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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Tuesday Open Thread

From My Northwest: Good News: Washington Youth have Fifth lowest Obesity rate in the U.S.
Bad News: Washington youth between 10-17 are at an 11% obesity rate.  
Childhood obesity is on ongoing issue, with upwards of 4.8 million young people classified as obese, and the average obesity rate at 15.3 percent. 

Though the obesity rate in Washington state saw a slight increase over the past two years, Washington ranks 46th in the nation for 2017-18, in which children have the fifth lowest obesity rate in the country, and adults the 13th lowest.

Seeing that one in six young people in the country has obesity reminds all of us that we still have a long way to go to trulyturn these rates around,” said scientist Dr. Lydie Lebrun-Harris in the study.
Story from the Times on the reopening of Lincoln High school.
Today’s Lincoln is a technological testing ground for Seattle Public Schools, which gave each student a laptop and purchased several 3D printers. There is an entire room outfitted with exercise bikes, a “genius” bar for charging devices and a futuristic courtyard.

The school, which once had the most English learners of any high school in the district, caters to a wealthier and less racially diverse group of families and students than it did when it closed. Now, just 6% of students qualify for free and reduced-price lunch, compared to 42% 38 years ago.
There are some odd quotes in this story. One is by former director Stephan Blandford:
“At the same time we were talking about the need for Lincoln, we were talking about empty seats at Rainier Beach and Cleveland,”
Uh, if he doesn't know that there was space at Cleveland for more students (and a waitlist) but enrollment was capped by the district, he wasn't paying attention.

Also, there's a quote in there by Liza Rankin but no other Board candidate. As one commenter says:
Eric Blumhangen is the D1 candidate that sat on the district's enrollment and capacity planning committee. Why wouldn't the Seattle Times reporter interview Blumhagen on this issue. Instead, DB asks Blumhagen's opponent- Rankin for a comment. Very strange. Very strange.
Why would the Times give free advertising to one candidate and not the others? If you are running for a public office, anytime you can get your name in print as having knowledge of an issue, that's great.

Also, this:
The school denied multiple requests for a Times reporter to observe the teachers in action.
Weird.

On another topic, Washington State scores well in the "Do you like math?" question.  From the Seattle Times:
It may come as no surprise that math is more popular in a tech-savvy state like Washington than it is almost anywhere else in the country.
That’s according to a new survey that shows Washington and South Carolina tied at first place for math popularity, with 75% of respondents indicating they enjoy math. The survey was released by homework-help website Brainly in time for World Maths Day on Oct. 15. 
For parents and students who don’t yet love math, Brainly offered some tips for making the skills less intimidating, more useful and more fun:
Notice the math used in every day life, from measurements in recipes to timers on video games. “Showing a child that they’re already doing math will help them recognize that math is everywhere,” according to Brainly.
What's on your mind?

Board Agenda for Wednesday, October 16th

I know.

I know I said I wasn't going to do this but I had checked in at the district webpage for updates and was browsing the agenda for this week's board meeting.  I lay it out below but this isn't even all of it. I wish someone would pick up the reins just on Board meetings because I think the pace of change is going to pick up. 

From the Board's agenda for Wednesday night's Board meeting, their legislative priorities:

Weigh in on New High School Graduation Requirements

You have about two weeks to weigh in at the State Board of Education on new graduation requirements. From the Seattle Times:

Monday, October 14, 2019

Voting for Seattle School Board Candidates

Update: Can't make the Tuesday candidate forum?  There's another one on Thursday, October 17th at North Beach Elementary from 6:30-8:00 pm.

end of update

There is a Seattle School Board Candidate forum tomorrow night, Tuesday October 15th, from 6:30-8:00 pm at the John Stanford International School.
This event is hosted by JSIS PTA and sponsored by Seattle Council PTSA.
Moderated by current members of Superintendent Student Advisory Board.
This is a kid friendly event and students are encouraged to attend. Their voice and insight is powerful!
I love when kids ask questions because they tend to be direct.  I sure hope one question is about the commitment each candidate has to fulfilling a full term. 

It is important who sits on the Seattle School Board.  I have learned that sometimes it's picking the person you are just okay with rather than someone you believe will not do a good job/have an agenda you can't support.

As the years have gone by, I have ruefully realized a couple of concerns that I hope you take into account as you vote.

Brave New World for Kids

I have often said, "I sure would not want to be raising a child right now."  It is a very different world than even 10 years ago and so much to watch out for without being a helicopter parent.  Kids absolutely need to know how to monitor their world and take hard (for their age) hits and get back up.  Meaning, you are there to always have that blanket of love and acceptance but your child needs to know how to put on their own coat of resilience AND zip it up.

The New York Times had two important parenting articles and both are issues I have raised before.

Friday, October 11, 2019

New Director of Racial Equity Advancement for SPS

I'm not sure it has been officially announced but a source tells me that Manal Al-ansi will be the new Director of Racial Equity Advancement.

Friday Open Thread

In case you hadn't heard, there will be several traffic issues this weekend in the Puget Sound region so keep that in mind as you are out and about.

The Burke Museum - in its new building - reopens tomorrow.  It will probably be mobbed but I'd like to eventually see it. I'm sure any field trips to it would be exciting for students.

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Seattle Time's Westneat Speaks Out on Advanced Learning/HCC

Update: Superintendent Juneau issued a statement yesterday about the majority vote of the Curriculum & Instruction committee to not move forward to the full Board the changes to Policy 2190 about Advanced Learning.  I myself have not often seen a superintendent issue any kind of statement on Board committee decisions; I find it odd.  From the statement:

The Times on Math and Ethnic Studies

Like many times when SPS either tried to roll something out without clear communication OR when something gets out too soon and the district has to rush to explain, the Math rubric for Ethnic Studies is one of them.  And that brings us to the Seattle Times' story on that issue.

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Tuesday Open Thread

The district finallly put up a public notice about the rash of overdose deaths from pills laced with fentanyl by several teens in the Puget Sound region including one at Ballard High School.   Several surprises (at least to me). I am surprised at the amount of time it took.  I am surprised that it didn’t get “above the fold” location on the district website for at least a couple of days.  I am surprised at the seeming lack of urgency in that notice.  School board directors? Might want to tell the Superintendent that her pet projects don’t supercede student safety.  (Editor’s note: I don’t know how I missed it - and I checked but readers say they saw the notice more promeniently placed. I stand by the lack of urgency in the district notice; maybe the one to parents was stronger.)

From OSPI on parents’ rights to view the results of their child’s state test scores.

Sunday, October 06, 2019

WA State Charter Schools to Benefit from DeVos Largesse

The Seattle Times has a story about how Washington State charter schools are eligible to apply for dollars from a $20M grant that the Washington State Charter School Association will receive from the Department of Education.