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

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, crowd and outdoor
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.

Denise Juneau

I had printed many good things said about superintendent candidate, Jeanice Swift, and, since I support the candidacy of Denise Juneau, thought I would add some research I had done about her.

From Dr. Darlene Schottle who sits on the Montana Board of Education:

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Seattle Schools for the Week, April 2-7, 2018

Monday, April 2nd
The first of several meetings on the BEX V Capital levy.  This one is at Aki Kurose Middle School from 6:30-8:15 pm.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Who Should Be Seattle Schools' Next Superintendent? Jeanice Swift

The Board is to vote, on Wednesday night, April 4th,  at the regular board meeting, on who to offer a contract to be superintendent.  Given that they worked all day yesterday (Friday, the 30th), I would assume some consensus was reached on that person.  I think the Board and their search firm, Ray&Associates, did find some excellent candidates. 

Friday, March 30, 2018

Friday Open Thread

The Board will be spending all day considering who to make an offer to for the superintendent position (this was the reason the survey deadline was 9 pm last night).  I have a call in to ask when the Board will be making an announcement - they are scheduled to discuss a contract offer at the Board meeting next Wednesday, April 4th.  I don't know if that means an announcement on Monday or Tuesday.  I have a call in to ask.

Parents here's an an alert - there's a vaping device that looks like a USB drive.  From KIRO news:

Superintendent Finalists Speak

Last night's event at JSCEE to introduce the finalists for the superintendent post certainly seemed to illuminate the differences among them.  The finalists are Jeanice Swift, Andre Spencer and Denise Juneau.  Swift and Juneau were, to me, the best of the three.  I'll have a separate thread on my thoughts on who it should get the job and why but I'll devote this thread on what was said.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Yes, You CAN Contact the Board with Your Thoughts on Sup Candidates

There seems to be a push, a meme, something out in the ether that you only have until 9 pm tonight to give input on the three finalists for Seattle Schools superintendent.

That is false.  I know this because I asked President Leslie Harris yesterday, face to face.  She said, "schoolboard@seattleschools.org" or "spsdirectors@seattleschools.org."  (The former will be sent to all top leadership including the Board, the latter will just reach Board members.)  You can certainly write to the Board until their decision on April 4th. 

The input for the SURVEYS on each candidate ends tonight at 9 pm in order for staff to coordinate the information and get that to the directors.

Denise Juneau

Andre Spencer

Jeanice Swift

From the district on tonight's event:

Public Forum for all members of the community to meet the finalists for the next Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools. It will be held from 5:00-8:15 p.m. at the John Stanford Center Auditorium. 

It will also be broadcast live on the District’s Channel 26. 

Also, there are community meetings on the levy next week; you will probably find directors there as well.

Please join us at a community meeting:
Director Harris is the only Board member having a community meeting but hers is at High Point Branch Library from 3-5 pm.  Go bend her ear on the candidates.  

Update: I got that wrong but good news - there are TWO director community meetings on Saturday, March 31st:

Director Betty Patu at Raconteur, 5041 Wilson Ave S from 9:30-11-00
Director Eden Mack at Magnolia Public Library, 2801 34th Ave W from 1:00-3:00 pm
 

(Director DeWolf failed to come thru with his promise of having a community meeting for his region during the month of March.  We are now going into month five of his term so cross your fingers.)

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Tuesday Open Thread

We remember a very brave public school student who died today - Linda Brown.  She is the "Brown" in Brown vs Board of Education.  From the New York Times:

Seattle Schools Superintendent Finalist: Dr. Andre Spencer

Dr. Spencer is currently working as the Superintendent for Colorado Springs Harrison District #2.  He has been in that position since 2013. Harrison District 2  is about 12,000 students in 26 schools that include a youth detention center and four charter schools. Previously he was area superintendent in Houston. In his early career, he was a (science) teacher and principal in Baltimore. He won a PTA Teacher of the Year award from the Baltimore City Council. He has a Master's in Biology, and received his PhD in Education from Capella University. He served in the U.S. Army for 4 years. He is African-American.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Seattle Schools Superintendent Finalist Denise Juneau

Denise Juneau is a Native American, enrolled in the Mandan Hidatsa tribe but also with Blackfeet tribe heritage.  She is turning 50 in April.  She is openly gay.  Her first job was working with her grandmother in a school lunch kitchen when she was 5.  She played high school basketball and her mother served in the Montana State Legislature.

She has a Master's from Harvard and a law degree from the University of Montana.  She served as a law clerk on the Montana Supreme Court.

Seattle Schools Superintendent Finalist - Dr. Jeanice Swift

Dr.  Jeanice Kerr Swift is 59, appears to be a white woman, now serving in her fifth year as  in Ann Arbor Public Schools.  Her husband, John, is a retired nurse; they have no children.

Here's the resume she used to apply to Ann Arbor.   I see an address and phone numbers but considering she left Colorado awhile ago, I'm sure they are no longer valid.  Her Master's is in Gifted and Talented education.

Seattle School Board Announces Superintendent Finalists

And so far, I'm pretty impressed.

They are (in no particular order):

- Jeanice Kerr Swift, superintendent of Ann Arbor SD in Michigan
- Andre Spencer, superintendent of Colorado Springs SD, in Colorado
- Denise Juneau, State Superintendent of Public Instruction from 2009 to 2017 in Montana

Seattle Schools This Week

Monday, March 29th
The biggest event today will be the Board Special Meeting Executive Session to pick the finalists for a new superintendent for Seattle Schools. There was no explanation why it went from an open meeting to a closed session.

I have asked when the announcement will be made; I suspect it will come immediately after the meeting which is scheduled from 5:00-5:30 pm.  At that time, I'll put up a thread but I'll hold off on comments until I have fully vetted the candidates.

What to look for?  Not the usual suspects (hopefully).  No one with past baggage.  And now, we need to ask about SUPES, Modern Teacher and the Education Research Development Institute (ERDI).

From a recent article in the Chicago Reporter:

There are problems that can arise when school leaders consult on the side for for-profit educational companies.  

There is a growing issue in Kent School District around this issue and it's something we don't need in Seattle Schools.  And a former Baltimore superintendent, Dallas Dance, was indicted for failing to disclose just such compensation.  He was placed there in 2012 by Ray & Associates.

Equity and Race Advisory Committee Meeting from 7-9 pm at JSCEE.

Tuesday, March 27th
Work Session on the 2018-2019 Budget from 4:30-6:30.  There will be an Executive Committee meeting immediately after the Work Session.

I look forward to seeing a line item for the upkeep of the memorial at Memorial Stadium.

Wednesday, March 28th
Work Session on BEX V from 4:30-7:30 pm

Thursday, March 29th
Public Forum for finalists for Superintendent from 5-8:15 pm.  JSCEE
Also broadcast tv on Channel 26th

5 to 5:30 p.m.  Unstructured time for attendees, board members to talk. The public can submit written suggested questions during this time. These moderator will organize questions by theme and narrow the number able to be asked within the time period.

         5:30 to 6:15 p.m. The first candidate will provide a 5-10 minute introduction and then answer the questions collected from the audience and presented by the moderator.

         6:30 to 7:15 p.m. This process will repeat for the second candidate.

         7:30 to 8:15 p.m. This process will repeat for the third candidate.

Friday, March 30th
The Board will be meeting all day in executive session to consider the finalists for superintendent.

King County School-to-Work Transition Resource Fair at The Commons at Microsoft, 15255 NE 40th St in Redmond from 9 am to 3 pm.  (I'll see if there is transportation provided for this.)

Saturday, March 31st
Director Patu Community Meeting at Raconteur from 9:30-11 am

Director Mack Community Meeting at Magnolia Public Library from 1-3 pm.

Still not a single community meeting with Director DeWolf despite his promise at last week's Board meeting.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Friday Open Thread

This is one of many reasons why I am marching tomorrow for March for Our Lives.  No mother or child should have to have this discussion. Starts at 10 am at Cal Anderson Park.

Director Community Meetings
Burke (please note that the time was improperly noted on the district website and Director Burke updated it at the Board meeting): 3:30-5:30 pm at Greenwood branch library.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Wednesday Open Thread

My apologies for the tardiness of this thread; my internet service has been spotty.

Update from the School Board meeting tonight; President Harris announced that there will be several "silent" observers at the superintendent semi-finalists' interviews tomorrow and Friday.  She did not indicate which groups will send a rep nor how the Board will take in their feedback.

A story from KING 5 news on students organizing this Saturday's big March for Our Lives for common-sense gun control.  Details at the Facebook page for this event.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Memorial Stadium: What Part of "Memorial" Does the District Not Get?

A story in the Times caught my eye about a young man earning his Eagle Scout recognition, Peter Gockowski, who wanted to clean up the wall of honor at Memorial Stadium.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Seattle Schools This Week

 Update:  there are some interesting items on Wednesday's Board agenda.  For example:

A Real School Leader and Thinker

Super important article to read - this is HOW we can help students who struggle AND have behavior issues.  More of this, less collecting data. 

A Deeper Look at the Whole School Approach to Behavior
(from NPR) about vice-principal Mike Essien, assistant principal at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Middle School (MLK) in San Francisco.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Friday Open Thread

There is a deeply moving interview on NPR with the family of a Parkland, Florida high school shooting victim.   The victim was Carmen Schentrup and her parents are Philip and April and their surviving children, Robert, aged 18, and Evelyn, aged 14 (who was in the same school as her sister).
"People constantly say to me, 'I can't imagine what you're going through,'" he says. "Well you should. You should try to comprehend your daughter — who you are so proud of, and who was just beginning to live her life – being riddled by bullets. Being told, when the medical examiner gives the body back to the funeral home, 'You can't see her. We have to spend days working on her body. And maybe, maybe you'll be able to see her then.'"

"Think about that," Philip urges. "And then come tell me why we can't do things to keep our kids safe."

"It's unimaginable, but I think we need to imagine it," April says. "I know we need to act. We need to do something more than pray and console each other."
I ask you to try to imagine the worst for your own child if only to key in on the gravity of the situation.  Of course, it is the most horrible and frightening thought you could have as a parent.  But we cannot accept this as a norm and we have to act.

Board Announces Opportunity to See Superintendent Finalists

Update 2: Here's the district's Superintendent Search 2018 page. 

The district wants parents and the public to submit questions in advance if people are unable to attend the Town Hall on March 29th (details below).
  • Questions may be submitted for consideration to boardoffice@seattleschools.org.
  • At the April 4 Regular Board Meeting, the Board anticipates voting to authorize contract negotiations with one finalist.
  • At the April 25 Regular Board Meeting, the Board anticipates voting on a negotiated contract.
end of update

Update 1:  from the district on the format for meeting the finalists for superintendent on March 29th.

The March 29 forum will be broadcast on Channel 26 for people who can’t attend in person. 

The schedule looks like this:

  • 5 to 5:30 p.m.  Unstructured time for attendees, board members to talk. The public can submit written suggested questions during this time. These moderator will organize questions by theme and narrow the number able to be asked within the time period.

         5:30 to 6:15 p.m. The first candidate will provide a 5-10 minute introduction and then answer the questions collected from the audience and presented by the moderator.


         6:30 to 7:15 p.m. This process will repeat for the second candidate.


         7:30 to 8:15 p.m. This process will repeat for the third candidate.

End of update

The Seattle School Board will be meeting in Executive Sessions on Tuesday Thursday, March 22nd and Wednesday Friday, March 23rd at South Seattle Community College to interview semi- finalists for superintendent and then consider their choices.  These sessions are not open to the public.  I don't know how many people they are interviewing.

Then, on Monday, March 26th, there will be a half-hour Executive Session (I assume) to name the finalists at JSCEE in the Board Conference office.  This meeting is open to the public.  This may be 2-3 candidates.

The one public forum with the finalists is on Thursday, March 29th.
Public Forum for all members of the community to meet the finalists for the next Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools. It will be held on Thursday, March 29 from 5:00-8:15 p.m. at the John Stanford Center Auditorium. It will also be broadcast live on the District’s Channel 26.
Interpreters will be onsite for Amharic, Chinese, Spanish and Somali languages. Other languages including American Sign Language are available by advance request.
I have inquired as to the format of the forum.

I note that the lag between announcing the candidates on Monday the 26th and the forum on the 29th gives time to research each candidate.  That will be helpful.  I would caution to not dismiss anyone out of hand (unless they are formerly from Oakland or D.C. or anywhere a candidate left under a cloud.)

I do have faith that our district will find a great leader.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Kent School District Doing a Slash and Burn for their Budget

Hard to believe but.... (from KOMO-tv):
Families are fuming over a plan to eliminate 127 teachers from the school district. The cuts are projected to save $18 million, but the fear is that it will be students who pay the price.
The teacher layoffs are set to take effect this summer. In addition, nine administrator positions will also be eliminated.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Just a Guess but Apparently Trump Will Stoop to Anything to Deflect

What's the latest deflection (I mean besides trying to get away from the Russian issue and Stormy Daniels via firing Rex Tillerson by tweet)?
After a gunman marauded through Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last month, conservative commentators — looking for a culprit — seized on an unlikely target: an Obama-era guidance document that sought to rein in the suspensions and expulsions of minority students.

And this week, President Trump made the connection, announcing that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will lead a school safety commission charged in part with examining the “repeal of the Obama administration’s ‘Rethink School Discipline’ policies.”

Great Letter from a Maryland Parent

The author,Morna McDermott, wrote a letter to Baltimore County Public Schools and published at her blog, Educationalchemy.  It's titled, "Letter for BCPS Parents: My Child is Not a Pipeline."  (Thanks to parent, Carolyn Leith, for the heads up.)



Like this mom, it's super important to be asking these questions NOW.

Why We Need to Fight for Gun Restrictions

Update from The Stranger:

The Seattle City Council voted unanimously to support a student walkout over gun control scheduled for tomorrow at 10 a.m.

Guest editorial from The Stranger, Why I'm Walking Out With Students Tomorrow, by Dr. Kim Schrier. She's a pediatrician who is running against Dino Rossi in the 8th.

From the South Seattle Emerald, another parent, Brenda Williams, speaks up.
As a parent of two Seattle Public School kids, I’ve talked with other parents whose kids describe a deep desire to participate in the 17 minutes of action called for by national student leaders on 3/14/2018. The planned national action provides a platform for student/youth voices and is particularly important to many SPS youth.

While some schools will hold assemblies or conduct classroom discussions, how is SPS leadership supporting the students who will walk out?  Some kids describe the difficult choice they have to make, that of walking out or being punished (ranging from unexcused absences to being barred from playing in that evenings’ sporting events).
end of update
 
If you have older children, tell them to walk out of school tomorrow for 17 minutes.  Just 17 minutes.  (I'm assuming it's harder at elementaries unless parents organize something.)

Let us know what your school does.

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Tuesday Open Thread

Good news from the district about Sacajawea Elementary:
On Monday, March 5, the Sacajawea Elementary School community celebrated improved access to classroom technology for students.

With help from the Power Up technology grant, technology funding from the district and a private family foundation, Sacajawea will be one of the first Seattle public elementary schools to provide one-to-one computing for every 3rd, 4th and 5th grade student.
The district also had an update on Racial Equity teams and the program is now in 42 schools (out of 99).  No word on why other schools don't have them yet.
The good news includes:
  • Aki Kurose, Denny International and Asa Mercer middle schools are at the top in the state for gains made by students of color.
  • Olympic Hills Elementary, Rainier View Elementary and Cleveland High students of color scored significantly higher than the statewide average on the 2017 Smarter Balanced Assessment.
Five of these six schools have had Racial Equity Teams in place for at least two years.
Heads up for a great speaker at UW - Diane Ravitch, Saving Public Education in the Trump-DeVos Era.  I've heard Diane speak and she's great.  Free tickets.

What's on your mind?


Monday, March 12, 2018

The Curious Case Of the Push to Keep Superintendent Nyland

There's an op-ed at Crosscut from the president of SEA, Phyllis Campano, and the president of the principals' association, Paula Montgomery about the issue of the superintendent search.

Apparently there are still people that think the Board will suddenly collectively slap their foreheads and say, "I coulda have a V8."  (Older parents will get the reference but basically, it's "Hey, we're doing idiots.")

Is the process selected feel truncated and somewhat rushed? Yes.  However, here is my reply to the op-ed and I think I have some valid reasoning.

And I have to wonder about those who want to upend a process that is way down the line, with money spent on a search firm and candidates waiting to be interviewed.  What would that look like to district detractors for the Board to do that?  But maybe that's the point.  To undermine the Board.

Here's my reply to the op-ed:

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Network for Public Education: It's #PublicSchoolsWeek

From NPE:
Please send this email to your members of Congress letting them know you support public schools and you would like them to express their support this week as well. You can click and send here to generate that email.  

Friday, March 09, 2018

National PTA to Host Betsy DeVos at Convention

From Twitter:
This just in: to keynote at

National PTA remains committed to our longstanding tradition of working with all policymakers to implement our public policy priorities and advocate for the improvement of education, health and well-being of all children.
Here's their page on the convention which, oddly, doesn't play up this angle.  Most conventions put their keynote speaker, front and center.  

Here's what Jacki Ball, their Director of Government Affairs, said (on her own Twitter account):
Excited to hear directly from at . While we may not always agree, it is imperative we have open dialogue to ensure all students can reach their full potential, have safe and supportive schools and be successful.
Dialog with a woman who would not talk to student journalists at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School this week?  Who walked out on a press conference there? 

Here's what they said when DeVos became Secretary of Education:
“Today, Betsy DeVos was confirmed as U.S. Secretary of Education. Throughout the confirmation process, National PTA joined other education, civil rights, disabilities and community organizations in expressing strong concerns for Secretary DeVos’ lack of experience with public education; unfamiliarity with the challenges and opportunities facing the nation’s public school students, families and educators; and support of programs that divert critical public school resources.  

Black Lives Matter Experiment in Hale Class

I'm hearing about a History class at Hale that had what would seem to be an uncomfortable exercise under the banner of Black Lives Matter.  I'm trying to gather info because, on the surface, this sounds like poor judgment.

If you are a Hale parent with a student in History, let me know if you've heard about this.

sss.westbrook@gmail.com

Pick Your Poison



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Thursday, March 08, 2018

Friday Open Thread

I hear that after all this rain, the weekend should be nice.  Cross your fingers.

I attended the Board meeting and I'll try to have some feedback on that.  But in terms of interacting with directors, I note that Director DeWolf - despite promising to have some community meetings in March - still has not had a single one.  He does seem to like to go to public events so maybe you can catch him there.  Director Geary noted that she seems to be busy on weekends but has her Tuesday morning coffee at Zoka behind U Village from 8:00 am-9:30 am.  She also said that you can call her to talk on the phone (but I don't know what number you would call). 

There are no director community meetings this weekend. That's probably because the Board is having an Executive session to review superintendent applications from noon to 4ish. THEN, they are having a Work Session on questions for those candidates that the public can attend.  But that will only be until 4:30 pm.  I'd like to attend but I'm not driving down to JSCEE to hang around for a half-hour session.  Weird. 

I note that there is a BEX Oversight Committee meeting tomorrow morning from 8:30-10:30 am at JSCEE.  One troubling item to me is that the district has apparently hired Bassetti Architects as consultants on BEX V and yet also gives Bassetti a lot of business.  I wonder how other businesses feel about this "in" that Bassetti has.

Interesting article from The Columbian on the question of whether a large school district can be divided up - in this case, Battle Ground SD.  The answer:

Whether smaller districts would better serve constituents is a subjective measure, one that, for now, will have to remain untested. A district cannot, under state law, divide and reorganize into multiple separate districts.

State law sets strict standards for the creation of new school districts. According to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, new school districts can only be made of two or more whole school districts, parts of two or more districts, or territory that isn’t part of any district. So Battle Ground, for example, can’t be officially divided into its north and south schools as two new districts.

“The statute does not allow for the formation of a new district that is comprised solely of territory that currently lies within a single district,” said Dierk Meierbachtol, chief legal officer for OSPI.
Bellevue School district students are planning a walk-out next week on the 14th.   From the Bellevue Reporter:
The Facebook event “Enough: National School Walkout, Bellevue High School,” states the demonstration will last 17 minutes to honor the 17 lives lost in the Parkland, Florida school shooting.

Bellevue School District spokeswoman Eileen Harrity confirmed other high schools in the district are planning similar rallies for the same time and day.

The board passed a resolution Tuesday backing those students’ actions to gather peacefully and express their views as long as they complied with district policies.
On that note, advice from the ACLU for student protestors.

Betsy DeVos visited Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, site of the latest mass shooting.  It didn't go well.
She also told reporters she toured the school with student journalists, and vowed to return to sit down with them and further delve into the issues.

Carly Desomond, editor of the school newspaper, The Eagle Eye, however, said DeVos “refused to even meet/speak with students.”

When further pressed on the issue of arming school staff, with questions surrounding training standards and student opposition to such a program, DeVos walked away from her podium and ended the press conference.
Oh look, another shooting at a school, this time in Alabama.
One student was killed and another was in critical condition after an accidental shooting during dismissal time at a high school in Birmingham, Alabama, police said.

At least two gunshots were fired, killing a 17-year-old female student and injuring a 17-year-old male student at Huffman High School, said Birmingham police Chief Orlando Wilson. He said police considered the shooting accidental, but did not elaborate.
What's on your mind?

In Advance of the Seattle March for Our Lives

Posted from the Seattle Indivisible page -

Seattle March for Our Lives Voter Reg Update--need students

The student organizers of Seattle's 3/24 March For Our Lives are hoping to get enough high school student volunteers to have most of the voter registration at the march done by students.

But while hundreds of adults want to help with this, they could really use our help getting hooked up with high school teens in the area who specifically want to do voter registration.

You can help by circulating this volunteer sign-up form to every teen you know who you think might be interested. Please ask them to fill out this form by 3/12, and to specifically say on the form they are interested in helping with voter registration. 

Thanks, and stay tuned for other ways we can help these student organizers.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Mayor Durkan to Speak on Gun Violence

PTAs passing Gun Violence Prevention Resolutions Mayor Durcan sent this invite:

When: Thursday, March 8, 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Who: Seattle area students, parents, educators, community advocates and organizations, and public health officials
Where: Chief Sealth International High School Auditorium, 2600 SW Thistle St, Seattle, WA 98126

Tuesday Open Thread

In a HUGE win for the voice of the people, Governor Jay Inslee did veto SB 6617 that would protect state legislators from having to fulfill public disclosure requests that other electeds have to.  It happened because of the volume of contact that the Governor's office received.  I'll also note that my own reps had two VERY different letters when I contacted them on this issue.  The first was a bit whiny about why it was a good bill but they needed to protect their process and the second was "I apologize; we were wrong."  

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Friday Open Thread

(Going up on Thursday; I have a very busy Friday.)

The district has an Emergency and Communications message up.  It's fairly vague; I urge you to talk to your principal or, better yet, ask your principal/PTA to have an evening to talk about concerns about your particular school.

From Washington's Paramount Duty

Dear Education Advocate,

There is still a lot of work to do in order to fully and amply fund our public schools, as you well know. Right now legislators are about to vote on a budget that will help get us toward that goal, and they need to hear from you before they vote!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Seattle School Board to Discuss Resolution on Gun Safety

It's at today's Work Sessions.  The Resolution has been put forward by the entire Board.  They will apparently be taking action on it at the Work Session.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Monday, February 26, 2018

Fighting for Safety in our Schools

The National School Walkout, planned by Women’s March organizers, will be on March 14 at 10 am in each time zone. It calls for students, faculty, parents, and others to walk out of school for 17 minutes — one minute for each person who was killed in the Florida school shooting. For more, check out the official website and Facebook page.

Call Your Legislative Reps TODAY


The Senate Ways and Means Committee is reviving the Enhanced Background Checks for Assault Weapons (SB5444) as part of a package of school safety measures in SB6620. The bill was first read on Friday 2/23.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Yes, Public Education Will Solve Everything (Can't)


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Seattle Schools, Week of Feb. 26-March 2, 2018

Monday, Feb. 26th
Mayor Durkan and the Department of Education and Early Learning will have an event at Garfield High School from 5:30-6:30 pm.

On School Shootings; What's Happened Since

I'll be upfront with what I believe.

This "what shall we do" idea of everything but restricting guns is America's way of saying, "I give up."  Well, I don't give up.

This is NOT the new normal; it's not normal at all and I refuse to accept that. 

NO other first-world country has this issue.  Nobody.  

I am sorry it has taken mass shooting after mass shooting, especially of children, to strike a match but now it's a fire and it's unstoppable. 

Onward.

The President is advocating that teachers be armed (and get a bonus in pay if they do).  His ignorance and hubris is laughable.  I have not seen a teachers group or law enforcement group yet endorse his idea and, in fact, they are against it. 

What about Boys?

The #Me, Too movement has done a great service in bringing issues - ugly, unpleasant issues - that many women and girls have faced since forever.  I think there is some gray to the topic - Harvey Weinstein is disgusting and likely a rapist but what about former Senator Franken and comic Aziz Ansari?  Their "crimes" are, to me, more in the "boy, he's a jerk that has the mentality of a 15-year old boy."

It's interesting because I was trying to explain that last one to my younger son (now a young adult) and I said in the case of Ansari, that the young woman should have gotten up and ended the date.  But my son thoughtfully pointed out that may have been what a woman in my generation would have done but in his generation, women don't want to put up with that behavior.  Point taken.  (But the woman only confronted him later in a text and then wrote a whole public essay on it.)

But the extreme side of this kind of aggression is in the mass shootings that we have seen.  The overwhelming majority of them have been by young males (certainly men under 40 and much younger) who seem to be very angry and most of the men are white.  (Before anyone jumps in, yes, there are probably -per capita - more shootings by black men but those tend to be one-on-one, not mass shootings.  I'll also note that many of the shootings at high schools are in rural and suburban areas, not urban schools.)

Why are these boys and men so angry?  I'm not even sure it's all about mental illness (although that's also possible - most people would say that anyone who would kill IS mentally ill).

What is it to be a man today? 

Friday, February 23, 2018

Friday Open Thread


Nice idea: parents painting motivational art on school lockers/bathroom stall doors.

 Tomorrow is Visual Arts Career Day at SAM.
Visual Arts Career Day is a free event that provides youth ages 14-21 with direct access to visual arts industry professionals through networking, experiential learning, engaging sessions, and hands-on art making in partnership with One Reel, and the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture.
Participants are exposed to a wide range of career opportunities in the visual arts including a chance to connect with artists, designers, educators, curators, photographers, art advocates, professionals in retail, fundraising, management, arts administration, and more.
Registration Required
Also in the same vein:

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Three director community meetings with directors tomorrow, Saturday the 24th

Patu - 9:30-11 am at Raconteur, 5041 Wilson Ave S
Pinkham - 1-2:30 pm at Northgate Public Library, 10548 5th Ave NE
Mack - 1-3 pm at Magnolia Public Library, 2801 34th Ave W. 

What's on your mind?

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Please Contact Your State Legislator Tomorrow

Update: well, the majority of our legislature voted for this bill to cover their asses.  Bravo for them.

Education News Stories That Depress

The most shocking story of the day is the firing of one of the founders of KIPP, one of the largest charter school groups in the country, for sexual misconduct with a student in the '90s.  From the NY Times:

Garfield Students May Have Saved Lives

What is up with this? Last week a Garfield student had been telling other students about how to have a school shooting.  The students told a teacher who did nothing.

It was not until those students saw a photo of a revolver the arrested teen had put up at Snapchat that those students AGAIN raised an alarm to "school staff."

This raises all kinds of questions like:

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Field Trips: Again, a Source of Confusion

Or are they?

I will be writing a larger story about the annual Garfield field trip for their Marine Biology class.  (The school has been taking this trip for about 40 years and many students have said it was a catalyst to their interest in going into the field.) 

For right now, though, I thought it valid to state how this issue might be an issue for other schools AND the continuing need for the district to be clear on field trip policy.

I am waiting for feedback to my questions from district communications but here's the confusion that I have concern about for these parents (and other parents).

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Tuesday Open Thread

Mayor Durkan is to give her State of the City speech this morning at Rainier Beach High School.  Wish it was when school was in session.

Word is that the state has brought in more revenue - $1.3B - than expected.  Of course, the question then is, how to spend it?

Sunday, February 18, 2018

This and That

Here's the weekly legislative update on public education measures in the Washington State Legislature via WSSDA (Washington State School Directors Association).

Report from KUOW on the City's Pre-K program; so-so academically.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

“We’re children,” he said. “You guys are the adults.”

Second update: a link to the 14 students and three staffers who were killed.  Open the link and look at their faces; next time, it could be your child.  There is NO safe place left in this country.

From an excellent article in the New Yorker:
The gun lobby, and the Republican Party it controls, have accepted as a matter of necessity the ongoing deaths of hundreds of children as the price that they are prepared to pay for the fetishization of weapons. The claim of this lobby’s complicity in murder is not exaggerated or hysterical but, by now, quite simple and precise: when you refuse to act to stop a social catastrophe from happening, you are responsible for the consequences of the social catastrophe.
Do something today.  Tell your family and friends on Facebook. Stand up and be counted.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Another School Shooting

Update: I will strive to differentiate between shootings at school properties and people shot while at school.  I see there is pushback on the number of "school shootings" since January 1.  Of course, how silly that we would argue this since there should be NO school shootings of any kind.

end of update

Yet ANOTHER school shooting, this time at a Florida high school.  There were at least 20 people shot but they have not yet said how many died. 

On this point, we live in an insane country.  It IS not worth the fear, pain and death that having easy access to guns allows.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

This and That

It appears that the district will be granting a leave of absence to Lowell principal, Colleen Stump, as soon as this Friday.  No word on her replacement.

No sure if the district's Science Department is really hearing what parents and teachers are saying but here's what I'm hearing about the new changes for high school science.

Tuesday Open Thread

Despite overflowing speaker lists at the last several Board meetings, this list for tomorrow night's meeting isn't even full.

I see that former Mayor/City Council member Tim Burgess is already stumping for the City's pre-K levy.   He does leave out several things like how the City is much less a good partner to the district than the district is to the City.  I'll have a separate thread on this but I hope this Board tell the City some things need to be clarified and/or changed for this "partnership."

And, everyone on the City Council as well as Mayor Durkan need to publicly state their views on charter schools.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Salmon Bay K-8 Film Series

PIE (Parent Information Exchange) Presents: Film Series 2018

Our Public Schools: Promises and Threats In The 21st Century

The series will be at Salmon Bay School, 1810 NW 65th Street at 7 pm.
   
Films will be shown at 7:00 PM on: 

Feb. 13   /  Feb. 28
Mar. 7  /  Mar. 13

 Film #1
Backpack Full Of Cash
TUESDAY, FEB. 13, 2018,  7:00 PM

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Seattle Schools This Week - Feb. 12-17, 2018

 I'm sure you received notification but the bus drivers' strike has ended and bus service will resume tomorrow morning.

Business on Parade - Wonder How Amazon Would Run Public Education?

The Puget Sound Business Journal recently had an op-ed with this usual type of business headline, "Money Won't Fix Our Education System." I would link it but they have a paywall; a friend sent it to me. Its author, one Bob Wallace, a CEO of something, said the tired old standards:

Friday, February 09, 2018

Friday Open Thread

I see that there is a BEX Oversight Committee meeting this morning.  I haven't been in quite awhile as there is more talk about projects than any visioning about facilities.  But BEX V is coming up and many communities would like to see their name on that list.  So I note that the agenda says that the meeting next month will have "BEX V Capital Levy Presentation."  

A kinder, gentler Betsy DeVos?  Not really but she's working with a right-wing message guru who is urging less of "choice" and more about "innovation."  I'll just note that one of the main dings against most charters schools across the country is that they are NOT more innovative.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Seattle Schools Superintendent Search Updates

I have attended the last two meetings with Board members discussing the search for a new superintendent to replace Larry Nyland.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Two Items of Note - HC Capacity at Ingraham and High School Sciences

Editor's note:  a sharp-eyed reader asked about a quote I attributed to Mr. Kinoshita that seemed to be from Director Rick Burke.  I have corrected that in red in the high science science discussion.  My apologies to Mr. Kinoshita and Director Burke.

end of update

Some of you have wondered this outloud at this blog about HC capacity at Ingraham and one parent did so to Director Mack:

A parent pointed out to me that this page still says "space available" for Ingraham IBX, and since the cap is lifted it might be confusing to people.

Now unfortunately, that link to the enrollment page that she was sent is now dead but here are the answers from Enrollment (to directors and bold mine):

We have done the following in regards to communication around the additional HC seats available at Ingraham:

  • Updated the school choice documents referenced below to indicate the increased seat capacity at Ingraham.
  • Updated the Advanced Learning Page with this information about increased seat capacity at Ingraham.
  • Briefed Admissions, Enrollment Planning, and Advanced Learning staff on the changes to ensure that families questions can be answered appropriately particularly in regards to those asking about the seats available at Ingraham.
  • Connected and informed Principal Floe about increased available of HC seats. Principal Floe is supportive of the change.

The second update is the discussion at yesterday's Curriculum&Instruction meeting about high school science.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Tuesday Open Thread

The bus strike continues.  What are you seeing/hearing at your school?  From the district:

Monday, February 05, 2018

Special Education in Seattle Schools: Why Not Better for These Students?

Several stories across my desk on this issue.

Seattle Schools' Teachers to Walk Out This Wednesday

My reading of this is that it should not affect students but just know your child's teachers will not be available if you had planned to try to talk to them on Wednesday afternoon.

From SEA

Solidarity Walkout FAQ

Seattle Schools Reports Allegation of Sex Abuse by IA/Sub

 Update: SPS Communications responded and stated that SPD is asking that the district not release any more info on the individual in question so as not to possibly hurt the investigation.  They did confirm that the individual was only hired as an IA and not a sub.

end of update

From West Seattle Blog (thanks to reader Miramac1):

Seattle Public Schools confirms this letter – shared with us by a Denny International Middle School parent – was sent to the school’s families tonight:

Dear Denny Middle School families:

This letter is being sent home to our families to share important information about a serious allegation and our commitment to student safety.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Seattle Schools This Week - Feb. 5-10, 2018

A busy week before Mid-Winter Break.

Washington State Charter School Updates - Green Dot

When I last left this topic, I was going to attend  the Charter Commission meeting.  I did on January 18th in Tacoma and I testified before the Commission about the issues with Green Dot charter schools regarding zoning departures that they sought for a middle school and a high school in the Rainier Valley, near RBHS.

They did receive the middle school departure but under sketchy circumstances and the high school departure had been put on hold by the City pending a protest from the district.  Green Dot had let the Commission know that they might do one of several things but have, in the end, decided to scale back to keep that location.  Meaning, they have withdrawn their request for a zoning departure.

Friday, February 02, 2018

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Monday, January 29, 2018

Black Lives Matter in Schools Announcement from Social Equity Educators

SEE's press release on upcoming events (partial):
Thousands of educators across Seattle, and many more across the country, will be wearing “Black Lives Matter” shirts to school and teaching lessons about structural racism, Black identity, and Black history for a nationally organized week of action from February 5-9th.  Cities such as LA, Portland, Chicago, Detroit, New York City, Newark, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Boston, and more, will be joining this unprecedented national uprising to affirm the lives of Black students, teachers, and families.  The national Black Lives Matter at School coalition that organized the week of action has issued three demands:
1)    End Zero Tolerance, and implement Restorative Justice.
2)    Hire More Black Teachers in our Schools.
3)    Black History/Ethnic Studies Mandated K-12.

In addition, educators in Seattle added two more demands:
 4) Fully fund our schools
 5) De-track our schools to combat racial segregation

Two Arts-Based Events for Kids

One event is at Seattle Public Libraries.

Seattle School Board Meeting, January 31, 2018

Seattle Schools for the Week, January 29-Feb 3, 2018

Monday, January 29th
Huchoosedah Culture Night at Boren STEM K-8 from 5:30-7:30 pm

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Seattle Superintendent Search Updates

The very latest update is that the Board will be having a Work Session this week on the superintendent search.  It's Tuesday from 4:40-6:30 pm in the Board conference room.   I would assume all the Board would be in attendance but who might represent staff will be interesting to see.

As for the community meeting held at Nova High School on January 18th, here's what I saw and heard.

It was an underwhelming-sized crowd, maybe 35 people.  And I wish there were more community meetings to get input.

President Leslie Harris led the meeting with Director Eden Mack in attendance.

President Harris said that "we want a superintendent for longer than 3-4 years and want someone who is excited to be here and leverage gains made for the next 10 years."  She said that Seattle is a wealthy city but that the rich/poor and race/ethnicity gaps remain and closing that is the single most important thing to get done.

It was noted that the application for superintendent had already gone out as of that date and that the district was looking for leadership; not just from educators but from others who have shown they can be agents of change.

The timeline is as follows:

Friday, January 26, 2018

Eleven Shootings at Schools Since 2018 Started

From the New York Times:
On Tuesday, it was a high school in small-town Kentucky. On Monday, a school cafeteria outside Dallas and a charter school parking lot in New Orleans. And before that, a school bus in Iowa, a college campus in Southern California, a high school in Seattle.

Gunfire ringing out in American schools used to be rare, and shocking. Now it seems to happen all the time.

The scene in Benton, Ky., on Tuesday was the worst so far in 2018: Two 15-year-old students were killed and 18 more people were injured. But it was one of at least 11 shootings on school property recorded since Jan. 1, and roughly the 50th of the academic year.

Science Curriculum Revision Open Thread

Update: a great compilation of dual courses (AP/IB/CIHS, not Running Start) created by parent Bonnie Manley Heidal.

 I note from Facebook questions that it's not entirely accurate but, as I pointed out, this is what the district/schools are publishing in their master schedules.  Fine, if it's wrong, then correct it but inaccurate schedules only serve to confuse parents and students.   Thanks to Bonnie.

end of update

I put this up for anyone who wants to weigh in on the parent meeting last night a Ballard High on this topic.

Friday Open Thread

Great article about the need for civics from an article at Crosscut about the visit of Justice Sonia Sotomayor. 

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Bill in Support of Highly Capable Services

From Austina De Bonte, noted expert on highly capable services in Washington State (she's the expert former director Sue Peters brought in to speak to the Board and staff last spring):

Tuesday Open Thread

Hey, guess who's coming to breakfast with the Washington Policy Center?  Former D. C. Chancellor of schools Michelle Rhee on Valentine's Day.

We hope you can join us on February 14th to hear her dynamic presentation on her experience with education reform in Washington, D.c. and ideas for education reform today.

A Thurston County judge ruled that yes, our state legislators do have to respond to public disclosure requests.  This story from KNKX doesn't have it included but yes, they will go to the Washington State Supreme Court.  

Seattle School Board Meeting, January 17, 2018

I had an earlier thread about the increasing length of Board meetings and my suggestions for trimming them down.  Democracy should not be about who can stay awake the longest.  I note tha Director Burke left at about hour three to catch a plane.  Agenda

Monday, January 22, 2018

Work Session on SMART Goals Check-in

The Board is having a Work Session tomorrow to go over all the SMART goals.  From the presentation (partial):

Seattle Special Education PTSA

Please join Seattle Public Schools Vision Services Program for a discussion panel of adults with visual impairment and parents that have raised individuals with visual impairments. Hear their experiences growing up VI, navigating the school system, ask questions and have an opportunity to engage in personal discussions.

Jack Straw will be doing activities with students in the cafeteria, while parents attend the discussion panel in our library. Light refreshments will be served & free parking provided in the school lot. Families of students with visual impairment from across the Puget Sound area are all welcome! We hope you can join us!

Thursday January 25, 6:00 p.m. — 8:00 p.m.
Lowell Elementary School

1058 E. Mercer St
Email: mifarrell@seattleschools.org


R.S.V.P. and direct any questions to Michelle Farrell (above) so we can have a head count of students and parents attending