To look for at tomorrow night's Board meeting:

- the long-promised presentation from the African American Male Advisory Committee
- intro and action on the contract for Denise Juneau, the superintendent-select
-guiding principles for BEX V (I have a copy of the ones for BEX IV so I look forward to comparing them)
- intro of a contract for a voice network from the Death Star named Black Box company for over $3.5M.
- intro of a BAR that would expand Native American Educational programming. 

Congrats to Cleveland and Ballard High Schools for their achievements in journalism excellence.
Members of Cleveland STEM and Ballard High School Journalism Programs attended the National High School Journalism Convention April 12-14 in San Francisco, California. Sponsored by National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA), the semi-annual convention was the gathering place for over 5000 high school journalists from across the country. 

The Best of Show competition is held at all national conventions sponsored by the NSPA. Ballard High’s student newspaper, Talisman, won second place and “Vantage Point,” Cleveland High’s TV news broadcast, made the top ten in the competition. The Cleveland Publication (CPub) staff submitted an episode that examined gentrification in Seattle’s south end.
 What's on your mind?

Monday, April 23, 2018

It's Testing Time; Opting Out?

This is a notice from an elementary school.  That's a lot of time for sitting for a test.

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Seattle Schools, Week of April 23-28, 2018

Monday, April 23rd
Lincoln High School Community Meeting,  
Hamilton International Middle School from 6:30-8:30 pm
  • Revisiting the vision
  • Updates on the building
  • Introduction of teachers
  • Reviewing Course Pathways
  • Forming Parent group
2019 School Levies Community Meeting 
Seattle World School, 6:30-8:15 pm

At the community meetings, district staff members will present information, collect input and feedback, and answer questions. Interpreters will be available by request. If you, or someone you know, would benefit from an interpreter at a community meeting, please email us at capitallevy2019@seattleschools.org.

BEX V Capital Levy: capitallevy2019@seattleschools.org
Operations Levy: budget@seattleschools.org

More information, including a Levies 2019 Planning Timeline, is available on our school levies webpage.  

Tuesday, April 24rd
2019 School Levies Community Meeting 
Jane Addams Middle School, 6:30-8:15 pm

Wednesday, April 25th
Board meeting starting at 4:15 pm, agenda.

Thursday, April 26th
2019 School Levies Community Meeting
Salmon Bay K-8, 6:30-8:15 pm

Saturday April 28th
Family Partnerships Task Force, JSCEE, room 2750 from 9:00am to noon.

Director Community Meetings

Director Patu at Raconteur, 9:30-11:00 am
Director Pinkham at Northgate Library, 12:30-2:00 pm
Director Harris at Delridge Library, 3:00-5:00 pm

Friday, April 20, 2018

Friday Open Thread

Three times in a decade - yet another Washington State teacher has been named nationally as the Teacher of the Year.  Congrats to Mandy Manning, a teacher at Ferris High School in Spokane.
Manning joins Jeff Charbonneau (2013) and Andrea Peterson (2007) as the third National Teacher of the Year from Washington state in the past decade.

In addition to teaching English and math to refugee and immigrant students, Manning also coaches fastpitch and girls basketball, advises the writing club, and co-advises the Gay-Straight Alliance.

Manning regularly hosts new teaching candidates, district leaders, school board directors, and legislators in her classroom to experience an inclusive environment and her student-first attitude. As a National Board Certified Teacher, Mandy is an ambassador and facilitator who encourages and guides fellow educators to connect with students and to continually improve their practice.
Batter up!  Good news for SPS kids via SPS Communications:

National School Walk Out Day for Gun Safety

I'll be watching the student walk-out at Roosevelt High this morning for the National School Walk Out Day for Gun Safety.  It is also a remembrance of the 19th anniversary of the Columbine school shootings that killed 13 people.
The event, which grew out of a petition on Change.org, comprises more than 2,000 walkouts nationwide, with at least one planned in every U.S. state and the District of Columbia.

Students are expected to exit their school buildings for the day. Organizers have called on people to wear orange, a color that has become associated with the gun control movement.
From Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School leader, David Hogg via Twitter:
Remember after you guys walk out, volunteer! Spend the rest of your day working in your community. This is also a day of service in remembrance of the Columbine Victims.
The Network for Public Education is urging folks to send emails to their congressional representatives.  They have made it very easy to do in one place.

Send an email to Congress that demands that your representatives take action to stop gun violence in schools.  Just click here.

Use this excellent Action Alert tool developed by NASSP that allows you to easily call your representatives with a "click." 

Post this link: https://wp.me/p3bR9v-2He  on your Facebook page and put a frame on your profile picture. To do so, just click on the link below.  

Let's join with our students and let our politicians know that we need sensible gun policies  to keep our schools and our streets free of gun violence.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

GoFundMe for Professional Development for Teacher for 2E Students

 Via Facebook:

Teachers in Seattle public schools receive very little to no training in Gifted and Twice Exceptional (2e)* students education. In the meantime, all research points to the fact that especially these children require a deeper kind of learning and engagement  - and in the absence of this they disengage, fall through the cracks or worse.

We are a group of parents of gifted and 2e  students that want to see our kids' amazing potential realized, both for their well being and that of Society at large - and we know that teachers are the ones best positioned to make a difference for these children!

We would like to send at least one Seattle Public School teacher to an outstanding professional development provided by Bridges Academy's premier research center for understanding and teaching the growing population of 2e students.

Mayor Durkan to Announce Her Education Plan Today

 Update: here's the link to the Mayor's plan.  Here's a link to the video of her announcement today I have not watched it yet.)

I want to note that Mayor Murray - in his Education Plan - said he was going to end homelessness for Seattle children by the end of 2017.  (He later denied saying that but it's on the videotape of the event and in the City's materials.)  Durkan's plan says:

Increase K-12 and community investments to close the opportunity gap, increase teacher diversity, provide support services including for students experiencing homelessness, and help students most at risk of dropping out of school;

More modest.  It would seem to me - of all that the Mayor and the City Council and city leaders could promise to do - ending homelessness for children is one big measure about this issue that they could get done.

It appears the number the Mayor wants to go for in combining the Families and Education levy and the Pre-K levy is about $635M which is more than double what the two combined is today.  I'm a bit shocked but Councilman Burgess went for broke in doubling the F&E levy last time so maybe there's a sense that it can be done.  I think it's a bad idea and I think the Mayor is trying to bite off more than she can chew.  

Look for the size of the Department of Education and Early Learning to grow exponentially if this passes.


end of update

I attended the Levy Oversight Committee meeting yesterday for the City's Families and Education Levy where there was a sneak peek at the Mayor's Education Plan.  The Mayor is planning an to discuss the "contours of the levy" today at 11:35(?) am at the Miller Community Center; it should be airing on Seattle Channel as well.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Tuesday Open Thread

SPS reports that Open Enrollment results are now available.

It's National Volunteer Week so thank you to the many parents and community members who give time to our students in Seattle Schools.

The City's Department of Education and Early Learning will be having two meetings to talk about their findings from recent community meetings on the Families and Education levy.
The Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL) would like to invite you to attend a community meeting to hear an update on the feedback received for the upcoming renewal of the Families and Education Levy and Seattle Preschool Program Levy. Over the last several months DEEL facilitated a total of 33 meetings with over 465 total attendees, representing over 105 different organizations to get feedback to inform and prioritize funding investments for the Levy.

Below are two opportunities to hear more about the community input we received. Childcare and interpretation available upon request by EOD Tuesday, 4/17.

Saturday, April 21st 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Location: Bitter Lake Community Center – 13035 Linden Ave N, Seattle, WA 98133
RSVP: HERE
Or
Monday, April 23rd 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Location: El Centro De La Raza room 3076– 2524 16th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98144
RSVP: HERE
The Levy Oversight Committee for the F&E levy is having a meeting today and I'll be attending. They finally got up some minutes (albeit from several months ago) from their meetings and it reveals a bit about why Mayor Durkan probably thought it was worthwhile to get money from the F&E levy for her Promise Program - they had a $3M underspend last year.  Also, the discussion around the amount this time sounds like close to $700M which they call "mid-range" and is a lot higher than every before.

A story here in the Seattle Times about the F&E levy and concern over its direction from some quarters (including this blog).

A very sad article in the NY Times about the state of public education in schools in America as told by teachers.

Great story from KQED on art and its effects on student learning.

Finally, I love, love, love this idea of how to calm kids down and get their upsets out.  This should be in every elementary school.

What's on your mind?

Monday, April 16, 2018

Black Lives Matter (We'll Just Keep Saying It)

Just to note, I don't have a "real" office.  So, when I meet people, I do so at coffee shops including Starbucks (I like their chai mix best).

Sometimes, I get there early and I use the restroom.

Sometimes, I wait until the other person gets there to order.

Sometimes, I stay there a couple of hours but only order one thing.

I have never been questioned about this practice by any Starbucks employee.

And, I have never been arrrested.

Those two guys who were humiliated by both Starbucks and the police now have a record.  Doesn't matter if the charges were dropped; I think you'd have to work to get it expunged.  (Don't tell me the police were just doing their jobs; they could have just asked them to leave and not cuffed and perp walked them out.)

As for Starbucks:

Privacy - I Told You So

I rarely say that but on this point, I will.

The Facebook issue of them not protecting data - with Zuckerberg before a congressional committee making the tortured argument that Facebook doesn't "sell" data - makes it glaringly clear that we have a problem in this country with privacy issues.

What's hilarious is that I'm sure somewhere Twitter and Google are glad for the white-hot spotlight on Facebook.  I'd venture that if you use Google gmail (as I do), their scanning of emails for useful words that advertisers like may be worse than Facebook.  (That Facebook was compiling data on people NOT on Facebook but who only got mentioned there by others is also troubling.)

I heard a very unscientific survey where they asked people if they would pay for Facebook if it meant better privacy controls.  I think it was 85% who said "no way."  Well, I'd pay.

Facebook really is a good poster child for technology with which we have a love-hate affair.  I do truly love the many ways that Facebook allows me to connect with others especially on breaking news.  But I'm not sure I believe their gathering of my data is worth it and it's something I am pondering.

One big issue?  Your data is worth money.  Why don't you get a cut of the value of your data?  Why can't we determine we will sell our data rather than give it away?  Somehow Facebook and banks and other business have decided - in their "terms and conditions" which got rough treatment during the Facebook hearings - that we have to give away nearly all our rights to our data in order to get a service.

I note that Zuckerberg had this to say to the committee on Messenger for Kids (basically Facebook for the 6-12 year olds), this via The Mercury News:

Technology in Seattle Schools

I found this fascinating document at the Technology page at SPS, Department of Technology Services (DOTS) Program Report, Winter 2018. Note to DOTS: too many acronyms used that are not explained when first used.)

Fun SPS tech facts:

Friday, April 13, 2018

Friday Open Thread

I'm off to the BEX Oversight Committee meeting this morning - I haven't been in quite awhile but I saw this notation on the agenda:

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Tuesday Open Thread

The Times has an editorial about the new mandate from the state about a semester-long high school course in civics. 

NAEP Stats Out for Washington State Students

From KNKX:
Eighth graders in Washington state scored above the national average in both math and reading on the assessment known as the nation's report card.
Forty-one percent of Washington eighth graders scored at or above proficient on the math test, and 42 percent achieved that level on the reading test. Nationally, 33 percent scored at or above proficient on the math test, and 35 percent achieved that level on the reading test.

Massachusetts led the nation on the eighth grade math test with 50 percent of students showing proficiency. On the eighth grade reading test, students at schools run by the Department of Defense for children of military personnel scored the highest, with 51 percent proficient. Massachusetts was second, with 49 percent proficient.

James Harvey, executive director of the National Superintendents Roundtable, said his group would like to see the National Assessment of Educational Progress change the terminology because the word “proficient” can cause confusion. He said people think it means testing at grade level when really it’s a higher benchmark than that.

“We think labeling students as proficient or not proficient was a very big mistake and it has contributed to this message that American schools are failures because only 30 percent of kids are proficient on these various tests,” Harvey said.

He stressed that he’s not advocating that the test be made easier or that standards be lowered. Instead, he would like to categorize students’ results with the labels “low,” “intermediate,” “high,” and “advanced.” He said right now what’s labeled “proficient” really should be termed “high.”
The assessment currently has three levels: “basic,” “proficient,” and “advanced.”

Among fourth graders in Washington, 42 percent showed proficiency in math, compared with 40 percent nationally, and 39 percent were proficient on the reading test compared with 35 percent nationally.
 Link to NAEP results 

About NAEP via OSPI

Saturday, April 07, 2018

What Personalized Learning Feels Like..From a Teen

Update: looks like this video got pulled which is kind of odd, given how viral it had become.  Wonder if the school/"personalized learning" company got mad.

end of update


This is a video from a poetry slam at a high school where one girl puts forth - hilariously and poignantly - her issues with "personalized learning."  She talks about no talking, no human interaction. no teacher input, and students having to teach themselves, learning from videos. (Her mother put this video out on Facebook and said it was okay to share.)

I hope you consider this for your own child about what you want learning to look like for him or her.

It is all about relationships for the best and deepest learning.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Families and Education Levy Changes Endanger SPS School Supports

From Summer Stinson at Washington's Paramount Duty:
EMAIL SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL and MAYOR DURKAN and tell them NO CUTS to K-12 PROGRAMS in the FAMILIES AND EDUCATION LEVY. 

Mayor Durkan is defunding and discontinuing crucial K-12 public education equity programs by not including them in the upcoming Seattle Families and Education Levy. Examples of programs that have received notices that they've been cut from the Families and Education Levy are:

(1) SPS's Family Support Program-- Family Support Workers ensure that students and their families have access to basic needs; i.e. clothing, food and housing resources, provide emotional and behavioral support, serve as a link for parents to engage in the school community and assist them with referrals to community agencies, 
and (2) a middle school close-the-gap equity program. I've heard from parents at Hawthorne Elementary and Eckstein Middle School about the notices that the schools received about these programs being cut from the Families and Education Levy, which completely defunds these programs.
It appears that Mayor Durkan is redirecting the Families and Education Levy to preschool and 2-years free college at the expense of K-12 public school wrap-around services. Defunding K-12 equity programs is unacceptable!

Friday Open Thread

Summer job info:

Student Assistant Program at Seattle Public Library
The Student Assistant Program is accepting applications through 5:00 p.m. Monday, April 30, 2018. You can access the online application here.

This program provides an opportunity for students to gain valuable work experience and mentorship at the Library. Applicants are asked to submit a Student Assistant Employment Application, a cover letter, proof of school enrollment and a reference from a educator/employer (form included in the application). So please have these materials available when you go to apply. The Eligibility Requirements for Students include (1.) students are at least 16 years old, (2.) students must be enrolled in high school, college, vocational/technical school, or a G.E.D. program. (Students who have completed a Bachelor's degree program are not eligible.), and (3.) students must be enrolled at least half-time (at least five credits for college students), three out of four quarters of the school year.

The Seattle Public Library proudly supports diversity and inclusion in its employment practices.

Seattle Parks and Recreation
Youth Career Training Program
Student Teen Career Employment Preparation
Summer of Service
Summer Jobs

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Teachers in Oklahoma and Kentucky are on strike. From Business Insider (they have a list of teachers' salaries in each state - Washington comes in right at 25th):

Teachers in Oklahoma — where 20% of school districts have four-day school weeks due to budget restrictions — went on strike April 2 after a new budget was passed. Teachers haven't gotten a raise there since 2008, while class sizes are larger than the legally allowed maximum of 20 students per room. 

In Kentucky, teachers are protesting too — fighting budget cuts and a plan to make teacher retirement pensions more like 401(k) accounts, according to The New York Times. In Arizona, teachers are asking for a 20% salary increase and are preparing for public protests.  

Education funding for schools and students varies widely from state to state. In Utah, $6,575 is spent on each student, while in New York spends $21,000 per pupil. The relationship between spending more money on education and higher academic achievement has been supported and opposed, with no clear answer available. 

I'll just note here that while mega-ed reformers like the Koch brothers and ALEC support charter schools, do they really care about public education? No, what they really care about is breaking the teachers unions which are the largest in the country.  That the Oklahoma Teamsters support all unions is wonderful because all unions have to stand together because if you get rid of the teachers union, who's next?  It's all part of privatizing public education. 

A great article from NY Magazine,  The Teachers’ Strikes Have Exposed the GOP’s Achilles Heel,
that examines the really big picture of all these strikes:
This is the lesson that the striking educators are teaching us. When a well-organized movement — with genuine roots in “conservative” communities (and no plausible ties to George Soros or Nancy Pelosi) forces the GOP’s fiscal agenda to the center of public debate, the political terrain shifts — and conservatives struggle to stand their ground. Suddenly, Oklahoma Republicans can vote to take money from oil companies and give it to teachers; and those teachers can meet their offer with protests instead of gratitude.
 Community meeting with Director Harris on Saturday at the High Point Library from 3-5 pm.

What's on your mind?

Friday Funny

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Thursday, April 05, 2018

Statement from Superintendent-Select Denise Juneau

Via district Communications:

Denise Juneau, prospective superintendent for Seattle Public Schools (SPS), offered this statement upon the news she had been voted by the Seattle School Board as their top candidate for the job:

“I am very honored to be offered the opportunity to join the team at SPS as their next superintendent.

“I am ready to work with the school board to help them achieve their goals of educational equity in outcomes, closing the opportunity gaps, robust engagement with community and parents, and providing a quality education for all students.

“During the interview process I learned that SPS is filled with committed and dedicated educators. The students I visited with are smart, creative and ready to lead.

“I look forward to building on the district’s successes, working with all partners to confront challenges and continue the positive progress already underway.”

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

How Did Swift and Juneau Do With Teachers?

I wanted to consider the relationships that Jeanice Swift and Denise Juneau have had with unions in their respective states.

Tuesday Open Thread

You'll want to put this one on your calendar; Director DeWolf, after four months in office, is finally having a community meeting that is a one-hour event during Spring Break.  It's Monday, from 5-6 pm, at The Riveter (a work space), 1517 12th Ave Suite 101. That's an unusual amount of time and an unusual date for a director community meeting but I'm thinking he's not going to be a usual director.

Of course, perhaps it helps to send him a request to meet if you are a group.  He did mention at the last Board meeting that he met with Parents for a Better Downtown.