Sunday, June 16, 2019

Seattle City Council Race District 3 - A Firm No on Zachary DeWolf

I don't normally jump into City Council races except on issues of public education.  But when a sitting Board director decides to jump ship for a City Council position, it'sa good idea for voters to consider a candidate's current performance as an elected official.  Which brings me to Zachary DeWolf.

As some may know, Director DeWolf was not my first choice when he was ran for school board.  I had met with him - twice - to see what he knew and learn his reasons for running.  I had come away seeing that, while he has a good heart and is he is an eager learner, I believed he would be in way over his head on the Board.  But, as it turned out, he cleared the primary along with another candidate who was a charter school supporter and I threw my support to DeWolf.  Repeatedly, on this blog and in social media.

He did end up winning.  But sadly, he has been a disappointment for a couple of simple reasons and this is why I urge voters in District 3 to vote for other candidates in the race.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Board Announces Process to Fill Betty Patu’s Seat

The Seattle School Board has put forth the process for choosing and seating a successor to Director Betty Patu who is stepping down from her post in District 7,effective July 1. 2019. She has served for a decade and the Rainier Beach High School library will be named in her honor.

As the process notification states, by state law, Patu’s departure before the regular election cycle means the current Board will choose her replacement who will then serve out her term of roughly two more years. Then, in November 2021, there will be a regular election for a four-year member. The Board hopes to swear in its newest member on August 28, 2019.

Be Civil

Some of you may have noticed that I turned on the Comment Moderation.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Best Wishes to the Grads of 2019!

Image may contain: text

Friday Open Thread

Got a grad?  A good article from the New York Times about learning to be a financially responsible young adult.

Speaking of graduations, there has been a spate of stories about student speakers speaking their mind at commencements around the country.  From the charter school grad in Detroit who called out her school (and got her mic cut) as well as the San Diego student thanking all the great teachers and staff but calling out (not by name but by job) the counselor who didn't get scholarship information to her in a timely manner to the teacher she claims was regularly drunk in class - these kids have something to say going out the door.

From district Communications:
At the beginning of the school year, Amazon made a generous donation of $2 million to our partner, Alliance for Education, to support improved learning for students in Seattle Public Schools. 

This grant, the Right Now Needs Fund, helps schools address barriers to learning by supporting our young scholars’ basic needs, such as school supplies, clothing, or food. Funds are available for students during the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years, including the summer.

Did you know that any school community member can submit a recommendation for these funds? As we head into summer break, these funds can help students whose families could use extra support with groceries or access to summer enrichment programs. 

Googling for "Amplify" and Seeing the Future From the Past

I was looking for some information about Amplify Science K-5 and I stumbled onto a report by one of the many public education coalition groups (Google "public education coalition groups" and see how many turn up).   This particular one is called America Forward.

What I found was a submission to the Office of Science and Technology Policy to comment on a Federal Register Notice regarding "High Impact Learning Technologies" from America Forward.  This was the focus for comments;

We are very supportive of OSTP developing policies related to high-impact learning technologies outlined in the notice, and are especially eager to comment on the use of Pay for Success (PFS) as a ‘pull mechanism’ to accelerate the development, rigorous evaluation, and widespread adoption of high impact learning technologies.
At first I was a bit puzzled how this pulled up for a search of Amplify.   I scrolled down to page 7 which had a list of the-then coalition members. No Amplify.  But I get to page eight and there's input from none other than Amplify Learning, dated March 7, 2014.

I think it's important in the context of the recent adoption of Amplify K-8 for SPS to consider these words carefully (color mine).

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Seattle Schools Evicts Native Youth Program from Robert Eagle Staff MS

 Update 2: Director Pinkham was at the rally at RESMS last night in support of UNEA.

end of update

Update: story from Crosscut.

end of update


A Native youth program with a record of boosting graduation rates and cultural enrichment for Seattle students has been evicted from Robert Eagle Staff building, echoing the heartbreak of broken agreements with local Native Americans over centuries.

On Friday, June 4th, Urban Native Education Alliance (UNEA) was sent notice by Seattle Public School Area Director Jon Halfacker announcing the Partnership Agreement will be “terminated”. This termination has been decided without due process, dialogue, or foundation in fact.
“The abrupt termination of the ‘Partnership Agreement’ with our successful Clear Sky tutoring, mentorship, and cultural Education program ‑ along with the Native Warrior Athletics basketball program ‑ will have reverberating impact on hundreds of Seattle Public Schools’ Native learners, families, volunteers, Robert Eagle Staff and Licton Springs learning community and our intertribal urban community”, stated Sarah Sense‑Wilson (Oglala), Urban Native Education Alliance Board of Directors Chair.
Clear Sky’s youth programming holds 11‑year record of 100% graduation for involved Native youth K‑12, and stands as a recognized model for improving Native student academic and personal youth outcomes. Clear Sky served 97 Native students, 62 volunteers, 61 Native Warrior Athletics student athletes, and over 811 combined community members, volunteers,students and allied programs in the past school year.

One-Day Sports Camp for Kids

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Scholarship Opportunity for 2019 Grads

The Schott Foundation for Public Education is giving away one $1,000 scholarship to a 2019 graduate of a U.S. public school who has been admitted to a college or university. Apply today: the contest is open now and ends at midnight Eastern Time on June 30, 2019. Learn more about the contest here: http://www.publicschoolgrad.org

Wednesday Open Thread

I attended both the Board Audit&Finance committee meeting and the Curriculum&Instruction committee meeting this week.  Interesting discussions at both that I will be writing about soon.   I note that the only school board candidate at either meeting, was Lisa Rivera Smith who was at the C&I meeting.  This was a bit of a disappointment as these last committee meetings of the year are key ones.  Plus, the sooner that candidates understand the scope of the work the better.  The learning curve for the Board is huge and I think that surprises many new directors.

Great article at The Atlantic by local rich guy, Nick Hanauer, called Better Schools Won't Fix America.  He gets it half right:

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Slogging Through the Board Meeting; Science Adoption K-5

As you may well imagine, anyone in the room that night was exhausted (and they had a huge list of Intro items to get thru).  But they had to finish the Science Adoption and the last item was K-5.

President Harris inquired of legal counsel, Ronald Boy, if they needed to read into the minutes the amendment that had previously been enacted by the vote on Amplify middle school science (given both middle and elementary schools will be using Amplify).

Director Burke wanted to highlight that the amendment that he and Director Scott Pinkham had created before the meeting (that appeared in the agenda) had been withdrawn before the meeting.

Director Jill Geary stated that it should be amended per the previous amendment, with a check-in at year four with Research & Evaluation using various assessments.

That amendment passed 5-2, with Pinkham and Burke once again voting no.

On the Main Motion to Adopt Amplify for K-5

Monday, June 10, 2019

Cancelled -HCS—AC Relaunch Meeting On Wednesday

 Update: this meeting has been cancelled.

Editor’s note - I changed the blog title as apparently it did not accurately reflect the meeting information.  I actually did this to try to allow more parents to be aware of this meeting but I’m feeling like no good deed goes unpunished.

End of note

The Highly Capable Services Advisory Committee (HCS-AC) and HiCap Seattle would like to warmly invite all community members committed to the education of highly capable and twice exceptional students in Seattle to join us for our re-launch meeting this Wednesday (June 12, 2019, 7:00 p.m. in the Cascadia Elementary School library). We would like your input at this kick-off event to engage and unify the hicap/2e community on advocacy for hicap/2e students with schools, district staff, and board members on behalf of hicap/2e students, and lay plans for outreach and advocacy in the 2019-202 school year.

Please join us:
Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at 7 p.m.
Cascadia Elementary School library
1700 N 90th St, Seattle, WA 98103