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Friday, May 08, 2009

Open Thread

Did anyone attend either of the community meetings this week for discussion of the assignment plan, strategic plan and the upcoming BTA levy? I'm planning on attending the one tomorrow from 10-noon at the district headquarters.

16 comments:

seattle citizen said...

Previous threads that could stand some continued comment:

LA Alignment: what would YOU align?

Alt schools, "Options" and earned autonomy: should schools be able to "earn" freedom of assessment and curriculum if they show "success," amd if so, what measure of success?

Below-level proficiency: how should schools address it? What do you do with a student who is not at level in a particular skill(s)

Transportation: How DO we get students around the district efficiently and with a minimum carbon footprint while allowing access to various programs?

Contract negotiations are underway: what do you want each side to offer?

State responsibilities: Yesterday, State closed book on upping levy usage levels (Seattle can't draw from previously approved tax rates on levies) Good? Bad? What is the state's role in funding, how do we pay for it? What are the local taxpayers' roles?

Personal physical fitness trainers for every student and staff: Over the top? (just seeing if you're paying attention!)

Dorothy Neville said...

Hey! I want a personal fitness trainer! (see, I was paying attention.)

Did you all see Brook's column in the NYT today? About Harlem Children's Zone and its amazing successes?

If you haven't already, go to the Harlem Children's Zone website, clink on link for Press and listen to the This American Life segment about Baby College. Inspirational and thought provoking.

SE Mom said...

I would be really interested to hear about the community meetings held this week.

I have been planning on attending the meeting tomorrow to ask questions about the new assignment plan. There are so many items on the agenda though, I am not sure there will be much time for discussion about any one topic.

Maybe I can still figure out how to speak with Tracy Libros afterwards though. Anybody had any luck with getting a direct reply to emails from her?

reader said...

At one meeting the topic came up about special education and "choice" in the new assignment plan. The district is talking about "designated" schools in attendance areas. That means families still won't get any real choices.

anonymous said...

Tracy Libros has always responded promptly to my emails - usually during the same day! If she's not responding quickly it may be that she's swamped right now with student assignment in full swing, getting assignment letters out in a couple of weeks, etc.

Sue said...

Anyone else catch the opening salvo in the contract negotions betweeen SPS and SEA today? From the Seattle Times -

Work One less Day - or you're fired.

These negotiations could get really interesting.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Actually, that would make a good thread. What little I have gleaned about the contracts (and Dr. G-J has fired a good first shot):

-somehow the district is negiotiating 3 contracts at once: teachers, principals and 609 workers (and i know that the teachers' contract ends August 31 so it has to get done by then; don't know about the other two)

- a source tells me that another tactic the district may use is to make all the meeting notes public.

ParentofThree said...

"Work One less Day - or you're fired."

Yep, front page news this morning...

ParentofThree said...

I think it is time for a tread here on financial committments that need to be made to schools impacted by Capacity Management.

Dr. G-J stated at the meeting that she has not received any "wish lists" from any schools yet. But I do believe that NOVA has requested many things to retrofit Meany for their needs. If this is true, then MGJ was not being honest in her response.

I just smelled a rat while watching that portion of the meeting.....

Charley, can you provide some insight here?

Stu said...

Melissa wrote: "a source tells me that another tactic the district may use is to make all the meeting notes public."

That's funny. They don't even make public records public.

stu

owlhouse said...

SPS Mom-
I agree. We need some number crunching investigators to track the unmet commitments and unexpected costs of of "capacity amnagement." Or maybe just a network of bloggers and parents connected with individual schools...

As for Nova. We were promised a "high school ready" building at Meany in the fall. Turns out we'll have some version of portable science labs- with no external venting, no plumbing. At some point, when levy $ becomes available, we'll get labs. If/when this happens, teachers will again have to pack their rooms. I just posted this and a couple other concerns to the "SPS Commitments" thread on Harium's blog.

How far will the district take its push towards standardization?? They are providing packing boxes in one size only. I know it sounds silly, but really- the school (or teachers) has to find/buy its own packing materials. This might be tolerable if the school could be packed and moved over the summer, but no, we will be locked out with in days after the end of the year. District movers who visited the school recently expressed concern that some teachers had not begun packing. Maybe they aren't aware there's still another month+ of school.

Any budding documentary film makers or oral historians out there? It's late, but I'd love to collect some of the stories of the schools we are losing.

Renee said...

Be very careful about those movers. They managed to lose lots of boxes. Inventory EVERYTHING! Really Everything.

owlhouse said...

Thanks for the heads up, Renee. I'm assuming you have experience with a move that didn't go well? At this point, such ineptitude and resulting harm to schools shouldn't surprise me, but it does.

Now, how to raise this concern with out furthering mistrust in the district and creating extra work for staff...

seattle citizen said...

If Heery is the contracted moving company, ask for Char Baker to help you. BY all acounts, she does a wonderful job!

Charlie Mas said...

SPS Mom wrote: "Dr. G-J stated at the meeting that she has not received any "wish lists" from any schools yet. But I do believe that NOVA has requested many things to retrofit Meany for their needs. If this is true, then MGJ was not being honest in her response."

NOVA has requested a number of capital improvements. The requests can be found here. I don't know to what extent the Superintendent is familiar with these notes from the design teams or to what extent these notes constitute a "request" by whatever definition the Superintendent has set. She may be expecting something more formal.

I have often heard of the promise of a "high school ready" building in the Fall for NOVA, but I don't have that reference. Can someone supply it? The closest I can come is the set of commitments the District made to the S.B.O.C.

ParentofThree said...

"The requests can be found here."
Well if I can read it, so should the super, so was she being truthful in her statement? I guess one could agrue that since the doc was not titled "NOVA wish list, for Dr. G-J", she is telling the truth.

Both Mary Bass and Michael DeBell were pretty clear about not short changing other schools in the process of giving Hamilton nearly a million bucks for music rooms. I would suggest sending the doc to them directly and get onto the the board meeting agenda for some of that money that seems to flow every now and again!