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Showing posts from October, 2007

Assignment Plan: Looking for Ideas/Thoughts

Okay, so by my reckoning the District is likely to start community meetings for the new Assignment plan by January/Feb/March. (They need it - finished - by October/November next year to use it for starting enrollment in Jan. 2009.) One thing to fight for is community meetings that are NOT all in one week and NOT all during the week. It needs to be drawn out, over several weeks or a couple of months, to give the most people the awareness of them and the ability to get to them. (When closure and consolidation did Saturday meetings they were well-attended and it speaks to the fact that not all parents have the energy or time to go on a weeknight.) So, thinking about it here are some of the major problems (that mostly would be there whether we have a choice system or a more neighborhood system); Boundaries: likely to be THE number one issue (after the ever-present equity issue but that's more problematic). How do we figure out how to draw these? For example, looking at a map

Ah, What a Difference a Principal Makes (Maybe Too Little Too Late)

This article about John Marshall appeared in the Times' yesterday. It seems they have a new principal and the spirit among the students is better. "As a result, the district forced out John Marshall's longtime principal and appointed Stacey McCrath-Smith to head the school. McCrath-Smith's rapport with the students is obvious as she strides through the hallways, stopping for hugs and to talk about the weekend, football, upcoming school events. When district evaluators visited the school, students gave them tours. She organized a student government, a basketball team, a back-to-school night for parents. Student artwork and photos fill the school's entryway, and this month a group of students took a field trip on one of the Lake Union tall ships." I was very pleased to read about the taskforce that is determine the future of the Marshall programs. "Barbara Moore is on special assignment from her job as principal of a similar high school in the South En

Joe Swaja's Thoughts on Schools

I receive this e-mail from Joe Swaja. "Please find attached my responses to the PI questions regarding schools. Thanks! Joe Szwaja Candidate for Seattle City Council Position 1 (206) 420-1830 joeforcouncil@earthlink.net " "I have been a public school teacher at Nova High School a Seattle Public School located in the Central District for the past fifteen years where I teach American Government and Economics, World History, Spanish and Weight Lifting. My son, Jozef Engel, always attended public schools, including Meany Middle School during the time he lived with me in Seattle. My three steps sons - Sam, Leaf and Reed - all attended Seattle Public Schools as well. There is a link between my teaching and the reason I am running; both are based on the politics of community and inspiring people to work together for the common good. I have won several awards for my teaching including the Outstanding Teachers of America Award as a result of student and staff nominations ba

So What Do City Council Candidates Think?

Denise Gonzalez-Walker's PI blog had some Q&A with a couple of City Council candidates (I'm sure she asked all of them and I wish they had answered) about Seattle schools. I particularly liked Jean Godden's answer that the Board needs to be paid more and have some staff beyond the basics. If you've never attended a joint City Council/School Board meeting, well, they are interesting. Hardly any public attends (it's a great place to say something to both parties if you have something you want brought to two governing bodies' attention). It's sort of like distant relatives all sitting around the dinner table, after dinner, trying to be polite. Not that there's bad blood but I'm not sure they know what to do with each other or whether the Board has the right to ask the Council for help or if the Council feels they can really do anything. It would be great to have more of a relationship between the two. On the other hand, there's Mayor

A Reader's Endorsement for Sally Soriano

Below are excerpts from an e-mail I received from Ron at ParentsCare. I'm happy to post other points of view as well. Just click on the link at the right to send them to me via e-mail. ***** "Thanks for keeping up the Seattle Schools blog. Now that we've cancelled our Times and PI subscriptions, we find more truth and honest opinions there. For reasons technically beyond our control, we were not able to contribute to the blog dialogue about the excess contributions that Mel submitted on Friday. We recently received an opinion from a neighbor regarding the ballot choices and for District 1 position on the School Board, there was a brief message that called for a response. We include our response below as a way for us to vent and perhaps inform others. While the campaign contributions are legal, it's clear that these candidates and endorsements, especially by Chow and DeBell for Maier, are Let's-Vote-No-For-Sally votes, regardless of the qualifications and expe

What the Candidates Have to Say

If you missed the School Board candidates forum that was co-organized and co-sponsored by CPPS, it is being re-broadcast on the SPS Cable TV channel: Comcast Cable Ch. 26 Millenium Cable Channel 75 Mondays @ 8:00 AM, Wednesdays @ 6:00 PM, Saturdays @ 6:00 PM, Sundays @ 2:00 PM through Election Day (11/6) You can also read the candidates' responses to a questionnaire at: http://www.cppsofseattle.org/candidates2007.htm .

Respect and the Ability to Work Together

So I'm down at the Simple Majority headquarters (my son and his friend were making phone calls to encourage people to vote for it - they actually enjoyed it) and I see Cheryl Chow and Peter Maier making phone calls (good for them). And then I glance up from my reading (I wasn't making phone calls but reading a draft of the Facilities Master Plan) and there was Steve Sundquist making calls as well. I looked back down for awhile and when I looked up again who was sitting right next to Steve making calls? Maria Ramirez. Those two could have easily sat far apart but they didn't. I wish they could both be on the Board.

Hey! One List SPS Didn't Make (And That's Good News)

None of Seattle Public high comprehensive high schools made a "dropout factory" list compiled by Johns Hopkins University for the AP based on info from the US department of Education. All the comprehensive high schools in Tacoma were on the list. "The 22 schools in Washington that researchers call "dropout factories" are spread throughout the state, but are found mostly in poor rural and urban school districts. Every comprehensive high school in Tacoma made the list, but none in Seattle or Spokane did." Arlington put some interesting ideas into place which seem to be working. "Hopkins credits two programs for the improvement in Arlington: the freshman academy and the link crew program. Both are aimed at helping freshmen and new students get a good start. "A much better percentage are staying on track and graduating, keeping up with classmates and earning reasonable GPAs," Hopkins said. "When you catch them right at the start of hi

The WASL: Is It Serving Its Purpose for Anyone?

There was an interesting op-ed piece in today's Times by Kate Riley who writes regularly for them. Here's what happened: "My 10-year-old son received a letter signed by Gov. Christine Gregoire and Superintendent of Public Instruction Terry Bergeson. "Congratulations!" it started. "... We are very proud of you, and you should be very proud of yourself." Apparently, my son "achieved the state reading, writing and mathematics learning standards." Here's the punchline to my son's letter. He is autistic in a self-contained special-education classroom with limited mainstreaming, can read some words, can add a little and can barely draw a straight line. Much as it pains me, I told my colleagues a few months ago, there is no way my pride and joy will ever meet state learning standards." She goes on to explain that the state added alternatives to the WASL: "In Washington, special-education students have only to meet their own p

Meet & Greet Opportunity with Steve Sundquist

I'm personally leaning towards voting for Maria Ramirez, but I'm posting this opportunity to meet and talk with Steve Sundquist because I believe the more everyone can know about the candidates, the better the election results will be. *********** Morning Coffee with Steve Sundquist—Candidate for Seattle School Board Tuesday, October 30th 9-10:30am Tully’s at Genesee Plaza 4400 Rainier Ave S Seattle, WA 98118 As you may know, I am running for the Seattle School Board. The November citywide election is about turning a corner for Seattle's schools. As an active school parent, a progressive church and non-profit leader, a community activist, and a senior manager for more than 20 years, I'm ready to bring the kind of change, experience, and effective leadership that's need now. I'd greatly welcome the opportunity to meet with you and other parents and community members to hear your perspectives, and answer any questions you might have. Please drop by anytime b

We're spending too much on fancy school buildings - Crosscut

An article in Crosscut by By Kent Kammerer says that we overpay for schools in Seattle because we buy bigger, fancier schools than we need.

$$$ And the Dollars Roll In

Well, so much for School Board elections being low-key and grassroots. From the Times School Board updates : "Add Costco co-founder James Sinegal to the list of major business leaders who have contributed to the campaigns of four School Board candidates: Peter Maier in District 1, Sherry Carr in District 2, Harium Martin-Morris is District 3 and Steve Sundquist in District 6. Sinegal and his wife, Janet, gave $10,000 each to Maier and Carr, who are taking on School Board incumbents. The couple gave $5,000 each to Martin-Morris and Sundquist." In the interest of fairness, I am for Carr and Martin-Morris but these sums are huge. It is pretty unheard of, in Board elections, for individuals to give at this high an amount. It is a lot more than any grassroots campaign can easily match. It's democracy and it's legal so that's okay. But I doubt that many of these venture capitalists know that much about Seattle public education or that even have their own kids in

Endorsements From the Seattle Medium

Here are the SB endorsements from the Seattle Medium , part of the Black Press USA network. Seattle School District Director Dist. 1 Sally Soriano Seattle School District Director Dist. 2 NO ENDORSEMENT The Incumbent, Darlene Flynn, voted to close MLK Elementary School and has done very little to earn the support of our community, or advance the cause of Black children. Seattle School District Director Dist. 3 NO ENDORSEMENT Seattle School District Director Dist. 6 Maria G. Ramirez They only clarified their position on District 2 and not 3 so it is unclear why they chose not to endorse Harium Martin-Morris, the other African-American candidate.

Interesting Letters to the Editor

So I'm over at the West Seattle Herald checking out the newspaper. I checked the letters to the Editor and there were several about Steve Sundquist (one of the two candidates for that district). One of the letters had an interesting assessment of a Board member's job: "Knowledge of the Seattle School District and its students is not enough to be an effective board member. An effective leader focuses on a few key issues; works well with other board members and the Superintendent and communicates often with parents and the wider community." It's interesting because it seems half right and half wrong. Knowing the District isn't enough. (However, not knowing enough can put a new Board director on a long learning curve and some of them, from my viewpoint, don't have enough time in the day and don't ever learn much. I'm thinking of alternative schools and the highly capable program.) The half wrong is that the letter writer says "a few k

Correction in Times

From the Times' Emily Heffter's SB election coverage: "POSTED 4:20 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24 — We're running a correction in tomorrow's paper about a mistake I made in my Oct. 11 story about the District 6 candidates. In the story, I wrote that Maria Ramirez filled in the "no" bubbles on her February ballot — intending to vote against the school district's two funding measures. Actually, Ramirez supported the operating levy, which makes up about 25 percent of the district's budget. She opposed the bond because of concerns about which projects made the list. Her votes did not count because she didn't mail her ballot. The mistake stems from a misunderstanding in my interview of Ramirez. I noticed in King County records that she didn't vote in the February election. When I asked her what she marked on her ballot before deciding not to mail it, she told me she voted "no." I thought she meant on both issues. She was only talking a

Facilities Survey

I don't know how many of you had heard (or seen) but the Facilities department is taking a survey. Here's the info from SPS: "The Seattle Public School District is in the process of updating the existing Facility Master Plan. The planning process is an aggressive effort to outline a systematic schedule of improving Seattle School facilities. In addition, this document brings together major School District policies, studies, and documents into one document that affect District facilities and guide in the future direction of capital construction projects (BEX/BTA), facility use, re-use, re-purpose, and/or closure. A facilities survey can be downloaded by clicking this link: http://www.seattleschools.org/area/facilities/FMP/facility_surveyOct07.pdf Please return this survey to your local public school by November 15, 2007 or mail your completed survey to: Surveys - Seattle Public Schools Facilities Planning

What To Make of This Latest Incident?

So back in September 5 members of the Garfield football team allegedly engaged in not one but two muggings (and I say mugging and not robbery because they allegedly assaulted both victims). Some of the boys were starters on the team. They were caught because a couple of people saw the second robbery and reported their license plate number. When apprehended (on the football field), most confessed (this is according to an article in the PI). Now I had heard about it when it happened and assumed that the school had dealt with them in some manner (off the team?suspended from school?). Watching the news last night, there's Ted Howard, the principal, saying they were benched for 2 games and "need our support". Hello? Football players get benched for mouthing off at the coach or missing practice, not assaulting and robbing people. And what about the kids at school? Would you feel your student is safe at school with these guys around? I wouldn't. Yes, they are

SB Candidates on KUOW Today at 1 PM

From KUOW: Seattle School Board members work long hours and face harsh personal criticism. They're making policy decisions about a complex urban school district. They do the job as volunteers. Who would want the job? I'm Ross Reynolds. Today on The Conversation you'll meet four people running for Seattle School Board. Two of them will be elected. Incumbent Darlene Flynn faces Sherry Carr. And there's an open seat contested by David Blomstrom and Harium Martin-Morris. Should there be more schools closed in Seattle? Why is there an achievement gap and what can be done about it? Should students have to pass a standardized test to graduate? We'll get the answers to these questions and more, after this hours news. The Conversation is from 1-2 p.m. on 94.9 FM. They also archive these interviews for listening later on.

Digital Dialog

Here's a link to the Times' YouTube interface between high school students and the SB candidates. I didn't listen to all of it. My impressions are that Peter seems much more assured and focused and Darlene seems to have listened to someone and comes across as the candidate I remember from 4 years ago. Namely, she's calm and articulate. However, I've seen the other Darlene and I'm not believing it again. Sherry does come across as having stock answers. Sally seems relaxed and talked up Dr. G-J. Harium was fine as usual as were Maria and Steve. I'm also going to put in Lynne Varner's editorial from the Times today. Normally, I wouldn't because she tends to ramp up her rhetoric and mostly doesn't know what she is talking about. But she forgets history here and it's worth reviewing before anyone votes. She states: "The two incumbents running for re-election, Sally Soriano and Darlene Flynn, say that would have turned them into

Michael Tolley, High School Director

I am part of a newly formed High School Leaders group and we had a meeting last night where we had as our guest, Michael Tolley. He is the new high school director brought in by Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson from Charleston. I have only met him this one time so I probably should reserve judgment but for me, what a breath of fresh air and reality. He listened, had informed things to say (how did he learn this district and OSPI so quickly?) and seemed on point. He was quite diplomatic in trying to assess the district as compared to Charleston. He said, twice, it's "different". He made the point that Charleston has had an exit exam for 10 years and the WASL still isn't on-line yet completely. (And that's another topic; all is not what it seems for the math WASL.) We talked about security. He said he was a little taken aback at the security at the high schools. He said Charleston high schools generally have only one open entrance, sometimes with metal de

My SB Picks

So I've gone to forums, talked to candidates one-on-one, read the editorial pages and wrapped that around what I know about this district. Here are my picks for School Board along with a bit of the why. Keep in mind; I vote both for what the person has individually and what I think they will bring to the Board as a whole. A person can be bright and even qualified but that doesn't mean they work well with others OR have something to bring to a team effort. District III: Harium Martin-Morris . I won't even mention the other guy because he's a lunatic. Luckily, Mr. Martin-Morris is NOT just a default winner. He is bright, knows a lot about the workings of the Board (you can't go to Board meetings for years and not pick up a lot of information, both directly and indirectly plus learning about the players) and, hurray! has a sense of humor (which I predict may get him into trouble sometimes from humorless folks). I think he brings an honesty and candor with t

Deadline extended for nomination to engagement committee

The District has extended the Nomination deadline for potential members of the School Family Partnerships Parent Advisory Committee. The new deadline is Friday, November 16. The Superintendent will make her final decisions on committee members in late November/early December.

Seattle Times endorsements

The Seattle Times printed their endorsements for the Seattle School Board on Sunday and they were just as you would expect. The Times endorsed votes for Peter Maier, Sherry Carr, Steve Sundquist, and Harium Martin-Morris. The Times advocated for a "board filled with professionals steeped in leadership and policymaking' instead of "Single-issue activism". In support of Peter Maier, the Times lauded his promise of "steady, responsible and focused leadership, qualities needed to support, rather than supplant, the superintendent". That said, I think that what the Times likes best about Peter Maier, and the issue that he runs on most heavily, is the fact that he is not Sally Soriano. The Times characterized Director Soriano's tenure as "marked by a fixation on misguided causes". They characterized her "no" votes on budgets in two of the past four years as political rather than principled. In support of Sherry Carr, the Times wrote tha

Arts in SPS

This article appeared in this month's Seattle's Child magazine. From the article: "Bucking this trend, Seattle Public Schools has made the first step in a profound commitment towards ensuring that an arts education is fully fostered and safe-guarded. After a multi-year collaboration, in partnership with the Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs and the Seattle Arts Commission Education Committee, Carri Campbell was hired in July as the district’s new visual and performing arts manager. Campbell will head a leadership team, hired over the next five years, comprised of four arts “coaches” representing each major art discipline – Visual Arts, Music, Dance and Theater. The search for the first position – a music coach – is in progress, and the second coach will be hired in the next two years."

Capital Projects Fast Tracked

There were two articles, one in the PI and one in the Times, about the Facilities Department fast tracking the next building/remodeling cycle. From the Times: "The new schedule establishes the following completion dates: • The South Shore project, which includes K-8 facilities for The New School, will be done in July 2009, as planned; • Hamilton Middle School: July 2010, also as planned; • Ingraham High School: a year early, in March 2010; • the Denny-Sealth combined campus, a year early, in July 2011; • the Nathan Hale remodel, two years early, in July 2010. The acceleration means community outreach will have to be done more quickly — "We're going to be moving at a pace that may be uncomfortable," Trainor said — but the district still plans to do as much outreach as it has for other building projects." The district did a bond measure this past spring (as opposed to a levy) because they would get the bond money faster than a levy and thus be able to get s

"There For the Grace of God Go I"?

This doesn't particularly have anything to do with education but about electing people (and we elect School Board members). So Venus Velasquez was arrested for DUI late Wednesday night driving down Market Street in Ballard after a late dinner with staffers. She passed a police officer in a car (she didn't notice - it's not like Market street is hopping at 11:30 at night on a Wednesday) who noticed her speed (about 50) and that she crossed over the yellow line. So he turned around and arrested her. She was arrested for DUI, no license and parking in a bus zone (dumb charge -when a cop stops you the first thought is get over fast). She is very remorseful, said she's a small woman who had 2 drinks with dinner and didn't think she was impaired (a staffer she was with was too impaired and that's how she ended up driving). Unfortunately for her, her driving record is not great (a speeding ticket in '95, running stop sign, numerous driving without proof

What to Do With All That District Property?

Interesting article in the West Seattle Herald about the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association wants to buy the Boren interim building from the district to develop commercially as their "downtown". From the article: "The group has hired Ron Sher and his real estate development company, Metrovation, to create a conceptual plan for residential and retail to replace Boren. Since January, the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association has made presentations at neighborhood meetings, drumming up support. Beginning in 1996, the non-profit organization has built nearly 200 units of mixed-use, affordable housing in the Delridge area, including: Vivian McLean Place, above the Delridge Library; the Community Resource Center, housing the West Seattle Food Bank; and Croft Place, townhouses for families who are low income or homeless. The non-profit bought the old Cooper School, converting a boarded-up brick building into the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, which

Update on High School credit

I contacted Rosalind Wise by phone today and we spoke about high school credit for middle school students who take Integrated I math classes. It turns out that, although hundreds of middle school students take advanced math classes called "Integrated I" or "Integrated II", the District regards these as high school classes and did not include them in the Spring 2006 middle school math adoption. We can question that decision, but we can't change it. These classes were based on high school courses adopted thirteen years ago, at the time of the last high school math adoption, but they have evolved from those roots in a number of different directions without re-calibration. The Integrated I class was also altered and adapted to work with the CMP2 texts. The classes are all a little different at each school. Therefore, for perfectly understandable and legitimate reasons, the District does not have confident knowledge about what is taught in those classes. I now und

Maria vs Steve in the PI Today

Here's a link to the article that appeared in the PI Today comparing Maria Ramirez and Steve Sundquist in region 6. Nothing jumps out at me; how about you?

Open Thread

One writer suggested a thread so here it is: So I'll throw out to everyone reading this blog, what can you do personally to make things better for our schools, rather than just criticize?

Simple Majority Discussion on KUOW Today

KUOW's The Conversation will be discussing the Simple Majority vote this afternoon at 1 p.m. If you can't listen then, they archive their programs at kuow.org. Their call-in number in 543-KUOW if you want to voice your opinion.

School Board Election Round-Up

To start this Round-Up, here's a link to the Times' Emily Heffter and her education beat blog. There's some interesting stuff there including: -Peter Maier's election warchest, now at 6 figures (the latest is $10,000 from a venture captialist with an interest in education). It's sad in a way because School Board elections used to be more populist but that may go the way of what we see in other races. The interesting thing that doesn't change is if a candidate has high visibility in their community (i.e. Cheryl Chow and Mary Bass), that candidate is hard to run against no matter how much money you have. If Peter were running against one of those two, he wouldn't stand a chance. A strong, supportive community base, from my past reading of SB elections, trumps money every time. -two more forums • 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nathan Hale High School Performing Arts Center (10750 30th Ave. N.E.) Hosted by students of Nathan Hale High School's Ameri

NCLB; What Is Happening and Should It Be Overhauled?

This article appeared in the NY Times about districts struggling with NCLB mandates. From the article: "But more than 1,000 of California’s 9,500 schools are branded chronic failures, and the numbers are growing. Barring revisions in the law, state officials predict that all 6,063 public schools serving poor students will be declared in need of restructuring by 2014, when the law requires universal proficiency in math and reading. “What are we supposed to do?” Ms. Paramo asked. “Shut down every school?” With the education law now in its fifth year — the one in which its more severe penalties are supposed to come into wide play — California is not the only state overwhelmed by growing numbers of schools that cannot satisfy the law’s escalating demands. In Florida, 441 schools could be candidates for closing. In Maryland, some 49 schools in Baltimore alone have fallen short of achievement targets for five years or more. In New York State, 77 schools were candidates for restructu

Dr. Goodloe-Johnson's Q&A

Here is the Q&A from today's on-line Times' forum with Dr. Goodloe-Johnson. I submitted the question about what she said about SPS at an administrators' conference but it didn't make the cut for questions. (I don't know who vetted the questions.) I thought she did pretty well except for the alternative schools question. I hate it when people don't directly answer the question put to them, namely, has she read the alternative schools policy and committee report? It's a simple question. I think our alternative schools may be quite different from what she has seen in the past and it may just be she hasn't visited enough of them to see the difference. That said, there's information right there at the headquarters.

Math Conference

This article on a math conference was in today's Times. From the article, "On Thursday, panelists from local companies talked about what kind of math skills they were looking for in job candidates." Unfortunately, the reporter didn't say what these panelists discussed beyond math being important. Also: "With the outside review as the basis, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction is working on revisions to state math standards, which will be presented to the Legislature by the end of January. Math is the main thing on our radar screen," Bergeson said. "We have to make a course correction." And that means including more math basics, and making sure students know how to conceptualize math problems, as well as the basic algorithms and math facts to solve the equations. The state and school districts also have to help parents understand what their children are learning in math, Bergeson said. Too often, children come home with math

School Board Candidates Forum - Arts Focus

From the Times: "A Seattle School Board candidates forum to address the role of arts education will be held today from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Seattle Children's Theatre, 201 Thomas St., Seattle. Carri Campbell, Seattle Public School's new district manager of visual and performing arts, will meet with attendees at a 5:30 p.m. pre-forum reception. The forum is open to the public. The forum is part of the city's Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs' and Seattle Arts Commission's effort to promote increased arts-education opportunities for all Seattle public-school students." Yet another new face at the district, Carri Campbell.

Dr. G-J Speaks Out on Decentralization

Today's Times had this front page article about Dr. Goodloe-Johnson's efforts to regain control over the direction of schools in SPS. Overall, I would say it was a fairly accurate accounting. (I surely could have done without the opining of former superintendent Olchefske but since he was the biggest cheerleader for decentralizing it must have seemed right to ask.) It was nice to hear this from Cheryl Chow: "This is a public education system, not a business system, if you will, so there's advantages of schools that already have built-in support, community support," said School Board President Cheryl Chow." We went through that razzle-dazzle phase of "schools as businesses and principals as CEOs and parents as consumers" (I never knew where that left the kids.) Education is not a business or rather shouldn't be treated as a business. Good management and sound fiscal practices are needed to be sure but kids aren't commodities. From D

New Program Placement Policy

This week the Board will, almost certainly, enact a Program Placement Policy. This Policy will have two major impacts. The first will be a new Program Placement Process. The current process does not reflect the District's values regarding openness, honesty, transparency, engagement or accountability. The Superintendent and her team will develop a new process which will reflect the District's stated commitment to those values. Of course, she will need some time to create this process and to implement it. Then, after the first roll-out there will probably need to be some adjustments made. We'll have to be patient as we await a new process that works well. We won't have to wait for the other impact, though. That will be a change of principle. In the new Policy, anyone can propose a Program Placement and all program placement proposals are to be treated equally. Anyone means anyone. You or I could propose a program placement and it has to be treated with the same regard,

PI School Board Endorsements (there's a surprise, at least to me)

This morning's Sunday PI had endorsements for SB races. I wasn't expecting any surprises but they endorsed Darlene Flynn over Sherry Carr. Very odd given their reasoning. Here's their early reasoning: "Flynn's impressive ability to think about the big picture is now augmented by four years of experience and realism about the challenges of making systematic changes." I have never seen evidence of Darlene's "big picture" and I wish they would have elaborated. But yes, she now has seen what the job is like after four years. And, we have seen her after 4 years. She said at the candidate forum this week that she is busy and can't answer e-mails but she does the work. Great but what about listening to input/concerns from the people who elected her? Where does she get that big picture thinking? Then they talk about how the Board cleanly selected a new superintendent, cleaned up the budget mess, etc. (all things that Sally Soriano can

She said WHAT??!!

In the discussion of Mixed Support Over West Seattle HS , someone posted this comment: " Anonymous said... I agree with the last person and am also from a neighboring district, I feel compelled to respond as I was in a conference with Dr. Maria Goodloe and was a bit concerned when heard her statements about just HOW BAD Seattle Schools was and how terrible the instruction was. The fact that she stated that she did visited 3 K level classrooms in different schools and thought she would not place her own child in Seattle Schools is telling and supports the above blog. The problem is not the schedule, it is instruction. Dr. Godloe suggested she would fire most of the folks she thinks are responsible for the poor education in Seattle; however, I would challenge that her school leaders are simply victims of the poor instructional leadership that surrounds her. If she wants to improve academics then she needs to do better research about those she has surrounded herself. " W

Mixed Support over West Seattle HS Decision

West Seattle is a very interesting place with a lot of community support and interest. The West Seattle Herald has really good local stories and the West Seattle Blog...well, every neighborhood should be so lucky to have such a lively and informative source. The Herald had a story about Carla Santorno returned to West Seattle HS to go over how the school will change from a 4-period to a 6-period day (per the rest of Seattle comprehensive high schools). Here was the mood at the meeting: "Most who spoke at last week's meeting were pro four-period day. Some said they felt disconnected from the process and decision to change it. One parent said she would contact a lawyer to sue the district. A West Seattle High teacher passed out a pamphlet lauding the four-period schedule. "There's always going to be members of the community that will not agree with this decision, regardless," said Santorno. "We know there are people that like the four-period day, but w