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Monday, February 07, 2011

Shout-Out to Director Maier (Don't Be So Surprised)

I've been critical of Director Maier in the past and I still have some doubts. But I attended a recent meeting of the Haller Lake Community where Northgate Elementary was the topic. It was a pretty good turnout for a neighborhood meeting and people seemed eager to hear about how Northgate is doing.

The principal, Stan Jaskot, new to SPS from Kent this year, was on hand. Also in attendance and presenting information were Director Maier and Lisa McFarlane from LEV.

Mr. Jaskot is an enthused principal who seems to know the issues confronting his community and he has really jumped in with a lot of energy. Northgate is now 247 students and they expect about 15 more next year. Before the new SAP, it was heavily Latino but now has more students from Somalia. It is 80% free/reduced lunch. (I wish there were NO schools over 40% free and reduced lunch as it just makes for a bigger challenge but this is how those boundaries shape our schools.)

But he had lots to say about Northgate:
  • starting Feb. 1, one-on-one tutoring. These are volunteer tutors who volunteered for the rest of the year, 4 days a week. This is through the Powerful Readers program. Director Maier championed this for Northgate and Lisa hosted a fundraiser to raise the money for the program.
  • Mr. Jaskot mentioned that the school was having (that same night) a math night to help parents with Everyday Math as well as learn fun math games to do at home.
  • The school has an active anti-bullying campaign and was interviewed recently by KIRO-tv about their program.
  • They are having - this Thursday - their Annual International Potluck. If you live in that area, he said you are invited to drop by (with or without food). It is from 6-8 p.m.
  • They had a bit of remodeling recently with new floors, windows and doors.
  • They have a Family Support worker.
  • I note that their monthly newsletter to families is in Spanish and English.
Northgate had a somewhat lackluster principal over the last several years and it's good to see a new principal with energy and ideas.

I applaud Director Maier for working to get this tutoring program in the school. As well, I want to compliment him for having a monthly newsletter about what is happening in the district and his own district. I think this is something good for individual districts to know what their director is doing and how he/she is keeping up.

9 comments:

Jet City mom said...

Thats good to hear Melissa, thanks for keeping track of the neighborhoods we don't often hear about-
And really all the board members could do a newsletter- it would be pretty helpful to parents & community members.
I would even be willing to contribute to printing costs.

Our neighbors were assigned to Northgate ( although they are four blocks from West Woodland), now I am wondering if they will be assigned to closer to home?

mirmac1 said...

Director Maier, I am patting you on the back (pat pat). Thx

Sahila said...

why is LEV there?????????????????

Chris S. said...

I have been critical of the Macfarlanes for endorsing national ed-reform but ignoring the school to which they did not send their kids. I guess I can shut up now. I find this use of money far more productive and hope that Northgate can avoid being labelled a failing school. I also hope the Macfarlanes and LEV will learn something from this effort.

seattle citizen said...

I would also give a shout-out to the McFarlanes and LEV for doing this work "on the ground." Good job. Keep it up! We have our differences, but this is the kind of attention to schools that makes a huge difference.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I identified Lisa as being part of LEV; I actually think she did the fundraiser herself. Credit where credit is due. Thank you, Lisa.

Anonymous said...

as someone who grew up on welfare, any help to a school at ~80% FRL has to be applauded.

I was there until about 7:45, Ms. Macfarlane had NOT disclosed her connection to LEV (I thought I recognized the name and googled her later ) by that time.

Given how LEV & SFC & various other Gate's astro-turfs have made teachers such scapegoats for everything wrong with the education system ... ??

oh well. kudos to those helping those kids on the path to maximizing their potential.

BM

Charlie Mas said...

Where can I read Director Maier's newsletter?

Melissa Westbrook said...

It was sent to me via e-mail. I think you have to get on his e-mail list.