Friday, June 24, 2011

Open Thread Friday

School ended yesterday and I guess you could call this the last Friday of the 2010-2011 school year.

You know, I had just posted something different.  It was doom and gloom. 

But okay, tell us something about this school year that made you feel good.  Was it a teacher?  Was it seeing your child move forward in school in a tough subject?  Was it working with other parents at your school?

What makes me happy is when the Roosevelt High School marching band comes down my street to practice.  I wave to Scott Brown, the director, and try to see if everyone is keeping a straight line.  They all look so young and hopeful and it takes me back to my marching band days.


Anonymous said...

The revised attendance policy should be posted on the Board agenda by this afternoon.


New To SPS said...

We had a ton of fun at the Wedgwood carnival a couple of weeks ago. My kids played the fishing game about one billion times, I think, and they loved the bouncy houses and pony rides. We look forward to starting school there in the fall.

Melissa Westbrook said...

New to SPS, I know! It's hilarious how you think these kids might not like these old-timey games like the fishing game and yet at the Whittier Halloween carnival, the cake walk is hugely popular.

Anonymous said...

Correction - the School Board calendar shows July 6 as the next Board mtg, so the agenda wouldn't be posted until July 1.

in the trenches said...

Was fortunate to work with some great teachers/colleagues who despite all of the turmoil around them, kept working hard to help students achieve.

New To SPS said...

Sadly, the cakewalk was canceled at Wedgwood - it is my personal favorite. One of my fondest childhood memories was winning a HUGE chocolate cake as a kid at my own school carnival many, many years ago. I just could not believe that such a thing was possible - a whole cake of my very own, for the price of a ticket!

Dorothy Neville said...

See the Ingraham ESPN thing?


Patrick said...

Why is Seattle Public Schools called School District Number 1? Were we the first school district formed in the state?

RosieReader said...

Did you already hear that Ingraham High School was selected by ESPN to be part of its "extreme makeover - high School Gym" edition -- a show called RiseUp that will be aired in September/October? Not sure exactly what will happen, but Ingrahm's 50 year old gym will get a refurbished floor, new lighting, improved/repaired/new??? bleachers, and improvements to the weights and locker rooms. That's my good news from Thursday.

CCM said...

Our kids finished up the year with a fantastic "Guild" project at WMS that was both fun and very educational, teaching them how to start-up and run a business. They developed product ideas, figured out the cost of producing a product, marketing and store front ideas and determined their profit margin.
Then the whole school came to market day and the kids sold their "goods".
Thanks Ms. B. for all her hard work! The kids had a great time learning!

cdubs said...

@Dorothy-And to think that this is the principal that was going to be fired by Enfield. I found these quotes to be very telling of the culture that has been created from the top down at Ingraham, and by the community. congratulations to Ingraham.

"Ingraham was chosen in part because producers felt the staff and students there would take good care of what's built."
"'It really has a lot to do with the spirit we sense,'" said Mitch Wright, senior producer for ESPN content development.

LouiseM said...

Here is the best take I've seen in why TFA shouldn't be anywhere: http://newblackman.blogspot.com/2011/06/teach-for-america-failed-vision.html?spref=fb

Anonymous said...

I had the chance to meet a number of science teachers in the Seattle Public School system this year. I was impressed with their goals and efforts and came away with an understanding of the challenges they face. I wanted to use the word "dedication", but that's not the right thing to ask. I ask for a job done well, with the occasional flair. Teaching is such a hard job and we all expect so much of you. Thanks for the job well done.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Louise, I have a whole group of great articles that really make good points. Thanks for adding to my list; I'll write a thread soon.

Anonymous said...

Interested to hear what comes of the principal appointment at Rainier Beach High School. Didn't Enfield say the decision would be made by the end of this week?


Steve said...

As of 11:00am today, 205 people have signed the petition to Keep Lowell APP together.


Sahila said...

thanks for that link Louise.... its gone out all over the country...

StopTFA said...

I encourage parents to challenge the district's representation of a "teacher shortage" in the UW's TFA prep program submission. Submit your testimony regarding maintaining high-quality (meaning experienced) teachers in our Title 1 schools. Email pesb@k12.wa.us

Nowihaveafirstgrader said...

A successful kindergartner year with a great team of K-1 teachers and an awesome Principal at Gatewood Elementary!

Kathy said...

I'd like to extend a special thanks to Ellen Saltsman and Mr. Johnson.

Ellen Johnson is an exemplary 3rd grade teacher at Loyal Heights Elementary. She is professional, capable and extraordinarily loving. I'm grateful my daughter was in her class.

Mr. Johnson is a US History teacher at Whitman Middle School. Passionate guy about history and politics..grateful this passion spilled into my daughter's life!

Special thanks to Principal Starosky. Principal Starosky is a caring man with a passion for middle school aged children. His contributions will be missed.

anonymous said...

Thanks goes out to the Hale 10th grade teaching team. I have never seen such a dedicated, caring group of teachers. And thanks to Jill Hudson, Principal, too! Outstanding job at an outstanding school.

MathTeacher42 said...

I've been at Franklin for 5 years, and I've taught Alg2 & Precalc for the last 3, so a LOT of the seniors graduating last Fri. had been my kids this year or last.

Believe it or not, sometimes math class is NOT like a Hollywood movie when it comes to student effort and student interest.

...extricating ... effort ??

My best wishes & hopes for all of them.

R. Murphy

seattle citizen said...

There is a private school renting space in the John Marshall building...Ironic, eh?

seattle citizen said...

whoa. It's doesn't say much at Applied Scholastic Academy's website about the programs, but check this piece out (capitals added by me) Isn't L. Ron Hubbard the Scientology guy?

" 'It is of vital importance that the quality of education be revitalized and improved,' L. Ron Hubbard wrote to Applied Scholastics in its formative stages. 'As Man is as able as he can learn and know, it is urgent that a workable learning technology is available to him.'

L. Ron Hubbard provided a workable approach to learning for use in any educational setting that is used by the teachers and taught to the children. It is a common-sense and codified approach to teaching and learning any subject and most importantly gets results when applied.

Add to that our use of individualized programs for the children and recognized successful teaching styles, then this school has unique features that are definitely worth finding out about.

The mission of Applied Scholastics is to provide effective educational services and materials that help people learn how to learn and thereby work effectively to achieve their goals and realize their full potential. Applied Scholastics is providing educational programs that are bringing new hope and a new civilization to the people of the world with learning tools for the 21st century."

seattle citizen said...

From a FAQ sheet at Applied Scholastics Academy San Marcos (looks like the John Marshall building has a school in it that is "helped" by Scientology, how very...unexpected):

"What is the relationship between Applied Scholastics and the Church of Scientology?

Applied Scholastics is an independent, non-religious (secular) charitable educational organization utilizing Mr. Hubbard’s writings in the field of education. Applied Scholastics licenses organizations which directly apply the Study Technology in schools, training programs and tutoring projects in many countries and communities.

Applied Scholastics does not promote or recommend any religious path. Indeed, throughout the world, Applied Scholastics affiliated organizations deliver Study Technology to members of all faiths, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. Mr. Hubbard’s Study Technology is a vital tool for the learning of any subject. As the name implies, it is a technology of study, used to improve one’s ability to understand and apply whatever information one is seeking to learn. It is a wholly secular technology for use by any person in any field.

The Church of Scientology and its members have been extremely assistive in the areas of support, volunteering and finance in order to help Applied Scholastics to achieve its purpose of providing strong and effective educational methods to any who thirst for knowledge throughout the world."

seattle citizen said...

This animated video explains the three steps of L.Ron Hubbard's Study Technology, which is evidently the curricular blueprint for the Applied Scholastics Academy, a private school that is NOT religious, but has been "extremely assisted" by Scientology.

And the Applied Scholastics Academy is in the John Marshall Alternative School's old home, the John Marshall building.

Who'd a' thunk it?

peonypower said...

I would like to thank all my colleagues and community connections who worked the trenches this year to daylight the underbelly of SPS and fight against stupidity.

MGJ- gone.

Science alignment stupidity- stopped

School board members- on notice

It was hard work and it nearly sucked my soul dry. I know there will be more stupid crap coming because that just seems to be how it is, but thank you everyone who went to meetings, wrote letters, and refused to be bullied.

I love you all

seattle citizen said...

and thank YOU, peonypower! You certainly did your share in daylighting the science alignment craptitude! Good job. Keep up the good work, and I'll see you at the barricades, sign in hand!

Anonymous said...

Re: Attendance Policy

The District website has this update on the attendance policy:

Change the wording so that "educational trips" are excused absences but "short family trips" (vacations) are not excused. This change is being proposed because many schools already include bans on family vacations in their student handbooks, and elementary school administrators in particular are concerned that elementary students are missing critical academic instruction.

So a trip to DC can be excused, but a trip to see Grandma? Fugetaboutit.

Not much of an improvement...


seattle citizen said...

Melissa, I noted your comment over on the LEV blog, about how the PAC Stand for Children bought off some legislators to advance Reform in Illinois...a quick bit of reearch shows that the Gates Foundation gave Advance Illinois (the Reform organizer over there) 1.8 million dollars. THAT surely bought some nice dinners and rounds of golf for Illinois legislators, too. Doesn't Gates also give gobs of money to Stand for Children?
I wanted to post this on LEV, but they won't let me.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I was going to write about that issue because the way it got phrased was pretty funny. It also speaks to how many groups are lobbying in aggressive ways for education a la big business (oil, cigarettes,etc.)

Anonymous said...

RE: new attendance policy. I don't know- weddings and funerals can be educational. Thinking along the line of Eudora Welty and Faulkner. Kinda like that... I get to torture my kids over Faulkner for their school.

In anycase, I plan to take my kids out of school to go pick some organic fruits and veggies in SoCal. This should cover science, history, geography, and the back to earth, save the earth, love organic, eat fresh and soylent so that our family will be carboon footprint + for a nanosecond. Oh and we'll blog blah, blah, blah, about it (oh wait, that will eat up our nanosecond +carbon footprint).

-Legoland and Scripps Lab here we come!

seattle citizen said...

Yeah, Melissa, big business is lobbying the heck out of PUBLIC education:
Who sits on the board of Advance Illinois?
James Bell, President & CFO, The Boeing Company

along with
John Edwardson - Chairman, President & CEO, CDW Corporation, whose company sells tech, and is "helping Illinois schools turn to the cloud"

Who else is on the board?
Dennis Hastert (R), ex-Speaker of the House. After he resigned, here's what the Chicago Trib says he's been up to:
"Hastert, 68, a lobbyist and business consultant who retired from Congress in 2007, has hired three of his former staffers at salaries of more than $100,000 apiece to run the publicly financed office. Taxpayers also are paying monthly rent of $6,300 to a company partly owned by three sons of a Hastert mentor and business partner. Other public funds go for an $860-a-month 2008 GMC Yukon leased from a dealership owned by a Hastert friend and campaign donor. . . . Public funds also go for the office's computers, phones, BlackBerrys, utilities including Comcast and DirecTV, and incidentals such as FedEx bills and a $618 invoice for moving a wall clock from Washington. Travel, too, is on the public dime: airfare, hotels, taxis, tolls, gas, parking and mileage reimbursement for use of private vehicles. According to Hahn, two of the staffers used taxpayer funds to travel with Hastert to Washington last year when a portrait of him was unveiled on Capitol Hill"

what does WV have to say about this? (and about a "school" that is supported by Scientology occupying the John Marshall building)?


Josh Hayes said...

One of the things I love about Pinehurst is that, two years ago when I took my kids to Costa Rica for a couple of weeks in the middle of the fall quarter, everyone at the school gave it their enthusiastic blessing. Of COURSE such trips are educational: culturally, linguistically, biologically (hello, rain forests!), and so on. Both kids gave presentations on the trip when they got back, but it sounds to me like the new policy would have put the kibosh on such a trip. Booo!

dan dempsey said...

Steilacoom was the first school district in the state. It is referred to as Steilacoom Historical school district #1.

seattle citizen said...

There IS a short article at the Times about the possible APP move...people might want to comment there, there aren't any comments so far....

Bagleymom said...

In spite of a disaster of an interim principal at Daniel Bagley, the staff and parents finished the year united and hopeful about the upcoming year. The staff at DBE has earned so much respect from myself and others for their professionalism and poise under such terrible leadership.
They are a fantastic team and I'm so proud of them and grateful my child has them for teachers.

seattle citizen said...

Article in the Times about lawsuit regarding state not fully funding public ed:
State's high court to hear school-funding plea

dan dempsey said...

Thank you LouiseM.

That TfA link
to Fordham is just awesome information.

Ten years ago, when a Teach for American recruiter first approached me, I was enthusiastic about the idea of recruiting my most idealistic and talented students for work in high poverty schools and allowed the TFA representative to make presentations in my classes, which are filled with Urban Studies and African American Studies majors.

Not one of them was accepted! Enraged, I did a little research and found that TFA had accepted only four of the nearly 100 Fordham students who applied. I become even more enraged when I found out from the New York Times that TFA had accepted 44 out of a hundred applicants from Yale that year. Something was really wrong here if an organization who wanted to serve low income communities rejected every applicant from Fordham who came from those communities and accepted half of the applicants from an Ivy League school where very few of the students, even students of color, come from working class or poor families.

Since that time, the percentage of Fordham students accepted has marginally increased, but the organization has done little to win my confidence that it is seriously committed to recruiting people willing to make a lifetime commitment to teaching and administering schools in high poverty areas.

Stu said...

I have a stupid question. I suppose it doesn't hurt to ask it here.

Has anyone every done one of those ValuePak coupons? Or has anyone ever paid for a flyer in every delivered newspaper in an area?

I thinking, more and more, that nothing's every going to change unless we remove the "gang of four" and this is the year to do it. I'll donate to a bunch of campaigns, do what I can do to help, but those four are going to raise A LOT of money to stay in power. (And I'm choosing my words carefully . . they're not in it to "server the children" anymore, this is pure power politics!)

What I'm getting at is how much would it cost to get a flyer to everyone in the re-election districts? How much for a notice in the mail, or in the paper, or in the ValuePak thing or to hire some college kids to put flyers on doors or cars?


seattle citizen said...

I'd help with a campaign, Stu. A little bit of $$$, at any rate.
Maybe we can get a full-page ad in the Times!

ArchStanton said...

Interesting idea, Val-Pak. I usually thumb through them looking for the places I visit. Most of it goes straight to the round file, though. Don't know if i would pay attention to a school board thing. Might be worth trying if it doesn't cost too much.

I wonder if the Times would refuse a "Throw the bums out" ad. I'm sure they aren't cheap. Maybe some of the alternative rags?

seattle citizen said...

Yes, the Times would be expensive...How 'bout a m ass printing on someone's company copier, then a dedicated crew blankets the city and posts them everywhere.

StepJ said...

It is in large part about name recognition.

Target areas where there are concentrations of known voters for placement of signs, meeting attendance, anything someone will see as they walk/drive/bike by on a daily basis.

You must relay your message in a matter of seconds - so a short message that relates, in colors that capture attention and are easily read in passing.

Most printing locations can provide quick quotes -- most online.

Tracy said...

Didn't see this till now but ... a happy comment. My kid, re-entering Seattle Public Schools for 9th grade after two years of online studies, had a good year. Several good teachers. One of them, in fact, inspired him to resume reading (which he hadn't done much for a few years) and he has been voracious ... philosophy, the classics, you name it. Including his spare time. Makes for some interesting discussions. Couldn't have asked for anything more.

Po3 said...

Fresh Air doing a story tonight about the growing number of charter schools under investigation by the Feds. In Philly, something like 17 are under investgation. I plan on tuning in.