Update and Reminder and Open Thread Friday

This update from the SPS website:

The Bilingual Family Center is relocating to the John Stanford Center. The BFC's last day at Aki Kurose Middle School will be June 22, 2010. They will reopen at the John Stanford Center on June 28, 2010.


Waiting for Superman, the ed reform documentary, plays tonight at 7 p.m. and tomorrow at 1 p.m. at the Seattle Int'l Film Festival Cinema ( on Mercer just next to the NW Ballet). I checked and there are only rush tickets left (meaning if people holding tickets don't show up, they will let you in). This means a big interest in this topic so I'll be interested to see the reaction in the theater.

Open Thread - what's on your mind? End of school fever?

(Also to note, the publicity about the Superintendent's review is higher than for any other review I have ever seen. The rally before the Board meeting seemed to peak the TV stations' interest as well as the teachers' vote of no confidence at Ballard. Yes, it does pay to be the squeaky wheel because the media is paying attention and that is hard for the Board to ignore. )


SPS mom said…
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SPS mom said…
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Kathleen said…
I'm curious about Seattle schools that offer recess before lunch. Research seems to show that kids eat better at lunch if they get to play before they eat and I'd like to see my school adopt this, but I'm getting a lot of pushback. Where is it done? How does it work? What are the up- and down-sides?
Lori said…
Kathleen, I believe they do it at McGilvra.

I saw some information about recess-before-lunch maybe in the NY Times earlier this year, and it makes a lot of sense. That article also said that this approach increases available teaching time in the day because kids come back from lunch ready to learn, but when they come back from recess, they need time to wind down. So by switching the order, you get back into teaching sooner, saving a few minutes per day that add up over the year.

Is it happening any where else in SPS?
Lori said…
Here's the link to the NY Times piece:


I had posted this on my Facebook page some time ago, and my friends' comments say that they do this at Beacon Hill as well, and that half the kids at Thornton Creek have recess-before-lunch (K-2) while the others eat first then have recess (3-5).
dan dempsey said…
The Superintendent's contract extension is an introductory item for June 16 and an action item for July 7.

This provides an opportunity for the community to put pressure on the Board with a large NO CONFIDENCE RALLY turn out on June 16. at 5:30 PM
Fremont Mama said…
I like the recess before lunch idea too. I know my daughter speeds through lunch and doesn't eat all that she should because she wants to get outside and play. My daughter has silent reading/rest time after lunch recess though, so they don't go right back into learning (she is in kindergarten).
StepJ said…
Both View Ridge and Laurelhurst have a recess for Kindergarten in the morning and one following lunch. I'm not certain about older grades.
Unknown said…
JSIS started recess before lunch this year and it works out great. The kids actually eat their lunches because they aren't rushing to get outside to play.
GreyWatch said…
My daughter rec'd her 6 grade math placement letter yesterday. Interestingly, the letter lists both her scores on MAP and grade 4 WASL, but doesn't seem to include a reference as to what these scores mean. She was recommended for the accelerated pathway, but no indication as to how that pathway was defined, e.g., would a 240 on MAP have done it instead of 245?

Did she barely qualify, or is she solidly where she should be. Maybe they don't like to share this.

I did read the letter w/o my glasses, so maybe the info was there somewhere.
Kathleen, who are you getting pushback from? Other parents? PTA? Principal? I would go to my PTA (probably in the fall as we are really near the end of school) and ask for this to be on the agenda at the first meeting. See if you can get a solid group of parents to show up (have a petition during the first week of school). Show the principal that the PTA and parents back this. Ask for a pilot program for, say, a month and see how it works. Work with your principal first.

If the principal is the issue, well, they are revising the Ed Director positions. Call the administrative offices at the beginning of the school and find out who the ed director is for your school. Ask them to support you or what the proceed is to get this (since we already know it is being done elsewhere).
Huh ?? said…
In the case of our school, the proposal to move recess to before lunch caused too many other parts of the day to be in flux. Between PCP, enrichment, tutoring, curriculum pull out groups etc... fitting it all in the day is challenging, and altering the schedule meant some kids couldn't/wouldn't get PCP. That could be a complicating factor too perhaps?

Also, this seems more like a BLT issue, not a PTA issue. If your school has both, I guess.
LG said…
Betty Patu showed up 25 minutes late to her community engagement meeting last Saturday. No apologies, no acknowledgment she was late. But at least she showed up this time.

About 20 people were there to talk with her. Some Nova students were there to ask that 5th year students be included in school graduation rates. Ms. Patu didn't seem to get what they were trying to say and kept replying she supported more time to graduate if needed.

She urged us to be the squeaky wheel for south end school quality, and vowed to keep up the fight. When asked, she didn't have any advice as to how best to effect change - just to keep the pressure on.

I had to leave early because I wasn't feeling well. Maybe someone else can fill in the rest.
MathTeacher42 said…
Greywatch -

Try googling "map scores grade level rit" and you'll get a lot of links to check out.

Like any dataset, it seems like anyone who can open a spreadsheet program has concocted their own favorite subsets of attributes with their perfect permutations of those subsets.

Chris S. said…
LG, after you left someone pointed out that you had been there the time she didn't show so it was unfortunate she didn't get to talk to you this time. Hope you are feeling better and try again.

I found Betty refreshing after all the other polite, politically-correct clones. She seemed to respond to most comments by writing them down and saying who she would talk to about them. We'll see what she can accomplish, but at least she doesn't act like she can't do anything except defend the supt.

My other impression is ...well, she's not a great orator and although that's refreshing too, her speaking style in board meetings had made me wonder about her knowledge of the district. Anyway, after her community meeting, I rest assured she knows exactly what's going on even if she can't articulate it well on camera.
hschinske said…
A 245 is pretty good (99th percentile for a 5th grader, 97th-98th for a 6th grader, 91st percentile for a 7th grader -- those are beginning-of-year scores, but given that it's still a high score for a year or two up, that matters less).

Helen Schinske
GreyWatch said…
MathTeacher42 - Thanks for the google wording tip.

Was interesting to see which districts around the country use MAP and what info they share with parents. Still not sure I found what i would consider a consistent source look up table. Not even on NWEA's site. It's probably there somewhere, but as a typical user, one or two clicks and I'm on to the next site.

I think I found similar results a month or so ago when my daughter came home talking about "Lexiles" to which we responded, "don't you mean "percentiles?" A new term for me, at least.

As for recess, before lunch is a brilliant idea! My son hasn't eaten a mid-day meal on a school day in 6 years.

Also add more recess, and PE everyday too. These kids need to move, move, move. Fitting it all in is the challenge, I guess.
StepJ said…
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Unknown said…
With all the discussion of recess, it's easy to miss the momentum parents, teachers and kids have gained in recent weeks. SPS and Board are feeling off-balance with the constant barrage of mistakes and criticism. Keep it up! Write letters, attend rallies, hold up signs, do anything.
Josh Hayes said…
AS1 also has a (short) morning recess for the K-5 component of the school. I think it's only 10-15 minutes, but it's good to give kids of that age a few minutes to get their ya-yas out.

From my daughter's perspective, however, it still doesn't prevent the "rush through lunch so I can play" syndrome; she nearly always comes home with some of her lunch and proceeds to eat it then.

The school has an explicit divide between the K-5 and 6-8 grades, and recess does not exist for the middle school grades, much to my 7th-grade son's chagrin.
Sahila said…

Extract from article:

"Why one highly educated man turned to working with his hands

By the sweat of one’s brow

After earning his Ph.D. in political philosophy and taking a position at a Washington D.C. think tank, Matthew Crawford was on the trajectory toward a successful career as a knowledge worker. Then one day he decided to walk away from it all and open up a small motorcycle repair shop in Richmond, Va. This unconventional career move provides the basis for Crawford’s New York Times bestselling “Shop Class as Soulcraft: an Inquiry into the Value of Work,” in which he combines memoir with a philosophical examination of the division between knowledge labor and manual labor in our society.

Crawford argues that despite our society’s tendency to degrade work that is physical in nature, his own day-to-day experience working as a mechanic and electrician often proved to be more challenging, more engaging and ultimately more rewarding than his previous work as a white-collar professional.

In addition to running the repair shop, Crawford is a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia. He recently sat down with Real Change to discuss his book before his May 12 address at Town Hall Seattle.

Your book provides a critique of the dichotomy between knowledge work and manual work in our society. What are some of the assumptions upon which this dichotomy is based?

I think the most obvious and also the most pernicious, is the assumption that if the work is dirty, it must also be stupid. In fact, the book grows out of an attempt to explain to myself, why, in doing electrical work and mechanical work, I felt more challenged than in other jobs that were officially recognized as knowledge work. But, you asked what further assumptions that division might be based on, and I think that, in our society, we give the highest prestige to a certain kind of knowledge: “knowing that” as opposed to “knowing how.” Knowing that something is the case; that’s a kind of universal knowledge, it’s something that can be stated from anywhere, and put in a book, and transmitted without loss. Whereas “know how” is always tied to the experience of an individual, and that ties into the economic point — that the kinds of jobs that are based on personal know how are often the ones that can’t be outsourced.

How is our education system complicit in privileging knowledge work over manual work?

I think it is. I think that we’ve developed a kind of educational monoculture where there’s one ideal which is to go to college and get on a certain track and end up doing something white collar, and there isn’t enough accommodation for the fact that for some people, what sparks that love of learning is taking things apart and figuring out how they work. I actually taught high school briefly and it was more or less a complete disaster …"
LG said…
Chris, that's good to hear about Betty Patu. You are right, she did not try to defend the status quo, and I appreciate that.
Fremont Mama said…
pletoryI should add that my daughter has 3 recesses per day. One in the morning for about 10 minutes (I think), one after lunch and then another for about 10 minutes in the late afternoon (maybe around 2pm?). I really like the fact that she gets outside so much, I just wish the the lunch recess was before they ate, so she wouldn't rush through her food so much.
ARB said…
Interesting article on how Everett improved graduation rates. Shows change is possible if you just care and back up "goals" with real action, not eduspeak

Eric B said…
Does anyone know about how SPS is going to use the Middle School survey information? I have gotten 2 phone calls and an email asking for responses, but the survey questions are so general.
SP said…
Speaking of surveys (too general, no room for comments)- this was in the Super's e-news June 1st, asking for volunteer survey/input:

New Website Tools Coming Next Year!
Request for Community Input
Recently, the Seattle School Board unanimously approved a contract for a new Web Content Management System (WCMS) that will increase our ability to communicate with families, community members, and staff via our websites and provide powerful online tools to support student learning. A WCMS supports the creation, management, publishing, and distribution of Web content. Our new WCMS was designed specifically for K-12 schools and when fully implemented will provide an easy-to-use website management tool to every school in the District.

During the project, we will be soliciting input from community members on various aspects of the project. If you are interested in providing input, please complete the following brief survey.

We look forward to sharing more in-depth project information in the coming months. To learn more and get involved, please visit the Web Project website.
Unknown said…
( I post this here since it strikes in many ways to the heart of this issue. If it needs to be moved to the open thread plese feel free.)

Speaking as an individual here I find it heartbreaking that this column has generated 99 comments so far regarding the perceived inequality in the choice of a hair product yet there has been no advocacy for what the changes in the SAP did to a high school in the Southeast that serves an extremely underserved population. I am sure those students have hair care needs too. Let's look at their situation for a moment.

This case of the Hair Tonic triggered the perfect storm of APP/ALO niche interests, reflexive race baiting, and it provoked the need for people to come out of the woodwork to show how ethno-relative we in Seattle are. Some of you were actually counting the number of students of color in a classroom as a way to assuage guilt. So we fight about the treatment of one child in a privileged program and one angry parent who has a bully pulpit while hundreds are daily left defenseless.

The SAP changes were the last and greatest hope of a particular institution in the Southeast. Now instead of a battle lost to central administration it was a battle lost to the sly self-interest of a city filled with people who only mouth enlightenment. I moved to the Pacific Northwest over 10 years ago and for all of that time I was wondering how could progressive Seattle be so incredibly racist? We have a segregated city, segregated entertainment, and we've had a segregated and punitive school system. Yet, when a plan came up to send students to their area schools certain groups noticed that their local programs would have to endure some cuts to FTE and programming because they were no longer able to profit from this 'access and influence' apartheid. Families who were not fluent in the system or even in a common language were consistently sent to prop up an ailing high school.

This inequality went on while those families who did have access or influence moved their students to programs that had more funding. Those programs were then reinforced by the hundreds of students from the Southeast who, rightfully, wanted to go to a school with the most opportunities. Yet those opportunities were subsidized disproportionately by those students from the Southeast who allowed extra FTE for flagship programs in these area 'schools of influence'. When the SAP would have moved those students back to their neighborhood schools and caused the comparatively minor loss of FTE in these schools of influence we in Seattle would have been living in a more fair and equitable system. Yet, that did not occur. Pressure was brought to bear, school board members pushed and pressured, and the result was sending only the most at-risk students to the Southeast, while the area of influence schools get to keep their flagship programs based on the strength of perpetuating a racist and unequal student assignment plan that is now less burdened with having to tolerate the presence of the truly needy from the Southeast. There were plenty of students to take their place in the test score ranks.

It seems to me, as an individual, that much of this hand wrangling over this Case of the Dastardly Hair Tonic is an attempt to assuage the bitter guilt left behind when that SAP vote suceeded in perpetuating and exacerbating the racist status quo in this city.

This is not the fault of the Superintendant.

This is not the fault of the Southeast Initiative.

This is not the fault of students who have no power of advocacy in this city.

This is the signal failure of the edu-politically active in the city of Seattle to muster enough moral authority to give away the profits they have accrued from a system that collectively punishes the poorest and most defenseless in our city.
Theo, did you write this? If not, who did?
ARB said…
Thanks, Theo.
-98118 parent

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