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Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Coming Calendar

What's on the Big Calendar?

Oh my, I almost let this one fall off my radar. The first joint City Council/School Board meeting (by my reckoning in a couple of years) on Friday, the 16th from 9-11 am in the City Council chambers. What will they talk about for 2 hours? Note to district staff; the City Council does NOT want a dog and pony show. That's what staff trotted out most of the time and the Council called off the meetings because of it.

Director Martin-Morris has his community meeting this Saturday from 9:30-11:30 at Diva Espresso in Lake City. Director Maier has his from 10:30-noon, Bethany Community Church

Saturday finds the first of the district's two SPS Budget Forums at Aki Kurose from 1-3 p.m. (The other one is on Tuesday, the 20th from 6:30-8:30 at Roosevelt High which is tempting because it is my neck of the woods but I do want to attend the Alliance's teacher bash, whoops, Teacher Quality Town Hall, which is the same night.)

Monday is the Curriculum and Instruction Policy Committee meeting from 4:30-6 p.m.

Also,
Seattle Special Ed PTSA Meeting

Tuesday, April 20, 7 pm

Lowell Elementary School (lunchroom)

1058 E. Mercer St., Seattle 98102

(Free parking is available in the parking lot at 11th Ave E and E. Aloha)

Wednesday the 21st finds the Board Work Session on Performance Management from 4-5:30 p.m., followed by the regular Board meeting at 6 p.m.

Also of note is the Thursday, the 22nd, meeting of the Audit and Finance Committee of Whole (which I take to mean the entire Board) from 4-8 p.m. Sounds like something akin to a Board Work Session and must be related to the budget. Perhaps they will be reflecting on what they hear from the Budget Forums this week.

32 comments:

Mr. Edelman said...

My principal just told a few of us today that at a principals' meeting, they were informed that the seat limitations for Roosevelt and Ballard High Schools have been lifted. They'll be accepting more 9th graders. How many more? Unclear.

When will the Board or district announce this policy change?

Michael said...

It would be nice if someone could attend that Audit Committee meeting to see what it is all about.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I saw in the Budget Work Session that they plan on increasing open seats at both Roosevelt and Ballard in order to raise funding (meaning, more bodies at those schools mean more dollars).

Additionally the Work Session presentation says:

"Small groups: what families want us to work hardest to protect
and feedback on potential steps to address an additional $24.2
million projected shortfall for 2011-12."

Ah, they want our input for NEXT year's deficit.

Mr. Edelman said...

Yes, what I heard from my principal was that Roosevelt and Ballard were looking at teacher displacements, but now with the increased number of seats, they won't have that problem. Of course, increased seats at Ballard and Roosevelt mean fewer students at certain schools.

Charlie Mas said...

I'm always astonished by these amazing elastic schools that can either stretch or shrink as those with the most political clout demand.

Charlie Mas said...

Oh! Don't forget the Teacher Quality Town Hall on Tuesday the 20th at South Lake High School from 6:30 to 8:30. That will be hosted by the Alliance for Education and their OUR Schools (not yours) Coalition.

reader said...

Seattle Special Ed PTSA Meeting

Tuesday, April 20, 7 pm

Lowell Elementary School (lunchroom)

1058 E. Mercer St., Seattle 98102

(Free parking is available in the parking lot at 11th Ave E and E. Aloha)



Our next SpED PTSA General Meeting will be next Tuesday, April 20, at 7pm. It will feature representatives of the Office of the Education Ombudsman (OEO) providing information on parental legal and procedural
rights under federal law (both IDEA and 504). Most of us find ourselves wondering about these issues as we start preparing for our child's IEP or 504 meeting. If you have specific questions that you would like to have
addressed, please email them to us at seattlespedptsa@gmail.com and we will forward them to the OEO representatives to enable them to deliver responses at our meeting.

uxolo said...

The Seattle Education Association (the local teacher’s union) presents:


Education Reform:Knowledge is Power!
A Forum
Saturday, April 24th @ 1:30 p.m.
St. Marks Cathedral
1245 10th Ave E.
Seattle

Almost everyone agrees that our schools must be reformed. The question is who we should be listening to as the experts: the corporations and foundations or the educators, parents, and students?

Come hear about these critical issues impacting public education and be part of the dialogue around real reform that works for students and staff alike.

Speakers and Topics

Mary Lindquist, President WEA- SB 6696
Olga Addae, President SEA- SIG Schools, RTTT, Performance Management
Juanita Doyon, Mother’s Against the WASL- High stakes testing

Jessie Hagopian, RIF’d Seattle Teacher- Seniority and Merit Pay

Sahila said...

I think its time parents and teachers who dont like whats coming down the track/going on under our very noses, got together and took some action to stop it...

Many of us (parents and some teachers I know of) are working in loose groupings to influence where things are going, some of us focused on specific issues, others more interested in lighting fires wherever there's an apparent need...

Maybe its time we combined our efforts... maybe its time we took a leaf out of the Florida and Detroit books...maybe its time we began educating the wider community and take it to the streets...

The Education Reform Forum is one opportunity to begin that dialogue and maybe firm up some grouping...

What does anyone/everyone else think?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/15/AR2010041504955.html

http://dailycensored.com/2010/04/15/bamn-attorneys-representing-the-elected-detroit-board-of-education-will-ask-judge-wendy-baxter-for-a-preliminary-injunction-to-stop-emergency-financial-manager-of-detroit-and-eli-broad-academy-graduat/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Dailycensored+%28Daily+Censored%29

ParentofThree said...

I don't think it was political clout that expanded those two high schoools. I think they got the numbers in and saw that the schools filled up on assignment, but had to honor the 10% Choice seats. These are already very over crowded schools, and it does not appear the the NSAP helped reduce their size.

Sue said...

I think ParentofThree is absolutely right. No secret cabal went to the board/district and lobbied for Ballard and Roosevelt to get larger - I think the district had no clue whatsoever how many ninth graders lived in the assignment area, and it filled to bursting. (Duh) Then with the 10% open choice commitment, they were stuck.
I would be curious to see how many families from QA/Magnolia for example, who used to go private, now went to Ballard since they had the guarantee.

Dorothy Neville said...

Gotta agree with the suspicions of ParentofThree and KeepingOn. The attendance boundary of RHS is huge compared to the size of the distance tiebreaker boundary of a couple years ago. I was surprised that the demographer predicted the incoming class of kids from the assignment area was going to be so small. I'm very curious to see the final numbers.

But in the meanwhile, because RHS had to use the district figure to create a budget, much time was spent -- Wasted! on negotiating within the building on what to cut and how. Time, energy and emotions all wasted. Time and energy that could have gone into something more productive to students and education.

SolvayGirl said...

The entire enrollment system is seriously flawed. As Dorothy notes, time and energy is wasted trying to configure an imaginary budget that needs to be redone when the real budget based on the actual enrollment data emerges. Just as RHS and Ballard will now find themselves overenrolled (surprise, surprise), which schools will find themselves under enrolled? And what about those schools where children will just show up on Sept. 5? How many schools will see their enrollment change significantly within those first few weeks of school?

Families who do not have a desirable auto-placement are hedging their bets and anxiously waiting to see where the luck of the draw lands their student. Money has been spent on deposits at private schools "just in case." What a mess.

seattle said...

And maybe the 5% of students living in the RHS and Ballard area that the district predicted would choose STEM didn't choose it. Duh.

seattle said...

Honestly we're not reinventing the wheel here. Districts all across the country, for decades, have used a system similar to the NSAP. A basic assignment and boundary system. The issue, in my opinion, isn't the NSAP, it's how this district blunders predictions and statistics.

Parents have known all along that RHS and Ballard would be overcrowded. That the boundaries were way to big. Why didn't the district?

SolvayGirl said...

Good point about STEM Sully. I'm waiting to see what happens at Garfield which also got it's enrollment area enlarged far past the recent boundaries.

Dorothy Neville said...

Sully, according to Brian Vance, the district assumed 0 kids from the RHS area were going to opt for Cleveland. Sure, the expectation long term is that it will be attractive to 10% of the kids in the area, but not for this coming year. So even with that conservative guess, I think they are way off.

Did the district really not know? Or did nobody have the political will to make the attendance area boundaries realistic?

We have to remember all this is pure speculation on our part. Until the almighty VAX spits out some data, we really don't know the whole story. I'd be very surprised if we are wrong though.

SolvayGirl said...

I got a notice in my email from C.E.A.S.E. about this meeting below: Has anyone else heard about it?

The Seattle Education Association (the local teacher’s union) presents:
Education Reform:
Knowledge is Power!
A Forum
Saturday, April 24th @ 1:30 p.m.
St. Marks Cathedral
1245 10th Ave E.
Seattle, Wa 98102

Almost everyone agrees that our schools must be reformed. The question is who we should be listening to as the experts: the corporations and foundations or the educators, parents, and students?

Come hear about these critical issues impacting public education and be part of the dialogue around real reform that works for students and staff alike.

Speakers and Topics
Mary Lindquist, President WEA- SB 6696
Olga Addae, President SEA- SIG Schools, RTTT, Performance Management
Juanita Doyon, Mother’s Against the WASL- High stakes testing
Jessie Hagopian, RIF’d Seattle Teacher- Seniority and Merit Pay

Patrick said...

Where are those kids going to go? Portables? I don't remember seeing any space on the Roosevelt campus for portables. (Haven't been to Ballard recently enough to say.) Even bigger classes than they already have?

Dorothy Neville said...

Patrick, we don't know yet that RHS will be overcrowded, just that it looks like it will be full.

The capacity (I guess that should be in quotes) is 400 per class. In the first year or so post remodel, freshman classes were over 500 each. So Seniors didn't get lockers and halls were crowded and other repercussions.

This coming year, RHS was told to budget for 340 kids. Including the 33 option seats, arbitrarily capping enrollment at less than the comfortable capacity -- and putting them in a lower WSS class and leading to discussions of drastic cuts needed.

I strongly suspect that more than 340 kids living in the attendance area enrolled (plus perhaps a few cheaters) and therefore they are lifting the lid, but they might not go over the 400 that would fit well in the school. Who knows.

owlhouse said...

Solvay-
I received that notice as well. I'm really excited by the potential for this discussion, so have been looking online for additional info. Nothing on SEA's site, or St Mark's. I emailed one of the presenters for more info and will share when I have it.

See you on the 24th?

Syd said...

How come the blame for having to put down a private school deposit before SPS has announced assignments is not attributed to the private schools? They are completely in charge of that, and I think have clearly designed it that way. The private schools are playing on assignment fear of parents who would otherwise like to have their children attend public school.

SolvayGirl said...

Syd...the private school deposit dates have not changed. In years past, people knew their public assignments much earlier than they have in the last two years. If I recall, assignments were usually out by April 1st.

SolvayGirl said...

And Syd...the private schools need more time for their assignment process as it involves a complicated review of placements tests, applications, recommendation letters, transcripts and financial aid applications, combined with school visits/interviews of prospective students, followed by staff review to try and create a desired mix of students. So it's not very easy for the schools to move their dates around. And, they need their deposit money (and commitments from families) to set their budgets, etc. for the coming year.

It is actually the public school system that holds the cards in this hand. They know they lose students due to private deposits, yet refuse to move their enrollment dates up. The private schools couldn't really back things up any earlier as some of the placement testing (ISEE) is done on a national level.

I realize that the NSAP complicated things this year. I hope SPS gets it nailed down and moves their dates earlier next year.

SolvayGirl said...

Owlhouse...thanks. I'd like to see more info. I was surprised there was no web link witht he notice.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Went to the School Board/City Council meeting this morning (separate thread). Tracy Libros gave a presentation to the Council that wasn't entirely fleshed out (not her fault as the Performance Management presentation was way long and the Council - gasp! - had questions).

I asked her before things got started how many extra students would be at RHS and BHS and she said up to 25% of the functional capacity. (Yes, I was a little taken aback.) BUT, she said if the school filled with attendance area kids AND they still honored the 10% Open Choice seats, it might not be as many kids.

In other words, who knows?

Charlie Mas said...

Can anyone report on the Board community meetings or the budget meeting?

Maureen said...

from Dorothy...plus perhaps a few cheaters...

Has anyone heard anything about how SPS intends to discover and deal with said 'cheaters?' Has it been acknowledged in any way that the new boundaries (and geographic zones next year) will increase the likelihood of cheating?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, in the past, Tracy has made it sound like she found "cheaters" by them being reported to her department. I don't know that the district has the means,either in staffing or money, to systematically look for them. However, it may become a big enough issue that they might have to put more effort towards it early on so that people get discouraged from trying it.

SolvayGirl said...

I think "cheaters" will be much harder to find under the NSAP. In the past, if someone who lived a good distance from a popular school was attending said school, it was assumed they used a different address on their enrollment form. I heard about one such student at Roosevelt from Mercer Island who was attending specifically for the drama program and got ratted out by an angry mom whose child did not get a coveted role (could be a urban myth).

Now, children living well outside an attendance area could have easily gained admittance using the 10% Choice option, so "cheaters" will be harder to spot as long as they don't brag about it. Unless someone is upfront to others about using some other address (grandparents', friends', rental property, etc.), it will not be as obvious.

Though the District would have access to the names and addresses of students who won a slot via 10% Option, I doubt they will have the time, staff or money to start verifying every student's address.

seattle citizen said...

Solvay said, regarding cheaters in SAP:
"one such student at Roosevelt from Mercer Island who was attending specifically for the drama program and got ratted out by an angry mom whose child did not get a coveted role (could be a urban myth)."

Sounds like a drama, alright! They should write a play about it.

SolvayGirl said...

or one of the story lines on Glee!