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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

West Seattle Working On Talks With District

This article appeared in the West Seattle Herald. It details how one neighborhood was trying to set up talks with the district about long-term planning for the district's properties in the area and Denny/Sealth. It didn't work out but there's disagreement on why. The district is planning one of its own facilitated discussions.

9 comments:

dan dempsey said...

Check out the SPS public testimony at the School Board meeting of Dec. 5
There you will see in multiple testimonies about the Denny - Sealth merger exactly what kind of discussion facilitator the SPS has been in the past.

Many of these SPS employees should not be trusted with words. Find out why in Mr. Delfino's testimony.

dan dempsey said...

The above reference is to Mr. Delfino Munoz.

A Sealth grad and Sealth teacher of 22 years. He has a clue as to what is happening. A custodian testified. Several parents and students also testified. There were around 30+ supporters present.

Anonymous said...

I'm constantly baffled at the disrespect shown to citizens (and taxpayers!) by school district administration.

Valkyrie said...

SPS doesn't want to have a transparent process with the community. It's easier to spin the facts if there is no oversight. This is exactly what they have done in the Sealth/Denny merger. It was presented as this wonderful plan to give both schools state of the art facilities. As it's turned out, Sealth is giving up at least five classrooms to Denny, losing special education classrooms, a new gym, auditorium, floors, and their staff lounge. So the upshot is, Denny is getting a brand new school, Sealth is getting the shaft. The meetings that were held were either behind closed doors, or scheuled without hardly any notice. Toronto knew about what was actually going on before Seattle. Don Gillmoe, the SPS architect went to a seminar in Toronto in October extolling the virtues of NON-TRADITIONAL schools, such as the new Sealth-Denny. The staff at Sealth didn't get to see the revised plan until a week ago. And what it wrong with TRADITIONAL schools?

Anonymous said...

Was Sealth under enrolled?? Did they not utilize all of their space?? Was Denny growing or over enrolled?? Did they need more space?? Is there a shared teacher lounge?? I don't know the answer to these questions and don't have time to research, but am wondering if there were contributing factors in these decisions.

I know the Coho/NOMS merger, now Salmon Bay, a K-8, went fairly smoothly.

dan dempsey said...

The District allowed West Seattle to be way over enrolled in the 2006-2007 school year. Many of these kids at WSHS came from Sealth boundary area.

Now SPS is trying to destroy the 4 - period day at WSHS.

Perhaps that will reduce motivation to attend WSHS.

This heavy handed non-transparent district certainly does a number of faculty motivation and parent involvement.

45,000 students and falling.

Wait until the MG-J mainstreaming of more special ed students collides with the Everyday Math pacing guide.

Anonymous said...

Dan's continuous fearmongering against "special education mainstreaming" is getting pretty old. The district simply did a review (among many reviews) which noted the extreme isolation of many special education students, the poor quality of their education, AND that many (30%)students in these separate and segregated settings had very little if any actual disability. The district has made no mention of what it will actually do to address the review. Perhaps nothing. Is the existance of a review a reason to rail against a group of students? or to foment resentment against them?

dan dempsey said...

Anon at 5:55,

You said:
..."Is the existence of a review a reason to rail against a group of students? or to foment resentment against them?"

Where do you see any evidence of that?

Here is what I've said in the past on this subject.

I worked at Komachin Middle School which had huge amounts of mainstreaming incredibly well done.
I am enthusiastic about what was accomplished at Komachin.

I see little if any evidence of the SPS being able to do such planning to bring about great results.

The current district mandated following of the Everyday Math pacing guide does a tremendous disservice to most children.

I see the lack of planning in this EM practice as evidence that the planning for Mainstreaming will be inadequate as so much of the planning in this district has been inadequate in the past on a large variety of diverse issues.

I find it interesting that this district hires consultants to determine what needs to be done to restructure so that learning can be improved, while still ignoring policies D43, D44, D45 which could have a huge impact on student learning.

Could you be more specific about the fear-mongering that you see.

Can you please provide me with specific examples that will make me more confident that the SPS can improve a situation rather than just change it.

You said: The district simply did a review.

MG-J made specific comments about mainstreaming in her 90 minute public TV presentation prior to the hiring decision.

The district review confirmed what she said in that 90 minute interview. [this is hardly a surprise]

Given the largely non-transparent nature of what takes place in this often autocratic oligarchy, I have difficulty with the statement "simply did a review".

Check the Seattle Education Association's opposition to the $750,000 McKinsey consultants.
This has a lot to do with denying the SPS the opportunity to stack the deck. Given the SPS track record do you blame the SEA for their opposition to deck stacking?

You said:"The district has made no mention of what it will actually do to address the review.

So with the rampant lack of transparency ..... we could be looking at a quick introductory item ... action item.. Slam Dunk

I see no evidence that I am railing against a particular group of students. I can certainly assure you that raising three sons with learning disabilities and given my teaching record there is zero evidence there to support your contention. Perhaps you read something here to indicate otherwise.

Far to often in this medium the anonymous poster- simply attacks the people who disagree with their position rather than fully discussing the position.

So what leads you to believe the SPS can improve the situation?

Do not many parents of the special education students that you find inappropriately placed have the right to request that their child be placed in a mainstream setting?

I am offended that you say I am railing against a group of students.

valkyrie said...

I don't think most people are against mainstreaming per say. I think that they are against mainstreaming for the wrong reasons, such as cost. Because every special education student has an IEP, by law, all of the goals and objectives of those student must be attempted to be met. In many cases, having one special education student in a classroom is equivalent to 5 in a general education classroom.

The District has figured out that by changing the ratio of special ed students per sped teacher, they can hire less special ed teachers. The general ed teachers are not trained to teach special education students, and the fairty tale that there will be "training" is a joke. The Districts idea of training is to have 100 - 200 people in a room and feed them statistics and data. It will be decades before general ed teachers have the needed training to have 13% of their classes with sped students. Many sped students don't just have trouble learning, they also have developed interesting behaviors because their various disabilities. It is a very complex process that is not going to get fixed by simply "mainstreaming."