Friday, September 03, 2010

Open Thread Friday

It is very likely that the news roundup on KUOW 94.9 FM at 10 am this morning will feature discussion of the teachers contract. Please, call in with your thoughts and do not let the analysis be only from people who, frankly, only have cursory knowledge of the issues. 543-KUOW is the number to call or write to: weekday@kuow.org.

Your thoughts from the past week?


Dorothy Neville said...

If we are going to defeat the Supplemental levy, it is going to take action. Lots of action.

All the Legislative district Democrats are meeting this month and most will be addressing endorsing the levy. I spoke to the 36th LD DEM executive committee and although many were concerned with the audits, they caved at the idea that saying no would be punitive to the children. They voted to recommend endorsement to their general membership. We need to make people understand that saying YES is punitive to kids. Saying NO is the way to get things back on track.

This month the PTAs and PTSAs will be asked for endorsements and FUNDING! Do you want your locally controlled hard earned PTA money going to slick mailings and robocalling FOR the levy? Take action, join up and be heard. Now is the time.

We have written a flyer to print and pass along. If you print this on a single sheet it should fold up nicely in thirds.


Dorothy Neville said...

Darn, that link doesn't cooperate.

<a href="https://docs.google.com/fileview?id=0B5eM_93rWLrLZDc2ZTg4ZDItZGYwOS00NzRlLWEwMWYtZWZkNDAxMmNjMzA1&hl=en>Flyer</a>

Dorothy Neville said...


AGAIN! sorry about the link issues.

seattle said...
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seattle said...

If you are expecting transportation and haven't received any info yet, you'd better call the transportation office to verify. Since we have lived here (10 years) Kids on our block have always had a yellow but to Eckstein, and we just assumed that was still happening. We just found out yesterday (by calling in) that they cut our busing. Not such a big issue for us, but could be disastrous for some.

seattle said...

Sandra Powell and George Breland are the two new Nathan Hale HS Assistant Principals. I know George Breland comes from RBHS but I don't know anything else about him.

Anyone have any experience with either of these two?

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Anonymous said...
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dan dempsey said...


Maybe this will work.

I included the last "
which was missing.

This one works fine.

Nice work Dorothy.

dan dempsey said...

In regard to:

Anonymous said...

I want to say that I hope the new contract goes the way of Washington, DC, New Haven, CT. and Rhode Island, but then I wouldn't be elite enough to be part of the general community here that does not like charters or high standards for teachers and children. And, another comment deleted by big brother.

Why are the Anonymous unable to follow these guidelines?

It is the policy and practice of this blog to delete unsigned anonymous comments. If you do not wish to register with Google or Open ID, please select a Name for use with your comments.

I do not know if I am classified as a big brother supporter but I do expect the courtesy of a handle.

Please continue to delete postings by the Anonymous that refuse to pick a conversation handle.

curious said...

i guess i have a really dumb question-- say the levy does not pass. what does that mean for the new contract? what is and is not valid in it?

dan dempsey said...

The above Anonymous posting that I rewrote confuses the ability to read relevant research and intelligently apply relevant data with "elitism".

Since when is intellectual investigation and thinking reserved to elites?

Often the reverse may be true.

One needs only to look at Mr. Duncan's actions to observe the exact opposite of "intelligently applying relevant data". It seems that only elites are able to shove this nonsense past the rest of us.

If Anonymous would care to pick a handle and bring some research, it would be appreciated. This would be welcome rather than just useless completely anonymous opinions backed only by Name Calling of "Elitist".

karyn king said...

Thanks for the flyer, Dorothy. I will make many copies for my neighbors and PTSA. Maybe community council meetings would be good places to take them too.

Dorothy Neville said...

Funny, all Anonymous had to do was rewrite anonymous with a slightly different spelling and would comply with the clearly stated guidelines.

Not wanting high standards for teachers and students? I am not sure what you mean by that. This sort of contract --- evaluations using MAP and only for some teachers --- isn't really a productive, statistically reliable way to get higher standards from teachers. I wish it were. My son suffered through some dismal teaching in SPS, but using the MAP or HSPE would not have identified any of those teachers.

Example. My son was in APP elementary under Hal Kimball for four years. Several of the teachers he had were mediocre, to put it nicely. But the kids did well on standardized tests, Kimball had a relaxed hands off style. My son's fifth grade year, Julie Briedenbach took over as principal. Well, too late for my son, but I have heard numerous reports that she has worked hard to increase the quality of teaching. Will the new contract help her get rid of, or remediate, any app teacher? I doubt it.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Curious, well, they would not have the money to give to the struggling teachers ($500), the money for the 1% raise in years two and three, etc. It's hard to guesstimate the exact amount (well, it would take time to figure out but I'm writing on the fly).

They are also applying for federal grants for this so that could back it up.

If they got both, look for them to use the levy funds for any number of central office desires. Basically, very, very little will make an appearance in your child's classroom.

What is odd to me is that Michael DeBell told me that the levy money shouldn't be used for some project that needs sustained funds. He and I were talking about a different subject at the time but it dawned on me later than if levy funds go away in 3 years, where would they get the funds to continue the teacher funding under this contract?

Interesting, too, that the conservative Washington Policy Center seems miffed that the Board would consider a new tax. They seem to think the Board should find it some other place.

Charlie Mas said...

This just doesn't match up for me.

The District claims that the supplemental levy is temporary.
The District also claims it will be used to pay for the teachers' raises and the professional development. Does that mean that the teachers' raises and the professional development are temporary?

Dorothy Neville said...

One of the 36th LD Dems asked the PRO levy folks is what would passing I-1098 mean?

They didn't have a clear answer. However, it is worth pointing out that this may be a new source of funds. A stable source of funds for schools, instead of this one shot levy deal sort of thing.

curious said...

so if we vote NO on the levy, everything in the contract still stands, but the teachers don't get raises or the extra help, but still get dinged for poor test scores, or whatever? they just don't get the help that is promised after that finding?
(sorry for being dense-- i found that contract REALLY vague in a lot of places. granted, i am not used to reading things like that. but the more i read it the more questions i had).
i guess i feel like i want to give the classrooms money, i want to give the teachers money-- i don't want to give the central office money... can i write a personal check instead of the levy? jk :)

reader said...

I posted earlier and it was removed. I am "reader". What I wanted to know is why the "new" contract did not do anything about the special education resource room ratios. What a rip off.

GreyWatch said...

Attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the remodeled Hamilton yesterday. All the suits and ties, board members, etc., were out in force.

By far, the highlight was an 8th grade student who sang the Star Spangled Banner. She rocked it. I was glad to be wearing sunglasses as listening to her made me tear up.

The building looked great too.

Dorothy Neville said...

Curious. At the end, the MOU about funding, if the levy doesn't pass (or funding isn't found) one of the things that will not happen is expansion of MAP. So at least some of that MAP stuff is tied to the levy, as well as raises.

But what a GREAT IDEA! So this levy is supposed to be about $48 per household per year. Money that will just fall into the central administration money pit. SO, let's pledge instead. If the levy FAILS, I pledge to donate $100 extra a year for three years to the PTA of my choice.

curious said...

i'm in. we could make it less, even, for people who are feeling pinched. $50-$100. no on the levy, yes to schools.

Dorothy Neville said...

A Pledge

Thanks, Curious. What a great idea.

gavroche said...

Dorothy Neville said...

Well, too late for my son, but I have heard numerous reports that she has worked hard to increase the quality of teaching.

Dorothy, I guess it depends on your definition of "working hard" and "increasing the quality."

I have also heard numerous reports that the methods of her "hard work" included: preventing at least one teacher she didn't like from receiving certain resources (other teachers pooled their resources for their colleague to compensate for this inequity); hired a young new teacher promising parents that said teacher would be great, but then the teacher turned out to have a dismal first year (said teacher has since developed into a solid educator); she moved an award-winning teacher against this teacher's will to Thurgood Marshall probably in the hope teacher would feel pressured to retire -- and that's what happened; she arguably did not stick up for Lowell when the school was threatened with closure or oppose the APP split -- unlike the principal of Montlake who seemed to fight for her school when it was threatened with closure -- and treated the whole debacle as a done deal (when it wasn't); at the school meeting after the district announced it wanted to close Lowell and split and send the APP kids to Thurgood Marshall and Hawthorne (and send Lowell's SPED kids nowhere in particular), she came to tears -- not about what would happen to the 500+ kids of her own school, but apparently about the kids at the other two schools; she made numerous leadership mistakes at Thurgood Marshall this past year in which APP families' genuine grievances were dismissed (i.e. violence on the playground), until a meeting was called by parents at which she admitted that co-housing two different programs in one school was harder than she realized it would be. (She later complained to her superiors about having had to attend that meeting.) To some Lowell parents it seemed that she never much liked the APP program, families or kids. Fine, but she shouldn't have accepted the job, then.

Kimball respected his team of teachers and treated them as colleagues. He opposed the APP split, by the way, having experienced firsthand the failures of co-housing APP and non-APP at Madrona. Give me Hal Kimball any day.

Okay, back to the levy: I'm voting against it. Thanks for your efforts on this, Dorothy.

Dorothy Neville said...

Gavroche. Sigh. I guess there are always complications. The things I had heard positive included requiring teachers to actually teach with more rigor. But alas, I am sorry to hear how that isn't the whole story. (Not sorry for you to tell, but sorry that it isn't better.)

So anyway. Would this MAP and crazy path of evaluations be of any use for APP kids? From my limited understanding of MAP and statistics, it doesn't appear so. I cannot believe that the teachers voted on a contract with so many details to be determined later.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Curious, you are public school parent in a nutshell. Always wanting to help, make things better. That you are worried more money doesn't go directly in the classroom is the mark of an SPS parent.

Again, if the levy failed, they might get the federal grants anyway. (I suspect this is likely given the national push towards these reform efforts.)

That the district is so vague about what the money - in total - is to be used for should worry you. If you really want this levy, then demand a clear, accountable list of what the money will be used for. Otherwise, it ends up looking a lot
an auxiliary monetary account. That's not what I would like to see.

So you are reader with a little r and we have Reader with a big r? Okay. reader, I don't know why Special ed might not have been addressed but I haven't read it that closely.

"If the levy FAILS, I pledge to donate $100 extra a year for three years to the PTA of my choice."

Excellent idea. Sign me up (don't care if I don't have a kid in SPS anymore; I'll do it.

Sahila said...

Posted this on the Washington Policy Center facebook page, seeing it didnt make it past their website comment moderator (funny that!):

Parents within the Seattle Public School District are sick and tired of big business and vulture philanthropists controlling the education of our kids.

We're sick and tired of Broad Foundation plants running our district - incompetently on so many levels, as verified by the State Auditor:

We're sick and tired of giving the school board money and finding that none of it goes into our kids' classrooms, but gets spent on wasteful 'business model' senior management and incompetence...

We're sick and tired of the education "deform" agenda being implemented without our involvement.... when's the last time someone asked us what we wanted for our kids... damn arrogance that the Washington Policy Center thinks it can issue such claptrap as this:


as though its the authority on what's best for the biggest stakeholders in this equation - we parents and our kids...

And this whole standardised testing thing, tied to teacher and school evaluation and merit pay... that's all claptrap too...see these two reports:


Washington Policy Center - get out of our childrens' lives; we want you and your freemarket cronies to stop trying to suck the lifeblood out of the last quasi public institution...

And contrary to the view of jailed junk bond king Mike Milken, of the Milken Foundation (vulture philanthropists dabbling in ed defom), the purpose of education DEFINITELY IS NOT to turn out the next generation of workers and consumers...

Lori said...

Since this is an open thread, I'd like to hear from around town how things are shaping up after the new assignment plan.

Are waiting lists moving now? Last I checked, those at NE elementary schools had not really moved. Bryant has added a 5th Kindergarten again to meet demand but still had siblings on the wait list recently. I wonder which room they had to convert to a classroom this time - art room? anyone know?

How's the enrollment at Sandpoint now? Do they still have just a handful children coming next week for grades 2-5?

curious said...

even with a list i would not trust the district. after seeing that audit, and knowing what we (our PTA) is paying for to keep our school running-- terribly basic things, salaries, etc. i don't trust them one bit. even with a list. i'd much rather give the money to our school directly.

Arnold said...

Thanks for the flyer. I'll be passing them out throughout the neighborhoods!

Melissa Westbrook said...

Lori, I did send a query to Tracy Libros (who is likely swamped at this point) about the waitlists, etc. I haven't heard back but I'm not surprised.

StepJ said...

The new K class at Bryant in on the third floor -- I believe the same classroom they used when they had 5 K classes back in the 2008-2009 year.

Heard unofficially that Sand Point is up to an enrollment of about 100. Most of the additions are in grades K and 1.

Still lots of sibs. on the waitlist at VR for grades K-2.

Scootch said...

On the school assignment issue -- my child at Garfield, who went in this week to try to fix a problem with her class schedule, heard from someone (I didn't ask her who) that Garfield was scrambling to come up with 11 more teachers. I don't know what that says about enrollment, but I fear it isn't good (boundaries drawn too wide).

Lori said...

hi StepJ, that might technically be true at Bryant. However, they still had to come up with two new rooms this year to expand 3rd grade and add the 5th K. And those kids that enrolled two years ago are still there. So the net new rooms needed for next week is two. With ELL moving to Sandpoint, that opened one classroom. But the other either needs to go in the Resource room or the art room, unless they found more space somewhere else.

StepJ said...

Oh - and Bryant is currently at 550. Not as bad as 600+ but still over the listed functional capacity of 520, and anticipated enrollment of 505 by 2015.

StepJ said...

I don't know Bryant well enough to know which classes have been moved to the Cafetorium or have been left intact.

dan dempsey said...

How about some accountability for the SPS and UW Bureaucrats....

Consider this from Core-Knowledge.

"Unfortunately, when we look at student achievement scores for a specific teacher or a specific school, we don’t know whether the curriculum program helped enhance the scores or had little effect. But I suggest that the quality of each curriculum program a teacher is using needs to be considered when student achievement scores are used to grade teachers. I believe that teachers are responsible for implementing a program well, but are only responsible for the implementation. As this research shows, the quality of a given program has a strong influence on the students’ achievement."

karyn king said...

StepJ said, "The new K class at Bryant in on the third floor --"

I believe the fire department regs prohibit K-2 classes from being on second or third floors. Does anyone else know for sure?

You may need to point that out to the principal.

brodenul said...

karyn: my understanding, from several years back, was that you could have elementary grades on second floors at least, as long as you had the sprinkler systems (and other safety systems, I assume -- but the issue at my child's school was sprinklers) to support them -- and not all schools had retrofitted for them. You could not have any preschool classes on anything other than first floors. But -- that was many years ago, and the rules may have changed (or maybe I am remembering wrong -- but I know my kindergartners were on the 2nd floor of their parochial school.

Jan said...

StepJ: where are you getting up to date enrollment information? I have been wondering all summer how some of the (what I consider potentially mistaken) assumptions in the NSAP will play out in reality -- like the Roosevelt, Ballard, and Garfield boundaries, the estimates of students for Clevelend STEM, etc.

Trish said...

Last night King 5 gave good coverage regarding the teacher contract. Unlike the Seattle Times...King 5 expressed doubts by mentioning Denver schools. Might be worth trying to getting King 5 to report more on education reform, levy etc.

StepJ said...

Jan -- obtaining info. about Bryant from a Bryant parent who has good contacts within the school. Guess they were at 607 earlier in the summer *ouch* - thankfully that number dropped down.

I actually don't know the enrollment numbers at the school my family attends yet. :-0

FHS85 said...

They converted the volunteer room at Bryant into a classroom which will be the resource room.

I believe the current number at Bryant is 581!

Charlie Mas said...

Well, it looks like that capacity management report that is due in the winter will be full of interesting news and reports.

I wonder if they will make any data-driven decisions as a result.

Anonymous said...
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kprugman said...

Schools need good textbooks; not more expensive and un-productive computers. What has been shown over and over - Given classroom settings (four walls and 36 desks) teachers have proven they are more cost-effective than computer networks.

For many years (long before I started teaching) classrooms have been filling themselves up with obsolete computers and software.

One would have to design an entirely different as-yet-unrealized kind of school. The notion that something feasible might arise from a free-market system to replace teachers and classrooms is irrational or at least lacks forethought.

wsnorth said...

Assignment: Our local elementary school is 100% (double) over capacity for Kindergarten. Some ratty old portables moved in, like school districts do in third world countries.

Jet City mom said...

Our local elementary school is 100% (double) over capacity for Kindergarten. Some ratty old portables moved in, like school districts do in third world countries.

Are both the morning and afternoon kindergartens over capacity?
I don't think it is appropriate to house kindergarteners in portables although I realize some schools had used them for child care.

I do realize that many developing countries do not have permanent buildings for schools- one village where my daughter worked used a palm shelter.
Too bad SPS is bent on cutting down mature trees so that isn't really an option here.

ttln said...

we were grandfathered into our elem. where we formerly didn't have transportation- no big deal, drop off at before school care works out better. WE GOT A BUS ASSIGNMENT for the fall. WTH?
I have grandfathered student sibs at my school where the older has a bus and sib does not.

like a bunch of mokeys...

G said...

Garfield is slated to have 1760 students with more kids coming every day. If a student is new to the boundaries, they get in, thanks to the NSAP. There are 568 freshman (should be about 400). It seems like an impossible situation looking for a wrinkle in time or a fifth dimension. Meanwhile, RBHS is chronically and severely underenrolled, and Cleveland has about 600 students. Something is very wrong. Could it be that the boundaries around Garfield were drawn way too large?? Hopefully Garfield will somehow be able to weather this situation. It is totally unfair (and amoral?) to the kids, the teachers and the school administration.

Josh Hayes said...

Transportation seems to have confused a lot of people - I met a new parent at AS1 this week who was happy that her (new) 6th grader was, apparently, "qualified" for transportation -- until I told her that that meant he'd get a metro pass, not yellow bus. From Mount Baker to Northgate?

It'd be great if the district provided kids with Sound Transit passage, so they could take the train to the bus tunnel. But they don't, do they? Anyone think a conductor would throw a kid off for only having a metro pass?

wsnorth said...

ttln, maybe there is an aftermarket in bus transpo. Can we buy your "rights"? Our letter is no better, it says our HS has a pass but "may" have yellow bus. WTF? is right. Jeez. They should just charge the non FRL parents for transportation and let it all sort itself out. This is crazy. Only SPS could take such a simple thing and make it so complicated.

Jan said...

G: I was afraid this might happen, as the Garfield boundaries seemed way out of whack with historical attendance patterns. I hope this is not also the case with other high schools (Ballard, Roosevelt, etc.). It will be interesting to see what they do to fix it. My fear is that they will dismantle APP (better for standardization to just send all those kids to their local schools and let them take AP classes wherever they land, now that we have "excellence for all" in all our schools -- never mind that, for years, the importance of the "cohort" for helping those kids find significant amounts of rigor, etc. has been the District's selling point, and the EXISTENCE of the cohort is the entire program at the high school level (and ignoring the fact that it would destroy the program, and that it would break faith with the parents who, years ago, pulled their kids from their neighborhood classrooms and sent them to Lowell or Washington on the understanding that the group would have the ability to stay together.) And yes, I am enough of a conspiracy theorist to wonder whether this was one of the objectives of drawing the boundaries so widely.
Or -- they COULD adjust the boundaries next year, to shift more kids to other schools (but if I were a parent of one of those kids, I wouldn't be happy about that -- to say nothing of its effect on sibling issues, etc.). And what does that do for the promised "predictability" of the SAP?
Hmm -- maybe they could just reopen Horace Mann, and make it part of a "ninth grade academy" or some such thing -- with kids taking classes at both campuses (I think NOVA kids used to be able to do this -- take some classes at the Garfield campus, but Charlie might know better). That would relieve space pressure at Garfield, but reverses yet another of the vaunted "savings" we were supposed to get by closing all those schools (including Mann) two years ago. At this point -- I think we would have reopened more schools than we ever closed. Another victory for data driven decisions!

Charlie: You wonder what the winter report will be like? I wonder whether there will be any "accountability" for having gotten the "data-driven" decisions so horribly wrong for all these schools (both over-enrolled and under-enrolled) in the first place. It would be great if the Board demanded that the Superintendent and her staff prepare a report analyzing where and why they went wrong (as in -- WAS there any data (for STEM, did they ask any families? do any surveys of 8th grade parents) on how many kids would choose STEM? - not that I recall. Did they drill down on the Garfield boundaries, given how much farther they extended than the "address boundaries" of any kids admitted under the old "proximity to school" rules? Might it have been wise to restrict school enrollment (at least the first year) to those who applied for application by some date last spring -- just as an interim measure until they knew whether their assumptions would be borne out? Not holding my breath that this Board will ever request, or receive, answers. But, it is great to know that MGJ got her third year last June -- so when she is done fixing those pesky audit problems, she has the balance of 3 years to straighten this all out!

wsnorth said...

Can anyone name a single time ANYONE at SPS has been held accountable for ANYTHING? I'm serious. Honestly, anyone? Any single thing?

Melissa Westbrook said...

WS, your question gave me pause. It's hard to say.

Rob McKenna was on KUOW this morning and I phoned in asking about the AG comment in the Auditor's report about the use of funds for the retirement party. He said it wasn't criminal but that there is likely a mechanism to compel the Superintendent to return the money. (Now these were not her personal funds but in her Superintendent's budget.) I guess the "refund" could be the Board cutting her budget by that much.

G said...

Jan - with regard to the passive busting up of the APP cohort at high school, this is probably the case. If the APP community wants to retain the APP cohort at Garfield, be activists!

Jan said...

WSNorth: if you go far enough "down" the ranks so that accountability is imposed on people who are not the Superintendent's "chosen ones," I think the answer is "yes." Didn't someone have to leave when the business about the misuse of Capital Fund money to give classes to contractors on how to bid for SD projects came to light? And several years ago, I recall that the Garfield principal (Joe someone or other?) left suddenly for reasons that I can't recall, but it seemed to be an accountability thing (he was replaced by Cheryl Chow on an interim basis, and she was followed by Susan Derse, who was replaced by Ted Howard, the current principal.
But for the people making (and spending) all the money at the top, nope.
To hear Harium tell, THIS Superintendent was brought in, and paid a huge salary, to accomplish a great deal of "change" (that no one asked for, but oh well). And - she can't be held accountable "yet" because all the stuff she is putting in place to achieve "excellence for all" hasn't been deployed yet (so -- if there was no way of knowing whether, in the first three years, she was succeeding, what were we paying so much money for? -- But anyway, evidently, she wasn't being asked to do well with any of the District's kids for the last three years -- they were just sacrificed for the greater good that is to come, and ssssshhhh about that pesky SE Initiative that was supposed to help some of them by now. Harium has forgotten all about it, and hopes we will too.) Even if it is too early for results, though (which I don't believe for a minute) you would think that, with that mandate, and for that money -- she and her staff would be accountable for management of funds, management of time lines for accomplishing interim goals, management for meeting OTHER benchmarks (than just time), and accountable for some sort of interim results. But, she is not. No accountability (though she gets bonuses (even MORE money!) for any little eensy movement of a needle in the right direction (4 of 20) was EVER built into her compensation structure, and no accountability of any other kind has been required by the Board.

So yes -- NCOs and other low ranking officers (principals and facilities people) can be held accountable, but the general and her staff? Not in THIS District.

WV says "insibses." I guess that is what all those kindergarten siblings waitlisted at Bryant and Viewridge hope they will be.

Sahila said...




Sahila said...


Sahila said...

watch the links above and then tell me:

how many of us, watching what is possible and then comparing it to the reality of what our kids get at school, are crying inside because the system as it is now, is killing our kids hearts and souls?

And no, I dont want our school system privatised and corporatised, and no, the teachers are not crappy and failing our kids... its like this because free market capitalists look on people as units of economic production and kids as widgets and want the biggest ROI on the smallest possible 'investment'/cost... and they dont want to spend on real, whole child, whole life education... which is kinda crazy because as any new product developer will tell you, its a false economy... what you scimp on at the beginning on design, planning and production, you'll pay extra for at the end in terms of product failure and underperformance and customer dissatisfaction... but I gues that's an acceptable risk/loss when you're only looking for short term gains...

I want this in public education for every child in the US and the rest of the world...

How are we going to make that happen?

Jet City mom said...

I recall that the Garfield principal (Joe someone or other?) left suddenly for reasons that I can't recall

Perhaps you are thinking of Al Jones?
He had been Garfield's third principal in four years, & was well liked, yet there were 20 allegations against him relating to sexual contact with a current student.
Olchefske then assigned Cheryl Chow.
For all Chows faults, she has never been accused of sexual impropriety ( to my knowledge)

dan dempsey said...

Excellence for All : A Two-Year Perspective.

Hey I just notice that on
8/27 the District published THIS. Excellence for All : A Two-Year Perspective.

kprugman said...

So much bunk and hype before the levy what with McKenna and now another excellence for all report and more blueprints for reform to follow. Parasites.

So where is success?

The first step toward valid research is adopting textbooks that are popular, meaning textbooks that students will want to read and can validate their learning from.

None of this currently exists for the majority of students.

The low test scores show students are not concerned with what they are learning. But this doesn't prove that students don't want to learn. Especially when we know that many kids continue learning after school. They must.

In the US, either you are a school that has a massive failure rate to stay above AYP or you are a school that has a massive drop-out rate, an AYP that's below freezing, and filled with students that can't graduate.

In a typical, low-academic, track classroom that's traditionally been reserved for ninth graders, its now a mixed group of all ages and more than half are special needs or learning English. The majority of minorities will be in one of these classrooms.

Some are taking classes before and after school. Some are in adult school. All of them are failing at least one or two classes. None of them will be graduating on time, nor will they be prepared for even community college when they take a placement test.

That's the current state of education for most of our students.

seattle said...

There was Joe Drake that was removed from Marshall.

hschinske said...

"Can anyone name a single time ANYONE at SPS has been held accountable for ANYTHING? I'm serious. Honestly, anyone? Any single thing?"

I can't think of anyone at central admin. There have been plenty of people within the schools who've been quietly hustled out for incompetence or other good reasons. Alex Coberly (y'all remember *that* hoohah) is definitely not around any more. And there was what sounded like a totally ineffective math teacher at Whitman three or four years back, who took a bit too long to get fired, but as far as I know did get fired and isn't with the district in any capacity any longer.

I've also known people in the district who've held *themselves* accountable: actually admitting to having made mistakes, and doing their best to make things right (thus winning my undying regard). Jon Halfaker is one. There are probably other cases I don't remember because they simply struck me as being ordinary good behavior at the time.

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Oops, the comment about Adams and JSIS are from me, sorry forgot to sign name.

A Baker

dan dempsey said...

How about Ramona Pearson who made a rapid (likely forced) exit (2007?)... seems like Brad Bernetek occupies the equivalent position.

Maureen said...

G says that at Garfield: There are 568 freshman (should be about 400). I have heard that Roosevelt only has 330 freshman (has been 400). RHS offers plenty of AP classes, drama, music ... and maybe if 70 APP qualified Roosevelt area freshman switch to RHS they will actually open a few Bio classes for 9th graders! If I believed SPS could be so organized, I would think this was part of a plan to split up the HS APP cohort. (You have to admit that it's more of a carrot approach than, say, sending the entire cohort to RBHS.)

dan dempsey said...

New front opens in the math wars

From EducationNext comes this article.

This supports MGJ's appeal of the HS Math adoption decision.

The only thing missing in this article are the facts.

You can even listen to this as a podcast.

So why is this article showing up now?

In this case EducationNext selected to print an article devoid of facts.

Legal Appeal .... We are still waiting for the selection of the three judge panel and a hearing date........ Swift Justice? (wow that is now an oxymoron ... )

hschinske said...

If Roosevelt is actually under-enrolled, there's something truly funky going on. That has NEVER been the case in all the years since I started paying attention to this stuff.

Helen Schinske

Melissa Westbrook said...

If Roosevelt is underenrolled and Garfield over, then what happened? I'm sure just the stress on resources at Garfield will be a big issue.

karyn king said...

Roosevelt has 500 freshmen signed up! (from the Source)

kprugman said...

Dan, that is news, if your lawsuit got Libertarians to sit up and write nasty notes about it.

kprugman said...

The lesson that should be taught and one method for teaching it.

The lesson is, that if people truly want a rational foundation for defending liberty, we should renounce Libertarians.

We adopt objectivism, because we are intolerant of the irrational.

Do not speak to contemptible Libertarians.

Objectivists refuse to cooperate with Libertarians by demonstrating that we must practice what we preach.

kprugman said...

The lesson that should be taught and one method for teaching it.

The lesson is, that if people truly want a rational foundation for defending liberty, we should renounce Libertarians.

We adopt objectivism, because we are intolerant of the irrational.

Do not speak to contemptible Libertarians.

Objectivists refuse to cooperate with Libertarians by demonstrating that we must practice what we preach.

Maureen said...

Karyn Wow was I wrong! I guess my number was old! (I originally heard it from someone who went to the 8th grade orientation). If that number was correct at the time, does that mean that 170 HS age kids moved into the RHS attendance area over the summer (or maybe just enrolled late because they knew they had a guaranteed seat)?

Melissa Westbrook said...

And that's the thing, Maureen, even the Enrollment office can't be sure. Both RHS and GHS overenrolled? Great.

seattle said...

Karyn, where/how did you find the enrollment numbers on the source? I would like to find out the numbers for Nathan Hale.

Charlie Mas said...

I don't think that we can say that any teachers who were dismissed were "held accountable" as that is just business as usual (or should be).

As for Joe Drake, he received two years' pay as severance. Collecting a quarter of a million dollars on your way out the door does not count in my book as being held accountable.

Dorothy Neville said...

If anyone is surprised at the GHS and the RHS 9th grade figures.... umm, I do not know what to say.

Here's what I know about the RHS thing, from asking Brian Vance last Spring. The demographers, using current 8th grade enrollment, determined that RHS would be under capacity this one year. The bubble that is coming up supposedly starts the year afterward. So they calculated the attendance area based on the bubble which means one small year. (um, this all seemed like hooey to me, given the size of the distance tiebreaker the last couple years, but I am just going on what he told me.)

That's why you may hear a figure bandied about that RHS might only have 330 freshmen next year. Because that's what the district predicted they would get. When did the actual number jump to 500 (assuming that it did)? I have no idea. Am I surprised? No.

Jan said...

I wouldn't be surprised to find either GHS or RHS overenrolled -- or Ballard either (in fact, I will be surprised if all are not overenrolled.)
Based on absolutely zero facts -- but lots of common sense -- like Dorothy says -- just look at the past boundaries for the geographic tiebreakers for years past -- it seemed to me last spring that boundaries were being misdrawn right and left.

Once the bells ring on Wednesday and everyone takes a seat (or huddles woefully along the walls in schools where there are no seats), we will know better how this all played out this year. For oversubscribed schools, I would like to know:
1. Was a portion of it "just" miscounting -- i.e., assuming all their assumptions were correct -- did they just somehow end up using, or developing bad data?
2. How many of these kids are kids who are coming from private schools, now that they know, by their address, that they have a public school option they could not have had (by any of the tiebreakers) in prior years?
3. How many kids are kids whose families have just up and moved (or sent the kids to live with Aunt Sue -- who lives 5 blocks from RHS.

For under-enrolled schools -- I would like to know #1 above, and to the extent that it is not just a bad data problem (i.e. -- there are kids in that area, just not enrolling in those schools, I would like to know where the kids went. #3 above? Private schools? Home schooling? Other districts? Alternative/choice schools?

My recollection is that the District may track those who go from one public school to another, but they keep no track of how many they lose to other districts, homeschooling, or private schools. Is that right?

karyn king said...

Rabbit - If you know an administrator or teacher at Hale, they can go on The Source, (change role to administrator if they are a teacher) and it will give the numbers for each grade at their school.

dan dempsey said...

Speaking of misdrawn boundaries...

Parents Gordon Glasscock and May Ovalles argued in Superior Court against SPS outside legal counsel that the NSAP boundaries were flawed and the Board failed to consider all the relevant evidence in making their defective boundary line decisions.

Judge Laura Inveen said she would decide in two weeks. That was over a month ago.

Perhaps the Judge is waiting for the WA Supreme Court to rule on the District's ongoing failure to meet the requirements of RCW 28A.645.020
The panel of judges meets on Sept 7.

Nice of Ron English to provide even more ammunition with his recent statement in regard to NWEA/MAP appeal. See page three.

Not only is the record not "certified correct" but after he says its complete .... he then mentions that the record of emails is not included. WOW!! What does "Complete" mean to Mr. English?

Dorothy Neville said...

"The FY11 budget development process prioritized funding for strategic priorities, and the budget was balanced as required. Stakeholder engagement has not been as inclusive or focused as it should be. Significant reductions in staff were necessary to create a balanced budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year and to end the current fiscal year with a fund balance of at least the minimum amount as set by the Board."

Accomplishments. page 11 of the latest Strategic Plan Spin

Dorothy Neville said...

According to the Complete audit, in the notes regarding the superintendent's party, "Every year, the Superintendent will have a retirement banquet for long-term certificated employees."

So this seven thousand dollar shindig is not a one shot deal, but a regular occurrence? Just that this year they got caught?

Dorothy Neville said...


Fixed a few typos and changed around a few things for clarity. Please download the new version.


Just say NO on giving the Central Administration a 2.5% budget boost. Unsustainable, unsupportable.

owlhouse said...

Mark your calendars...
Nova will be taking part in a Race to Nowhere national screening day, Thursday, Sept 30. Tickets are availalbe in advance. We'd really appreciate help spreading the word. Teachers, parents, health care professionals... this film shares an important message for all concerned with the education, health and well being of children.

Learn more here.

ttln said...

@ Dan
curious, since we are reminded every year that our email is a matter of public record and that we should be sure that we treat it as such (which is why i am sure to publish details of safety issues and such to create a public record paper trail). check our tech use policy each employee signs ... i am sure it says it in there...

kellyc said...

We withdrew our child from SPS a few weeks ago (we are sending her to private school rather than to Olympic Hills- she was number 18 on the Thornton Creek waiting list). There was no place on the webform to tell them why we were leaving the district. They just don't seem to care why.

Arnold said...

I was reading up on Initiative I1098.

Here is what they had to say:

• School districts must allow citizens to comment on planned distributions and report annually on how funds are used.

Can anyone REALLY see this happening? I feel certain funds would get dumped into the Strategic Plan.

Who would be accountable? Oh yea that's right- The District.

Syd said...

HS students are getting Orca cards this year. No more bus pass (and kids kicked off the light rail). With the Orca card they can use the light rail and the bus.

Sabine Mecking said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sabine Mecking said...

Information on sibling grandfathering can be found here:


14% of the elementary school families affected by the grandfathering (or lack thereof) are still split up, and the beginning of the school year is probably not a happy time for them.

I think the policy continues to be terrible. It would be so much easier for SPS to adjust school boundaries, when enrollment was estimated to be too big/small, if they did not split up families each time, but guaranteed siblings a spot.

lulubroad said...

Yes, my child has bussing and he never had it before. I know other kids as well who now have bussing. We moved out of our reference area when he was in kindergarten and kept him (and his older brother) at the same school knowing we would drive. Now he gets bussing! I thought we were trying to save money with this new assignment plan.

On another note, my 6th grader has qualified and been placed in advanced math. But, he didn't do so well on the MSP (at standard). Now word is they will take a test on Friday (3rd day of 6th grade) and that may shift some of the placements. I want my child to have the appropriate placement. His 5th grade teacher thought advanced math was the right place. How many tests (and different tests) do we have to give these kids. And, on the 3rd day at a new school/environment does not seem like the best choice.

I feel like these people have no idea what they are doing!

Maureen said...

Another implication of placing kids in math based on Fall scores is that kids who don't have access to enrichment over the summer will be less likely to be placed in advanced math. There is increasing evidence that much of the achievement gap is due to that 'summer slide.' Using Fall scores will put those kids at an additional disadvantage.