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Sunday, January 02, 2011

2011: Here We Go

Just a few things to start our week.

First up, do not forget to participate in any surveys available on curriculum adoption, the new SPS website or to apply to be on a curriculum adoption committee.

Monday
The survey on Parent/Teacher Conferences is only live through 4 p.m. on Monday the 3rd.

Also, sign up for the School Board meeting speakers list starting at 8 am on Monday, 252-0040 or e-mail: boardagenda@seattleschools.org.

Wednesday
There will be a School Board Executive Session from 4-5:30 p.m. before the regular School Board meeting at 6 p.m. (The public cannot attend Executive Sessions; this on is on "contract negotiations" and an "employee appeal". I'm thinking the contract one may be about the principals' contract.)

Agenda
  • the Superintendent will be speaking about TIF, the Teachers Incentive Fund. Things have been quiet on this front so it might be interesting.
  • the CAO, Susan Enfield, will giving an annual update on CTE (Career-Technical education)
  • the Board will give its "Annual Disclosure of Financial/Conflict of Interest"
  • BEX is asking fro more money ($800k+) for modifications to contracts for 4 schools. Interestingly, they still claim "under budget" so if they are under budget, why do they need more money?
  • Also, Hale will not be done by March (as had been said previously) but now their date is July 2011. Ingraham's addition has no data but I don't believe the neighbors filed an appeal so this project will likely move forward. Denny-Sealth project #2 (Denny Middle) is scheduled to be done March 2011 and Denny-Sealth project #3 (sports fields) done by October 2011. All of these are changes in dates and yet they still say "on time".
  • I can't believe how many times "permit delays" is the reason for more costs. I have told the Board and the City Council that there should be an express line for SPS and no one on the Council has ever said no. Can't this get done in 2011? Also, on the Denny-Sealth Project #3, they say they didn't ask the construction company to handle the administrative work but now the district wants them to so more money is needed. Really? We absorbed 3 people from the now-defunct Small Business program and yet we still need to pay outside people for administrative work on what is a small, uncomplicated project to rebuild some sports fields? And also, BEX people, get some new "Research and Data Sources". They have used at least 2-3 of those as a "source" for 5+ years. We are no longer in a "perfect storm" for construction costs.
  • Introduction of the Transition Plan for 2011-2012. This needs another thread but folks, you might want to look this over. I see some issues here.
  • However, if you look at the Transportation Service Standards for 2011-2012, it seems like the new APP/IB program is a go at Ingraham.
  • Approval of 3-day professional development days waiver for 2011-12, 2012-13 school years. The idea is to have full-days rather than 6 half days. The district claims for BOTH the parent/teacher conference waiver AND the professional development days waiver that they meet "the 1,000 annual average hours of instructions during the most recent 2-year waiver period." Keep in mind that is the average - your child's school may have less. Ask your principal how many hours your school averages.
  • An amendment to allow a public advisor to the Audit and Finance Committee

Thursday
All the surveys AND committee filings close on Thursday, January 6th.

Update:

Education Town Hall Meeting

Date: Thursday, January 6, 2011 at 7:00 p.m.

Location: Thornton Creek Elementary, 7711 43rd Avenue NE Seattle, WA

Hosted by: Senator-elect Scott White, School Board members Sherry Carr and Peter Maier

Update: Yet another Executive Session is to be held this week, this one on potential litigation and employee complaint. Hmmm.


Saturday
Sherry Carr has a community meeting from 8:30 am-10:30 am at the Greenwood Neighborhood Center.

Also the Board has a retreat on Saturday from 10 am - 5 p.m. This is open to the public but no location is TBD.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Eric M said...

The science survey asked teachers "Do you use science equipment?"

Really. That was one of the questions.

Robyn said...

As far as the new transition plan is concerned, one thing that jumped out at me was the new elementary international school. Why would they locate it right next to JSIS? Why not put it at Viewlands or another school further North?

Anonymous said...

Robyn,

If I had to guess, it's because they know people in that area not only want an international school, but will go to great lengths to get into it, and will thus flock to a second one. I remember reading about a scandal a few years ago where parents were renting unoccupied apartments in the area and lying about their real addresses just to get their kids into JSIS. Well, now they won't have to do that.

Although, I will never forget a conversation I heard between two parents in Wallingford (I used to live up there) saying that if you didn't get in, just hire a
Spanish speaking nanny and make her speak only Spanish with the kids. It's even better than school, one mother said, because you can take the nanny on vacations with you and the kids won't forget all they've learned...

Anonymous said...

That's the second comment I've seen about people renting U-District apartments in order to get into JSIS. I think it's an urban legend. Wouldn't someone with the means (and compulsion) to rent an extra apartment just put that $ toward private school?

-cornpone

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

Why would they locate it right next to JSIS?

I think there is some expectation that it will help draw off students from Bryant and JSIS. Bryant is over-crowded, and JSIS's enrollemnt of 100 Kindergarteners this year is unsustainable going forward.

A fair number of families with sibs for JSIS were put out of the attendance area of JSIS and into McDonald when the boundaries were re-drawn for the NSAP . Those families are highly motivated to get their upcoming Kindergarteners into JSIS.

Sherry Carr seemed to me to be a big proponent of the second international school at McDonald for these capactiy reasons.

I do not know why she can't advocate for JSIS becoming an option school as well, which would be the right thing to do and also alleviate the problems brought on by the NSAP.

In my experience, the district almost always makes programming decisions to address capacity problems rather than as part of some sensible long term plan.

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

Wouldn't someone with the means (and compulsion) to rent an extra apartment just put that $ toward private school?

What private schools in the city offer language immersion in Spanish and Japanese?

I know more than one family that bought houses in the neighborhood to get that sort of program for their kid.

I know several families that plan to rent to get their second child into the school after having been put out of the attendance area by the district's redrawing of the boundary.

I don't doubt people in the past have rented apartments in the area to get into JSIS. JSIS offers something few private schools do. Some families have strong preferences for the program because of family heritage or other reasons.

Also it's not always possible to get into private schools of your choice. Private school capacity is limited, and if you are trying for a school that is not parochial, tuition usually starts somewhere around $15,000. You can rent a U-district apartment for far less than this.

Anonymous said...

Years ago, when my child was in a preschool co-op, another mom told us how she got her older child into JSIS. They were undergoing a full-house renovation in another neighborhood, so had to rent for a year anyway. Why not near JSIS? Back then, it meant her oldest could stay in the school after moving to their permanent (remodeled) home the next year, and her younger kid would get sibling priority. They even got busing! Quite a deal.

--Not an Urban Legend

Maureen said...

The other reason Sherry Carr supports McDonald as an immersion school is that then two immersion K-5s will feed into Hamilton. This will help create the critical mass necessary to support immersion at the MS and then presumably HS level (the plan is to have two immersion K-5s feed into every International MS.)

This doesn't mean that the immersions couldn't be, at least partially, Option Schools. The other two immersion K-5s are partially gen ed schools. What I think they should do is make the immersion programs Option schools schools with (initial) geozones equal to their attendance areas and colocate them with neighborhood English-based programs like they do at Concord and Beacon Hill.

So, for instance, JSIS would offer two Japanese classes at every grade level and however many English based classes they need to fulfill demand. McDonald would offer two Spanish and however many English that attendance area needs. (Note that I'm also splitting up the languages, I don't see why they wouldn't.)

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Melissa Westbrook said...

I note that the Powerpoint says
"BF Day, McDonald, Laurelhurst or West Woodland". I say spread the wealth. Those schools can feed into Hamilton so why the two schools need to be next to each other is a mystery.

Sarah said...

Why would they put the high school language immersion program at Ingraham when anyone living in the McDonald/JSIS attendance area zones would presumably be in the Roosevelt attendance area. Seems wiser to put it at Roosevelt.

Anonymous said...

Not an urban legend, cornpone. Here's only one of the links about it. I remember reading about the situation in the Times when it happened.

http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=20050708&slug=danny08

Bird said...

This is the
column Westneat is referring to in agibean's link.

Bird said...

Why would they put the high school language immersion program at Ingraham when anyone living in the McDonald/JSIS attendance area zones would presumably be in the Roosevelt attendance area. Seems wiser to put it at Roosevelt.

Same reason as usual. Capacity.

Roosevelt's popular. Ingraham's not.

So Ingraham gets the international program and APP.

Maureen said...

And in three years, Ingraham will be overcrowded and a (possibly) new principal will be dealing with programs competing for time and attention, just like at Hamilton. Meanwhile, HS science alignment will have undercut Ballard HS's appeal and we'll all be wondering what to do to up their enrollment!

Or maybe not.

Eric B said...

Maureen- If there's ever a shortage of kids at Ballard, there are lots of families just north of 85th who would love to fill the void rather than bus to Ingraham. Unless the school completely bites the dust, transportation will trump quality for many parents.

GreyWatch said...

The Simpsons had a great episode in which they rented a tiny apartment in "Waverly Hills" so their kids could attend a better school. If Homer can pull it off ...

With Queen Anne and Magnolia feeding into Ballard, there is no way that school is going anywhere but up, at least in terms of parental involvement and PTA funding.

As for Ingraham, I am more concerned that the district is not doing any long term analysis of impacts on the kids who actually live near the school.

I think the real reason they won't consider making montessori and immersion programs option schools is they don't want to pay for transportation - something that would be required for both elementary and middle schoolers. I'm surprised someone hasn't threatened a law suit on this issue.

Maureen said...

I think the real reason they won't consider making montessori and immersion programs option schools is they don't want to pay for transportation

But the NSAP has them transporting kids all over MS attendance areas anyway. Kids who live in the Broadview Thompson attendance area are now being bused to Adams, which was not the case under the old Assignment Plan. It's not clear that Option Schools actually will cost more in transport under the NSAP. Especially since Option school buses would be full and if SPS looks into community stop busing, something the traditional alts are supporting, costs could be even lower. (Remember, SPS is reimbursed by the state for transport, so the only trick is to provide it at the right scale.)

You are probably right about Ballard--the attendance area is so big and relatively affluent, it won't suffer even if BioTech goes away.

GreyWatch said...

@ Maureen - I couldn't agree more. I'm not saying it will cost more to make these option schools, but rather, the district doesn't want to address the issue and transportation would likely be their fallback excuse if pressed.

seattle citizen said...

Here's a Ballard HS meeting for Ballard Special Ed parent/guardians and educators (and others interested? Not sure)

"BHS SPECIAL ED. PARENT GROUP: Meeting Jan. 12 7-8:30 in the BHS Library. Featuring the new district directors for our region. Exec. Dir. Of Schools Bree Dusseault and Spec. Ed. Supervisor Geri Guerrero will explain their roles and responsibilities as instruction and curriculum leaders for the schools in our region. They will join with us in a conversation of how we can enhance our school’s inclusive practices to include building an all-school peer buddy/mentoring program and integrating more students with disabilities into the general education classrooms. It’s a great opportunity for all parents/guardians and staff to ask questions of our new district leaders and to share experiences, ideas and awareness of educational and social resources available. Questions? Please contact Janet Anderson at kenneth-anderson@concamst.net or Linda Scott at linda-scott@comcast.net

Charlie Mas said...

Sometimes I foolishly don't start cooking until I'm already hungry. When that happens I sometimes compound the foolishness by cooking something faster while the "real meal" is cooking. Sometimes I'm even so foolish as to grab something I can eat immediately while waiting for the quick bite to finish cooking.

When this happens I too full to eat the real meal when it is finally ready.

The District wanted to increase attendance at Hamilton, so they decided to completely renovate the school. While they were waiting for that to happen they made it an international school. While they were waiting for that program to mature they moved in half of middle school APP.

Now they have a school bursting at the seams as all three changes come to maturity together.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Exactly Charlie. What were they thinking? How will it all work? Won't the school be full?

No, worry about that AFTER the fact.

seattle citizen said...

They can expand Hamilton into the nearby Lincoln. Just add a reeaally long northern wing to the back of HMS...

anne said...

It doesn't seem fair to have two International Schools in the same area, especially when they are reference area schools. What about the Central Area cluster? They have no option for a language immersion program.

Lynn said...

Does anyone know if the board/district will change any attendance-area school boundaries for next year? Or until when they have this year to make such changes for next year, given that early enrollment letters go out in March and open enrollment starts in mid-March?

Charlie Mas said...

The only attendance area changes that are anticipated are for Garfield.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Lynn, it seems staff is against any boundary changes especially in West Seattle. Whether the Board has heard from or is considering constituent input is anyone's guess. As the Board has gone along with everything staff has put before them, it is unlikely that any boundaries besides Garfield's will change. As you point out, it would take a lot of work to figure out the logistics.

Maureen said...

But the (staff proposed) Garfield changes also imply changes for Franklin and Rainier Beach. See Transition Plan starting at page 19.

Interesting that Tracy Libros chose not to include the demographic impacts of these border changes (like are on the Geographic Zone maps). I wish a Board member would ask to see them. If they are voting to increase segregation, they should do it with their eyes open and take ownership.

Maureen said...

Transportation Service Standards are off the Board Agenda (changed to Introduction on 1/19).

This makes me nervous because (1)the Assignment Plan references the Service Standards so if they change substantially the Transition Plan would be the only way to mitigate some of the effects in the short run and (2)some big changes were described at the last Operations Committee meeting (I posted it here), but they were not in the Draft Service Standards that were linked to the 1/5 agenda. Will they appear in what will be introduced on 1/19? Does anyone out there know?

dan dempsey said...

Plenty of Space to sign up and talk at the Board Meeting tonight as only 13 speakers are on the list.

1 Chris Jackins
DKA contract modification

2 Dan Dempsey
New student assignment transition plan

3 Lynn Schnaiberg
New student assignment transition plan

4 Jen Ayers
New student assignment transition plan

5 Maureen Germani
Transportation service standards

6 Duncan Griffin
Transportation service standards

7 Polly Davis
Over-enrollment at Garfield

8 Kathleen Mullins
K-12 dual language pathway

9 Charlie Mas

10 Cathy Moore
Garfield and APP

11 Henry Luke
Nova’s school lunch program

12 Linus Mumford
5th and 6th year graduation

13 Steve Horris
Social media

14 ... 20: 7 open spots

Maureen said...

I tried to take the science materials survey, but it didn't make any sense. 3. What are the current science curriculum materials your child is using that supports their achievement of the WA State Science Standards? (Check all that apply.)


(Ignoring the verb agreement issue...) Am I really supposed to know how well the different materials support the WA state standards? And why do I only get to answer for my kid's current course, why can't I answer the same question for all of the courses he has taken? (And are responders really interpreting the Q that way?). Shouldn't they have defined 'probeware' and linked to the state standards?

There is also no real way for community members with kids not currently enrolled in High School to provide any input.

I feel like they just threw the survey up onto the website so they could check off their 'community involvement' box. So discouraging-what a wasted opportunity.

mirmac1 said...

WS has the perfect claim to dump Steve Sundquist. He does not represent us! He is a simpering apologist for business interests, the "philanthropic" foundations, and MGJ. The way he minimizes parent concerns is an insult.

Now we just need a candidate to take him down...

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