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Showing posts from August, 2007

WASL Results

Hello This article was in the P-I today about the WASL results. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/329675_wasl31.html Here is a quote from the article: Despite the delay and "mixed messages" from the Legislature, Bergeson said, just over 60 percent of the class of 2008 who took the WASL passed in all three subjects. "The train wreck everybody has been imagining isn't going to happen," she said. I will have to respectfully disagree with Superintendent Bergeson. The possibility that 40% of the students in the class of 2008 may not graduate is a train wreck of unprecedented proportions. Another quote from the article: For now, students who fail the math exam will have to complete a state-approved alternative assessment or take additional math courses. This kind of glosses over what the requirements are. The students will need to do a Collection of Evidence that is very difficult (I know because I have taken the training and have done the problems). If t

Confidence

In the thread about the Times editorial, I wrote something that I want to bring forward for discussion. I wrote that despite all of the talk around restoring or building public confidence in the District, I'm not sure what people mean when they say "confidence", but that I thought they meant "trust". I wrote about four types of trust that are missing: 1) People don't trust the District to provide their child with a quality education. a) Large WASL failure rates for poor and minority students b) No apparent plan for closing the academic achievement gap c) A math curriculum that doesn't appear effective or coherent d) Perceived lack of support for students working beyond Standards 2) People don't trust the District to protect their child's safety. a) Inaction and stonewalling on water quality issues b) Inaction and stonewalling on mold/air quality issues c) Inaction and non-reporting on sexual assualt at Rainier Beach d) Inaction on st

Student Learning Committee

I caught the end of the Student Learning Committee this evening and heard a bit of the discussion on the Program Placement Policy that is in development. The Policy may be teamed with a procedure, but it might not. The Board may simply leave the details to the Superintendent. The Policy will require that programs be equitably distributed across the district, the programs be placed close to the students' homes, that communities and stakeholders be engaged regarding program placements, that there be some analysis of impacts, and that the placement serve District-wide academic goals. Every program placement proposal - regardless of source - must meet the same criteria for acceptance. The struggle here is between the need for central control to provide equitable access and the history of local control. For example, if the District decides that a school should have a Spectrum program is it okay for the principal at the school to reject it? On the other hand, if a school wants a Spectr

Would Education Be Better Off Being Like Health Care?

This post has been awhile coming. This blog has been accused of neglecting the issue of privatization of public education. My take has been that Beth Bakeman created this blog out of school closures and from then we have been focused on many issues locally. Also, this state has turned back charter schools three times and I don't know that many people have it on their radar. So what brought me here was an column by Paul Krugman in the NY Times. (Unfortunately there was no permalink for it so read it while you can.) There is a conservative think-tank called the Heritage Foundation. It, naturally, believes that private industry can provide better services than government institutions can. Mr. Krugman asks the question, "Suppose, for a moment, that the Heritage Foundation were to put out a press release attacking the liberal view that even children whose parents could afford to send them to private school should be entitled to free government-run education. They’d ha

Defibrillators in Every School?

This article appeared in the Times and the PI about a study by Harborview on the usefulness of having defibrillators at every school (as some states are mandating). But, of course, it costs money for both the machine and the training. The article points out that adults are more likely to have heart attacks than children and it is more likely to occur at a middle or high school. I have never heard discussion of this by either the District or the Board. Of course, it only takes one sad death to make people wonder about needing them.

FYI

SAMA Holds Parent Information Night About Substance Abuse: On September 27, 2007 SAMA (The Science and Management of Addictions Foundation) will hold its first Parent Information Night, Parents — Are You Concerned About Your Teen's Substance Use? The event, to be held f rom 6-8 p.m. at Seattle Central Community College, will feature experts in the field of addiction who will address what parents need to know about the effects of alcohol and other drugs on adolescent brain development. In addition, parents will learn how to get support for themselves and their teens who may be having problems with substance use. Subsequent Parent Information Nights will be held around King County and will focus on a variety of topics concerning youth addiction and family support and advocacy. To attend the September 27th event please RSVP by September 12th to: parentnight@ samafoundation. org or (206) 328-1719. To learn more about SAMA, visit www.samafoundation. org ( This is not a Schoo

African-American Academy

This article appeared in today's Times about the African-American Academy. The reporter, Emily Heffter, certainly did talk to a lot of people who created the Academy with some interesting quotes. One parent who spoke said: "As a parent, Linda Kennedy helped establish the school and enrolled her son in 1991 as a first-grader. After two years, she left — "heartbroken" but unwilling to risk her son's education for the vision of an African-American school. The academy seemed doomed by a mediocre teaching corps, tension between two principals sharing a building and lukewarm district support, she said. She enrolled her son in private school. When the principal asked her to stay, she said, she told him: "This is my child. I can't experiment with him ... I need a school that's going to work now." She wasn't the only one. She said middle- and upper-class parents "left in droves." " Despite the years of mediocrity, here's wha

Times' Editorial Today

The Times printed this editorial today about Dr. Goodloe-Johnson. They want the same specifics that I have previously posted about. I agree; it is very early in her tenure and we need to give her time to learn about our district. It's just interesting that they, too, would like to hear more.

Interesting Op_Ed in the Washington Post

A reader recommended an op-ed that appeared in the Washington Post by Patrick Welsh, Labels Aren't What Kids Need ". I checked it out and thought it quite interested if a bit scattered. Basically, it is about the needs of gifted kids being on hold while the teachers focus on their state test. (This is for schools in Alexandria, Virginia.) I think our system is fairer than theirs and their superintendent's remarks "that the students at the top of the regular classes -- i.e., the white kids who didn't get into TAG -- will help to "challenge, mentor and coach" the students struggling with the SOL material" are very sad and I don't believe reflect senior management here. But the article's focus on when we stick labels on kids is problematic deserves some thought. I know many parents dislike Special Ed because of the stigma that label creates and why should that be so if it is to help students? Do gifted kids get lazy if they think th

Disappointing Message from Dr. Goodloe-Johnson

So I have my first, albeit minor, disappointment with the new superintendent. I received my SPS calendar (did you get yours yet?) yesterday. On the very first page is Dr. G-J's message. Frankly, I had expected something different and yet it could be Raj's or Olchefske's or any superintendent's. One rather startling thing she says is "Seattle Public Schools is in a position of strength, both financially and academically." Then, she spends a paragraph explaining why we are financially and one sentence why we are academically. Raise your hand if you think SPS is in a position of strength academically. I'm all for high expectations and positive thinking but this is unrealistic. She says in one paragraph: "Standardized curricula, professional development, rigorous evaluation, and clearly communicated plans for improvement are among our top areas of focus." (Rigorous evaluation of students or the teaching methods or the curricula or all th

Update on the NCLB rankings for WA State Schools

This update just appeared on the Seattle Times' website. It is disturbing to say the least but not surprising given the strict NCLB requirements. We should all keep that in mind. Many schools do well in nearly all categories but can be docked if they fail in one area. Ballard, Garfield, South Lake and West Seattle are all at a Step 2 level. Aki Kurose, AAA, Franklin, Ingraham, Madison and Mercer have all been moved to Step 4 (the most critical). OSPI says these are "preliminary" status reports and may be adjusted. Getting the fine details would really help me to understand how serious this is. I hope the District provides them to families and the public.

Another City and their Racial Tiebreaker

This article a ppeared in this week's NY Times. It is about the city of White Plains, NY and their use of race to equalize their schools. Here's how it works: "In 1989, White Plains, tired of perennially gerrymandering for racial balance, began a “controlled choice” plan that essentially jettisoned neighborhood zones and required each school to have the same proportions of blacks, Hispanics and “others,” a term that includes whites and Asians. The plan allowed for a discrepancy among schools of only 5 percent. Similar plans had been adopted in Cambridge and Fall River, Mass., and copied by Milwaukee, San Jose, Calif., and dozens of other cities. White Plains’s plan takes pains to give parents genuine choices. In January and February, parents of entering kindergartners visit elementary schools and rank their top three picks. A family will get first choice, which 90 percent of families do, unless the number of applicants of that child’s race exceeds certain caps, which at

Something That Should Be On the District's Radar

This article appeared in this week's NY Times. It is about NYC's efforts, among the first in the country with large sums of money attached, to help drop-outs finish high school without being in a class with 14-year olds (and all the embarassment/problems therein). I loved this story from the article: "For those who work with these students, one of the most difficult tasks is convincing them that they can, and should, finish high school. “These are students who are really frustrated and ready to be out,” said Edita Volovodovskaya, who runs the John Adams Young Adult Borough Center, which is attached to John Adams High School. “But it takes a lot of work. They weren’t always willing to take a full load; they weren’t always willing to show up to class.” That was precisely how David Dorsey behaved when he first started at the center. He was already 19 and half-heartedly thought he would have another shot at a diploma. But there were long stretches when he did not bother t

Family and Community Engagement Coordinator

The District has finally hired a Family and Community Engagement Coordinator, Bernardo Ruiz. He was, recently a Bilingual Facilitator at the Bilingual Family Center (located at Aki Kurose) and a Bilingual Instructional Assistant at Cooper Elementary School. It also appears that he was a Career Link Student Assignment Facilitator in the CTE department. Mr. Ruiz does not yet appear on the web site anywhere on the pages for Families and there was no press release about his hiring, but he's got the job, he's there and he's working on the School-Family Partnerships Plan.

Article in P-I

Hello This article was in the P-I this morning. I just have to say that this is a huge problem. I am a member of the Transition Math Project ans we are working very had to align what we teach in high school to what the colleges need to students to know when they enter as Freshman. I found the statement from Ms. Whitney to be very telling. From the article: Whitney, 19, had a hard time in high school, attending three different public schools in Seattle before graduating last year. When she enrolled at Seattle Central last fall, she was placed in a beginning math course. She admits that she didn't take her studies very seriously in high school, but now she is trying to learn something at the community college. There are too many students who share the same attitude that Ms. Whintey had in high school. I don't know why this is, but too many students get to high school and for whatever reason don't have the desire or work ethic or understand why education is important.

Superintendent's Entry Plan

You can view the Superintendent's Entry Plan on the District web site. The purpose of the Entry Plan is to increase confidence in Seattle Public Schools by - clarifying and widely communicating expectations for accountability and improvement - analyzing data, sharing outcomes and plans for improvement - introductions to staff and the Seattle community Obviously it isn't possible for her to do any of the first two. She hasn't had time to form any expectations, analyze data, produce outcomes, or make plans. So far, the Entry Plan, which runs through January 2008, has exclusively featured the third of those purposes. Dr. Goodloe-Johnson has been on a meeting tour of Seattle. I believe that she has met with the media, the Board, the District Senior Staff, the local political leadership, and will be visiting the schools over the course of the coming year. By my reckoning, she should be starting to meet with community leaders now. These include: * Parent groups * Unions and o

Student Assignment Plan Update

This update on the Student Assignment Plan was posted today.

Why Bother with Stakeholders

I have been a close observer of Seattle Public Schools for over six years. During that time I have seen how most of the District's decisions are made and I can report that the District's decision-making is dysfunctional. By that, I mean that it doesn't work. I mean that as objectively as I can. Near as I can reckon, a decision should have two qualities. First, it should be a good decision - one that solves the problem in a cost-effective way without creating too many new problems. Second, it should be decisive - it should resolve the question. A great number of the decisions that I have seen from the District fail to demonstrate one or both of these qualities. Setting aside for the moment the quality of the decisions - and there have been some real stinkers - I would like to address the District's difficulty in bringing issues to resolution with their decisions. I believe they have not been able to achieve resolution because they routinely fail to gain the support of

Election Results

It looks like it will be Darlene Flynn facing Sherry Carr in District 2 this November. In District 6, it will be Steve Sundquist versus Maria Ramirez. If Lisa Stuebing had pulled in another 150 votes, Darlene would have been defeated. That's a close race. Here are the numbers (so far) Sherry Carr - 1,919 Darlene Flynn - 1,368 Steve Sundquist - 2,956 Maria Ramirez - 1,374 There were about 700 more votes cast in District 6 than District 2. I don't know if that means District 2 voters weren't as interested or if the District 6 race was hotter. Maybe people in SW Seattle just vote more. For Darlene Flynn, it's not good news. She should have pulled in more people from her own district but maybe she has greater broad support citywide. Sherry Carr should do fairly well because she has done work throughout the district and likely has better name recognition than other candidates might have. Steve Sundquist pulled in huge support but again, that's in his dist

New Assignment Plan meeting

There will be a drop-in meeting on the New Assignment Plan from 4-6pm on Wednesday, August 22 at the JSCEE, Room 2772. That's tomorrow for those who read this the day I post it. I can't be there due to work obligations. Here are some questions that I would love for someone to ask: 1. What are the capacities for the various school buildings? There are numbers in the Facilities Master Plan, but they do not appear reliable. There are other numbers in the CAC reports, but we don't know if they are reliable either. The question appears more straight-forward in elementary schools than at middle and high schools, but even in the elementary schools the answer depends on programmatic decisions. 2. What are the sizes of the various special programs in schools? How big is the biotech program at Ballard? How many students does it take to make a viable Spectrum program in elementary and middle school? How many students are needed to form complete programs of other types? If we are

Vote, Vote, Vote

Today is Primary Day. If you didn't get an absentee ballot, get thee down to the polling place. Let's defy expectations of a low turnout. (Anybody remember that jump rope rhyme that goes, "Vote, vote, vote for Mary, in comes Mary at the door, door, door, door....?)

Sidewalks for All

This article on the lack of sidewalks in some parts of Seattle appeared in today's Times. I know the lack of sidewalks around Hale can be troubling. You have to be really careful driving there around the opening and closing of school. The article also says it is problematic around Franklin. I was surprised by this sentence: "Like Seattle, Olympia has hired a consultant to conduct an inventory so it knows exactly how many streets do not have sidewalks." The City doesn't know this already? Somehow it seems like basic information. Does anyone else know of a school area that lacks sidewalks?

Picking a Major...in High School?

This article about students having to pick a major in high school appeared in Friday's NY Times. This is of interest because I recall that Roosevelt was thinking seriously of this idea a couple of years back. It never materialized but I don't know why. Also, the number of states starting to mandate this format is growing. From the article: "Debra Humphreys, a spokeswoman for the Association of American Colleges and Universities, called high-school majors “a colossally bad idea,” saying youngsters should instead concentrate on developing a broad range of critical thinking and communication skills. “Today’s economy requires people to be constantly learning and changing,” Ms. Humphreys said. “A lot of jobs that high school students are likely to have 10 years from now don’t yet exist, so preparing too narrowly will not serve them well.” Despite such naysayers, a number of school districts around the country are experimenting with high school majors, an outgrowth of th

East or West, Home is Best

Great news! According to a survey by the AP and MTV news, young people between 13-24 like being with their family best. This from an article appearing in the PI today. From the article: "Spending time with family was the top answer to that open-ended question, according to an extensive survey -- more than 100 questions asked of 1,280 people ages 13 to 24 -- conducted by The Associated Press and MTV on the nature of happiness among America's young people. Next was spending time with friends, followed by time with a significant other. And even better for parents: Nearly three-quarters of young people say their relationship with their parents makes them happy." A lot of kids in those age groups especially middle/high school like to act as if family is the last thing on their minds. Turns out it's the first.

Funding Lawsuit Finally Hits Court This Week

This article appeared in today's Times. From the article: "A coalition of teachers, parents, community groups and school districts will argue in King County Superior Court this week that the state has not been spending enough on public education and should be required to totally revamp the way it pays for schools. The state will argue at the hearing set for Friday morning before Superior Court Judge Paris Kallas that it has met the requirements of a similar lawsuit 30 years ago and that the court should not allow this case to derail Washington's efforts to change the system." One of the key's here is that the state attorney general will be arguing the state IS meeting the requirements as put forth by the Legislature 30 years ago . You'd think, 30 years later, that the educational duties that the state is supposed to meet as the paramount duty of the state (as stated in our constitution) might have changed or needed to be tweaked.

Bravo Broadway Bound and RBHS for Dreamgirls

This article appeared in today's Times about the Broadway Bound production of Dreamgirls. I have only the highest regard for BB and their standards. They determined they would pay the kids involved in the production but only if they were on-time (docked their pay if not) and kept the high standards for BB (lost their role if they didn't). It's about demanding excellence and this kind of expectation should follow them to the classroom. Things like being on time, listening to directions, following directions, are all life basics that help kids succeed (who was it that said half of life is just showing up?). Re the district: "Cleveland doesn't put on musicals. Rainier Beach has for the past two years, a labor of love by a young English teacher doing her best with a budget of a few thousand dollars." And then later in the article: "That was one of the main reasons for building the theater in the first place, says Michelle Jacobsen, a Rainier Beach

NCLB Status

As I'm sure we all know, school that fail to make AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) can be subject to sanctions. Here is a table of School Improvement Status levels and the applicable sanctions from the OSPI web site: =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= School Improvement Status Year 1 First year of not making AYP (alert status). Year 2/Step 1 Second consecutive year the school did not make AYP; enters Step 1 which requires the development of a school improvement plan and the option for students to attend another school (“public school choice”) within the district that is not in school improvement. Step 2 Did not make AYP after being in Step 1. In addition to the public school choice requirement, supplemental services must also be offered. Step 3 Did not make AYP after being in Step 2. In addition to offering public school choice and supplemental services, the school must take corrective action. Step 4 Did not make AYP after being in Step 3. In addition to offering public school choice

Cleveland Principal resigns

From this morning's P-I : Principal quits job at Cleveland High School P-I STAFF Cleveland High School Principal Donna Marshall has resigned and will be replaced by interim principal Wayne Floyd, school district officials announced Thursday. Marshall said she was leaving to be with her family in Atlanta. Floyd has been Cleveland's assistant principal for the past four years, and previously worked at Wing Luke Elementary and Garfield High School. Charles Chinn, a former Seattle Public Schools teacher and principal, will serve as a consultant and help with the leadership transition at Cleveland. The district plans to begin the search for a permanent principal later this school year.

School Closure: the Edinburgh Process

I've been working in Scotland all summer and have had little time to follow Seattle school issues or post on this blog. However, an article I read on the bus this morning prompted me to post. The cover of the newspaper says " Revealed: Hit-list of 22 capital schoools for axe: Anger as thousands of Edinburgh children left facing uncertain future " What I found particularly interesting in the article, The great schools shutdown , were the similarities and differences with Seattle. The Edinburgh process is clearly different from the Seattle process: the closure list was apparently developed by the city council without any public input. Yet the reaction and the issues raised are similar: outraged parents, issues of class, budget issues, rising cost of housing and decreasing school-age population in the city, etc. For example: "Stockbridge Primary also faces the axe, despite being almost at capacity, because most of its pupils come from outside the immediate area. One h

Score One for Washington State

This article was in today's PI. The composite scores of Washington state students who took the ACT were the 3rd highest in the country after Conn. and Mass. And, get this: "Washington students who took the ACT also were notably above the national average in the math section of the test, with an average math score of 23, compared with the national average of 21, the Connecticut average of 23.2 and the Massachusetts mark of 23.6." Good for all of us.

New Assignment Plan pushed back

At tonight's Board meeting, the Superintendent told the Board that there isn't enough time to adopt a new assignment plan for 2008-2009 so the new plan won't be implemented until 2009-2010. In order to implement in 2008-2009, the decisions would have to be made by October. That time pressure is now off. That gives the District a whole additional year to figure it out, but it means a whold additional year of delay for those who were looking forward to benefits from the new plan. This definitely takes the plan out of this Board's hands and puts it in the hands of the new Board.

From Across the Pond (Britain, not Bellevue)

What does Sir Michael Barber, Britain's former education advisor to Tony Blair, have to say about education and American education in particular? This is addressed in a great article in the NY Times. From the article: "What have all the great school systems of the world got in common?” he said, ticking off four systems that he said deserved to be called great, in Finland, Singapore, South Korea and Alberta, Canada. “Four systems, three continents — what do they have in common? “They all select their teachers from the top third of their college graduates, whereas the U.S. selects its teachers from the bottom third of graduates. This is one of the big challenges for the U.S. education system: What are you going to do over the next 15 to 20 years to recruit ever better people into teaching?” South Korea pays its teachers much more than England and America, and has accepted larger class sizes as a trade-off, he said. Finland, by contrast, draws top-tier college graduates to

Advanced Learning

It appears that we just need to repeat this exercise periodically as new people come to the blog, as people forget, and as the situation develops. There is certainly a lot of room for legitimate disagreement among well-informed and well-intentioned people about how to address the needs of highly capable and high performing students, particularly within a Standards-based learning system. In addition, there are a lot of folks who are simply unaware or misinformed about the various advanced learning programs at Seattle Public Schools. So I would recommend that everyone take the time - before entering the conversation - to educate themselves a bit with a visit to the Advanced Learning web site . While the Advanced Learning Office has a role in AP testing, IB, and Early Entrance Kindergarten, the three primary advanced learning programs in Seattle are Accelerated Progress Program (APP), Spectrum, and Advanced Learning Opportunities (ALOs). I know that there are a lot of people who are a

Sigh...Okay Let's Talk about Gifted Students

So how did we get to the need for a separate thread on gifted programming? The lead-off was this post under the thread about the program at Garfield to help students who need guidance on higher level classes and getting into college (I have edited it slightly). "No matter how many feel good articles there are, Garfield is segregated because of the APP program. The testing to qualify still reflects the qualitifies (verbal acuity) that come from parental influence and a higher econoimic status. Seattle's APP program does not reflect true intellectual giftedness, although some in the program are truly gifted. A true gifted program should be a place for those students that can not operate socially, because of their intellect, to receive help. The SPS program is a place/pathway for high acheiving but generally not gifted students to jump ahead. The SPS program reflects the power of parents to influence the system." So Charlie answered later (again edited for length): &quo

Helping Students Navigate AP at Garfield

This article in the Times is about a program started at Garfield called Urban Scholars that helps students attempt upper-level classes and navigate college enrollment (especially if they are the first in their families to go). It recently got a grant from the Gates Foundation to help pay for it for the next three years. I had been thinking about a program like this - districtwide - because of the importance of both goals of the Urban Scholars program. Kids have to have exposure to upper level classes because it is hard to get into college without them and even harder to stay in. High school counselors, especially at the larger high schools, are just maxed out with work. I wish this program was districtwide. It was a good article for me until the last paragraph. "It really helps to address what seems like a disproportionately small number of African-American students succeeding in the AP curriculum at Garfield," said Ken Thompson, program officer for the Pacific N

Waitlists

I had a conversation today with Tracy Libros, District Manager of Planning and Enrollment, about how waitlists work. I had called specifically about Roosevelt but this is how it works for all schools. (I had called on Friday, she called me back at 9:15 p.m. on Friday night and said to try again on Saturday. I did but didn't reach her and figured I'd call her Monday. She called me at 2:00 on Sunday. I asked her what she was doing and she said she was trying to find placements for every child. That's dedication.) Yes, the waitlist is ordered by tiebreakers. Meaning, it is all the on-time enrollments, sorted by tiebreakers, after the school has filled (more on that later). So, if there were any sibs that didn't get in, they would be first in line on the list. (This rarely happens except in certain programs.) Then, the distance tiebreakers come on the list in the order of closest to farthest. For schools with waitlists, the school moves its list as room appe

On the Heels of the Miltary in Schools Discussion

I had heard Lt. Lute, the White House's war czar on NPR yesterday. Here's a Washington Post article on those statements. The issue is whether the government can continue on in Iraq without a draft. From the article: "Today, the current means of the all-volunteer force is serving us exceptionally well," Lute said. "It would be a major policy shift, not actually a military but a political policy shift, to move to some other course." He said the repeated deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan affect not only the troops but their families, which can influence whether a service member decides to stay in the military." The White House reply: "National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said Lute's comments are consistent with President Bush's stated policy in regard to any potential use of the draft. "The president believes an all-volunteer military serves the country well, and there is no discussion of returning to a draft,"

Seattle Works Update

Following up on the earlier Seattle Works Voter Guide post, I'm posting a new link to it. I had wondered why so many candidates from various races seemed missing and talking to a couple of SB candidates, it seems there was some confusion about deadlines and whether completed forms were received. Both Sherry Carr and Steve Sundquist had these issues. Sherry was able to get her questionaire posted but Steve wasn't. (Seattle Works did say they will be doing it again - with new questions? - for the general election so we may see Steve S's answers then along with the races in Districts 1 and 3.)

Idaho Gives Most of Its Charitable Dollars to Education

This article appeared in the August 7th Idaho Statesman (but I found it via Crosscuts, the on-line magazine). "According to Philanthropy Northwest's Northwest Giving Profile 2006, 69 percent of charitable dollars in Idaho go to education, versus 16 percent in Washington, 24 percent in Oregon and 23 percent nationally." In explanation the article says: "Both trends may signal that charitable giving in Idaho is a "place-based" undertaking and that givers tend to know their beneficiaries — and beneficiaries' needs — from the ground up. This sensibility contrasts with a state like Washington, where the technology sector and powerful, rather new foundations like Starbucks, Gates and others have given philanthropy a global character." This is an interesting subject as one SB candidate, Steve Sundquist, is pushing a plank for more philanthropy dollars. The article discusses how Idaho unlike say, California, has fewer hands out for money and being a

Merged Schools Pick Name

This article appeared in the West Seattle Herald. It is about how Fairmount Park Elementary (closing building) and High Point Elementary (accepting school) are merging together and came up with a joint plan to pick a new name for their school (including keeping the High Point name). They decided on West Seattle Elementary and it was approved by the Board. From the article: "Besides investigating a name change, much more was done to prepare for the joining of the schools. There were joint staff meetings and several collaborative community events. Enrollment at the new school will be around 325 kindergarten-through-fifth-grade students, double the amount previously at each school. That doesn't include a YMCA childcare service and two special education pre-school sessions, said Everly. Teaching staff will consist of about a 50-50 mix of Fairmount and High Point faculty. Everly expects class size to hold steady at around 26 students." In terms of match, this from the

High School Math Curriculum Adoption

As regular readers of this blog know, I have been teaching mathematics at Rainier Beach for the past two school years. During this time, I have heard how the district was on the verge of going to a uniform curriculum for mathematics for all the 10 comprehensive high schools in the city. There are supposedly three finalists (Interactive Math Program (know as IMP and used at West Seattle, Hale and I think Garfield), Core Plus (I don't know if any school uses this), and College Prep Math (known as CPM , which we use at RB)). Since we are in the middle of the summer, I thought this would be a good time to contact Ms. Santorno and Ms. Wise to see where we were in the process. I sent the following e-mail on July 30 th : Hello Ms. Santorno and Ms. Wise: I teach mathematics at Rainier Beach High School. Since I started teaching at RB in the fall of 2005, I have heard that the district was in the process of a curriculum adoption for high school math. Yet, as we enter the 2007-2008 school

West Seattle Forum

This is apt to be long so get a cup of coffee or iced tea. Also, I am going to do as straight reporting as I can at the beginning, then let you know when I'm going to give my own opinions so you can stop or continue reading as you please. First, what great hard-working PTSAs out in West Seattle. They had the ice cream being handed out right when I got there, name tags for the candidates, tables for them and their literature, very organized. At the ice cream social there was Sally Soriano, Peter Maier, Maria Ramirez, Steve Sundquist, Harium Martin-Morris, Sherry Carr, Dan Dempsey, Lisa Steubing, and Edwin Fruit. There were about 30 other attendees there. There was one reporter, from the West Seattle Herald, and a photographer from the Seattle PI. I didn't see a reporter from the PI or Times but I might have missed them. The social was a great time to buttonhole candidates personally. I managed good face time with Steve. S. and Maria Ramirez (their race was the only o