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Friday, December 11, 2009

Pulling Out Some Good Posts

Many times I see posts and think I should start a thread and then I see a ball of string and get distracted by that thread (wait, that's my cat).

Anyway, there have been several, thought-provoking posts on different topices that I decided to just put together. Comment on any or all of them. (P.S. There a Christmas gift topic at the end.)

From Central Mom:
Phyllis Fletcher just had a fabulous piece on KUOW about the funding and achievement issues at Indian Heritage High School, one of the re-entry District programs. It's a "must listen/read".

http://kuow.org/program.php?id=18958

From AdHoc:
Nathan Hale families received this Q&A yesterday in regard to the budget cut:

"How does this effect Seattle Public Schools?: The Seattle School District is estimated to lose between 30 to 50 million dollars -- a devastating blow for every student's educational goals.

What could happen at Nathan Hale?: Dr. Hudson estimates that our school could lose five to six teachers, counselors, and administrative aides.

How can you help?: The only flexible tool that Dr. Hudson can use to fill the horrendous gaps in the budget are your pledges to the Annual Campaign. "

What can I say? This is huge. And, once again schools are asking families to fill in the funding gaps with donations. It's just to much.

Have you heard from your school's PTSA yet? I feel so sad that the PTA can't just work for enhancement and enrichment and have to work to sustain staff and maintain the school building.

From Karrie, Techy Mom and Lori (on the subject of the sibling survey):

Karrie:I have a 2nd grader at Coe, which is NOT our reference school under the NSAP.
We got a letter from SPS asking us to fill out a form listing any incoming Kindergarten-only sibling for 2010-2011 school year that we would like to attend Coe with my older child. We were asked to send back immediately so they could plan for how to accomodate siblings during the transition.

So - data is being collected as to how big of a "problem" sibling priority could be. they only asked for one year (not if we had any children entering K beyond next year) so my guess is siblings MAY get a 1 year transition grace period, if the data is favorable.

TechyMom:I have a 2nd grader at Coe, which is NOT our reference school under the NSAP.

We got a letter from SPS asking us to fill out a form listing any incoming Kindergarten-only sibling for 2010-2011 school year that we would like to attend Coe with my older child. We were asked to send back immediately so they could plan for how to accomodate siblings during the transition.

So - data is being collected as to how big of a "problem" sibling priority could be. they only asked for one year (not if we had any children entering K beyond next year) so my guess is siblings MAY get a 1 year transition grace period, if the data is favorable.

Lori: Interesting, Karrie and TechyMom. When did you get this letter? We are at a school that is well-known for popularity and lack of space, but we did not get any letter like that from SPS.

And what a wasted opportunity. Why would they only inquire about 2010/2011 year? Why not collect data through 2015, which is supposedly the first time boundaries may change? I mean, even if they don't do anything with that data right now, they are going to want the data at some point, aren't they? Why waste all that postage only asking about one year?

Anyone else receive a survey? How is it being received at your school?

Christmas Help
Normally I wouldn't do this but times are tight so if it helps anyone out, here's a holiday help:

Free Shipping Day is a one day online shopping event that takes place every year just before Christmas. On this day participating merchants offer free shipping to their customers with guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve.

When is Free Shipping Day?
This year Free Shipping Day is Thursday December 17th, 2009.

So far there are over 500 merchants including Borders, Apple, Macy's and Sears.

Yup, giving experiences and not stuff is better, making things even better but when you have out of town relatives, those aren't always easy.

19 comments:

Steve said...

We got the sibling survey as well, and with two kids not yet in kindergarten, the request to only return the survey if you have a child entering in 2010 caught my eye as well. In addition to contacting the district and the board, might I suggest fibbing? I am somewhat inclined to just say I have two kids coming into the district, and not being specific about when. If they're not going to be serious about the longer-term issues that siblings present, I see no reason why I should play their game.

Lori said...

StepJ noted on the other thread that the surveys are only going to families whose children would be split under the new SAP, which explains why I (and many others) did not get one. Just fyi.

I still think it was a mistake not to ask about children entering K in later years, and as TechyMom pointed out, not to include a "no additional children entering SPS" option and asking for ALL families to return the letter. To be accurate, surveys have to have a high response rate so you know you've captured all the data. A "no child entering in 2010" response is as useful as a "yes, one child entering in 2010" response.

The survey should have listed each school year through 2015 and asked all potentially split families to list all siblings by Kindergarten entry year. Voila, complete data set thru 2015 with the cost of one stamp per family.

Dorothy Neville said...

The Sand Point Meeting was last Tuesday and as of then, the families involved had not gotten their survey letter yet. That was one of the concerns. The answer was that it would be in the mail by Friday. Looks like some folks got there letter on Friday, but it also looks like some got their letter last week?

Definitely dismaying, because siblings are of course a huge issue with Sand Point. (Another concern is that staff at the meeting could not confirm whether the school will open as K5 or just primary grades. But more discussion of that probably belongs to another thread.)

Elizabeth said...

The sibling survey is definitely only for incoming K in 2010 who are no longer guaranteed a seat at their sib's school (I scanned mine if you want to post it, Meslissa). Very annoying for them to expend time/energy/$ for just one year of information. It also seems telling: either they are only considering one year of grandfathering or they are going to make this decision on a year-to-year basis (how’s that for “predictability”?). The latter seems (annoyingly) strategic on their part -- it divides parents so that our energy and anger is also divided. I think the biggest news form this week’s school board mtg. is that Goodloe-Johnson said that the new schools will not have program placement for at least 1-2 years because of district “priorities” (STEM, I guess). This assertion seems like a TRAGIC mistake for everyone in the district. We need those new schools to succeed. Who wants to spend all that $ to reopen if no one wants to attend?! I saw that there is a McDonald meeting this morning: The McDonald School Community is holding a panel discussion this Saturday morning (Dec. 12), at the Lincoln High School library, from 9a.m. to 11a.m. The panel will discuss possible program options that are available to the school. Sherry Carr is attending.

whittier07 said...

We received our sibling letter on Thursday ... as did others at Whittier. So disappointing that SPS didn't take the opportunity to gather as much sibling information as possible.

Phernie said...

I got our sibling survey on Thursday and returned it on Friday. All they asked for was the name and birthday of my 2010 incoming kindergartner and our family contact information. I had pre-registered her 6 weeks ago and there was no place on that form to indicate older siblings. If I had been able to do that, there would be no need for SPS to mail out this survey and include a self-addressed stamped envelope. What a waste of money/resources. Furthermore, it should have asked whether I would prefer my younger sibling to attend her older sibling's school or vice versa. I agree that it couldn't have hurt to ask about future kindergartners as well. Why NOT have this information in their system? This ineptitude and inability to look ahead saddens me.

Sahila said...

Snarky this might be.... but does anyone else here have a perspective that routinely looks beyond the white middle class?

Its very considerate of Melissa to put out a reminder re the no shipping online shopping day for those of us finding times a little challenging.... tho those of us finding times more than a LITTLE challenging probably dont have money to buy stuff online and dont really have to worry about missing out on free shipping...

Maybe we could do with a reminder about where to go for help with heating costs, where the food banks are and what their holiday hours will be, where we might get some help with warms clothes/shoes for our kids....

Gee people - can we look past our own cosy little worlds? Just for once?

anonymous said...

FYI, Nathan Hale is having a Private School Open House this Tuesday, Dec. 15th, 6-830PM. This open house is for private school families because they have to make their school choice decisions earlier than SPS families, but really anyone is welcome.

They will also have more open houses and school tours in Feb/Mar that coincide with SPS open enrollment.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Sahila, it was just a random post of something that came across my desk. You'll note I mention giving experiences or making something for someone. Also, if you were keeping up, other people here have posted info about various food banks.

Your post seems to indicate you think none of us are/do look beyond ourselves. One, you have no real evidence of that. Two, everyone (not just me and Charlie and the other bloggers) who comes to this blog and takes the time to worry about public education in their city are pretty unlikely to be myopic, self-absorbed types. They are likely to be active PTA members (and most PTAs either have a giving tree or a food drive this time of year).

So yes, your comment was snarky and unwelcome.

ParentofThree said...

Sahila, there is also a thread on how to donate funds for texbooks at RBHS. Maybe you did not see that?

anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anonymous said...

Sahila, why not put your money where your mouth is? Instead of using your spare time to post snarky comments and launch attacks on this blog why not use it to collect info on resources for low income families and post what you find here - where you might inspire others to support your cause.

SolvayGirl said...

I for one am grateful for Melissa's post about free shipping day.I have relatives on the east coast and truly appreciate being able to ship gifts to them for free. It saves me both time and money—freeing up resources for charitable giving in these tight times.

Audrey said...

We decided the best way to handle it was to send it back with the year corrected and include the information that they DIDN'T ask for.

Return it with a nice note that says something along the lines of, "We thought we'd send you the info you needed to save you the postage of sending another letter once you realized this one had
an erroneous year printed on it."


After all we have to keep "Every student achieving, everyone accountable", according to MGJ.


In case you already tore it up and threw it out, just send a quick
note stating the Name(s), DOB(s) and year entering Kindergarten.
Include the name of your school, the name of the current student and their student ID#, the name of the legal guardian and a home phone number. And of course don't forget to include a note.


Send to:
Attn: 11-161 Enrollment Services
Seattle Public Schools
PO Box 34165
Seattle, WA 98124-9507

Audrey said...

Elizabeth - I agree with everything you are saying:
"Goodloe-Johnson said that the new schools will not have program placement for at least 1-2 years because of district “priorities” (STEM, I guess). This assertion seems like a TRAGIC mistake for everyone in the district. We need those new schools to succeed. Who wants to spend all that $ to reopen if no one wants to attend?!"

BUT the problem is that we don't get a choice anymore. Families who can't afford Private alternatives will have to attend. All of the less desirable and failing schools that we've been able to "avoid" for years throughout the disrtict are now forced on us with no promise of improvements. It's a HUGE oversight on their part to think that just becuase they force enrollment that they don't need to do something to even the playing field for all the schools. We have so many great schools, but we have just as many, if not more sub-standard schools that need attention. Sending more kids is not the solution. Bettering one school with a multi-million dollar program is not the answer either.

anonymous said...

Most private schools ask families for a contract and financial commitment in mid March to mid April. That usually conincides with SPS open enrollment. Families can wait to see if they get the public school assignment they want before committing to a private school.

Last year, and now again this year, SPS pushed open enrollment dates out to April/May leaving families in a tight spot. If families don't like the public school assignemnt that the get in May, it will be to late for them to opt for private school. They will have missed the private school deadlines.

I have to wonder if SPS knew that more families would be looking at private school options this year, because of the new SAP and turmoil in the district, and purposely moved the enrollment dates back to limit families private school options?

Is this another way of the district limiting families choices? Or just a logistical or administrative necessity? Or are they just completely out of touch with what families are doing?

kellie said...

adhoc, you are correct about non-entry grades. However, since K, 6 and 9 are "guaranteed" seats under the new assignment plan, they will receive their assignment letters in March. Open Enrollment is only for families that want to change their guaranteed assignment or for non-entry grades.

anonymous said...

Yes, Kellie, I should have been more clear my post above would only apply to families who are applying for K, 6 or 9th grades who are **not** happy with their guaranteed assignment school, and ALL families whose kids are entering grades 1,2,3,4,5,7,8,10,11 or 12

That's a whole lot of families!

jennifer said...

Whenever i see the post like your's i feel that there are still helpful people who share information for the help of others, it must be helpful for other's. thanx and good job.

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