Sunday, December 05, 2021

New Seattle School Board President Hersey

Again, man, he has moved up quickly. Cast your mind back about two years ago when Director Betty Patu stepped down before her term was done in District 7. There were 12 people signed up, including Hersey. He was one of three finalists and got the nod.

Fast forward to May of 2021 and only Hersey and another woman signed up to run. The woman did nothing but sign up so the position was his. How did things change so much in less than 2 years and no one felt the need to challenge him? Another "hmmm" moment. 

 Hersey - now president of the Board - seems to be really comfortable in the role. 

Friday, December 03, 2021

Where is the Action?

 It appears that Ballard High School has turmoil within its halls. 

Does that make them different from any other American public high school? Probably not. 

What I am hearing from students and teachers is that both groups are scared and anxious and exhausted. 

What I am hearing from students is that they see no real change on the horizon from the district or the Board. This is NOT the first time there have been issues around perceived racism from high school assignments. It will say that one report says that the father in the LA assignment issue stated that he called the teacher 14 times. 

There was an issue probably seven years ago around an assignment to read Brave New World and when a Native American student expressed worry and discomfort, there wasn't much sympathy. The Board actually had a hearing but sided with the teacher. Maybe this Board should go back and read a transcript of that hearing to see what not to do. 

What I am hearing is that students need to feel more secure NOW about issues around sexual harassment and assault. Waiting for a Taskforce report in spring 2022 seems very much "a wait-and-see" attitude. 

Here's a missive sent yesterday from the interim BHS principal:

Seattle Times Speaks Up About the Seattle School Board

 A rather interesting editorial appeared in the Times yesterday. 

Basically, they seem to know that things have not been going well on the Board and put forth the hope for better from new Board president Brandon Hersey.

Wednesday’s selection of Seattle Public Schools Board President Brandon Hersey should be a springboard to greater board transparency and meaningful engagement with parents and community.

They also note this which I would have to believe most parents don't even know about - a new kind of governance around student achievement. I will go into this in depth in a separate post but it feels that the district is listening quite a lot to a group, the Council of Great City Schools.

They note a quote from Hersey at their endorsement meeting:

I think that it’s critical to know, as a board director, what role that you play and how to do that effectively. Because when you don’t, you have instances where we might be getting more in the way than we need to be.”

And then they let Director Chandra Hampson have it about her ability "to get more in the way":

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Seattle School Board - Still a Real Problem

Update 2

I should have clarified that I left watching the Board meeting after public testimony. I posted this thread at that time. 

I hd seen a couple of comments on this thread that said I was trying to silence Sarju and I was completely mystified.

Apparently, Director Sarju made an admission later in the meeting about surviving a terrible sexual assault in her youth. (I cannot yet listen to that part of the meeting but I will.) I did not know about this.

My comment about her being a talker was about the beginning of the meeting. In the the past, I have also said this about Jill Geary, Eden Mack, and Sharon Peaslee, all white women. And, former Board president Chandra Hampson is the one who brought in a 2-minute limit for Board comments (and yet never applied it to herself).

The amount of time any given director takes to make a point impacts the length of the meetings which many directors have always felt are too long. What makes it really interesting is that the last Board voted to bring in 3 student "directors." If they think that having three more people up there at the dais is going to make for shorter meetings, I think they will be sorely surprised. 

end of update.

Update: it appears one director misspoke and there is no lawsuit over the HIB findings against Chandra Hampson and Zachary DeWolf.

end of update

If you go by the incredibly weird and awful process that was the election of new Board leadership, you'd come to this conclusion as well.

I will just put up the new leaders but there is a LOT to report out about what was said (and boy, Michelle Sarju has shown she is going to be a talker). 

President - Brandon Hersey

VP - Chandra Hampson

Member-at-large - Lisa Rivera Smith

One tidbit that I will throw out - it appears that a lawsuit has been filed by the Black staffers who accused former director Zachary DeWolf and current Director Chandra Hampson of HIB (harassment, intimidation and bullying) which an independent investigation said likely occurred with the directors using their "positional authority" to act against these women. I am not surprised.

I will look into the lawsuit - not sure if it is against one director or both or the district itself.  

BHS Parents - Is Your Student Going to the Meeting Today?

Update: I was mistaken about the meeting; it is just  about addressing the issues around sexual harassment/assault. 

It appears it is at the same time as tryouts for the school musical so that's kind of tone-deaf.

From what I am hearing, more students are interested in going to protest at today's Board meeting. (Just to note, the Board is having their election for Board leadership so there will be a new president. It's 99% going to be Brandon Hersey.

There are 16 spaces open on the speaker list so if your child is going to the Board meeting, tell them to sign up and they have 2-minutes for each person.

end of update.

The meeting about strife at Ballard High that appears to take place right after school?

Could you ask your student to record the audio of the meeting by requesting to put their phone on the stage or table where the adults will be speaking? It’s a public meeting so they have a legal right to do so. 

Or take notes especially about what the students’ concerns that get expressed are? The size of the crowd? The adults running the meeting? Any mention of Principal Wynkoop?

Also, let us know if the adults suggest a moment of silence for the three Oxford High students who were killed yesterday. 

I would love to do a write-up. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

MORE Killings at an American High School

 America, what have we done?

This is today's shooting at a suburban high school. The kids hear someone knock and say "Sheriff" and realize that it's the shooter and run to jump out windows. 

Today is Giving Tuesday and Everytown for Gun Safety is getting a dollar for dollar match from Michael Bloomberg. Consider donating.

I hang my head in shame. Who does this to kids?

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Ballard High School Principal put on Administrative Leave

Readers, I have been reading many articles and hearing from many parents about issues at Ballard High School around the leadership of principal Kevin Wynkoop.

Important to note is that on Monday, December 1, the administration is having a meeting for students about the issue of sexual harassment. This via Rob Gannon, Deputy Superintendent. Wynkoop is not mentioned. 

Q & A Session for BHS Students from 3-4 in the PAC. District email sent to families. 

This special Q&A session is being offered for Ballard High School students after school on Wednesday, December 1, 2021, from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center.

The information session will be facilitated by staff from the SPS Title IX Office and will include opportunities for students to ask questions. 

A similar virtual informational opportunity is being developed for all SPS students, parents, and families later in December. More details will be forthcoming soon.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Harrell Announces Picks for Advisory Groups

 Some interesting picks for the various advisory committees for Mayor-elect Bruce Harrell.  Full list here.

Under "Education and Youth"

-  School Board Director Brandon Hersey - Wow, if he becomes Board president (and I think he will), he's sure going to have a busy new year. But at least it's not Stephan Blanford. 

- Superintendent Brent Jones - Jones has his hands full as well in the new year.

- Rep Sharon Tomiko-Santos -She's a long-time supporter of public education in the Washington State Legislature.

-Vivian Song Maritz - Something of an oddity given she does not have a high profile in public education in Seattle but she's also a bright, involved public school parent. 

Teachers Matter

ask Adele

Monday, November 22, 2021

Seattle Times Finally Prints the Seattle School Board Harassment Story

Well, well, well, look who FINALLY printed the investigation story about Board directors Chandra Hampson and Zachary DeWolf being found to have used "positional authority" against two senior staffers. 

The Seattle Times.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Around the Horn with the Seattle School Board

Last night there was a school board meeting and a LOT of the meeting got taken up with farewells to Director Zachary DeWolf and Director Erin Dury. This was their last meeting as directors. (The new directors - Michelle Sarju, Vivian Song Maritz and current member, Brandon Hersey - will be given their oath of office on November 30th. Their first board meeting as directors will be December 1st.) Director Lisa Rivera Smith was not in attendance. 

I'll be honest; I always dislike these public farewells. I'm fine with noting it, taking a photo, and the Board president extolling their virtues, etc. but man, these extended lovefests just don't seem right at a public board meeting. Director Harris was talking about having margaritas with DeWolf. Save it for the party.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Lincoln High School PTSA Working on Race and Equity

May be an image of text that says 'Lincoln High School PTSA's Diversity, Equity & Inclusion committee presents a Six-Week Online Course: FROM ALLY TO ANTIRACIST Cultivating and Committing to Action in the Face of Life's Obstacles with Jonathan W. Kanter, Ph.D., Director, UW Center for the Science of Social Connection and Behavioral Scientist, UW Medicine Office of Health Care Equity Wednesday Evenings 7:00 to 8:30 pm Dec. 1, Dec. 8, Dec. 15, Jan. 5, Jan. 12, Jan. 19 Limitedto 100 Participants Suggested donation for 6-week course $250 το SIGN UP & DONATE, TEXT DEI το 41444'

Dear Alumni and Staff,

The Lincoln PTSA DEI committee is offering this 6-week online course as a fundraiser. It will be on zoom, and any interested alumni and staff, wherever you may live now across the country or the globe, is welcome to join. The funds raised will be shared with Alliance for Education, and used to support equity at Lincoln and across public schools in the Seattle area. To register, email lincolnptsadei@gmail.com or text DEI to 41444.