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Showing posts from September, 2009

MLK To Be Sold or Put Into a Long-Term Lease

From reader DJ, ''Sorry, didn't know where to post this or where to find the confirming information, but this piece was on the CD News: http://centraldistrictnews.com/2009/09/30/two-competing-proposals-for-mlk-school Is the district indeed selling, as opposed to retaining, the MLK building? " The answer is yes but it also includes the option for a long-term lease (20 years or more). Here is the information from the SPS website. From the School Use Advisory Committee for MLK Elementary School document: "The residential makeup surrounding MLK School is principally single-family homes. All members of the committee and other nearby neighbors expressed their desire to retain the quality of life that reflects the residential character of the neighborhood. Some of the concerns expressed both by committee members and other community members were traffic, parking, security, lighting and noise; and minimizing their impacts on the neighborhood. The second and third

Move North-end Elementary APP?

Please discuss the suggestion of relocating north-end elementary APP to a north-end location on this thread rather than on the Program Placement thread. Does anyone intend to submit a program placement proposal for it?

Program Placement Proposals

Please submit your program placement proposals soon. The form is available here as a .pdf download from the District web site. Use this form to propose the development of new programs, the replication of an existing program, relocating an existing program, or closing an existing program. I used this process last year to propose the relocation of the West Seattle-South elementary Spectrum program from West Seattle Elementary to Arbor Heights Elementary. In clear violation of District Policy and published practice, the Program Placement Committee ignored the proposal and deliberately chose not to consider it at all. They rejected it without any rationale given - even when asked by the Board to provide a rationale. Although it was not done so publicly, I have been told that this was an issue (one of several) on the Superintendent's performance review. I expect fairer treatment this year when I submit the proposal again. I expect any proposal you make this year will get fairer treat

Who Reads What Students Write?

A very funny (and sobering) op-ed this week in the NY Times about a guy who used to score writing samples for state assessment tests (complete with a great rubric and funny story about trying to score an essay written about Debbie Does Dallas - there's a kid who wanted to push the envelope). From the article: "One of the tests I scored had students read a passage about bicycle safety. They were then instructed to draw a poster that illustrated a rule that was indicated in the text. We would award one point for a poster that included a correct rule and zero for a drawing that did not. The first poster I saw was a drawing of a young cyclist, a helmet tightly attached to his head, flying his bike over a canal filled with flaming oil, his two arms waving wildly in the air. I stared at the response for minutes. Was this a picture of a helmet-wearing child who understood the basic rules of bike safety? Or was it meant to portray a youngster killing himself on two wheels? I was not

New Candidate Forum Announced

This just in: Eckstein PTSA and Bryant PTSA are sponsoring a Candidate Forum sponsored by the Eckstein PTA and Bryant PTA Monday, Oct. 12, 2009 from 7-9 pm Eckstein Middle School 3003 NE 75th Street Candidates for Seattle School Board, Mayor, City Council and City Attorney have been invited to participate. There isn't any apparent SPS meeting that night so they picked a pretty good night.

FYI

FREE LIBRARY CLASS SCHEDULE for parents and guardians Please join Lori Gradinger, MSW, Relationship and Communication Coach for the FALL 2009 Library Class Schedule, "Can't we all just get along?” Come once or as often as you would like! Each class is different and based on the needs of the parents and guardians who attend. How to CONSTRUCTIVELY TALK with your TEEN when the issues are: CONTROL * CONFLICT * CONSEQUENCES Oct. 7, 6:00 p.m. -7:45 @ Queen Anne Library Oct. 22, 7:00 p.m.-8:45 @ Mercer Island Library Nov. 4, 6:00 p.m. -7:45 @ Greenwood Library Nov. 10, 11:00 a.m.-12:45p.m. @ Mercer Island Library Dec. 9, 6:00 p.m.-7:45 @ Greenwood Library

Candidate Forum Tonight at Garfield

Tonight is probably one of the last School Board candidate forums for this election. Tuesday, September 29th from 7:00 - School Board Candidate Forum - Garfield (doors open at 6:30 so I assume you could talk to the candidates before). It's in the Garfield High Commons. Parking lot and building entrance are located at 400 23rd Avenue. I can't attend (Open House at Roosevelt) so if you go, please tell us all about it. Also, The Stranger's Slog, one of the funniest "here's the latest, folks" blogs around - they have every kind of story) reports a press release from Betty Patu's campaign: "Longtime school advocate and Seattle School Board, District 7 candidate Betty Patu, who has successfully intervened in the lives of hundreds of teen-agers to prevent them from dropping out of school, has officially earned her master’s degree in Education Administration from Antioch University, Seattle." I note from the Slog comments after this story that

Coffee with Dr. Goodloe-Johnson

I went to the coffee with Dr. Goodloe-Johnson at Hamilton yesterday. It was very strange. She would often totally ignore a person's question and give an answer to another question - sort of like a politician at a "debate", but then she would allow the person to follow up, in which they would ask their question again. This pattern would repeat until she would finally answer the question, but with some weak "it would depend on the individual case", "these things take time and we are working towards that" or "that hasn't been determined yet" sort of weasel answer. There were a few questions and answers that I think merit notice. 1. A fellow noted that it is poorer students who change addresses most frequently and that the new SAP requires students to change schools if they move out of their current school's attendance area. He asked if that didn't put a disproportionate burden on poorer students by creating additional transitions f

Obama to Kids: Stay In School...All Year

The Seattle Times had this story picked up from the AP about President Obama wanting kids to have a longer school year (and even school day). From the story: "The president, who has a sixth-grader and a third-grader, wants schools to add time to classes, to stay open late and to let kids in on weekends so they have a safe place to go. "Our school calendar is based upon the agrarian economy and not too many of our kids are working the fields today," Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a recent interview with The Associated Press." So there are several items here: longer school year longer school day the building staying open longer after the school day ends the building being open on weekends presumably with enrichment/fun activities I could see a longer school day but rather than a longer school year, a think a year-round school with breaks would be the best model. I could also see the two latter items but where's the money for any of it? Data from the

Flexing Parent Muscle

(Apologies; this is a new thread of a post I made on Charlie's thread about APP accountability. I felt like maybe we might want to have this discussion and find out what stops people from stepping up to truly fight for what we want from our district. Arch Stanton had said an APP WASL boycott wouldn't likely happen without advocacy from the APP parent group. Here's what I said.) Which leads me to...parents have muscle. Oh, we do BUT only in numbers. If we massed at the Stanford headquarters, do you not think there would be notice? If we blitzed the City Council, you don't think they won't notice? If we blitzed the Times with letters or requests to write op-eds every day of the week, again, any notice? If we all staged a one-day walk-out in general protest? BUT, just as APP is split, so SPS parents are fragmented. Mostly, and I mean this kindly and not coldly, people just don't like to rock the boat. Either they think it won't work or they worry ab

Learning Through Play

I am an absolute believer in learning through play. So while it's a bit of a stretch for this blog, I need to post this request to have anyone who is interested help Children's Hospital of Seattle get a new playroom. I have a friend whose son is going through chemo right now and is at the hospital more than any child should ever have to be. While he's there, I'd love to help him, his brother, and all the other kids at the hospital and their siblings have more play opportunities. Microsoft is holding a competition that will grant 3 new playrooms to children's hospitals around the country. And the only thing needed to win is lots of votes. Yet Seattle Children's Hospital, which serves a huge number of children and is well-loved, is currently in 47th place. 47th place...really. With the hundreds of thousands of adults in this region who sit at a computer for more hours than is healthy, don't you think we could do better than that?!?! All it takes is voting (up

Michael DeBell community meeting

I went to Michael DeBell's community meeting on Saturday, September 26. Most of the meeting was spent discussion the 2.0 GPA graduation requirement. Director DeBell seemed to agree with the six people who came that the District can and should set a GPA graduation requirement and that it should be higher than 1.0. He seemed to share our concern about the range of classroom instruction hours provided at the various high schools. He also seemed to agree with us all that the six elements of the vote should not all be taken together - two are about credit (instructional hours and classes taken in middle school), two are about grading policy (11 point scale and weighting for honors), one is about graduation requirements, and one is about elgibility for extra-curricular activities. They are not a comprehensive set of reforms in any way. Oddly, after all of the tension and wrangling over the 2.0 vs 1.0 there was instant and unanimous acceptance for a 1.7 GPA requirement, a "C-"

Early Enrollment Counts and Other PTA News.

I haven't looked at this but it was in the Seattle Council PTSA news. Enrollment counts up to September 22. Other News: Best Practices for Inclusive Schools Conference hosted by Seattle Special Ed PTSA. Saturday, Oct. 17 in the John Stanford Center Auditorium. Info on Seattle Spec Ed PTSA: http://www.seattlespecialedptsa.org / Key Ingredients for Successful Students September’s Child Advocate magazine is now online. Please share the link: http://www.wastatepta.org/resources/child_advocate/index.html The state PTSA has a Legislative Assembly in early October. Here are the topics up for discussion. So what are the next steps are for basic ed funding? Teacher compensation? Get background info, learn how to advocate, and help determine state PTA priorities. Up for vote: Fund education first; increase funding for highly capable; allow weighted GPA. Proposed issues: http://www.wastatepta.org/advocacy/headlines/Issues_2009_Leg_Assembly_proposed_platform.pdf Also of inte

Open Thread - Quick Question

Open Thread for this beautiful Friday. One question: does your PTA send you an e-mail reminder the day of the PTA meeting? If so, good idea or just one more piece of e-mail in your box?

Additional SAP Meetings Set

I received an advisory notice today about more SAP meetings . There are now: 9 feedback meetings 2 informational meetings 2 Board Work Sessions 1 public hearing 2 Board meetings (one to introduce the boundary maps and another to vote on it). Here's a link to all the meetings so mark your calendars. I think they may have heard from parents in the north end who said, "Where's a north end meeting besides the one at Ballard?" (I hadn't seen before how they were all in the south end.) There are now feedback meetings at Eckstein (NE), Ballard (NW), Denny (SW) and Washington (Central). There are two community information meetings, one in the north and one in the south. Unfortunately, the district just sent out in the mail a list of meetings but it was the old list. Sigh.

Some Good Stuff Here for Teachers and Parents

In a previous thread about an editorial article by the Times' Lynne Varner, she gave me a link to some teachers' blogs. I've been making my way through a few of them and this one , by Montana gifted ed teacher, Tamara Fisher, had some great links from her trip to Edufest (a conference for gifted ed professionals). These are tips any parent/teacher could use. From the blog: Here are a few highlights of what I learned the last three days of Edufest that might be of interest/use for any of you: iTunes University - Did you know that universities are now recording professors' lectures and making them available for anyone to learn from? Want to learn about computer programming from an MIT professor? Want to listen in on a class at Oxford? You can do it via iTunes University! Online Stopwatch - Want to give your students a visual reminder of how much time is left? Online Stopwatch counts up or down and the displayed numbers are large enough to be easily seen from a c

So What Do the Candidates for Mayor Say?

Very soon, ballots will be mailed to voters. We are voting for a number of City positions including mayor. So what do the candidates have to say about education? Here are links to Joe Mallahan's website and Mike McGinn's website . Neither candidate supports school vouchers or charter schools. Mallahan has nothing at his website about education. I found this quote at Publicola from a recent forum: "I will work with Seattle Public Schools to create community schools, where adults can pursue continuing education and receive additional training in the early mornings and evenings while their children receive quality child care." I know that Dr. Enfield, our CAO, recently traveled to NYC and there, with Councilman Burgess, visited a number of community schools. She told me that it was very interesting but that the district has so much going on that it would be difficult to give this kind of project the attention it would need to get going. Now if Mallahan, if

APP Curriculum

Over two years ago outside experts conducted an audit of APP. The District has yet to respond to it. It is a project of the Strategic Plan, but one without a timeline, without a plan, and without any progress. The auditors were specifically asked, by the District, to offer an opinion about splitting the program. The auditors responded that they could not make any recommendation either for or against any sort of configuration BUT they absolutely and unquestionable warned that the District should not - under any circumstances - split the program until they had an aligned, written, taught and tested curriculum in place and functioning. As we all know, the District has moved forward with splitting the program. When they did, they promised, as sincerely and solemnly as they ever promise anything, to have the APP curriculum up and running this fall concurrent with the split. Well the split is here, where is the curriculum? It is nowhere to be seen. It is a fundamental element of Standards-

Want To Know What Teachers Think?

Seattle Times' editorial writer, Lynne Varner, had a piece today about good teachers. Regarding Seattle schools: "I'm eagerly awaiting a study about teacher quality in the Seattle Public Schools. The report, from the nonpartisan National Council on Teacher Quality, was supposed to have been released during the summer. It will be similar to a study by the council — and funded by the Gates Foundation — that examined school policies and teacher contracts in Hartford, Conn. Now slated for early next month, the Seattle focus will be welcome because of fast-moving policy efforts on teacher accountability at the federal and local levels." Also, I asked her about what teacher blogs she read. She sent me a link to Teacher Magazine that has many blogs. Want to know what teachers and other educators think? Here's a plethora of blogs. I'm particularly interested to read what the Teacher of the Year who went on the road to schools around the country thinks.

BTA III Levy Meeting

So it was just me and Chris Jackins (a long-time activist) and Kelly Anthony from Stand for Children (they do seem to attend a lot of meetings - don't see much of CPPS folks) and about 15 staff at the first levy meeting. Peter Maier attended for an hour and then left for the Special Ed PTSA meeting. Staff gave their rather dry presentation about levy rates, what the money is being spent on, etc. Kathy Johnson did say something quite funny which was that the "Board can change the list right up to the final vote." Do you know what staff would say if that happened? Yeah, when that happens, pigs will fly. Then they invited questions and comments. Between Chris and I, we asked about 30 questions. Interestingly, they seemed to have answers for my questions (which leads me to believe a few staff are reading this blog - hey kids!) and didn't have as clear answers for Chris'. Kelly asked just a few questions and made a request that the presentation be friendlier.

Mayoral News

Don't know if it matters, don't know what it means but fyi, Michael DeBell is one of 27 people on Joe Mallahan's advisory committee (so-called "kitchen cabinet"). Looking through the list, DeBell appears to be the only elected official on the list.

APP Party This Saturday

Split, but not divided! Come and join APP's 30th Birthday Celebration! The APP community from all five schools--students grades 1-12, teachers, staff, and families--are all invited to come together for the APP 30th Birthday Celebration! Saturday, September 26 Garfield High School (400 23rd Ave. near Cherry) 2-5pm It will be great for recently split friends to see each other, visit with past teachers, listen to student musical performances including Garfield's Jazz and Orchestra ensembles, get a peek at Garfield, enjoy cake, and honor our community and the teachers and staff who have worked so hard to make the program a success for so many years. We will also acknowledge Dr. Nancy Robinson, who together with her husband initiated the program 30 years ago and for whom The Robinson Center at UW is named, as she will be there too! If you can help with this event, please contact stbower@comcast.net. For more information or to sign up for the APP Advisory Committee email li

Museum Day This Saturday

FYI from the Times: Several area museums will be offering free admission Saturday as part of Smithsonian magazine's annual Museum Day. Participating museums in Seattle: Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame, Frye Art Museum, Henry Art Gallery, Log House Museum, Museum of History & Industry, Nordic Heritage Museum, Seattle Art Museum, The Museum of Flight, Wing Luke Asian Museum. Participating museums in Tacoma: Museum of Glass, Tacoma Art Museum, Washington State History Museum. Admission cards good for two people and more information can be found at http://microsite.smithso-nianmag.com/museumday .

Update On School Board Candidate Forum Next Week

I found information at Garfield's website about their candidate forum. It is just for School Board candidates so that will make it very focused. Tuesday, September 29th from 7:00 - School Board Candidate Forum (doors open at 6:30 so I assume you could talk to the candidates before). It's in the Garfield High Commons. Parking lot and building entrance are located at 400 23rd Avenue. Moderated by KUOW's Phyllis Fletcher. Phyllis is a seasoned education reporter so I will be interested to see what she asks.

Meetings This Week

New Update: Tuesday, September 22, at 7 pm at the John Stanford Center auditorium is the first meeting for the Special Education PTSA with guests Dr. Goodloe-Johnson, Dr. Enfield and Marni Campbell. (Update: forgot Dr. Goodloe-Johnson starts her Coffee Hours this week. One was yesterday but there is one tomorrow) Wednesday, September 23 8:05 – 9:05 a.m. Washington Middle School, 2101 S. Jackson Street, Seattle, WA 98144 Meetings: Board Curriculum and Instruction Policy Committee Meeting today from 4:30-6:00 p.m. Wednesday, Board Workshop on Curriculum Alignment, 4-8 p.m. Note: the Board Committee meetings are generally in the Board conference room, not the JS auditorium. Enter thru the Board door (as you face the auditorium) at the left. Also, the Board staff locks the door at 5 as that is when the office closes so if you want to attend, get there before then. Board Community Meetings: Wednesday, Director Sundquist from 9-10:30 am Friday, Director Bass from 6-9 p.m. Sat

This and That

Editorial from Sunday's Seattle Times on the "D" grade for graduation . There are some thoughtful comments following it (for once). Front page story in the Times about cost cutting at districts in our region . There wasn't a lot here except that SPS is the only district that closed schools. One thing to pick up on here that came up in the thread on Sherry Carr's community meeting: transportation. From the article: "In Edmonds, the district strategically placed bus stops just outside the one-mile zone around schools, far enough so the state will pick up the tab, according to district spokeswoman DJ Jakala. That means some of the 3,000 students whose routes were eliminated can choose to walk to a more distant bus stop if that's a shorter — or safer — way to school." I did a little research and found, to my surprise, that there are districts - lots of them - that charge for transportation. San Jose is one of them (they have 31,000 students,

Sherry Carr's Community Meeting

I attended Sherry Carr's community meeting this morning. Lots of interesting topics. I came into it about a half hour after it got started but I think I got what the discussion was. Topic 1 - Getting kids to school from daycare and from school to after-school care. This seems to be an issue around Olympic View (which I thought had on-site daycare but this is likely another daycare). This is important because it raise several issues. One is that apparently some kids get yellow bus transportation to and from daycare. I certainly wouldn't have thought this true but I think I understood Sherry to say this was on a space available basis. Many parents there felt this issue needed to be addressed in the new SAP and that space-available was not good enough. I mentioned that walkability was not weighted in the new SAP and only one of several variables used to make the boundaries. I told parents to tell the district how much this means to them. (Also, someone brought up that

The Cost of Central Administration

When I was running for the Board this year I often heard myself saying things that no one else was saying. That's not too surprising since I was running an issues-based campaign and the two other candidates for the position are running issues-free campaigns. Really. Check their web sites. You will find them scrubbed clean of any issues. One of the things I was saying is that we need to re-define the mission and duties of the central administration and we need to re-define them more narrowly. The State Auditor is right; we don't need so many people working there - particularly in teaching and learning. Let's remember that there is no teaching and learning taking place at the JSCEE. That department needs a few curriculum experts - just a few since we are not developing our own curriculum but adopting either the State Standards and GLEs or adopting the college-readiness standards (when are we going to see a Board vote on that?). They also need some coaches, but not nearly as

Hey, A New School Board Candidate Forum (Finally)

I found a candidate forum (just when you thought we'd just quietly mark our ballots and call it a day). Tuesday, September 29th, 7:00 – 8:30 pm GHS PTSA Candidate Forum, Garfield High School Now, I can find no real info on this forum (I got this from Kay Smith-Blum website) and it is coming up soon. I'll try to find out more. FYI, if you are interested, Kay's website does have some updates. I can only say she'd be a miracle worker to implement all the initiatives she posts. It's a little unclear what her main focus would be. Again, I wish she was running for public/private partnership czar and not School Board. Meanwhile, Mary Bass, Betty Patu and Wilson Chin have no updates or calendar events available. (Kay's calendar does also include all the house parties and gala events she will be at in case you want to attend.) Also, on Seattle Channel there are interviews with all four candidates. I highly recommend you watch them. In the Bass/Smith-Blum

Garfield's Renovation

Following up on Charlie's thread about Schools First, I wanted to put forth some information about Garfield's renovation. First, I am not trying to pick on Garfield; this could have happened with any historic remodel (and hey, it did to some degree with Ballard and Roosevelt so you'd think they would have learned from those projects). Neither Ballard nor Roosevelt were on-time or on-budget (the buildings may have opened on-time but that doesn't mean they were finished). I had requested, via public disclosure, budgets, change orders, transfers of money to the Garfield project. It was everything I thought I might need to just see how much this project started with and got to at the end. (Sadly, we are not done with the various claims from contractors so the final number is not known.) What I got was pretty laughable. The "budget" was a PowerPoint presentation given to the Board in April. As I pointed out to the Board in an e-mail, I know they all know

Schools First

SchoolsFirst is a political organization that acts as the committee to get school bonds and levies passed. They pretty much run the "Vote Yes" campaigns for the Operations Levy, for BEX and for BTA. That's all good and everything, but Schools First gives the District blind, unquestioning support. No one from Schools First has ever - or apparently will ever - demand any sort of accountability from the District. No one from Schools First has ever - or apparently will ever - demand that the District engage the community. Moreover, Schools First has put out a lot of misinformation and, in the case of the Chief Sealth/Denny co-location, disinformation. Schools First gives the District exactly the sort of support they want from the community: straight from the checkbook. I suspect this see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil culture is pervasive at Schools First. One Board member, Peter Maier, came to the District from the Board of Schools First. As a School Board member,

10 Seattle Schools win "Great School" awards from Phi Beta Kappa and The Center for Educational Effectiveness

Seattle AS #1 (Pinehurst) K‐8 (an Alternative school) ESD 121 Seattle Catharine Blaine K‐8 ESD 121 Seattle Daniel Bagley Elementary School (Montessori) ESD 121 Seattle John Stanford International Elementary (Language Immersion) ESD 121 Seattle Madison Middle School ESD 121 Seattle Mercer Middle School ESD 121 Seattle Orca @ Whitworth (Alternative School) ESD 121 Seattle The New School at South Shore ESD 121 Seattle Thornton Creek @ Decatur (Alternative School) ESD 121 Seattle View Ridge Elementary School Hello award winning principal! As we indicated in our letter of 9/4/2009 – your school is being recognized as one of the 5% highest improving schools, over a 5 year span of time, in Reading and Math for the state of Washington in 2009 – what an honor! We are very excited for this remarkable progress in student achievement made through hard work and focused efforts in your school and in schools across the state of Washington . Congratulations once again! Phi Delta Kappa of Washi

Want To Tutor? Training Available

While looking for one thing, I found another. In this case it is a link to tutoring training through the United Way. They also have a large number of workshops on various topics on tutoring. Here's the info: Time to brush up or recharge your tutoring skills at the Seattle Tutoring Coalition’s All-City Tutor Training. This FREE training is designed to meet the core needs of all tutors. Participants will learn new and innovative techniques through a variety of interactive, hands-on workshops. Tutors, parents, teachers or anyone with an interest in improving the lives of our youth are welcome to attend. Each participant will receive: Expert training & useful handouts A chance to attend three seminars Refreshments Registration Preregistration for the ACTT is requested but not required. Registration for the workshops starts 30 minutes before the trainings starts. Register by phone 206.622.0998, or e-mail ACTT@WorldVision.org , or arrive early on the day of training t

Alternative Schools Audit Postponed

A letter was sent to principals announcing that the audit is postponed indefinitely because the district is busy handling the new student assignment plan and other big issues and they can't give the audit the attention it deserves. The superintendent says that a letter will go out to parents at the end of the week. She also made a point of saying there was not ulterior or negative motive in the postponement and that she is committed to alternative education and is interested in strengthening opportunities for students. Honestly, I don't know whether to be annoyed or relieved. We have a lot on our plate already this year trying to restructure after the capacity management issues of last year. I'd guess that Nova and Pathfinder are similarly burdened as a result of the move. The TOPS and AS#1 communities just got new principals that don't know the history of the schools or have the institutional memory necessary to answer audit questions. More time would allow us all

Community Meetings on Boundaries Set

The Student Assignment Plan page has posted the Community meetings for the boundaries for the new student assignment plan. They stretch over nearly 4 weeks (and thank you to Tracy Libros who had the smarts to realize that fairness dictates giving parents a large window to give input). Interpretation and sign language interpretation will be available at some meetings. The meetings start on Monday, Oct. 12 and end on Saturday, Nov. 7th. The comments page is at this link . The boundary maps will first be seen at the Board Work Session on Tuesday, October 6th from 4-8 p.m.

KUOW Insight Network

They are looking for people with thoughts on this education issue: "Here's a subject that's much on the minds of students, parents and educators at this time of the year: the necessity of college debt and the price paid for it. What has college debt changed about your life? " E-mail: publicinsight@kuow.org

A "D" Average Good Enough to Graduate From SPS?

An introduction item on the School Board agenda for tonight would change how students graduate from SPS. They can graduate with a "D" average instead of a "C" average. Additionally, athletes will not have to maintain a "C" average to play and can play with a "D" average. Here is an article in the Seattle Times today. This move is endorsed by most principals and counselors but not most parents AND students surveyed. (I have to wonder if principals and counselors would try to push back on a measure that the district endorses?) The measure will be voted on by the Board on Oct. 7th. From the article: But district officials, who plan to talk about the proposal at a School Board meeting tonight, insist they're not watering down expectations, and the change would mirror what most other districts require. "We are, in fact, increasing rigor," said Susan Derse, a principal on special assignment who headed up a staff committee that

Sandra Day O'Connor and Civics

My son and I were fortunate enough to have tickets to see former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor last night at Town Hall. She gave a somewhat safe speech but she is a feisty woman with a good sense of humor. Her speech was on education but really about the importance of students learning about civics (remember that?). She gave some startling stats about how more people know who the judges are on American Idol than who are on the Supreme Court. What is interesting is that she, along with a large group of educational institutions and foundations, has created Our Courts : 21st Century Civics. It's a website for both middle-school students and teachers with interactive lessons and games. The teachers can get step-by-step plans with printable worksheets/guides for interactive lessons. This is not your old school civics with lessons like "From King to Constitution: Get Off Our Backs!" and "James Bond in a Honda". The students get on-line games

School Board Operations Committee agenda for 9/17/09

Hey! Check this out! This is the agenda for the Board's Operations Committee meeting of Thursday, September 17 from 4:00 to 5:45 in the Board Conference Room. Note items 2c and 2d in bold. 1. Call to order, Peter Maier 4:00p a. Directors present: Mary Bass, Peter Maier, Chair, Harium Martin-Morris b. Approval of agenda c. Approval of minutes 2. Committee Discussion 4:05p a. BTA III levy planning calendar, Fred, 10 minutes b. Update on the capacity planning policy, Holly, 15 minutes c. Review of Board motion to amend the FMP in order to open buildings, Ron English, 15 minutes d. Long-term plan for deferred maintenance, Fred Stephens, Mark Pflueger, Eric Sonett, 30 minutes 3. Standing agenda items 5:15p a. Review of motions for next Board meetings, Bill Martin, 15 minutes o BEX III, final acceptance, South Lake o BEX III, final acceptance, Denny/Sealth project 1 o BEX III, budget transfer, $3.5M to DoTS b. BEX Oversight Committee, Peter Maier, no re