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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

BMI Form

As some of you may recall, last year the district's PE department decided that they would be weighing SPS students (measuring their BMI) starting in 3rd grade. A parent at one of Sherry Carr's community meetings had expressed worry over the possible ill effects to students. Sherry concurred because she thought it might be an issue for her own child.

What came to pass was that the form was to opt-in. Meaning, unless you signed the form, you did not give permission to weigh your child. That's what opting-in means.

So I heard from a parent recently who said that the form is a little confusing. It says at the top it is an "Opt-in Permission Form" but it says sign this if you DON'T want your child to participate and then it ALSO says the parent gives permission and then a place for a signature for that as well. I can see where the confusion could be because if it is opt-in, you sign. If not, then you haven't given permission. There shouldn't be two signatures (unless the district is trying to the the parent to sign off on one thing or the other - then the title at the top should be changed).

This parent did write to the district PE director, Lori Dunn, who stated it IS an "opt-in only". What may have happened is that they distributed the form from last year without corrections.

Is this the biggest deal in the world? Not for most people but if you have the child who has body issues, it could be very upsetting if a parent/guardian was not able to convey his/her wishes to the child's PE teacher and the child gets weighed. (Last time we discussed this, there were a number of people, me included, who did not like being measured in school.)

In the bigger picture, it is just one, in a long, long line, of communications errors. Does no one ever read these things out loud? (Reading it out loud really helps you "hear" what might confuse someone else.) Or pass it to someone and say, "Does this make sense to you? Would you know what you are being asked to do?" And, given that Director Carr made special note of this at a Board meeting last year, don't you think someone might have said, "I need to make sure we update this form."

But Communications in this district is really PR, not about making sure that parents and the public are informed in a clear, timely and useful fashion about how SPS works. And a lot of that PR is directed towards making sure the Superintendent looks good. I wish some of that effort might go to making sure parents know what's going on.

3 comments:

dan dempsey said...

Melissa ended with this:

And a lot of that PR is directed towards making sure the Superintendent looks good. I wish some of that effort might go to making sure parents know what's going on.

On the School Board website at this time is this:

Due to technical difficulties no webcast of the Wednesday, September 1st school board meeting will be available until next Wednesday, September 8th. Sorry for the inconvenience.

There is no longer a link to the outside streaming video of present or past Board Meeting Presentations. (Temporary 10 day technical difficulties I trust.)

Having parents and others know what is going on is not a really high priority item.


If communication was a priority, there need to be webcasts of School Board work sessions and new website sections.

dan dempsey said...

Among those new sections could be:

(1) Legal Appeals:
Progress on legal appeals filed in Superior Court over School Board decisions

(2a) Other Litigation involving employees and former employees with litigation filed against SPS.

(2b) Other Litigation (by non-employees) filed against SPS.

(3) Contract Over-runs (current status and balance)

(4) Current Maintenance backlog status

(5) Savings from closing schools minus expenses for reopening closed schools

(6) Expenditures on outside legal representation for the current school year by month and case.

(7) Court Dates, Locations and Times for coming court hearings involving SPS .... like
Recall hearing on Sept 23 and NTN contract #1 on Sept 28.

(8) Updates on pending litigation like: Decision from Judge Inveen on Glasscock's & Ovalles' appeal of Board's NSAP boundary line decision-making. Inveen has been on leave and will return some time next week ... decision is expected by end of September. (Auditor cited the violation of open meetings act as Board failed to take minutes of retreats and work sessions that involved NSAP boundaries)

(9) Progress on "NEWS" (Network for Excellence in Washington Schools) lawsuit won on Feb 3, 2010, which involved fully funding of schools by the state. [Show me the money or show me the progress or show me the appeal but show me something]

(10a) Progress on HS Math curriculum as the Feb 3, 2010 court decision said the decision was "arbitrary and capricious". Like this link.

(10b) Appellate court status on the above (10a)

(11) Evaluative Progress on "Excellence for All" items, so that public can see that these are on track and the Board is actually supervising the progress of the Superintendent. [Final status on all the improvements or NOT that resulted from the Southeast Education Initiative's three years of action and spending ... so that we realize the savings from reduced busing costs under the NSAP will make "every school" "a quality school" ... just like the spending on SEI did..... or NOT.]

(11) Running total of monthly transportation savings under NSAP with earlier years.

(12) The "SPS Check Register" online as advocated for all school districts by Peyton Wolcott in "Check Registers" online.

(13) Academic Progress made by students during the model of: "Academic Coaches" for teachers and "increased mainstreaming" and larger class sizes era. Especially by students classified as "disadvantaged" like say low income. See it here.

Clearly informing the public of much is NOT a goal of this Seattle School Board or the Goodloe-Johnson Administration. Too much "wool" to pull over too many eyes for that.

I wish any effort went into making sure that: "any member of the public really knew what's going on in the SPS."

dan dempsey said...

About Check Register online:

if Dallas ISD in TX ....

why not Seattle Public Schools?

DALLAS ISD (Texas)
The 2nd-largest public school district in Texas.
Budget: $1.7 billion Students: 158,000

Superintendent: Eliu Misael "Mike" Hinojosa

Fallout: "Everything's absolutely positive, and there's been no negative fallout --we're one of the first in the state to post our check register online," said a district spokesperson.

Logistics, goals for the future: "We're talking to our IT people to see if we can simplify the process so that people can go to the online check register more
quickly and directly.
"

Now that is a transparency plan.