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.


RosieReader said…
I have a geeky, governance question. Does anyone know how the Board handles an electoral transition like this? I hope every effort is made to invite and include Marty and any other new director at all meetings, and all portions of meetings that are not "executive sessions" or which discuss "attorney client privileged" information. I hope there's a robust "new director" orientation that allows her to get up to speed in advance of their official appointment. I suspect the transition from candidate/community advocate to Board member/insider requires a pretty steep learning curve, and it's in everybody's best interests for new board members to start trekking their way up that curve as quickly as they can.
Anonymous said…
Speaking of starving classrooms, anyone know anything about this program?

Who funds it? What kinds of prgrams they like?



Anonymous said…
Word is Ms. McLaren is already meeting with directors, attending open sessions and will hit the ground running.

Charlie Mas said…
There is a new director orientation process. The Washington State School Directors Association (WSSDA) conducts it. Newly elected Board Directors may attend any public sessions (just as anyone else can), but I don't believe that they get any special invitation to attend.

There is a long, but not steep, learning curve for most new Directors. It generally takes them about five years before they are any good at all. Director DeBell provides us with a good case study.

The new board members take their seat at the first meeting after the election is certified. At that meeting, the Board elects their officers and makes the committee appointments.
dan dempsey said…
It generally takes them about five years before they are any good at all.

Some will never be any good no matter how much time passes.
RosieReader said…
Many at this blog (but not me) will be delighted to learn that Peaslee pulled ahead with today's' vote counts. But I think it's within re-count range.
Anonymous said…
Director District No. 1

Sharon takes the lead!

Peter Maier



Sharon Peaslee



-go Sharon
Election Watcher said…

Sharon Peaslee has pulled ahead of Peter Maier in District 1!!!

from the King County Elections website:

Director District No. 1

Peter Maier 67294 49.80%
Sharon Peaslee 67385 49.87%
Write-in 452 0.33%
mirmac1 said…
Ok, I got a case of the giggles..hee hee!

WV: my "amingi" Sharon esta' ganando! In Sheenese "Winning!"
Anonymous said…
I wonder about those write-ins. How do they feel about it being a close election and they threw away their vote.

-Go Sharon
SeattleSped said…
One more event:

Seattle Special Education PTSA
General Meeting & Advocacy Caucus
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.

John Stanford Center, Room 2700
2445 3rd Ave. S., Seattle 98134

See you there!
Anonymous said…
WOW - Sharon is ahead! WOW!

look at Marty's LEAD -

something's happen here,
what it is ain't exactly clear

Anonymous said…
I want to think the community was more engaged and paid closer attention than we might think in this election. But I've got an itchy feeling that the scandals on their watch cost the incumbents dearly, and maybe even a tad unfairly. (Yikes, Hold your Fire!)

Don't get me wrong, I voted against Peter and Steve on philosophical grounds and their voting records, even though I previously voted for them both. And I think Marty and Sharon or Michelle would/would've improved the board.

But I've got an itchy feeling some on the sidelines and several rows back voted to toss people out because of the lingering unpopularity of MGJ, Potter, the MLK sale, etc., the racial overtones, and what appeared to be a succession of wasting money like drunken sailors on unpopular or controversial items. I don't think the perception of Potter exploiting his race was as damaging, as the appearance that the board and staffers gave him too much discretion because of it, probably due to the fear of being called racist.

There's plenty of evidence of that mood, btw, anytime you browse the comments section of any Times article covering an education topic.

We'll never know, but it should still be a wake up call for future boards to act diligently and not hesitate when when put on notice of money wasting and scams. WSDWG
dw said…
It generally takes them about five years before they are any good at all.

Careful Charlie! One could take that as a voice of support to re-elect all the incumbents because they're right at the brink of becoming good!

I'll agree with Dan and take it a step further. I don't think there's any "general" case. Kay's learning curve was pretty short. She's not only sharp, but she knows how to work with people. Michael is an unusual case in that it appears to have taken him a very long time to grow into and become comfortable in his role.

On the other hand, you have directors like Harium, who start off with a lot of promise and go downhill. I certainly hope he wakes up and starts paying attention to what happened in this election.

Then there's the degenerate case. Peter started off lousy and continued being equally lousy throughout his 4 years, which thankfully appear to be at an end!

I don't see how Peter can win at this point. The momentum is very strong in Sharon's favor: 55.86% vs 44.13% in this last batch. My prediction is that there are more ballots left than the county was anticipating, and Sharon is going to build her lead up a bit more over the next couple days.
Anonymous said…
With all due respect to Rosie Reader and Charlie--the school board director position is not rocket science.

A person with integrity, brains and common sense should do quite well from the start.

Marty McLaren and Sharon Peaslee have both already demonstrated those attributes with abundance.

By the way, thanks to Sahila for whatever herbs she's burning. The magic is working.

WV is "wings" (no kidding)

--Looks like Susan Enfield's karma may finally be catching up with her
dan dempsey said…
Here is an article on Pittsburgh schools closing achievement gaps and it is one huge reason that former CAO now interim Superintendent Enfield needs to seek employment elsewhere.

The MSP test is supposedly a lot better than the WASL test. I know this to be true in math.

I just completed a spreadsheet for the District using the same process used in Pittsburgh looking at gap sizes on the 2010 MSP and HSPE and then the 2011 MSP and HSPE.. for ...
NON Low-Income v. Low Income
White v. Black

Download the 155 kB excel sheet if you want it=>

It shows the data from grades 4, 7, for reading, writing, math, grade 5 and 8 for science.
High School HSPE Reading, Writing, and Science.

Here are changes in gap size from 2010 to 2011 ... Enfield as CAO and interim Supt. gets to own this:

White/\Black gap change from 2010 to 2011 followed by 2011 gap size. (+ is larger gap)

Grade 4 +4.00% => 44.80%
Grade 7 +2.90% => 36.40%
Grade 10 -2.60% => 29.50% at this rate closed in 11.35 years

Grade 4 +0.10% => 49.60%
Grade 7 +2.80% => 45.90%

There was NO HSPE math in 2011 but the math gap had grown larger each year for 6 consecutive years and was at 55.60% in 2010 (first year of Discovering use).

Grade 4 +3.90% => 34.20%
Grade 7 +2.40% => 27.60%
Grade 10 + 6.50% => 21.20%

Grade 5 +7.50% => 52.40%
Grade 8 -7.90% => 42.80%
Grade 10 +7.00% => 56.90%

In only 2 of 11 categories is the White - Black GAP getting smaller.
Non-Low Income /\ Low -Income

Grade 4 -0.80% => 36.10%
Grade 7 +2.90% => 31.40%
Grade 10 -1.60% => 21.40%

Grade 4 +2.40% => 40.9%
Grade 7 +0.20% => 36.1%

There was no HSPE math in 2011 but the GAP had grown larger the last three years and stood at 38.30% in 2010.

Grade 4 +4.40% => 30.00%
Grade 7 -0.10% => 22.10%
Grade 10 +1.80% => 15.8%

Grade 5 +8.30% => 44.30%
Grade 8 -2.00% => 32.50%
Grade 10 +3.10% => 39.60%

For the NON Low-Income /\ Low Income Gap

The gap is narrowing in 4 out of 11 categories


Remember the four incumbents running and how achievement Gaps were a huge priority. So it is now time for Carr, Martin-Morris, and maybe Maier to show up and DUMP Enfield. The results demand it.

In the two White-Black categories that are actually closing Gaps using the Pittsburgh data approach:
10th grade reading Gap will disappear in 11.35 years
8th grade science Gap in 5.42 years

Conversely the other 9 are all growing and at the current gap change rate
5th grade science Gap reaches 100% in 6.4 years
10th grade science Gap reaches 100% in 6.2 years

The gap for Low Income is closing in 4 categories
4th grade reading Gap will disappear in 45 years.
10th grade reading in 13.3 years
7th grade writing in 221 years
8th grade science in 16 years.

Any chance the Board will ever read "Visible learning" or look at "Project Follow Through" results .... or is TFA going to do the job?

I still want a careful review of all options to close achievement gaps ... with only 6 of 22 categories showing smaller gaps .... IT SEEMS IN ORDER, especially since the achievement gaps are a major priority. --- right Board members.

I certainly want Dr. Enfield gone. She has demonstrated an astonishing lack of academic leadership. She has done nothing to improve this lousy situation. ....
Anonymous said…
With any luck, the local Ed Reform lobby will realize that parents care about what happens in their schools a lot more than they think.

For starters, LEV's leader might retract her deliberately demeaning description of Marty McLaren as a "retired substitute math teacher." Whether Korsmo is ignorant of McLaren's actual credentials and history, or just mean, neither is acceptable for a person in her position, and it certainly doesn't bode well for future relations between professional teachers and the anti-union Ed Reform crowd.

It's time for the Ed Reform pushers to start collaborating with teachers instead of constantly attacking and demeaning them. Teachers have acquiesced in plenty of standardized testing and the new evaluation systems, even though many of them feel both are very misguided efforts. Time for the Ed Reform crowd to get behind those in the trenches if they really want to make a difference, instead of continuing to step on them and blaming Caspar the Union Ghost every time they don't get their way. WSDWG
Anonymous said…
KUOW's Weekday had a great interview with three teachers today on the budget cuts. Here's the link in case you missed it (sorry...don't know how to make it live):


Solvay Girl
Jan said…
WSDWG: On the effects of scandals, etc., I think you are right. I would have voted the way I voted even if there had not been a Potter-gate, etc. -- because in MY opinion, the real scandals are the "smaller" ones -- loss of teacher autonomy, standardization, continual "bleeding" of resources from schools to the central administration, failure of the southeast initiative, botching of the SAP (and utter failure to keep community commitments on choice options and transportation), etc. etc. etc.

We are lucky that the same arrogance, incompetence, and hubris that "self-selects" folks like MGJ to run this District like she did also results in the failure to care about financial accountability, or to care about hiring competent management (in fact -- many competent managers flee from folks like MGJ and refuse to work for them, because they can't stand it).
dan dempsey said…
Thanks Solvay Girl....

Karen Dadashi is a kindergarten teacher at Kimball Elementary School.

Phyllis Campano is a special education teacher at Pathfinder K–8 School.

Juan Price is a social studies teacher at West Seattle High School. Juan came to WSHS in 2006-2007 from the Clover Park School District. WSHS is privileged to have him.
Anonymous said…
Thanks Dan!

Charlie Mas said…
I'm curious. Just what, exactly, are Chris Korsmo's qualifications?
Paul said…
Korsmo is simply a stooge for the monied interests that need to hide behind someone who was brought up in an economically challenged home, so that LEV can claim to represent a broad spectrum of the community. Really its always been a bunch of wealthy folks (who all supported the incumbents this year, heck, Phil Lloyd acted as treasurer to several) who want their kids to go to private schools at public expense (charters). Note the Seattle "Liberals" who endorsed the incumbents.

What I'd like to see in the board comes from that noted sage: Judge Judy. She is fond of saying "Once you lie to me I never believe anything else you say".

Boy, if that credo was institutionalized at District HQ, there would be lots of new faces real quick and lots more integrity in our discourse.

My two cents.
She worked for years in DC for reproductive rights and then moved out here and got the LEV gig.

She probably has no weighed in on the Peaslee/Maier race because it is not decided but also she wrote that she was in NYC looking at charter schools.
SolvayGirl said…
Enfield will be interviewed on KUOW and discuss her "State of the District" right now (9AM, Wed., 11/16).
Anonymous said…
I just heard Susan Enfield say that graduation rate is above 70%. That's great!

I only heard the last portion of it. Anyone else listened to it?

A friend of Seattle
Anonymous said…
The new College Tracking data (for 2010 graduates) were posted last night and are available at

This is the report of the proportions of high school grads who go on to college (2- or 4-year). Here are some highlights (the 1ST NUMBER IN PARENTHESES IS % OF 2010 HIGH SCHOOL GRADS GOING ON TO COLLEGE; 2ND IS % OF ’10 GRADS GOING TO 4-YR COLLEGE; AND 3RD IS % OF STUDENTS WHO STARTED COLLEGE IN 2009 WHO WERE STILL IN COLLEGE THE FOLLOWING FALL):

STATE (57.3, 29.5; 83.5): slight upward trend since 2004

DISTRICT (64.9, 50.9; 88.8): slight upward trend since ’04; not surprisingly, Garfield, Nathan Hale, and Roosevelt consistently have the highest percentage of kids going to college the last 3 years (Hale had the highest % in ’08, Garfield in ’09, and Roosevelt in ’10); across the district 58.6% of grads on free/reduced lunch went to college in 2009 (only year FRL data are available), compared to 69.3% of kids who weren’t FRL; but this pattern didn’t hold for all schools: Franklin and RB had higher proportions of FRL kids attending college and Cleveland and WS had similar proportions; Roosevelt and Garfield had much higher proportions of their non-FRL grads attending college than their FRL grads; Hispanic (and sometimes Native American) grads consistently seem to have the lowest rates of college attendance in the district; boys tend to have lower attendance rates than girls across time (about 3-4% difference)

BALLARD (64.9, 44.9; 88.7): slight upward trend in college attendance from ’04 until ‘08, then down until ‘10; notably low college attendance rates for Hispanic and Native American students

CLEVELAND (54.9, 46.2; 81.5): downward trend in college attendance since’08

FRANKLIN (66.4, 48.6; 89.6): slight upward trend in college attendance since ‘04; erratic college attendance rates for Caucasian grads; low college attendance rates for Hispanic students, but upward trend since ‘07

GARFIELD (76.3, 69.9; 94.9): upward trend in college attendance since 04; marked downward trend in attendance for Hispanic grads since ‘07

HALE (73.2, 60.1, 87.7): upward trend in college attendance since ‘04; strong upward trend for Asian students; erratic cross-time patterns in college attendance for Hispanic, African American, and Native American grads

INGRAHAM (63.5, 45.3; 93.6): possible slight upward trend in college attendance since’04; Hispanic students tend to have the lowest rates of college attendance across time, but there was a 10% point increase for that group from ‘09 to ‘10

RAINIER BEACH (52.4, 39.8; 71.9): college attendance rates flat until ‘08, but up by 12-14% for the last 2 years; Hispanic students tend to have relatively lower college attendance rates overall, but there has been an upward trend for Asian and African American students over the last 5 years

ROOSEVELT (76.5, 62.2; 95.3): slight upward trend since ‘04; Hispanic grad college attendance rates are relatively low, but there has been a steady increase in those rates since ‘07, with the gap narrowing considerably

SEALTH (54.8, 40.5; 84.5): relatively flat college attendance rates since ‘04; Hispanic college attendance rates often significantly lower than other ethnic groups

WEST SEATTLE (61.1, 47.9; 84.0): upward trend in college attendance rates from ‘04-‘09, but 10% drop from ‘09 to ’10; Hispanic, Native American, and African American groups tend to have lower college attendance rates, but there has been an increase in African American rates since ’06, with Caucasian and AA rates being very similar to each other in ’09 and ‘10

-college tracker
North End Non-Entity said…
and now for something completely different...

Does any Seattle Public Schools parent know how to engage their school's PTSA? I read exhortations for volunteers, I offer hours but a coordinator doesn't return my e-mail yet repeats calls for volunteers.

I've pointed out that our public school doesn't exist in Wikipedia's Seattle Schools page, and submitted a proposal to the PTSA to fix it given some official info from the school and/or the district: I haven't heard back yet.

The school has a sizable English Language Learner population -- I asked a previous PTSA member/volunteer at another school for particulars about setting up a corporate-branded crossword board-game group or club, and the benefits to participating children. I haven't heard back from any PTSA person.

I was a volunteer tutor last year, and volunteered to tutor math this year in early September and haven't heard back from the school administration. Tutors have been employed.

I know people are busy, I've been a PTA board member/full-time employee/mother+spouse and I know better than to submit frivolous ideas that do not fit the mission and vision of the school. When requests for food contributions for celebrations are sent, I deliver. When teachers request donations for books or other supplies, I deliver.

I read requests for proposals, ideas and help but am wondering why a volunteer's ideas that have proved successful or beneficial in other Seattle Schools would be turned down.

Are there tricks beyond introducing the proposal, outlining its benefits and execution plan? Does one have to be best buds with a Board member?

I have prior volunteer experience and no criminal record. My son is a high-performing child. I feel shut out of my son's school for unknown reasons.
Anonymous said…
Not to be callous North End NonEntity but this is no surprise. My perception is the PTSA in Seattle at the current leadership level are a bunch of white women who gave up their careers and are looking for a place of power. Sorry to be harsh, but that's just the way it is for anyone not part of the Cool Girl crowd (largely a bunch of NE Seattle privileged 40 year olds who cling to their friends in LEV and the Alliance). Think this post is over the top? Go do your own research and see the truth of it yourself.

What can you do? Work outside the PTSA. Create your own volunteer opportunity and supporting committee. Get someone in your administration to be your sponsor. It's faster and it won't cost you money.

Don't bother going through downtown either. They talk a good game but have the organization skills of a blind mouse.

Been There Not Doing That
I am very sad to hear that you are trying to volunteer and get no answer from both administration and the PTA. It could be a couple of things. One, schools want volunteers but don't like to coordinate it. Go to a teacher or librarian.

Two, it could be a small PTA that is swamped. Find the President, in person or on the phone, and tell her you are available and what does he/she want you to do?

Three, get ahold of Lauren McGuire of the Seattle Council PTSA. She will be able to work with you to get you in touch with your school's PTSA.

"My perception is the PTSA in Seattle at the current leadership level are a bunch of white women who gave up their careers and are looking for a place of power."

That may be your perception. That is not necessarily the truth.

I live in the north end and yes, the PTAs are made up largely of white women. But I have not seen it as women who gave up something to raise their children and are power hungry. Ever.

Every single PTA Board I served on wanted new people and new ideas. People just didn't show up especially in middle and high school.

A lot gets done because of PTA and to say that it's run so some people can have power is a sad statement and I am sorry if that is your experience. That is not mine.
Urban Legend said…
Anyone remember that levy we passed a couple years back to pay for textbooks? The textbooks were adopted last year for at least a few subject areas. The books were supposed to be purchased last June. They were not.
The word on the street is that now there is no money for textbooks. A strange story that it was "borrowed" for something else but will be "paid back".
Any way of investigating this? That is A LOT of missing money.
Anonymous said…
North End,

Keep offering to volunteer when you see a call for it. Volunteer in your kid's classroom, get to know the teacher, librarian, office staff, gym teacher-- you never know when they need help. Sometimes, it does take a while when you're the new kid on the block, especially if it's at school with lots of volunteer and eager beavers already. Many of us have been there.

And if your are interested is tutoring, please consider other needy schools nearby especially for math and reading tutor.

-hope this helps
Anonymous said…

I have tutored & fundraised in several schools in the north end and I think the key is to connect to the right person, often this is not someone on PTSA.

In the schools where I have tutored there were several groups who organized tutors, from the classroom teachers, to the families & ed levy point person, to the school-funded volunteer coordinator, to the school administration, to the alumni-run math group. All providing tutors in the same building, not coordinating with each other. So it is important to get in touch with the person who would be coordinating the volunteer position you want. It is very easy to slip through the cracks.

The same thing with fundraising. Are wanting to involve students so it is an ASB thing, is this for a club that already exists or needs to be formed, or is the money for PTSA, or a PTSA associated booster group, or a school foundation? Have you found out about the fundraising structures in the school? They all have different people involved & a PTSA chair may not really know who the point person is each year for each group or how they make fundraising decisions.

And yes, sometimes people are very territorial. They have their fundraising plans scheduled, with volunteers they know will come through and have negotiated with other fundraising groups in the school so they don't compete or over whelm their volunteers. Sometimes they will have to give up one fundraiser to adopt another. (I am being approached in 9 school related fundraisers organized by 6 different groups from my 2 kids school's at this very moment and they are certainly not the first for this year.) So if you have a great fundraising idea, I would identify the group that will benefit & get involved in their fundraising committee. If you are willing to run the fundraiser & recruit volunteers they will certainly listen.

Good for you that you want to be more involved. Be persistant in finding the people that can help you do that.

- volunteer tutor
Charlie Mas said…
Urban Legend asked: "Anyone remember that levy we passed a couple years back to pay for textbooks?"

Remember Mel and I saying at the time that the District isn't constrained to spending the levy money as they say they will?
Charlie Mas said…
At tonight's Board meeting, Mark Teoh showed a slide with the uses of the MAP test.

I couldn't help noticing that the slide did not include the use of the MAP test as a formative assessment to inform instruction.

Isn't that what we bought it for in the first place?
Parent said…
Charlie, great question about the MAP testing; I hope you will follow up on that point with a post.

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