Sunday, January 14, 2018

Seattle Schools, Week of January 15-20, 2018

Monday, January 15th
Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday
Admission to all state parks is free in honor of the day.  Note: The free days do not apply to Sno-Parks.

Tuesday, January 16th
Special Education: Southeast Regional Meeting
South Shore K-8 from 6-7:30 pm.

The Special Education Department is hosting Regional Meetings for families and the community to learn about changes that are happening in Special Education in Seattle Public Schools. We want to listen to you and hear your questions. Please join Wyeth Jessee, Chief of Student Supports; Trish Campbell, Beth Mills, and Nicole Fitch, Directors of Special Education; the Regional Supervisor and Program Specialists for your area; the Special Education Ombudsperson, Special Education Parent Partners, and more Special Education staff. Supervised children’s activities, light snack, and interpreters will be provided.
 Questions? Contact: Margo Siegenthaler at 206-252-0794,

Wednesday, January 17th
Regular Board Meeting, starting at 4:15 pm.  Agenda

- on the Consent agenda, there is a boundary adjustment for Genesee Hill Elementary because of their explosion of growth from 584 in 2013 to 718 this year.  The building's capacity is 660.  Genesee Hill is now the largest elementary in the district (I think Bryant may be second.)

- The Naviance contract for "College and Career Readiness" for about $620K over three years.  Wait, the BAR has been amended to $594,066.63.  There is no explanation for the drop in price.

From the Timeline, it would appear this project is behind.

It is also unclear to me if Naviance provides 24/7 help to report crisis problems.  They operate from 7 am-7 pm EST, Monday-Friday.

One bit of interesting data is from page 50 of this BAR.  It lists the numbers of 8th graders in both middle schools and K-8s.  It's striking how low the enrollments are for most K-8.  It ranges from a high of 115 at Salmon Bay to a low at Licton Springs, 11.  Naturally, that could be about space.  But I also note these figures are from last year so why are they in a contract for this school year?

Let me be crystal clear, even if the district isn't - this is NOT just a way to help students with "career and college readiness and planning."  It's about collecting a lot of data on a lot of students.  Even when the contract ends, "...we do retain non-personal information, including aggregated, de-identified data."  So when the district pays Naviance for this contract, they are also giving away data.

I am still against this expenditure.  

I also note that there is now discussion of bringing back College/Career Counselors at our high schools at the last C&I meeting during a discussion about CTE.  

 - the Board will also be approving the Disciplinary Appeal Council for 2018-2021.  One new notation is this "Disciplinary Appeal Council Procedure 3201BP specifies that staff, not including teacher and principals, are considered community members on the council."  I don't know if this means school staff and JSCEE staff.

- the BAR for buying portables says that the Board approved up $4.51M to be used "to meet the short-term facility demands of projected increased enrollment..."


- approval of the calendar for school year 2018-2019
- New England Center for Children Contract Modification.  I include this item with no judgment because clearly, if a single child needs to be enrolled in residential facility in Massachusetts and the contract goes from $95,559.30 up to $391,900.21, then the needs of that child must be severe.

But it's important for parents and taxpayers to understand that educating all children, means all children.  And, these are the costs.

- Changing the charge of the BEX Oversight Committee to include BTA (Buildings, Technology and Academics). 

I think this is ridiculous.  The committee make-up does not support those with technology backgrounds, nor academic backgrounds.  They are increasing the number of the committee and maybe will include those with the necessary backgrounds but it's not in the BAR.

- Resolution by Directors DeWolf and Geary about HCC.  I will have a separate thread on this issue.  I believe the resolution needs some changes.

- Approval of the 2019-2020 High School Growth Boundaries Plan and HCC Pathways for 2020-2021.

Thursday, January 18th
Town Hall on the Superintendent Search
Link to survey which is open until Friday, January 19th
Nova High School from 6:30-8:30 pm

K-12 Education Funding and the Effects on SPS
Ballard High School from 7-9 pm

Saturday, January 20th
Seattle Alliance of Black School Educators Annual Summit in partnership with SPS (free)
Aki Kurose Middle School from 8 am - 3 pm.

Option School Choice Fair
Mercer International Middle School from 10 am to 2 pm

Community Meeting with Director Pinkham
Lake City Library from 10:30- noon

Community Meeting with Director Harris
West Seattle Library from 3-5 pm 

Dueling Ideas on What Public Education Should Be

Long-time public education activist, former legislator, former aide to Governor Inslee on public education, Marcie Maxwell, had put forth this idea about public education (which was penned by someone else but she tweaked the last line for Washington State):

Friday, January 12, 2018

Friday Open Thread

One director community meeting this weekend, on Sunday, with Director Mack at Magnolia Library from 1-2:30 pm.

The Seattle Times has a lengthy article about Seattle Schools' efforts on race and equity and closing the opportunity gap.  I'll have a separate thread on that one because there's a lot to unpack.

The district has a job opening for a Family Engagement Coordinator.  That's fine but man, the details about how to act and think in the job are blowing my mind.  Does all this have to be said out-loud have a job in SPS?
  • Demonstrates courage and confidence in his or her own ability.
  • Takes ownership if a mistake is their own and does not blame others.
  • Initiates action even if outcome is uncertain and is willing to accept the consequences of failure.
  • Relates well with others (plays well with others? echo)
  • Focuses his/her efforts on the most important priorities. 
  • Focuses on achieving the goal even in the face of obstacles.
Per a notice from the City of Seattle, the Families and Education Levy will be investing $1M in summer learning loss programs.   I'll note that this on-going investment is the only significant summer learning at SPS who gave up spending on summer school quite awhile back.

An early heads-up; noted educator and historian, Diane Ravitch, will be speaking at UW in April.  Registration has not yet opened but it's sure to fill up.  I have heard Diane before and she is a wonderful speaker.

Also to note, Crosscut is having the Crosscut Festival in early February - sort of a salon of discussion on many topics.
The Crosscut Festival will bring together some of the boldest thought leaders in politics, business and social justice activism to be interviewed live on stage by some of the finest journalists in the Pacific Northwest.
Their public education offering is Rethinking Schools to Create Education Equity.  

Have you noticed?  The Washington State Legislature is in session and hey! No one has any ideas on how to fund public education per the Washington State Supreme Court's ruling on McCleary.  Governor Inslee wants to use a carbon tax. From Crosscut:
Democrats don’t have a plan and Republicans aren’t interested in coming up with the money this year.

Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee offered an idea Tuesday during his State of the State address: A new $20-per-ton tax on carbon emissions. But he will need support from all 75 Democratic lawmakers in Olympia to pass it — something that isn’t currently a guarantee.
As well, the Breakfast after the Bell bill is on the table (again).

Superintendent Reykdal has a bill to give districts more flexibility when it comes to levy funding (trying to lessen the issues of the bill that was passed on McCleary funding that changed the levy formula).  

Speaking of Olympia, there will be a Justice 4Children Rally there on Monday, January 15th from 9:30-11:00 am.  

What's on your mind?

As an American, I Apologize

I feel like every single American needs to do this and since I have a public forum, even more so.

To anyone from Haiti, El Salvador, any African nation or any nation that is majority non-white, I apologize for the completely out-of-line, undiplomatic, hateful and yes, racist comment by Trump.  

He does NOT speak for the majority of Americans on this point and I say that with a complete belief in my fellow Americans.  We are ALL immigrants and someone let our families into this country at some point (including Trump's). 

The United States was built on and is great on the backs of immigrants AND those who were enslaved and brought here.  (Not to mention the real Americans - Native Americans - who were here first and then treated terribly.)

I can also say - with confidence - that talk like that, beliefs like that, are not what we want taught in American schools. 


Thursday, January 11, 2018

On Bus Service - Updates

I heard on KUOW that SPS teachers may take a half-day walkout in support of bus drivers.  It was stated that it would likely be on Wednesday when there is a half-day of school so as to not interrupt student learning.  Keep this on your radar.

Also, from statement from First Student:

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Have You Seen This? Teacher Arrested for Challenging Superintendent Raise

Update: when it makes national news, then it matters.  The Vermillion Parish School district superintendent cries on-camera.

Just when you think you've seen it all.

Teacher Deyshia Hargrave, in the Vermillion Parish School System in Abbeville, Louisiana, was asking questions at a school board meeting about why the superintendent was getting a raise when teachers hadn't received one in six years.   (The raise was predicated on the superintendent meeting certain goals.)

New Charter School Files to Open in Seattle

The district has been notified by the Washington State Charter Commission that a group seeks to open a K-8 charter school in SE Seattle at 4413 39th Ave SW in 2019.  (The building appears to be a former house.)

The closest SPS schools are Cooper-Boren K-8 and Genesee Hill and two private schools. 
Editor's note: got SW in my head and the address is South.  That places this school nearer to Hawthorne and Dearborn Park.

It is to be called Ashe Prep Academy.  It will start with K-2 and 6th.

The lead on this effort is Dr. Debra Sullivan who is the President of the Seattle Affiliate of the National Black Child Development Institute (NBCDI).

To note, what the Charter Commission received is just a notice of interest (NOI).  Notices of Intent (NOI) to Apply were due on December 1, 2017 and the WSCSC received four.

The other three are:

- the Academy of Empowerment, a K-8 language immersion in Federal Way  (French and Spanish)

- Fursan School, a K-12 that would start with Pre-K, K-2, in "King County" and be a bilingual STEM school.

I was interested in the name and found this from Wiki:
Al Fursan ( in English The Knights) is the aerobatics demonstration team of the United Arab Emirates Air Force

-Intergenerational High School, an arts/STEM school, in Whatcom County. 

Among what they hope to provide for students is this: Experiential and Phenomenon-based, Intergenerational mentorship.

All three hope to open in 2019.

Work Session on High School Boundaries

Here's the link to both parts of today's Work Sessions; the first on high school boundaries and the second on the budget for 2018-2019.  Currently, the high school boundaries discussion is first, starting at 4:30 pm.  The Budget portion starts at 6 pm, with an Executive Session (closed to public), starting at 7 pm.

In case you missed it, here are the two options for HCC pathways:

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Segregation and Seattle Schools

You'd have to be very new to this district to not know we have a fairly regular pattern of segregation in this district.  I will continue to say that I believe it is mainly the result of redlining for decades in Seattle and yet, was probably helped by the district following along.

The district did trying busing in the '70s but my impression is that almost no one was happy.  Just as many high school parents are today arguing against long bus rides for their students because of not having friends in the community, after-school activities and family time, many families back then found busing to have that problem.

With all the flailing around about where HC high school students will go and drawing high school boundaries, there has not been much talk about segregation.  

There have been several new articles on this extended topic (bold mine in all cases). 

Literary Career Day Event in February

Literary Career Day is a free event providing young people ages 16-24 with direct access to industry professionals through networking, experiential learning, engaging conversations, and performances. Participants are exposed to a wide range of career opportunities including writing, editing, publishing, arts administration, retail, library sciences, journalism, teaching, and more.

Literary Career Day takes place on Saturday, February 3 at The Seattle Central Library from 11:00am–4:00pm.

This event will start with Keynote Speakers, followed by lunch—free for all attendees—and a Table Fair featuring opportunities from local arts organizations. After lunch, attend the Breakout Session that's relevant to your interests. We'll finish off the afternoon with a Networking Party, featuring a live DJ, to help you get the most out of your Career Day!

Literary Career Day is produced in partnership with One Reel, Seattle Public Library, Seattle Office of Film and Music, and Seattle Office of Arts and Culture.

It doesn't say but I think registration is required. 

Tuesday Open Thread

Hope you saw my heads up on a possible bus strike due to drivers rejecting management's offer. 

From Twitter:
David Simon Retweeted The Associated Press

BREAKING: The Dow Jones industrial average closed above 25,000 points for the first time.
David Simon added,
BREAKING: The parents at my kid's Baltimore public school raised their own money to keep the school librarian.

Monday, January 08, 2018

Considering HCC

To better shape the discussion, here are a couple of documents you might have missed: