Posts

Showing posts from April, 2008

Interesting Film about Education Worldwide

This from the PI Education blog: "If you're interested in seeing the film, Two Million Minutes, there's a screening May 12 at Seattle University . The viewing starts at 6 p.m. in the The LeRoux Room, and is open to the public." It's about the uses of time by American and Indian high school students; there's a trailer at YouTube. I had heard about this film but know very little about it. I am technically on vacation (in Tucson; it's 85 degrees and sunny - what can I say?) but had the chance to check in, saw this and wanted to make sure (in case you missed at the PI blog but I hope you do check in there) it was on your calendar if you are interested.

Surprising Math Study

This article about using real world examples to teach math appeared this week in the NY Times. About the study, “The motivation behind this research was to examine a very widespread belief about the teaching of mathematics, namely that teaching students multiple concrete examples will benefit learning,” said Jennifer A. Kaminski, a research scientist at the Center for Cognitive Science at Ohio State. “It was really just that, a belief.” Dr. Kaminski and her colleagues Vladimir M. Sloutsky and Andrew F. Heckler did something relatively rare in education research: they performed a randomized, controlled experiment. Their results appear in Friday’s issue of the journal Science. Though the experiment tested college students, the researchers suggested that their findings might also be true for math education in elementary through high school, the subject of decades of debates about the best teaching methods." How did it work? "In the experiment, the college students learned a

You Learn Something New Every Day

I attended a fundraiser for the Roosevelt class of 2010 last night. I was talking to a dad who attended our parent education night in the fall on electronic addiction. One thing we learned that night was that girls are more addicted to their cell phones and boys are more addicted to video games. But what this dad told me is that kids think e-mail is for old people (read: parents) and business uses. Texting or IMing is the way to go to communicate with friends. I don't know why that surprised me but thinking about it, being a teen is all about real-time experiences and not waiting for an answer to an e-mail. I thought about this as I read this article in the NY Times about electronic language creeping into students' schoolwork. From the article, "Nearly two-thirds of 700 students surveyed said their e-communication style sometimes bled into school assignments, according to the study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, in partnership with the College

Bryant Meeting

There was a post under Beth's thread "Middle School and Enrollment Discussions" and one reader, Old Salt, had posted about the Bryant meeting. I thought I might add my impressions/information. It was kind of amazing because I got there at 6:45 (and we started right at 7:00 - the Bryant principal is by the book on meetings, good for her). In that period of time (there were maybe 5 people when I got there), the room filled. I'd estimate that there were at least 60 people there. Representing the staff were Don Kennedy, COO, Tracy Libros, Enrollment and Planning, Rachel Cassidy, Enrollment and Planning. Harium Martin-Morris and Sherry Carr were in attendance. In addition to the Bryant principals, the principals of Thornton Creek, Wedgwood and one other area school (I'm sorry; somehow my notes don't reflect who it was). The principal, Linda Robinson, stressed that the over-subscription problem (for awhile they kept referring to it as as over-capacity pr

Middle School & Enrollment Discussions

Communities and Parents for Public Schools of Seattle (CPPS of Seattle) has organized two opportunities next week for parents to talk with district staff about hot topics: middle school and enrollment . From the newsletter : CPPS Annual Meeting: " What's Up with Middle School Education in Seattle Public Schools ?" Panel & Discussion Wednesday , April 30 Meany Middle School CPPS Annual Meeting: 6:30 - 7:00pm Middle School Panel: 7:00 - 8:30pm Why do we find the middle school years so educationally challenging? What do we really want? Join us... We know that some district middle schools are considered "good," popular alternatives and others are not; some folks shy from the public middle schools altogether. What's up? What is present or lacking in Seattle Public Middle Schools? The panel includes: Ruth Medsker, SPS Middle Schools Director Bob Vaughan, Director for Advanced Learning Princess Shareef, Meany Middle School Principal Michael Tolley, High S

New Assignment Plan? Not Till 2010-2011

This article appeared in today's PI. I had tried to record the Board meeting last night because I knew that there would be discussion of the assignment plan and the VAX system (computer) they use for it. This article is all I have to go on so if anyone saw the presentation please speak up. Good news: "But Sherri Bealkowski, the district's interim chief information officer, suggested there may be a silver lining: There's now a detailed plan to fix the problem -- and money set aside in the district's capital budget to pay for it." I'd like to see where in the capital budget this is coming from. I had pointed out to COO Don Kennedy that if money hadn't been taken from the BEX III Tech fund for Sealth it could have gone for this effort. Apparently, they are going to not do yet another project on the tech list and move the money to this plan. Bad news: "But because of the complexity of the current school-choice system and the limitations of the c

Bergeson column in the Times

There is a column by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Terry Bergeson in today's Seattle Times. It's titled " A critical juncture for education: Can our money match our vision? " and that seems to be the general topic of the piece. Two things about this column really trouble me. First, almost every word of it is fluff. The whole thing could be boiled down to this one paragraph: The only way to maintain progress — to pursue our vision of a world-class education for all students, boost our competitiveness and reinvigorate our flagging economy — is to invest strategically and substantially in our education system. And that's not really news, is it? Terry Bergeson wants the legislature to allocate more money to education. Wow. Stop the presses. Second, although she says that we have a Vision for education in Washington State, she doesn't really describe it. I have to say that I'm not aware of any such Vision. Honestly, I don't think she has o

NCLB and Margaret Spellings

Today's NY Times reported on the efforts of Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings to adjust NCLB so that states would support it instead of the rising tide of efforts to dismantle it. Her explanation? "Ms. Spellings said she was proposing the fixes because efforts in Congress to rewrite the legislation have stalled and because “everywhere I go I meet parents who are demanding change.” " With the Bush administration on its last legs, it doesn't seem like her ideas will go anywhere but here are some of them: -requiring states to use a single federal formula to calculate and report high school graduation rates. Interestingly: "Ms. Spellings’s proposed regulations would require states to calculate their graduation rates in a uniform way by the 2012-13 school year, using a formula that in 2005 all 50 governors agreed to adopt. In the years since, only a dozen or so states have done so. Under the formula, graduation rates are calculated by dividing the nu

Editorial Response to Teacher's WASL Opt-Out

Well naturally, the newspapers had to weigh in on Eckstein teacher Carl Chew's decision to not give the WASL to his students. The PI's response was more measured while the Times let Lynne Varner loose on it with just about what you'd expect. From the PI: "We won't pass judgment on the science teacher's decision to refuse to administer the Washington Assessment of Student Learning; he says he is willing to accept consequences. The key is for Seattle Public Schools to impose adequate discipline, which is fair to the teacher and nuanced enough to discourage escalations of the tactic on others' part." Well, the district may be able to stop teachers but they can't stop parents. If more parents opted out, the Legislature and OSPI would have to listen to their concerns. Mr. Chew mentioned that in California teachers can tell parents about this option. I didn't know it was not possible here for teachers to tell parents about opting out.

Strategic Plan - Get Involved

From the Seattle Public Schools web site : Your input is welcome as we develop our Strategic Plan Community meetings: Wednesday, May 14, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. Roosevelt High School - Commons Area 1410 NE 66th Street Thursday, May 15, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. West Seattle High School - Commons Area 3000 California Ave. SW Tuesday, May 20, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.* *Meeting designed specifically for our bilingual community Aki Kurose Middle School - Cafeteria 3928 So. Graham Street

Great Idea, Great Story

This article appeared in today's Times. It's about students learning more through living history i.e. talking to people who lived through a period in time (in this case the civil rights movement). From the article: "The Rev. Samuel McKinney, pastor emeritus of the predominantly African-American Mount Zion Baptist Church, quickly takes them back to a Seattle in which blacks could work in department stores only if they weren't visible to customers, a city in which lending practices and prejudice restricted them to housing in a few segregated neighborhoods. Instead of learning history in a classroom, the two students, Nicole Czubin and Elena Feldman, are hearing the stories of living witnesses in the places where history was made. The yearlong program, sponsored by the Seattle nonprofit Museum Without Walls, brings together 10 suburban and 10 inner-city students to learn about the civil-rights movement both locally and nationally. In June, the students traveled

Urgent - Unused Garfield APP Assignments Needed

There is an APP student from Washington who wants to enroll in Garfield APP, but the student's enrollment form was misplaced or mis-routed somewhere in the process. Consequently the student did not get an assignment to Garfield APP. It's not too late. The student can get into Garfield APP if we can find three students with a Garfield APP assignments who won't be using them. Maybe the students will attend a private school instead, maybe they are moving out of the district, maybe they just decided that they want to go somewhere else. So if there is anyone with a Garfield APP student assignment who won't be using it, please let me know right away.

Follow up on dialog

So, to follow up on the earlier thread about creating the space and opportunity for dialog, the strongest call was for something around the math curriculum. There are a number of elements of the District's math curricula that I find curious and would like to learn more about. 1. Why the delay in selecting the two high school curricula? We've been told that we're waiting for the state to set the standards, but a) Any curriculum we choose will actually match those standards without modification b) We already have a strong sense of what the standards will be c) We have already narrowed the choices to three curricula and will not be adding to that list when the state releases their standards 2. We will make a dual adoption for high school - one more reform curriculum and one more traditional curriculum. We also made a dual adoption for elementary school (Everyday Math and Singapore Math), but we didn't make a dual adoption for middle school. Will the District re-

Join the CPPS Annnual Meeting

CPPS: Action, Passion, and Leadership for Excellent Seattle Schools CPPS Annual Meeting 2008 Featuring panel discussion: What’s up with middle school education in Seattle? Wednesday, April 30 6:30 – 8:30pm Meany Middle School Library 301 – 21st Ave E, Capitol Hill Open to all *Child care available, RSVP by April 28 CPPS Member Business Meeting – 6:30 – 7pm · Join CPPS and help guide our planning and activities · Participate with your vote for the CPPS Board and Officers · CPPS activity update CPPS Hosts Program on Middle School Education in Seattle · Ruth Medsker, Seattle Public Schools’ Middle Schools Director · Bob Vaughn, Director for Advanced Learning · Parent involvement advocates Join the CPPS community of public school advocates, and share our vision for great Seattle schools. CPPS is a network of parents and community members working together to ensure quality public schools for all Seattle children. www.cppsofseattle.org

The Board's Focus

Have you ever noticed how many of the Board's actions are related to property management? Look at the Board's agenda for this week. Here's a list of the stuff they are considering: 1. Review and approve minutes of last meeting 2. Approve warrants 3. BEX III - Denny/Sealth 4. BEX III - Ingraham 5. BEX III - Nathan Hale 6. BEX III - Denny/Sealth 7. BEX III - Ingraham 8. BEX III - Nathan Hale 9. BEX III - Hamilton 10. BEX III - Denny/Sealth 11. BEX III - Ingraham 12. BEX III - Nathan Hale 13. BEX III - Denny/Sealth 14. BEX III - Ingraham 15. BEX III - Nathan Hale 16. Sale of Queen Anne Gym 17. Modify Lease on Lake City School 18. Garfield/Interbay land swap 19. BEX III - Budget transfer Other than the minutes and the warrants, it is all about property management in one way or another. There is no mention of teaching and learning, and for sure no mention of Policy. There is no question about how the Board spends its time, but shouldn't we question whether this

Teacher Refuses to Administer WASL

From a press release SEATTLE TEACHER REFUSES TO ADMINISTER WASL TEST TO STUDENTS, CITING MULTIPLE HARMS TEST CAUSES STUDENTS, TEACHERS, SCHOOLS, AND PARENTS Date: April 20, 2008 Contact: Juanita Doyon, Director, Parent Empowerment Network, Spanaway, 253/973-1593 Carl Chew, Seattle Teacher, 206-265-1119 email ctchew@earthlink.net Carl Chew, a 6th grade science teacher at Nathan Eckstein Middle School in the Seattle School District, last week defied federal, state, and district regulations that require teachers to administer the Washington Assessment of Student Learning to students. “I have let my administration know that I will no longer give the WASL to my students. I have done this because of the personal moral and ethical conviction that the WASL is harmful to students, teachers, schools, and families,” wrote Chew in an email to national supporters. School District response to Mr. Chew’s refusal was immediate. After administrative attempts to dissuade his ac

Again?

Are you kidding me? Another molester in SPS gets sentenced? This article appeared in the PI today. This particular useless bit of human flotsam was quite the operator. Here's a guy - a former police chief from a small Eastern Washington town - who comes to Seattle to be a PE teacher. I'm pretty sure the district probably was quite happy to have him. (He worked first at BF Day and then Rainier View.) A friendly fellow, he ran an after-school ballroom dancing class. But he fixated on a group of sisters from an immigrant Cambodian family where mom didn't speak English. And he groomed those girls (and buttered up the mom) and then molested them. BF Day officials reprimanded him for this unseemly relationship. But he continued the relationship with the girls (unknown if the school knew this) but gets accused of molesting his own granddaughter. But the parents of his granddaughter didn't want a trial and let him plead to a lesser charge. Okay, but during

Joe Drake gets two years pay to leave

Here is the story from the P-I and here is the story from the Times . So, help me to understand. Is this the accountability that everyone has been talking about, or is this a prime example of why we need accountability? I wonder what sort of performance evaluations Joe Drake got up until he was put on administrative leave. Is there a long paper trail of education directors and superintendents who have complained that his work was inadequate? Or did he have glowing performance reviews up until - and possibly through - last year? I'm serious about this. If Joe Drake was meeting expectations in his work, is there any justification in terminating his employment? And if he was not, then why did the District have to pay a settlement? Don't we have a process in place to terminate employees who are not meeting expectations without buying them out with two years' pay? In the story in the Times, the District claims that Dr. Drake was viewed as a "threatening person" b

Teacher Pay

This interesting article was published by the League of Education Voters. I can't comment because I haven't read all the links nor do I know much about teacher pay variables. I'll just post it for others to read.

Our spelling word for today

There is an op-ed piece in yesterday's P-I by David Marshak . In it, he questions why we ever listened to Washington Mutual CEO Kerry Killinger on education issues and suggests that now, with that corporation's troubles, why we should ever pay attention to Mr. Killinger or continue to respect his proposals. Mr. Marshak is, of course, absolutely correct. Mr. Killinger does not have any expertise in education and never did. Mr. Killinger's favored view on education is absurd at its face. Mr. Killinger should never have been as influential on education issues as he has been and now, with the downturn in his company's fortunes - not to mention his questionable integrity - he is likely to exercise less influence going forward. Just the same, there was a distinctly bitter flavor to the column. Our spelling word for today, boys and girls, is schadenfreude - \SHOD-n-froy-duh\, noun: A malicious satisfaction obtained from the misfortunes of others. For a great number of peopl

WASL Week(s)

ss wrote: I don't know where/how to request this. How have your students responded to the WASL this week? All elementary, middle & high schoolers are in the grind. Do they feel comfortable and prepared? What subjects do they feel at a loss with? In Science, my 10th grader says they haven't at all covered the subjects in the WASL. Is this an individual school gap or do the SPS not cover what the WASL covers? What about the younger ones? Thanks! So... nu? How's the WASL going for your family and friends?

No, Tracy Libros is NOT Leaving SPS (Thank Goodness!)

Elsewhere in this blog someone mentioned that Tracy Libros, head of Planning and Enrollment, was no longer head of it. Panic seized me as Tracy is only one of a handful of staff that we cannot live without. Her long background in enrollment planning coupled with her institutional knowledge of this district (and the major factor that she does her job superlatively and with grace and calm) means we CAN'T lose her. Luckily, we're not. When she got bumped up to manager of Planning and Enrollment, it left her previous position as head of Enrollment Services empty. Well, they have finally filled it and Mary Brown is in that role and Tracy is her boss. Whew! Carry on.

Week of Action for Global Education-April 21-27

This op-ed appeared in today's PI by Mary Njoroge, the former director of basic education for Kenya's Ministry of Education (and now an ed consultant). I hadn't heard of this week before; apparently Wednesday, April 23rd is the World's Biggest Lesson. From the op-ed: "Millions of schoolchildren will simultaneously learn about the importance of allowing all the world's children to have access to an education, and what they can do to help their counterparts in their own countries and around the world. Although this lesson will primarily be taught in classrooms, it is a lesson we can all learn." Anybody's teacher mention this to your student? I think it sounds great. Education is the great leveler in the world. It's easy to control people if you keep them uneducated and poor especially in countries that don't emphasis education. With our presidential election coming up, it is important to keep education as an issue. The war is major,

New Principal Announcements

This announcement was in the PI this morning about principal appointments. Most are first time principals which is interesting; I wonder if our principal corps is older.

News From the Seattle Council PTSA

Strategic Plan Updates Be sure to review the work done so far on the Superintendent’s Strategic Plan for Seattle Public Schools. The final plan will be presented to the community in mid-May, including at the Alliance Breakfast on May 14 (see below), at the SCPTSA meeting on May 19 (see above) and at other to-be-determined dates and times. (Now Hale is supposed to have Dr. G-J at the end of April; I wonder if she'll unveil it there or wait for a larger event like the Alliance breakfast.) Everyday Math Family Engagement Training available in May Seattle Public Schools Family Partnerships program has developed a training session to help share how families can help their students with the Everyday Math curriculum. This session is designed for parent leaders who will share this information with their school communities. Please contact info@seattlecouncilptsa.org if you’re interested in attending a training in May; date(s) to be determined based on interest. WA State Board of Edu

Action driven by enrollment numbers

Some of the enrollment numbers provided through the P-I education blog are just astonishing. I have written to Ruth Medsker, the education director for middle schools, about why enrollment at Denny was cut off at 128 and 11 students were put on a waitlist. At that rate, the school would only have 384 students. It now has 629 (210 per grade). Perhaps the numbers were wrong. Perhaps not. Given the imbalance between Meany and Washington, some action is required. I'm thinking that the best interests of the students and the District would be served if middle school APP moved from Washington to Meany. That would, over time, move about 420 students from Washington to Meany. Meany would still have room for a general education program of either 270 or 360 students. Does anyone have any other ideas? I'm not sure how the District would feel about Meany housing APP and Spectrum with no general education students. It wouldn't provide APP and Spectrum students time with a more academic

The Power of Dialog

I went to hear the Dalai Lama speak on Saturday at Qwest Field. A lot of his talk really resonated with me. He spoke, in significant part, about peace and non-violence. Peace, he said, is not merely the absence of war. Peace is in how we address conflict. There are conflicts everywhere on every scale. This is natural and normal and not, in itself, a bad thing. There are global conflicts, national conflicts, regional conflicts, community conflicts, and conflicts at work and in our families. He said that the path to conflict resolution was not through violence, but through dialog. The Dalai Lama is a big fan of dialog. More, he said that it isn't enough to acknowledge the principle. It isn't enough to accept the principle. It isn't enough to adopt the principle. We must act on the principle. Let us act on these principles. We can open dialog in our homes with our families and in our workplaces. Let us act on these principles in our community by working to establish dialog

New Blog Contributor & SBOC Event

Maria Ramirez, the Executive Director of Campana Quetzal, has agreed to join this blog as a contributor. She will make her first post soon, but meanwhile, here's an upcoming Secondary Bilingual Orientation Center she is involved with as well: The Seattle School District’s school for newly arrive immigrant and refugee youth will host a community Open House on Saturday, April 19, from 2:30-5:00. The Secondary Bilingual Orientation Center (SBOC) is at the corner of Boston and 4th “Ave. N. on top of Queen Anne Hill. See http://www.seattleschools.org/schools/secboc/index.htm for more details.

The Internet and Your Child's Future

I've mentioned this subject before but after doing some research and seeing last night's CBS '48 Mystery' about Amanda Knox, the UW student accused of helping to murder her roommate in Italy, I decided to write and advocated harder. I recently wrote an article for the Roosevelt PTSA parent newsletter on this subject and I'll just excerpt some of it here. My main push is to get parents to realize how much what gets put on the Internet about your child can follow them around for a long, long time. None of us grew up with the Internet so this is new territory. We are charting a path for our children that is growing and expanding as we speak. Stressing to our kids, over and over, the problems, the pitfalls, and yes, the dangers of posting information on the Internet cannot be underestimated. If you are the parent of elementary or middle school student, the time to have these discussions is NOW. Here's what I found from my research (this from my articl

Organizations Helping Schools

I can't recall if I ever mentioned this School Kids Come First but thought it worth mentioning again in light of discussions here about inequities in fundraising. From their website: "School Kids Come First solicits proposals from teachers throughout the Seattle Public School system. Projects must involve direct student benefits, and must also provide an experience or an opportunity beyond the textbooks and supplies needed for basic education (which School Kids Come First does not fund). All proposals are screened by School Kids Come First to verify the teacher, the school, the principal’s support, the exact purchase requested, the vendor, and the cost. After a project is fully funded, School Kids Come First makes the purchase,delivers the materials to the teacher and notifies the donor(s) that the project has been fulfilled. When possible the donor will also receive a thank you letter and photos so they can see and read about the results of their donations. The 15% fulfil

Assignment Numbers

Checking in with the PI's School Zone , there was an thread about the assignment numbers (they included a link to some draft assignment numbers at the district). There was a lot of the usual suspects numbers (Roosevelt and Garfield with large waitlists, Beacon Hill doubling its numbers with their new international program, TOPS and Bryant with large waitlists). Checking out the numbers, there are definitely some trends. (Please note: when I reference numbers I am generally talking about first choice, not enrollment.) Roosevelt was down on numbers on its waitlist but Roosevelt and Garfield are the only high schools with any significant waitlists (Ballard had 3 and West Seattle had 4). Sadly, Rainier Beach continues to decline with only 20 9th graders listing it as their first choice. Sealth, which had what looks like an IB surge last year (2006-94, 2007, 127), did well holding on with 107 first choices despite the Denny-Sealth controversy. Hale seems to be experiencing a slo

Latest District Budget News

This article was in the Times this afternoon. The District has announced a hiring freeze in anticipation of a tough budget cycle next year.

How the Middle Class Negotiates and Justifies School Advantage

I am looking forward to hearing from an author's whose book has generated lots of discussion about class and influence in public schools. From the UW Bookstore website : Friday • April 25 • 7pm Ellen Brantlinger Dividing Classes: How the Middle Class Negotiates and Justifies School Advantage Reading & Book Signing U District store Ellen Brantlinger studied the relationship between social class and educational success in her Indiana hometown. And instead of simply looking at the way the historically marginalized lower classes fail or succeed based on class, she looked at the middle and affluent classes as well to see how their value systems corresponded to their educational goals. Sponsored by the University of Washington School of Education. And from the UW College of Education website: Brantlinger’s book is receiving acclaim as a “take-no-prisoners ethnography” according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. Dividing Classes: How the Middle Class Negotiates and Rationali

Education Reform Talk

This from the League for Education Voters: Hear one of our country’s leading education reform advocates, Kati Haycock , President of The Education Trust . Mark this important conversation with Kati Haycock on your calendars: Monday, April 28 at 7:00 - 8:30 PM Seattle Public Library No cost, but please RSVP to let us know you will attend. Kati Haycock carries a message of urgency, change and hope that the League of Education Voters Foundation will embrace as we embark on a new campaign to promote and support bold education reform solutions.

More on the Southeast Initiative

Hello I saw this as a sidebar to an article posted on March 28th in Seattle's Child: http://www.seattleschild.com/article/20080328/SCM02/301450785&template=SCMart Rainier Beach High School’s enrollment has been dropping for years. Now, with about 300 students, it is smaller than some Seattle elementary schools. Seattle Public Schools estimates at least 1,300 high school students in the southeast part of the city pass by Rainier Beach and go elsewhere – many opting for north end schools. Rainier Beach is one of three schools “in glaring need of assistance,” says Carla Santorno, the district’s chief academic officer. The district is helping with a new effort called the Southeast Education Initiative. They’ll spend between $800,000 and $900,000 each year – for the next three years – to increase enrollment and academic achievement at Rainier Beach, Cleveland High School and Aki Kurose Middle School. Each school received $25,000 in September to figure out what their needs

Everyone "Accountable"?

Probably because the PI had an editorial a couple of days ago about the whole situation at Broadview-Thompson over the teacher abusing children, there were a number of letters to the editor. All were in the vein, " Why weren't (aren't) the principals/administrators involved being held accountable?" It's a fair question; if ever there was bad judgment used, it's here. From a letter by Dan Reeder: " The district's response? Mandate staff training about 'reporting suspected abuse.' According to your article, at least 15 teachers and staff members made at least 30 reports to the principal and assistant principal of the school about the sexual misconduct. Sounds to me like staff members already know how to report." There was a long letter from former SEA president, John Dunn, who said: "And yet, the article goes on to say that two of the school administrators accused of failing to act on warnings about the perpetrator's beh

Wanted: Princess Fiona

This appeared in today's Times: Wanted: Young Fiona for "Shrek the Musical" Does your dress-up-loving little girl dream of becoming a princess? Even if that princess moonlights as an ogre? Well, assuming she can sing, here's her chance. DreamWorks Theatricals and the 5th Avenue Theatre have announced open auditions for the role of 8-year-old Princess Fiona in the upcoming Broadway-bound musical. Girls 8 to 10 years old with great singing voices are encouraged to audition for the role, which will be for the Aug. 14-Sept. 21 Seattle engagement only. "Shrek the Musical," also co-produced by Neal Street Productions, is the first foray into Broadway by DreamWorks. Most of the cast has already been announced, and includes Broadway veterans Sutton Foster and Brian d'Arcy James, as the adult Princess Fiona and Shrek. Auditions will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 19 at Seattle Children's Theatre, and appointments for a spot can be made by calling th

Various Board Meetings

The Board will be meeting this week for their regular legislative meeting. The agenda is posted here . As you can see, most of the Board's work is either routine approvals as required by law or property management work. They spend very little of their time on learning and teaching and less still on policy work. The Finance Committee meets on Thursday at 3:30. Their agenda is supposed to be here . As of this moment, however, they have yet to post the agenda. The one they show now is the agenda from their last meeting on March 20. The Operations Committee meets the same day, Thursday, at 4:30. Their agenda is here . The two elements I find interesting here are the Garfield/Interbay Land Swap (what the heck is that ?), and the BEX Communication Presentation. There are other references, here and there, of a BEX Communication Plan, but I can find no plan nor any evidence of a plan. According to the Operations Committee agenda, Don Gillmore will be presenting community engagement oppor

Hello Dalai!

Over at the Chalkboard blog at the PI (by parent Denise Gonzalez-Walker), she reports that the district is doing two amazing things. One, on the first day of WASL, on Monday some students (she doesn't report which schools or how many kids) are going the Seeds of Compassion event with the Dalai Lama (I'm assuming after they take the WASL). Two, the bus transportation is free. (Parents can opt to not have their children go.) Over at the Times today, there's an article by Emily Heffter about parents who are troubled about sending their children to hear a religious leader speak. From the article: "Melissa Jones is a Christian. Patricia Gorham isn't affiliated with any particular religion. But both women have the same concern about Seattle Public Schools arranging for their children to hear the Dalai Lama speak Monday. "It's a public school, and we're having a religious leader come and speak to our kids," Gorham said. "While I think he ha