Open Thread Friday

We're Back!  So sorry, never happened before, cause to think of migrating away from here.  Onward.

Community Meetings Tomorrow
Carr – 8:30-10 am, Bethany Community Church
Sundquist – 11 am – 12:30 pm, High Point Library
Martin-Morris – 9:30- 11:30 am, Diva Espresso
Anyone attend the rally for Martin Floe at headquarters yesterday?  I note that Dr. Enfield is now saying they will put in an interim principal and then have a search that includes parents and staff in the fall for a permanent principal.   I find the stats they released to be somewhat weak given other schools’ performance.  Is this just the first in a line of principal firings to come?


Anonymous said…
I think that Enfield is jumping the gun on the "Turnaround Model" that is part of a bill in the Ways and Means Committee right now. It's a bad idea and if it gets through the legislature, this principals firing will be a sign of things to come.

See:House Bill 2111: Legislative Action Alert.
Po3 said…
I looked at high school pass rates for Math for Black students for 2010/11, If SPS is firing principals based on this number (and this is the only stat Enfield has pointed to in relation to the firing) then:

West Seattle principal should be next at 6.3

Then we should see the firing of the GHS principal as their pass rate for Black students is currently 16%, down from 30% the year before.

Finally, we need to see the firing district admin since they are only able to pass 12% of our black students in 2010/11, down from 16% in 2009/10. With this trend we should expect them to be inline with IHS's pass rate shortly.

The last firing would be in the best interests of all students!
Anonymous said…
On a more positive note, I will be having an open house tomorrow in my studio which is located in the International District. It will be an opportunity to meet with me and see what we do in our Architecture 101 Workshops.

The Open House will be from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

All are welcomed.
In other news said…
Lowell has announced that 5 new classrooms are to be added for next year. They currently have 575 enrolled, and by my estimate, 5 new classes would bring enrollment close to 700. The building capacity is 485 and no portables are permitted.

How is this possible? An all-school assembly wouldn't even fit in the lunchroom. What is it like at other schools?
Anonymous said…
In other News - I was just going to post the same question. One parent told me that Lowell would be above fire code with all these new students. I wonder how we could find out exactly what the building limit for Lowell is as far as fire code goes - not the bogus and changeable "building capacity" number.

Lowell is so full now that I can't even begin to comprehend where five new classrooms are going to go. To remind people who aren't at Lowell, the APP program was split two years ago partially because Lowell was "too crowded." The number of students there at that time? 531. Apparently not only is Lowell no longer overcrowded with 570, we have room for 130 more. Insane.

We'll need to hire some of those pushers that you see outside of the Japanese subway to fit all the kids in the building.

-stumped parent
Maureen said…
Do Quenn Anne/Magnolia APP kids go to Lowell or TMarshall now?
Anonymous said…
Will the district have to come up with another plan for Lowell? Assign some kids else where? Not actually accept all the APP kids (even though this is against the rules)?
StopTFA said…
Did you read this in the comments to the Stritikus/TFA connection in Seattle Times?

As a candidate for the UW Teacher Education Program Master's degree, you cannot believe how enraged I (and many fellow members of my cohort) was after first hearing about this partnership. Now, I think TFA has a lot to offer for communities in need of programs such as theirs, but as many have said, this region has an abundance of highly qualified teachers already (or will soon be) in need of jobs. They are also teachers who are not opposed to working in high needs school either, so that's no excuse.

I would also like to happily inform all that Tom Stritikus has personally invited the community to a public forum on Wednesday, May 18 at 4:30 pm in Miller Hall 301 to respond to and discuss the situation at hand. A number of us from the Teacher Education Program plan to be there to share our thoughts and feelings with our dear dean. Please feel free to join us! We'd love the support!

How about it parents, teachers?
Lori said…
I don't know a lot of details, but I do know that some parents have been involved in a walk-through of the building and there is apparently unused space that can be converted to classrooms at Lowell. The feeling is that PCP spaces (art, music) will not have to be converted to classrooms.

The thing that makes me mad is how predictable all of this was. The only time I ever talked one-on-one to Dr. GLJ was well over a year ago at one of those public meetings and I asked what their plans were for capacity at Lowell (eg, move APP to another building? change boundaries?) and all she would say is that each school will deal with capacity issues in their own unique ways and they would just make things work. There was no plan to prevent overcrowding; only a promise to react. How is that acceptable? And yes, she may be gone, but the entire enrollment department should have been working on solutions here and other crowded schools rather than standing idly by waiting to try to put out fires.

How is it that I, a busy working mom with no background in demography, could see that the capacity issues in the NE would eventually affect Lowell, sooner rather than later? Year after year of adding new K classes at the feeder schools means not only more kids who may qualify for APP but also more interest in transferring out of overcrowded schools. Add in promised spots to neighborhood kids, and your hands are literally tied. So while the news isn't entirely surprising, it is entirely frustrating.
Thanks for the heads up, Stop TFA. Dorothy and I have been reading a number of e-mails between the Dean and TFA and I think he has a problem on his hands (beyond the enraged students).

Stay Tuned.
In other news said…
I'm not sure what rooms would be available at Lowell - would they include the two lower level rooms that were deemed unsafe for before/after school care due to fire code issues??
SPSLeaks said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
SPSLeaks said…
Vanity, thy name is Stritikus!
Rufus X said…
Even when the district's administration is on an incompetence rampage, there are still numerous sparkles of brilliance:

Tomorrow at Garfield HS is the 3rd annual Bulldog Drumline Expo, featuring several Seattle middle and high schools' drumlines displaying their musical wares.

To drown out the SPS admin noise, there's nothing quite like thunderous percussion and witnessing the dedication of young musicians & their teachers.
Jaime said…
Just read that Lisa Escobar is the new principal at Viewlands elementary next year. That was fast.
Yes, and Mr. Gary is principal at Interagency.
suep. said…
So where does that leave Kaaren Andrews?
SP said…
Wasn't Susan Derse the most recent Interagency principal in last year's shuffle? Where did she go?...
Sea said…
Thanks to the new transportation plan, a substantial number of John Stanford International School families whose children are native Spanish or Japanese speakers will lose their bus transportation and are therefore unlikely to continue at JSIS this fall. These are families who live outside of the intermediary bus zone. We are also losing our BOC (Bilingual Orientation Center) as of the end of the year. A lose-lose for all involved! So difficult and frustrating to imagine an international school and immersion program with very few native immersion language speakers. My heart breaks for all affected families.
Jan said…
Lori says:
The thing that makes me mad is how predictable all of this was. The only time I ever talked one-on-one to Dr. GLJ was well over a year ago at one of those public meetings and I asked what their plans were for capacity at Lowell (eg, move APP to another building? change boundaries?) and all she would say is that each school will deal with capacity issues in their own unique ways and they would just make things work. There was no plan to prevent overcrowding; only a promise to react.

AAAAAGGGGHH. The woman is a zombie. Here she's gone and departed, and yet still she staggers through the overcrowded-to-the-point-of dangerous schools she screwed up during the NSAP, making life miserable for yet another year of families.

How the Gang-Of-Four-Plus-One (sorry, Michael, you are stuck with this one -- too much support for her for too long) can sleep at night, knowing what they approved on her watch, I will never know.

Lori -- YOu knew. HUNDREDS knew. All this was pointed out. When these guys ask for our votes, tell them we will chat with them at Lowell -- outside the portables.
Jan said…
So Melissa -- will they ever restore all the comments? There were over a hundred on one of the Martin Floe posts, and some good stuff (both pro and con -- icnluding links) on the director candidate post as well.
In other news said…
Unlike many other elementaries, Lowell cannot have portables. There are rules about how much of the SF can be taken up by the building footprint versus open space - according to these rules Lowell cannot just plunk down a few portables.
Anonymous said…
The APP AC has reported that Garfield will lose AP Calculus AB and Spanish 4 next year, in addition to reductions in sections of AP Chemistry and Honors Physics.

Hamilton has already eliminated the option for 6th graders to take Algebra I. Also, there may be only two years of language guaranteed for the incoming 6th graders since they cannot offer enough sections of language.

basically said…
The thing that always made sense was to move North End APP to the North End. Put 1-8 at Jane Adams, Hamilton is now bursting, too. Just like we all knew that it would be 2 years ago.
suep. said…
This just in....

(From the district's 5.13.11 School Beat newsletter)

The district has apparently just created a deputy superintendent position (why? at what price?) and has apparently elevated General Counsel Noel Treat to the spot (is he qualified? Reward for successfully discouraging the board from seeking "cause" in the firing of MGJ?). Taking Treat's place as legal counsel is Ron English. Now, didn't his name come up in discussions of the Pottergate scandal?

Bottom line -- SPS Priorities: No money for school counselors, but yes money for a deputy supt...?

Final Q: Does this mean Enfield is not up to the job by herself?

Sorry to sound a bit wary here, but the Martin Floe scandal has indeed ended the honeymoon for Enfield and the board.

--Sue p.
seattle citizen said…
"Garfield will lose AP Calculus AB and Spanish 4 next year, in addition to reductions in sections of AP Chemistry and Honors Physics....Hamilton has already eliminated the option for 6th graders to take Algebra I. Also, there may be only two years of language guaranteed for the incoming 6th graders..."

And the district is Riffing counselors, IAs, career counselors...Yet they fire people over "not raising the data point."

Unbelievable. Cut classes, support, unique offerings...and then blame the schools, the educators, and the principals, fire them...wseadawg has it exactly right.

Anyone who values public education, their educators, their schools, better get their butts down to JSCEE, protest in shifts, demand this craziness stop.

The train is almost in the station, but it's not too late to derail it. Demand that the edu-reformers take a long, long hike. They are trashing our schools.
Anonymous said…
The APP AC has reported that Garfield will lose AP Calculus AB

This should say AP Calculus BC.

mea culpa
Megan Mc said…
just saw the best button ever on facebook
"those who can teach, those who cannot pass laws about teaching"

Pass it on
BioTech Mom said…
I was one of the many IHS parents, students, and staff at the rally for Martin Floe yesterday at District HQ. It was heartening to see so many people turning out to support our principal.

It was maddening to witness the Interim Superintendent hiding in her office, stonewalling.

Executive Director Bree's new nickname, based on her frequent behavior at IHS: "Dolores Umbridge".
peonypower said…
@SPSleaks- wow- that is some wheeling and dealing. Hope this blows up public on the UW dean. If I was a UW education graduate I would be ready with torches on Wednesday.
SolvayGirl said…
It really does seem like the Death Eaters have taken over Hogwarts.
North Beach Slacker said…
Re: Interagency

Kaaren Andrews is the current principal. Susan Derse was interim principal last year, and continued with Interagency "on special assignment" until she retired in January 2011.

Now, Robert Gary is scheduled to come in "on special assignment" for 2011-2012, although Kaaren Andrews will remain principal.

What I find disturbing is that Interagency has to pay for Gary's salary out of its budget -- at the expense of a drug/alcohol counselor and a CTE teacher -- valuable resources for the population it serves.
suep. said…
Jan said...

Lori -- YOu knew. HUNDREDS knew. All this was pointed out. When these guys ask for our votes, tell them we will chat with them at Lowell -- outside the portables.

Yep, over 1,700 of us knew (as far back as Jan. 2009) that Goodloe-Johnson's "Capacity Management Plan" was a disaster:

--Sue p.
Tired of it said…
This is an anonymous post copied from the APP blog:

Hey everyone- I'm a Garfield Junior finishing up my Ap Calculus AB course. I was signed up for BC Calculus before it was cut. The most devastating part is that the counselors are telling us that basically to be considered for top colleges in the country, we need to have a high level math and science class senior year but Garfield won't offer us these necessary classes. 80 or so Seniors won't have a math class next year and 100 won't have a science class. They are directing us to running start which, an inside source has told me, is looked down upon by and not recognized as "legitimate education" by top colleges. And at the same time the school is spending money to fund secret spanish classes for top athletes... Something is wrong when you deny your top students (who happen to be considered the top public school students in the state) an edge for admission to Harvard, Yale, Stanford, etc. and simultaneously throw away money illegally helping ONE student who has consistently failed to score a 900 on his SAT and pass a spanish class. I acknowledge that budget cuts are hard on everyone but something needs to change. It starts at the top.
suep. said…
Blogger BioTech Mom said...

Executive Director Bree's new nickname, based on her frequent behavior at IHS: "Dolores Umbridge".

Apt comparison. I used it in a similar context here:
How to tell if your School District is infected by the Broad Virus

(btw, I think our district is still infected.)

--Sue p.
anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
anonymous said…
Just saw that MGJ did not get the Superintendent job she was a finalist for in Newark, NJ. They hired Cami Anderson instead.
Jon said…
Wow, the district found the solution to deal with overcrowding at Garfield, make Garfield less desirable and get kids who want to take AP classes to go elsewhere. Brilliant!

And, look, without brainy kids getting those annoyingly high scores on standardized tests and widening the curve, the district can lower the achievement gap too! Awesome!
Dorothy Neville said…
Human Resources. The root of SPS dysfunction.

Recently a friend and SPS employee was the victim of harassment at work. At first I was confident to tell her that the new Ethics focus would help protect her. Well, turned out that currently the Ethics office only handles issues that fall in the realm of our ethics policy, which is quite weak and is only related to financial fraud. So Ethics tells people to take their complaints to HR. Well, fat lot of good that does these days.

I met with Noel Treat and asked how the ethics work is going. He said they triage the issues that come in either anonymously through the hotline or directly into whether is qualifies as an ethics complaint, should go to HR or some other department or is an immediate threat to safety (such as someone saying they are going to bring a gun to school. that, fortunately hasn’t happened yet) He said that there have been a few ethics issues, but most are HR complaints of staff against staff. He agreed that HR is not functioning well.

Noel is hopeful about the partnership with the city which is moving along. The next steps are for the School Board and the City Council both to vote on the agreement, then it gets signed and then Wayne Barnett of the city ethics office takes over. The first thing he will do in the first 90 days is review our ethics policy and suggest improvements. He is supposed to get feedback from stakeholders. Additionally, the city will undertake and require more data collection and reporting. Finally we can ask how many harassment complaints are logged each year and how are they resolved? How many grievances, how many appeals? Knowing the frustrating and ugly situation my friend is currently in, I am impatient and wish this were fixed yesterday. Alas, it isn’t. But the city partnership is perhaps our best opportunity to affect real change.

Meanwhile. HR. Tuesday’s Audit portion of the Audit and Finance Committee, Robert Boesche went on a tear about how we need a solid HR working on the day to day stuff, not just the “attracting and retaining great teachers” hype. He was positively disgusted with HR. Forward to Wednesday’s Executive Committee meeting and the topic of the new oversight worksessions mandated by the board. The department head is supposed to give a professional overview of the department, how it is doing, how many staff, what’s the budget, what are the key performance indicators… you know, a straightforward report to management. Well. Steve Sundquist summarized the first one which was HR. He said, “It stunk.” No one disagreed.
Dorothy Neville said…
In other news, the SAO IS doing an investigation into the sale of the MLK jr School. Don’t know when the investigation will be released. At the Audit Committee meeting, folks were wondering if that and the Performance Audit would be released at the same time. The Financial Audit exit interview is scheduled. May 18th, I believe, but doublecheck because it might move.
Kathy said…
Bio Tech Mom,

It is truly heart warming to see so many caring and supportive individuals in the Ingraham community.

Community efforts seem to revolve around meeting/ contacting board members and superintendent.

I'm impressed with Ingraham's passion and organizational skills. Your voice is loud and being heard throughout the city.

However, I'm afraid your efforts will be fruitless.

Seattle Public Schools has signed on to the Ed. Reform model which is sweeping our country. This model is based on test scores, teacher, and principal accountability. Obviously, there are flaws with such a system.

The manner to change the situation-is to change the board. Peter Maier, Martin- Morris and Sundquist have continually supported this model. Ingraham's director- Peter Maier -has consistently shifted funded out of schools to support high administrative costs for testing materials, testing computers and other ed. reform initiatives.

SPS's department of Research, Assessment and Evaluation is funded at approximately $3M per yr. Look at where the results got Ingraham.

It appears this model has been used at Ingraham; with complete absense of common sense.

Please share this information with your community. Also, I'm hoping there might be a candidate or two within the Ingrham community. We need someone to run against Peter Maier.
Kathy said…
Hi Dorothy,

I understand there are various types of audits.

Relating to the sale of MLK- Any idea if the district will conduct a forensic audit?
BFDayMom said…
I swear, every time I read about our school district I feel like crying. I don't know what the families the district is meant to be serving can do to make a difference, and trust me, I want to do SOMETHING.
I read that the district has continually moved forward with plans that had a total lack of support from the involved and active parents and community. That they are making potentially dangerous classroom additions to Lowell (if they exceed fire codes, and how the heck is that even possible) and they are cutting the courses our students need to be considered for top colleges.
I'm a life long supporter of public education, but this is insanity.
Stu said…
Open thread:


Parent Engagement for the 21st Century
Share YOUR definition of quality neighborhood schools with the Superintendent, Executive
Directors and the community. Learn about and support parent leadership training
initiatives to increase YOUR education voice!

Come to the CPPS Annual Event: RSVP []

Tuesday, May 24th 6:30-8:30pm
Lincoln High School Library
Dessert--Good Conversation--Make a Difference!!

Through forums, study groups, newsletter communications and more, CPPS brings parents
and community members together to discuss issues, get informed, engage, advocate
and lead for excellent public education in Seattle.
We need your participation.

Contact us for more

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Community & Parents for Public Schools of Seattle
Po3 said…
Can we start a thread on this little item in today's paper.
Maureen said…
Open Thread:

North Seattle Communty College offers Summer Reading Programs for all ages: they say A limited number of scholarships are available to students with demonstrated financial need.

This could be a resource for kids who really need summer school.
Concerned said…
Re: High School Materials

(reposting eaten post...)

Amazon reviews of the proposed World History text (World History: Patterns of Interaction) don't inspire confidence in the final choice:

Comment 1
A group of concerned citizens in Florida have questioned the apparent bias in this textbook, a bias against Western Civilization. The text has an anti western, anti capitalist, anti Christian and anti Jewish bias, and conversely promotes Eastern and Middle Eastern cultures and promotes Islam as a religion.

These concerned parents have approached the local school board and asked that this text be removed from the approved list of instructional materials. They were initially rebuffed, but the matter is now pending appeal before the entire Sarasota County School Board. This is the first time in history that such an appeal has ever been granted.

Comment 2
This book is terrible. I was shocked to find that the object of many hours of study for my IB World History class was this middle school-level book. It's filled with more pictures and phony biographical sketches than information and (heaven forbid) intelligent analysis.
Not only is it monotonous and dull, it's superficial.

Comment 3
this is NOT the book that will tell you whether you like history or not. This is strictly a list of facts to be regurgitated on a test with some values of tolerance sprinkled in.

Here's a related link:
CrankyParent said…
I contacted the fire marshal about the Lowell legal capacity, and while he was not particularly interested in talking with me about it, he said he had been contacted by someone named Corina (a parent at Lowell) and they had been working with the principal on this. Anyhow, he suggested I contact her, though without her last name I have no idea how I'd do that, or the principal about this if I wanted more information. Just putting this out there
CrankyParent said…
Got the fire code occupancy max. for Lowell It is 490, their current enrollment is 581. The woman I spoke to said they are working on what to do and have no idea what will happen with the new classes they are supposed to be adding next year.
Anonymous said…
I sure hope this overcrowding of Lowell will be aggressively stopped, not only for the safety of everyone there if fire/earthquake happen - but also the safety of moving the volumes of kids and adults day to day. Many students have problems with walking and are really placed at risk. It's disappointing that the fire marshall seemed to brush people off. Anyone see the maximum occupancy sign of 500 in that cafeteria?? That's what that space allows - and is established by the fire marshall as well as calculations according to the Seattle building codes. All school assemblies - already exceed fire code. It's so wrong to pack even more people into that building meant for 490 students. Like it was said before - portables can't be plunked down there so what happens, our kids get packed in like cattle. And - it's not like the district didn't know about this long ago. Fed Up

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