Round Up of Public Education News

 Locally Well, the third time's the charm; a St. Louis school district hired SPS' current CAO, Keisha Scarlett, to be their new superintendent.  Congrats to Dr. Scarlett on her new post (but I'm thinking she might not want Director Chandra Hampson at her going away party). Scarlett will finish her work in SPS on July 1.  In partnership with HDR Foundation and All Kids Bike, Hawthorne Elementary was gifted a fleet of bicycles as part of the Kindergarten Learn-to-Ride Physical Education Program.  Gov. Jay Islee and Superintendent Brent Jones surprised a gym full of kindergarteners with new bikes and helmets, as well as pedal conversion kits, one teacher instruction bike, and certified curriculum training for Hawthorne’s Physical Education teacher, Tahj Stewart.  It's National School Counseling Week and thank you to all those with that tough job.  State  A bill in the Washington State legislature on equity in gifted education Thanks to Senator Jamie Pedersen, from

Seattle Schools and "Closure and Consolidation" - What Next?

From my post on the recent Work Session on the Budget, here are some more thoughts. I've received several questions on one point - "Won't this make class sizes smaller if there are fewer students and fewer schools?" I wish but no. They will need to cram many more kids into fewer buildings.  Caveats: Do keep in mind that staff ABSOLUTELY already has their preliminary list of schools that would close and where the populations of those schools would go. Whether they have shared the list with the Board is doubtful. I have no uncertainty in my mind about that and a couple of readers have already put in their thoughts on that.  Again, from my experience on the last closure and consolidation committee (I think I even have my big binder on that),  any time you put a name on a list, that community goes crazy. I hope the district thinks about how to handle that kind of upset/anger. And I hope the Board will be prepared for some packed Board meetings and vocal parents.  I also

Is Seattle Public Schools Gonna Close Some Schools? The Answer is Yes

Update: Based on early comments, I need to make a few things clear.  1) Just because one person said something about a program or school at the Work Session, it does NOT mean anything. A lot was said but less was stated as fact. For example, dual language is probably going away. If anything, they should expand it because that WOULD draw parents back but dual language is a heavy lift and expensive. 2) President Hersey just alluded to receivership. That is unlikely to be on the table now. If SPS does not get its ducks in order in say 3-5 years, I'd say yes. But not now.  3) When I said "new district" in talking about the timeline, I meant the reorganized one from the closures. Close more than 10 schools (and I suspect it might be more), and the district will look quite different.  end of update I plowed through the two and a half hour Work Session on the Budget from last week. All the Board members were there along with Superintendent Brent Jones and senior staff. I'l

Around the Horn with Public Education

Looks like Keisha Scarlett, Chief Academic Officer for SPS, has applied for yet another superintendent position, this time in St. Louis.  She's one of three finalists. Here's hoping third time is the charm for her.  On Feb 1 the Board will be having an Executive Session for a half-hour on Feb. 1 for " Real Estate." To consider the selection of a site or the acquisition of real estate by lease or purchase when public knowledge regarding such consideration would cause a likelihood of increased price. Hmm. This will be followed by a Work Session, " Building Relationships with Youth."   There is no documentation attached yet. Then there will be another Executive Session , this one on "Litigation."  To discuss with legal counsel representing the agency litigation or potential litigation to which the agency, the governing body, or a member acting in an official capacity is, or is likely to become, a party, when public knowledge regarding the discussi

Will Seattle Schools Close Schools ?

The Board had a Work Session on the Budget yesterday that I was not able to attend but on Twitter, parents are reporting that there was talking about closing schools. Agenda and Powerpoint The meeting WAS recorded and here's the link . I'm going to try to listen to it this weekend. I will check to see if this was recorded so I can listen to the entire thing. If it wasn't recorded, then the Board and the Superintendent are doing a HUGE disservice to parents and taxpayers because if discussion of the budget - and its fallout like closing schools - is not worthy of recording, what is?  I note there was no mention of individual schools except Director Liza Rankin allegedly said option schools.  I see this on one slide: • Consolidate into a system of well-resourced schools   Know what was the first Board committee that I served on? It was called the Consolidation Committee and it was to close schools. I can write about that messed up process elsewhere but there is NO good way

Here Goes Nothing - Gender Identity and School Response

The NY Times has a very good article (with good comments) about the issue of schools supporting students who believe they are trans to use new names. The name of the article is: When Students Change Gender Identity, and Parents Don’t Know Educators are facing wrenching new tensions over whether they should tell parents when students socially transition at school. I had said I wanted to bring this up so here we go. A few early thoughts.  I'll just note here that we are talking about gender identity, not sexual preference. (Naturally there's overlap but sexual preference is another whole topic. What schools know and what parents know on that topic is also worthy of conversation.) I would also like to acknowledge that, on the surface, it may seem like many more kids are saying they are trans. But like other hot topics, is it that there is more public acknowledgement (especially within schools) that trans kids exist and therefore kids feel safer saying it out loud or is it