Showing posts from August, 2006


Today, from 5 pm to 7 pm is a Board Work Session on the BEX III Levy. I'm teaching a class at Seattle U at the same time, so can't attend. If anyone else does, please post comments here about what you learn. From information on the SPS website, I found the following details. ************** Proposed projects for the Phase III program include: • New construction or historic renovation at up to two secondary schools and/or three elementary schools; • Additions of up to six classrooms and seismic modifications at up to two high schools; • Academic upgrades at three high schools may be done in conjunction with the additions. Academic upgrades include: o Science room upgrades such as new lab tables, demonstration areas and fume hoods; o Career and Technology spaces such as automotive shop modernizations or new commercial kitchens; o Visual and Performing Arts spaces such as new auditorium seating, improved acoustics in choral / band / little theater, video production and radio stat

Lawsuit Documents

Thanks to Charlie Mas, anyone who wants to can read the court filings from SOCKED in their lawsuit against the district. Go to the CPPS Yahoo group Files area. You may need to join the CPPS Yahoo group to view the files. Click Join CPPS Yahoo group . Charlie and I have shared our opinions on this lawsuit. What do other people think?

Raj's Body Language

From the Seattle Times today, an analysis by a body language expert of Raj Manhas. ************************** Mixed messages Trust me, but : The hands and face of Seattle School Superintendent Raj Manhas are sending contradictory signals, says Pease, examining this photo of Manhas with a parent who successfully opposed the closure of an elementary school. Open-handed . "Holding the palms out is a very old gesture also used by monkeys and chimpanzees. It shows they've got nothing in their hands or concealed under their arms. If you talk with an audience with your palms in an upward position, they not only remember up to 40 percent more of what you've said, but they like you." Planning an attack? But the superintendent's smile, with no lower teeth visible, looks strained, and his eyes appear narrowed. "Large mammals narrow their eyes before they attack." The net effect : "While both of these people appear to be friendly, he's forcing the

Soriano and Bass support lawsuit

Along with the Seattle Medium article Charlie reported on in his comment on yesterday's post, the Seattle PI today has details on the lawsuit I heard about yesterday on NPR: School closures based on color, suit alleges This lawsuit is disappointing to me, because I cannot imagine it resulting in any positive outcomes. If the lawsuit wins (which strikes me as highly unlikely), several small struggling schools stay open without necessary support to change, grow or thrive. If the lawsuit loses, all that has been accomplished is to fan the current obvious divide along racial and economic lines in Seattle schools. I would counsel the Community Coalition to Save Our Children to put their resources into demanding the necessary support and resources for the schools that remain open --- top quality principals assigned to struggling schools, extra resources for individual tutoring, first priority for new programs that are viewed as desirable by families, teacher bonuses for moving to und

Lawsuit against Seattle School District

I heard a short piece on NPR tonight about a lawsuit filed against the Seattle School District around the school closure process and decisions. I can't find details anywhere on the web (or on the district web site, of course). Anyone else hear this news? or know where we can find out more?

Entering the Twilight Zone at Seattle Public Schools

I was looking for the list of schools being considered for closure in Phase II on the district website, and didn't see it. So I sent an e-mail message to the address listed in the latest news bulletin. Below is the response I got back. It's like entering a time warp or the Twilight Zone! Thank you for writing to the Seattle Public Schools Consolidation and Closure Process email box. Your message will be shared with Superintendent Raj Manhas. You may also check our website for detailed information, including frequently asked questions, at . On May 30, the CAC presented its final recommendation on school consolidation and closure to Superintendent Manhas. The report on that recommendation, and extensive information about the consolidation and closure process is posted at . After considering this report, Superintendent Manhas will present his preliminary recommendation to the School Board on Friday, June 2. An additional period of pu

Phase II Community Meetings Canceled

Notice that Raj's preliminary recommendation on September 18 now comes before any chance for input from the general public. Can they make it any clearer that they don't really want community input? After the SPS announcement, read an excerpt from a comment Charlie Mas posted today elsewhere on this blog. *********** News item on SPS website August Meetings on Consolidation and Closure Cancelled Three community meetings related to Phase II of school consolidations and closures, scheduled for August 22, 23 and 24, have been cancelled to allow more time to develop options and alternatives about which to have meaningful public discussion. However, there will still be multiple opportunities for public input to Phase II of the consolidation and closure process. The Seattle School Board announced Phase II of Consolidation and Closure on July 26, asking the Superintendent to recommend at least one additional school for closure in three geographic areas - North (Northwest, No

Customer Service?

On July 9th, I wrote the following message to Jane Westergaard-Nimocks and Lynelle Ross, the Director of Human Resources and the Asst. to the Director of Human Resources at Seattle Public Schools, The HR Director is identified in the District's 5-Year Plan as being responsible for the implementation of many changes in the principal selection process. ************* Concerning principal assignment, the Detailed Action Plans for the district's 5 Year Plan says the following things would happen: Meet with Superintendent, CAO, Education Directors and HR to debrief the 2003-04 Principal Selection Process and Timelines. (HR Director) Meet with the PASS Resolution Team (5 PASS and 5 District team members) to review 2003-04 Principal Selection Process and Timeline, review recommendations from Superintendent committee, determine what worked and what needs to be changed, and develop recommendations. (Labor Relations Director) Take PASS Resolution Team recommendations to PAL Committee fo

Phase III of Closure & Consolidation Process?

Charlie Mas posted this info on the Spectrum Yahoo group: In a document provided to the Board Executive Committee on 7/8/06, Holly Ferguson laid out the process and timeline for the Phase II of closures. In that document, she writes:"There will be a Phase III of this process that will work in conjunction with the levy, and at that point we will need to have a discussion of the capacity needs of the North Capital Hill/East Roanoke areas." I looked online and didn't find this document. Can anyone point me to it? But, more importantly, this is yet another example of lack of communication around the big picture, goals and vision. Apparently, a Phase III is being discussed and planned for, yet no word has been shared publicly on this topic as far as I can tell. And we have no image/picture/vision of how all these different efforts fit together, and why we should care about it other than saving money.

Open Letter to the District

I signed on to the open letter to the district complaining about lack of follow-up on the CACIEE report last year. It was published in the PI while I was on vacation. See the following articles for more details: High-powered group issues budget rebuke to Seattle Public Schools Letter rips lack of progress on school budget shortfalls 30 sign critical schools letter; Manhas cites district progress And the full text of the letter is at: An Open Letter to the Superintendent and School Board

Community Meetings for Phase II of School Closure

From Seattle Public School notice: On July 26 the Seattle School Board voted to consolidate and close a group of schools. At the same time, the Board directed Superintendent Manhas to develop an additional set of school closure recommendations. During "Phase II," the Superintendent is asked to identify one additional school for closure in each of three areas of the city: North (North/Northwest/Northeast clusters), Central, and West Seattle; evaluate the feasibility of closing Wilson Pacific; and to work closely with the communities in West Seattle to identify a more appropriate location for Pathfinder K-8. A preliminary recommendation is due on September 18, with the School Board scheduled to vote on November 1. (Note: A list of potential schools in North, Central and West Seattle to be included in the community discussion will be posted at by Friday, August 18.) A series of meetings are scheduled to discuss the process for Phase II and to gather in

Returned from Vacation

I've been out of state and without a computer for almost 2 weeks, so I'm completely out of touch with what's been happening. Feel free to post comments to update me or send items you would like to see posted to .