Showing posts from November, 2011

Garfield Students to Walk Out Today in Protest over State Cuts

From the Occupy Your High School Facebook Group: We are Garfield High School students, speaking on behalf of and with Seattle Public Schools students tired of the constant cuts to our education. We are the people who have been affected most by these cuts, and we are showing that we care. For too long, this state's budget has been balanced on the backs of its students. Apparently, our representatives in Olympia have forgotten that the constitution says that funding education is this state's paramount duty. This is a student voice reminding our legislature of that fact. And also of this one: We are this country's future. We will vote. And we will hold them accountable. We will walk out of Garfield High School on Wednesday the 30th of November at 12:30 PM to march to City Hall and tell the world that we are fed up with the lack of funding for education. We have two primary goals we hope to accomplish: We want to stop the constant cuts to education that have hurt ou

Ultimate Frisbee Unites South End Rivals

Two heartwarming stories about rivals, Aki Kurose and Mercer Middle Schools, and a meeting of the minds (and bodies) over Ultimate Frisbee.  I heard the the KUOW story myself and had to smile and a reader (thanks!) sent me the PI story.   From the PI: Four years ago, the kids from Aki Kurose and Asa Mercer middle schools – both in Seattle's South End – were bitter rivals. Mercer students would bus to Aki on half days to jump those who lingered after school. Aki students threw rocks at Mercer school buses. Gangs grew out of each middle school, and violence gripped the area. So Terry and Rex Gaoaen of the Union Gospel Mission decided to take over the fledging ultimate program (at Mercer). Ultimate, they reasoned, was a peaceful sport. But the North End kids didn't bother them as much as a nearer opponent: Aki Kurose. Tugade said that after losing to Aki in seventh grade, the players wondered, "Why be mad at them? They made good throws and good points. These guys aren&

Capacity Management Meeting at Eckstein

FYI, the next FACMAC meeting is this Friday, Dec. 2nd from 10-noon at the Stanford Center, Room 3802.   I am sorry to say this but I think there is a lot of confusion still and frankly, this meeting only served to exacerbate it.  That's my impression.

News from Around the District

The district's School Beat newsletter is now available.  Some of the stories: how to find out if school is delayed or canceled this winter Aki Kurose students break world record in 10-minute indoor rowing Jane Addams K-8 had a Science Career day with 19 scientists, professors and engineers.  Roosevelt 's Jazz Band will be playing its annual Duke Ellington's Jazz Nutcracker this weekend. Nathan Hale High School is having its annual poinsettias sale to benefit it horticulture program. Remember those defibrillators the district installed through The Heart of Seattle Schools project?  One of them saved a life recently when an employee at South Shore used one on a friend who collapsed while playing basketball at South Shore.   It only took one shock to bring him back and 911 was there on the scene to take him to the hospital.  John Muir Elementary won the Seattle MathFest 2011 Spirit Award and MLK, Jr. Elementary took second-place at the MathFest held on November 3

Tuesday Open Thread

Anyone attend last night's capacity management meeting at Denny?  Any updates?   I plan on attending the Eckstein one tonight. I attended the C&I committee meeting yesterday; they didn't talk about innovation schools but there is news on graduation requirements and instructional waivers.  I'll try to post a thread by the end of the day.

Teachers in Olympia Today

This in from the Stranger Slog: Jesse Hagopian, a leader of Social Equality Educators, notes the 2010 ruling in King County Superior Court, that found Washington State is failing to meet its constitutional obligation to fund basic education.  Just as the gavel struck and the Washington State House of Representatives concluded its opening day of session before the budget committee convenes, nearly three-dozen teachers stood up to protest what they fear will be yet another year of cuts to basic education and state colleges.  "Mic check!" yelled Jesse Hagopian, wearing a suit. "Mic check," yelled back the teachers in red vests, who unfurled a banner that said: "Citizens aren't the lawbreakers. Lawmakers who cut funding from schools are the lawbreakers." And they chanted: It is immoral It is illegal These cuts will hurt families These cuts will hurt kids These cuts will hurt educators King county Superior Court judge Ruled that th

Seattle Schools Week of November 28-Dec. 3,2011

Busy week in SPS. Monday, November 28th Curriculum & Instruction Committee meeting - 4 p.m.  Topics include: skills center update, Board policies on hostility/defamation/discrimination and retaliation, waiver policy, and innovation schools' policy. Capacity Management meeting at Denny at 6 p.m. Tuesday, November 29th Work Session on Board policy Series 6000 (which I believe is about fiscal management.) Capacity Management meeting at Eckstein at 6 p.m. IB at Rainier Beach High School meeting , 6 p.m. Wednesday, November 30th Oath of office for newly elected Board members at 4 p.m.-5 p.m. Work Sessions Nutrition and Advertising 5-6 p.m. Athletics 6:30- 8 p.m. Nutrition Services 8-9:30 p.m. Thursday, December 1 Capacity Management meeting at Washington Middle School, 6 p.m. Saturday, December 3 Board Retreat - NE Branch Library, 6801 35th Ave NE from 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Now this should be interesting.  New Board members, probably some talk about

Southeast Community Meeting

Last year, when the District rolled out the School Reports, there were Community Meetings in every region of the City. I don't know if they are doing that again in every region, but there is a meeting of some kind this week in the Southeast. For some reason, it is not on the District calendar. IB @ RB? Find out about exciting developments at Rainier Beach High School. Southeast Community Meeting with Seattle Public Schools Tuesday, November 29, 6:00 pm Rainier Beach High School Join Executive Directors Brianna Dusseault and Michael Tolley to review the District's vision and work plan for the Southeast, see newly disaggregated 2010-11 student performance data, and learn about the upcoming IB (International Baccalaureate) program at Rainier Beach High School.  We hope our families and community can join us as we work together to build high-achieving, vibrant schools in our Southeast neighborhood. The IB opportunity The International Baccalaureate program at Rainier Be

Capacity Management Community Meetings

From Seattle Public Schools: Seattle Public Schools will host three community meetings, to be held on Nov. 28, 29 and Dec. 1, to share information and ask for feedback about the District’s short-term Capacity Management plan for the 2012-13 school year. The District is experiencing considerable enrollment growth, and with that comes challenges. We are gathering input and working on creating a short-, intermediate- and long-term plan to address our capacity. Our enrollment this year is about 48,500 students. We are using this enrollment information, along with projections and community engagement, to analyze capacity for the 2012-13 school year. A Facilities and Capacity Management Advisory Committee (FACMAC) was established in October, 2011. This volunteer group of community members represents all regions of the city and has diverse interests in various programs. Technical experts and school representatives are also part of the committee.  The FACMAC is working with staff to

From a Teacher

A reader had asked Charlie about his plan to close the achievement gap.  He had replied that he has made suggestions in the past but that is the Superintendent's and Board's jobs to find a plan.  So far what we are doing is not working in any visible way.  I believe that the newly-constituted Board may have some new ideas. But this teacher also had some other thoughts and I applaud him/her for it because (1) in Finland, they have much more planning and collaboration time among teachers to great results, (2) I have been saying for a long time that no one experiences the kind of constant change at work that teachers do - it must be terribly frustrating and (3) more testing means teachers have less flexibility even as they may know students who may be rushed through curriculum. Maybe more planning time for teachers instead of the PLC, collaboration, team, staff and God knows what other meetings that we are required to attend. How about sustaining a curriculum beyond four o

Saturday Open Thread

Hope your Thanksgiving was a good one. Looks like a thought machine works in the governor's office in the state of Kansas.  Governor Brownback was speaking at high school as part of a Kansas Youth in Government program.  One senior tweeted something about confronting him and telling him he "sucked".   Here's what happened next From ThinkProgress : On Tuesday, Sullivan was called to her principal’s office and told that the tweet had been flagged by someone on Brownback’s staff and reported to organizers of the Youth in Government program . [...] Sullivan said the principal ordered her to write letters of apology to Brownback, the school’s Youth in Government sponsor, the district’s social studies coordinator and others . Not much for the First Amendment, eh, Governor?  Principal? Update:   it turns out that the student did not say anything, publicly or privately, to the Governor.  She just was tweeting big and the Governor's entourage picked up on it.  Th

Temple Grandin to Speak at UW

Dr. Temple Grandin , an noted animal scientist and advocate for those with autism, will speak on Improving Animal Welfare at UW's Hogness Auditorium (A-420), Health Sciences Center, on Wednesday, November 30, 2011 at 4 p.m. The even is free and open to the public with a booksigning to follow the talk. From the Times: Temple Grandin, who was diagnosed with autism as a child but went on to obtain a Ph.D. in animal science, is noted for her work exploring the similarities between autistic consciousness and the thought processes of animals — research that has led to improvements in livestock handling to reduce animal stress. Grandin’s research on pictorial thinking shared by animals and autistics alike has resulted in more than 400 scientific and lay publications, 6 books, and numerous awards. In 2010, TIME Magazine listed Grandin as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. Her talk may not be a topic that interests you but if you want to see someone with

Advanced Learning Task Force

The new Advanced Learning Task Force (or Steering Committee or Advisory Committee or whatever) has had its first meeting. It's kind of a mess.

Mayor's Office Seeks Candidates for Families&Education Levy Oversight

From the Mayor's Office: Council and Mayor seeking eight qualified individuals for  Families and Education Levy Oversight Committee The City of Seattle is seeking candidates to fill eight citizen positions on the Families and Education Levy Oversight Committee. Approved by Seattle voters on November 8, the $232 million Levy will be effective from 2012 through 2018, providing funding for school readiness and early learning; academic achievement in elementary, middle and high schools; guidance and related support for college and career preparation; and student health services. The Levy Oversight Committee (LOC) was established by Ordinance 123567 to make recommendations on the design and funding of Levy programs and to monitor the progress of Levy programs in meeting Levy outcomes and goals. In addition to making recommendations on the Levy Implementation and Evaluation Plan and the Partnership Agreement with Seattle Public Schools, the LOC reviews outcomes and ind

Charter Schools and Federal Law - Fourth in the Series

 I decided to create a separate thread about the federal law and charter schools.  (I don't mention Special Education here as I will write a new thread on that issue and charter schools.) To be clear, creation of charter schools is a right given to states.  The federal government has NO say over charter law in each state. The enactment of State charter school laws is solely a State prerogative, and the definition of a “charter school” under State law is a matter of State policy. However the feds give out a lot of money, via grants, for charters to plan and start-up.  This has escalated under the Obama administration as Secretary Duncan is a huge fan. Below is info straight from the US DOE and I am going to print it verbatim. The Charter Schools Program CSP) was authorized in October 1994, under Title X, Part C of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended, 20 U.S.C. 8061-8067.  The program was amended in October 1998 by the Charter School

Charter Law - Third in the Series on Charter Schools

This is probably the most difficult piece of the charter puzzle because (1) there are 41 charter laws and (2) the mission and goals of those laws vary greatly (although the language might be similar).

Tuesday Open Thread

A soggy, windy day.  What's on your mind?

Technology in Education

There is a lot of talk about the uses of technology in Education. The Seattle Times recently ran an ill-informed and ill-considered editorial about it. What potential benefits can technology offer students? How should it be used? How should it NOT be used? Technology offers some tempting opportunities. Individualized Instruction. We are all struggling to find a means to provide more individualized instruction that provides lessons at the frontier of each student's knowledge and skills. Technology could really help with that by allowing each student to work at his or her own pace on skill-building exercises. Dispensing Information. In a Google era, the role of the teacher as a dispenser of information is outdated. The teacher needs to focus on other roles. If we accept the truth that electronic media is better as an on-demand source of raw data, and if we delegate that duty to it, then teacher time would be freed. That time could then be used for the roles that the teacher

Superintendent Search - Yes or No

I think this discussion is happening on multiple threads, so let's bring the discussion together on one thread. The School Board will soon have to make a decision about hiring a superintendent. They have two basic options: They could offer a contract (of one to three years) to Dr. Enfield. They could seek (either locally or nationally) other applicants the job. There are arguments to be made for each option and for variations within each option. There are costs and risks associated with each option. Those who support offering a contract to Dr. Enfield generally contend that Dr. Enfield's performance has been acceptable and that the costs and risks of seeking other applicants is not justified. Those who support seeking other applicants for the job generally believe either: Dr. Enfield's work has been unacceptable, and she should not continue in the role, or Dr. Enfield's work has been good enough, but there may be someone better available These folks

Survey on ... the Superintendent VS the Board?

Yet another in the series of odd surveys the district is putting out, here's the latest .   At least, it is short but does require every question to be answered in order for it to register. It's a all over the map.  Questions about what you think are should be the priorities of the Superintendent and the district, questions about the new leadership and its role, etc. Here are two of the odder questions: Since the change in leadership, do you think the Seattle School District is currently headed in the right direction, or the wrong direction? Which leadership - Superintendent or Board?  That needed to be clear right up front but yet, you are left guessing.  Also, Enfield has been on the job less than a year and the election just happened - it's not a great question to be asking at this point in time.  As you know, the Superintendent is hired by the School Board, who are (sic) elected by the voters.  There are different ways a Board and Superintendent can operate. 

Seattle Schools This Week

A short and truncated week due to parent/teacher conferences and Thanksgiving. Monday, Nov. 21 Legislative Forum from 3:30 - 5:00 p.m. - I'm actually a little unclear on what this is so I'll have to call tomorrow and ask. Board Work Session on Capacity Management from 5:00-7:00 p.m. Heads up, next week are the community meetings on capacity management:  Monday, Nov. 28, 6-7:30 p.m. at Denny International Middle School Library, 2601 S.W. Kenyon St. Tuesday, Nov. 29, 6-7:30 p.m. at Eckstein Middle School Library, 3003 N.E. 75th St. Thursday, Dec. 1, 6-7:30 p.m. at Washington Middle School Library, 2101 S. Jackson St. To note from SPS: Local NBA stars Brandon Roy, Jamal Crawford, Will Conroy, Isaiah Thomas and Spencer Hawes team up with Councilmember Bruce Harrell and Mayor Mike McGinn to give away 2,000 Thanksgiving dinners to families on the free and reduced lunch program .To sign up, go in person to one of Seattle Parks and Recreation's community centers

How About Better Parents?

That's the question that Thomas Friedman asks in the NY Times this week.    The reason he brings it up is a recent study by PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) which is the testing group for 15-years around the world on math, science and reading skills.  It's the testing used to compare countries' education systems. PISA was encouraged by OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) to go beyond testing and look at what is happening in the home.  They looked at about 20 countries and parents of 5,000 students in those countries.  They then compared that information with test results and published these three findings. “Fifteen-year-old students whose parents often read books with them during their first year of primary school show markedly higher scores in PISA 2009 than students whose parents read with them infrequently or not at all." "On average, the score difference is 25 points, the equivalent of well over half a school

Poking the Hornets Nest

It looks like the Board election has poked, prodded and possibly smashed open the hornets nest that is the education establishment in Seattle.  The initial charge, before the election, was clearly the Seattle Times but they have been largely mute since the election results. Now the Alliance for Education has decided to really insert itself and frankly, if I were anyone on the Board (current or new and/or a person with a spine), I would not like it.

Chief Sealth Petitions for Portables

The community at Chief Sealth High School is petitioning the superintendent for portables. The overcrowding of the school has put teachers on carts. From the petition: We informed the District as our remodel was being designed that the remodeled Sealth would have less space due to the removal of the portables. Our enrollment has increased by 400 students since that time and now we have even less space. Our capacity has been set at 1,200 students and we are now at 1,246. Our remodel did not include any planned work spaces.  See the petition here . Perhaps this petition should go, instead, to the FACMAC.

Teachers and Process

From one reader about exiting poorly performing teachers: What is "the process" and how can parents provide support and documentation? How does a parent know if the process is underway? What timeframe does it involve? What constitutes a "bad" teacher according to the District?  All good questions.  I don't know the whole process.  It is likely detailed in the teachers' contract.  What I do know is that the first step is to go to the principal and ask.  He or she should be able to tell you what you, as a parent, need to do and what next steps are.  If he or she is unwilling to do so, document your outreach and go to the Executive Director (and, of course, cc the principal).   I believe the timeframe is at least 6 months to a year (unless there is gross negligence or abuse) because if the principal believes the action is warranted (again, is this based on the number of parent complaints?  I'm not sure), he has to sit down with the teacher and


Did you know pizza is a vegetable ?  According to our Congress it is. The House of Representatives dealt a blow to childhood obesity warriors on Thursday by passing a bill that abandons proposals that threatened to end the reign of pizza and French fries on federally funded school lunch menus. The scuttled changes, which would have stripped pizza's status as a vegetable and limited how often French fries could be served, stemmed from a 2010 child nutrition law calling on schools to improve the nutritional quality of lunches served to almost 32 million U.S. school children. Who got this pushed through?  Why our friends in the AFFI (American Frozen Food Institute) with members like ConAgra, Heinz, General Mills and Kraft.  The USDA wanted at least one-half cup of tomato paste on a pizza to qualify as a vegetable serving instead of the current two tablespoons.  Even Italians wouldn't call pizza a vegetable.  Boo to Congress. Heard back from one person who wen

Crosscut Article about Seattle School Board (the new one)

I had an article published in today's Crosscut about the elections and what is on the to-do list for our new Board. In it I mention the issue of deciding about whether there will be a superintendent search or not.  I have learned today that Dr. Enfield will not apply if the Board does decide to conduct a search.   I don't quite know what to make of that because it is not a ding against Dr. Enfield to have a search.   If she feels that way, then maybe she isn't the person for the job.  The Board's overriding duty is to make sure we have the best person in place for OUR district.  She was appointed interim superintendent in the midst of a crisis as the best person at the time but there were surely no guarantees made so I don't know why she would feel if they create a search it hurts her. My belief is that even as she has put on a more accessible and friendly public face for SPS and calmed the waters after the exit of MGJ, she certainly hasn't had time to

A Conversation with Lynne Varner

I am repeating my offer to Lynne Varner. I invite her to join me in a reasonable and respectful conversation about public education. This thread is for that conversation. It will be for just her and me. I will delete comments from anyone else, so don't bother posting them. Here is her invitation, posted to the comments of her most recent column : Ms Varner, if you want a calm, nuanced, reasoned and reality-based conversation about Education Reform, I will be delighted to give you one. I'll host. You can meet me at the saveseattleschools blog. I will make a space for you there. Don't be afraid; it will be just you and me. We can cover any topic you like: testing, charters, unions, the Gates Foundation, Teach for America, the Seattle School Board, math curricula, the opportunity gap, whatever you like. More, I will honor your wish to keep away from any topic you don't want to discuss. No cheap shots. No debating points. No gotcha. I will show you courtesy and r

Open Thread Friday

What an interesting week.  From the district:  the State of the District speech will be broadcast at 8 p.m. on Saturday the 19th on cable channel 26 (Comcast).  This is the speech the Superintendent gave on Wednesday.  Also this weekend is the College Application Help: Dream Project Admissions Workshop at UW from 8:00 am to 4:00 p.m. for seniors working on college applications.  There are parent information session from 8:30-10:00 am in Kane Hall.  Breakfast, lunch and snacks will be provided as well as computers, printing and in-person advice from college admission counselors.  Contact your high school counselor or or Lily Ly And for middle school and high school students there is See it. Be it:Explore Your Future Career . This is at Seattle Center, Rainier Room from 10 am to 2 pm.  Sessions include STEM, Arts and Design, Service sector, Sports and Wellness, Trades and Business and Entrepreneurship.  A raft of School Board

More Good News

From our friends at the West Seattle blog, news I had to print from Roxhill Elementary: Last Thursday, November 10th, Roxhill fourth graders were treated to a Living Voices performance of Native Vision . Lisa Gladstone, a Blackfoot Indian from Browning, Montana did a remarkable job of engaging our students in the story of Alice, a Navajo girl sent to a government run boarding school in the 30’s and 40’s. Alice became a nurse in the Pacific during World War ll, struggling to keep true to her native culture in a changing world. Before the performance, Roxhill students had read about and discussed how native children fared in the boarding schools and had also learned about the contributions of the Navajo Code Talkers. Their rapt attention during the performance and perceptive questions afterward spoke to how valuable this performance was in enhancing their knowledge of a very complex subject. I am writing to you because this performance was a gift to Roxhill, a gift from th

Need Some Updates

I am planning on attending the meeting tonight at South Shore K-8 about desired traits/values in a superintendent.  Has anyone attended any of the other meetings?  Any feedback or impressions? Also, I hear there was some unhappiness expressed at the Board meeting last night over the release of information about TFA recruits.  I don't think the video is up yet; anyone want to weigh in on that one?  Also, the BEX Oversight Committee meeting tomorrow morning at 8:30 a.m. is at Ingraham High School and not the headquarters as I had previously posted (thank you to Theresa Wippel at SPS Communications for the update).

Peaslee Vote Count Still Advancing

As of last night, the vote count in the District 1 School Board race is as follows: Peaslee - 50.88%  (7,1373) Maier   - 49.56%  (7,0631) The difference between them is 742 votes which, at this point, would clear the election from a recount.  Of course, the issue is that there are still votes out there to be counted so nothing is done. Please, do check to make sure your ballot has been received AND signature verified.   It's surprising the number of ballots that get there and the signature gets challenged.   To check, go to this link at KC Elections. ( Update from the Stranger Slog: Kim van Ekstrom, an elections spokeswoman, says that as of last night there are approximately 13,000 ballots with signature problems that aren't being counted. Roughly half had no signature and the other half have a disputed signature. And if there's problem with the signature, elections workers can't even open up the envelope to count the vote. If King County Elections

What Does a New Board Mean?

There will be a new School Board at the next Board meeting as Sharon Peaslee takes over for Peter Maier in the District I seat and Marty McLaren takes over for Steve Sundquist in the District VI seat. What does this mean for the way the Board works as a team? Will the Board become contentious or will they be able to reach consensus on critical issues? Will the Board become bogged down in debate? in process? in community engagement? in attempts to micro-manage the district? What would it be like if the Board started doing its job? Will members of the community once again be invited to participate in committee meetings? Will the Board set and keep a calendar of oversight reviews? Will the Board Directors start more of their sentences with the words "My constituents want..."? Will we see the Board start to enforce policy? Will the Board require the staff to keep their commitments to students and families? What will this mean for the direction of the District? The old major

School Reports

The new school reports - for the school year 2010-2011 - have been released. They can be found here . This year's School Reports are different from last years in only two ways. The changes are the two corrections that were promised in December of last year. They are long overdue, but better now than later still. Last year, the measure of student academic growth was grossly mislabeled " Students making gains on the state reading test " but was actually a derived relative measure. This year the student academic growth gets a label like " 4th and 5th graders who met or exceeded typical growth on the state reading test " and it is a new measure. From the glossary : This measure shows how students are growing compared to other students in the same grade, with the same test score throughout the state. It is the percentage of students whose growth was above average (50th to 99th percentile) on the state test from one year to the next. Students are compared to o

Good News in Seattle Schools

From the district website: Ed Lee, a 1970 graduate of Franklin High School , won San Francisco's mayoral race Nov. 8, becoming the city’s first elected mayor of Chinese descent, as well as the first Asian-American elected to the office. Lee was born in 1952 in the Beacon Hill neighborhood and attended Beacon Hill Elementary and Asa Mercer Middle School. Seattle Sounders FC presents America SCORES Seattle’s 9th Annual Poetry Slam! on Friday, November 18th. The Poetry Slam!, the culminating event of the SCORES Fall Season curriculum - The Power of Poetry, will feature more than 160 elementary school students from Seattle’s underserved neighborhoods performing their own original works of poetry. For many of our children, reciting their original poetry on a public stage is the first time in their lives they have been publicly celebrated for their accomplishments. The event will feature poets from Bailey Gatzert, Dunlap, Highland Park, Maple and Roxhill Elementary Schools.   Town Ha

What Changes Do You Want to See on the Board?

From a comment by  WSDWG: I don't think anybody wants a dysfunctional board. In fact, I'd venture the vote here would be 100% against. This board got along incredibly well, but overreached and pushed too hard to impose their "vision" on the community, instead of responding to a variety of diverse needs. Does middle ground mean less testing & standardization? More accountability & asserting itself into staff matters? Or how about this: Requiring actual, real follow-up to questions asked of staff who answer: "I'll get back to you on that" - which has come to mean (realistically) - "That's all I'm saying on the subject. Adios!"   Maybe instead of discussing middle ground, I should ask a simpler question: "What changes do people see with Marty apparently coming onto the Board?" For me, I want a board more actively engaged, and engaging of the community, in curriculum & instruction decisions. I would like a Boar

Peaslee Takes the Lead

Latest Results As of 11/15/2011 4:17:11 PM Director District No. 1 Peter Maier. . . . . . . . . . 67294. . . . . . .  49.80% Sharon Peaslee. . . . . . 67385. . . . . . .  49.87% Write-in. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  452. . . . . . . . .0.33%

Tuesday Open Thread

Today brings us the Town Hall meeting at Denny where the Seattle School Board, in partnership with the Seattle Council PTSA, invites the public to help decide whether to conduct a national search for a Superintendent or whether to appoint Interim Superintendent Dr. Susan Enfield. Also today, both the Operations Committee and the Audit and Finance Committee will be meeting at 4:00. Operations will meet in the auditorium and Audit in the Board room.

The Stuff that Drives Me Mad

There are a number of things that the District leadership does that simply drives me mad. It's what fuels my energy to do this work. There's something nearly every day. Here's a recent sample: School Board President Steve Sundquist, speaking about the policy revisions that the Board is zooming through carelessly: " It's in everyone's interest that we move quickly ," he said. " Time is of the essence. " Really? What's the urgency? There is none. This is a false urgency used as a cover for sloppy work. From the Friday Update of November 4, Teaching and Learning Update: " High School Physical Science – This course is defined by the district-wide objectives in the form of Washington State Standards; however, a current challenge to implementing this course effectively is the lack of instructional materials due to the hold on curricular adoptions. " This from the same people who tell us that the materials do not dictate the course. N

Sundquist Concedes; Maier Still Squeaking By

I was told today that Steve Sundquist called and conceded to Marty McLaren.   The counts in the two close races, as of today, are as follows (with 40.54% of the vote tallied); Maier -        50.66%  (down from the initial count of 51.47%) Peaslee -     49.00% (up from initial 48.17%) McLaren  -  52.81% (up from the initial 51.92%) Sundquist  - 46.74% (down from the initial count of 47.62%) It seems that the McLaren race is a done deal. According to KC elections, they are expecting 52% of the vote to come in.  That would leave 12% left to come in/be counted. There are 1,947 votes separating Maier and Peaslee.  I don't have my hopes up (because to my mind, if it didn't happen today, it isn't likely to happen).  But it's still a pretty close race so it's always possible the unexpected could happen.

Shorter School Year Coming?

From the Everett Herald comes a story about superintendents around the state coming together in agreement about having fewer school days for all districts rather than the Governor's idea of getting rid of levy equalization which favors districts able to pass levies versus those that can't. The superintendents are saying that while it may end up being detrimental to students in the long run, they want the cuts to be equal across the state and feel this may stop the steady downward trend of school budgets.  Washington is not the first to consider this path. California, for example, dropped from 180 days to 175 days in 2009, then decided earlier this year to let financially challenged districts teach as few as 168 days. Other states, such as Oregon, allowed districts to go to a four-day school week. Students wind up with the same number of hours of instruction, but districts save money by closing campuses an additional day each week. The story doesn't explain it but I&

Seattle Schools Week of November 14-18, 2011

A fairly busy week after election day. First up, the community engagement meetings have been announced for Intermediate Capacity Management. Monday, Nov. 28, 6-7:30 p.m. at Denny International Middle School Library, 2601 S.W. Kenyon St. Tuesday, Nov. 29, 6-7:30 p.m. at Eckstein Middle School Library, 3003 N.E. 75th St. Thursday, Dec. 1, 6-7:30 p.m. at Washington Middle School Library, 2101 S. Jackson St. The meetings will include presentations by Seattle Public School Capital Projects and Planning staff members, followed by a question and answer period. Comments from the community will be collected, recorded, considered and included in the District’s Short Term Capacity Management planning process. For information on the District’s capacity management process, please visit For further information, please contact Tom Redman, Capital Communications, Email: . Phone: 206-252-0655 Monday Joint

The Lines are Clearly Drawn

I've been off-line a bit but have kept up a bit.  I am a bit astonished at the reception by the Times and LEV over Marty McLaren's victory over School Board President, Steve Sundquist.  The Times said that Steve got along with City Hall officials and legislators but didn't every mention that Steve received a vote of no-confidence from the teachers union.  Maybe Steve should have worked on the relationships with parents and teachers.  They state that maybe Steve lost because of the things that happened over the last year (try 3 years).  But then they go on to say but the other three got reelected "handily."  (Apparently they haven't been keeping up on the numbers in the Maier/Peasless race.)   And, they don't explain exactly why they think Sundquist lost until the end of their editorial. It was the teachers union support.  Then they go on to petulantly whine over the campaign contributions issue.  A union contribution - which generally is a large grou