Seattle Schools This Week

There will be a lot of catching up to do this week from the loss of time from the snow days.  Also, much has happened in the media since the postponement of the School Board meeting last Wednesday the 18th to this Wednesday the 25th.  I expect that many more media may be at this meeting.

I am also delighted that the speaker list carried over from last Wednesday's meeting.  I expect that some listed speakers may get pressure to give up their places to people pushing the Board policy 1620B but I think many speakers who signed up for other reasons (like Whittier) may stand their ground.  Good for them.  (I, too, remain on the speakers list.)
Tuesday, January 24
Executive Committee meeting from 10-noon.    The only item on the agenda is the superintendent search.

Curriculum&Instruction/Operations Committee, Meeting of the Whole (rescheduled) from 4-7 p.m.
Going off the agendas from Jan. 19th, it appears that they will be discussing the contract for school yearbooks, high school graduation requirements and high school grade and credit marking (new to me).

Partial Furlough Day - Three-Hour Early Dismissal

Wednesday, January 25th
Work Session on the Budget/BEX IV Planning Process from 4-5:30 p.m.

School Board Meeting from 6-9 p.m.   Agenda
There is the annual Disclosure of Financial/Conflict of Interest for the Board and the executive administrators.  Nothing much new except that I note that Director Martin-Morris now works at the UW as a senior lecturer and that Noel Treat, Deputy Superintendent, this year acknowledged his relationship to the head of the Alliance for Education, Sara Morris (she is his wife of his brother-in-law).

They will be appointing the new members of the BEX Oversight Committee as well as approving the Short-Term Capacity Management and NSAP Transition Plan for 2012-2013.  One interesting thing is the maps for the Geozones.  Most have a fairly normal appearance (given the city's geography) but South Shore's is a bit of a crazy quilt.

There is the introduction of the Creative Approach Schools MOU with the SEA.  More on this in a separate thread. 

There is a policy book preamble.  I note this section:

The Board’s policy website shall clearly delineate which policies are being reviewed, the timeline for the review, the lead staff assigned to the policy, the committee that will review the policy, a link to the draft policy presented at a Board committee or work session, and how to send feedback on the policy.

Well, I have gone to the Board's webpage several times to check policies and did not find them accessible.  It would be a good idea if what they write in their preamble is actually the case in fact.

As well, there is the introduction of the Series 6000 policies which will skip the next Board meeting (to allow time for community input) and then be voted

Then there is the-now infamous Policy 1620B.  I haven't reread it since the Executive Committee meeting but I'm hoping the language is less blunt and harsh.  I also hope that some of Charlie's suggestions were in there.

I can say a couple of things that you should know about this issue:

- this work was NOT on their work plan agreed to for the year that they set up at the last Board retreat; it is new work, it is the Board's work and frankly, should be heard by ALL members - at a work session, the next Board retreat or a full Committee of the Whole Executive committee meeting.  There is no rush to this work.
- Director Smith-Blum, in trying to find best practices in other districts, checked on this type of policy.  Out of 25 urban districts that she checked, only four have such a policy.  This seems to indicate it is not a typical policy that most Boards see as necessary.

There is also a resolution for introduction around new CTE fund for skills center programs.  There is no info as of yet on this.  I am hoping that this stage also includes RBHS.

Thursday, January 26th
Another Work Session on the Budget/BEX IV Planning process from 4-6 p.m.  I'll have to ask how they will have these two meetings because I would like to hear more about BEX IV.

Friday, January 27th
Snow Make-Up day - School will be in session.

BEX Oversight Committee meeting (rescheduled) from 8:30-10:30 am

Saturday, January 28th
Community Meeting with Director Patu from 10 am - noon at Cafe Vita, 5028 Wilson Avenue S.


Anonymous said…
Also this week ... "Red for ED". SEA is asking that parents & kids wear red tomorrow to show support for teachers and staff.

SPS ma
dan dempsey said…
Dear SPS ma,

I am confused about this action:

SEA is asking that parents & kids wear red tomorrow to show support for teachers and staff.

So the Teachers Union SEA wants the parents and students to show support for teachers and staff. What does this mean? and what is the purpose?

Does the SEA believe that parents and students are not fully supportive of teachers?

Does this have to do with the Legislature being in session?

Why Red?
Sahila said…
@Dan.... wearing red for public education is a national protest action that has been happening for almost a year, I think...

It has its own facebook page...


it made an impact at the SOS March in DC last summer and is being pushed in school districts and at community events all over the country...
Anonymous said…
Thanks for the link Sahila!

I thought it was just to support the teachers on the furlough day.

SPS ma
Anonymous said…
‘Reformers’ playbook on failing schools fails a fact check

Mr. Ed
Charlie Mas said…
I'm not sure what the Board, working as a committee of the whole, can do about high school graduation requirements or credit and grade marking in just thirty minutes.

The Committee of the Whole structure is notoriously unwieldy and time consuming and these matters (graduation requirements and credit) are notoriously complicated and nuanced.

This appears to be a recipe for delay and delegation.

The last time the Board got together as a Committee of the Whole to discuss these topics was around September of 2008 I believe. At that meeting Carla Santorno and Michael Tolley dragged the Board around by the nose and got them to agree to delay action on some parts until the staff could present "a comprehensive and coordinated solution". That solution was supposed to come in three months but actually took a year and, when it came, got broken up into pieces anyway.

I have a very bad feeling about this.
SP said…
Charlie, you are right to be concerned. 25 minutes on the agenda for reviewing 2 major policies is just a waste of everyone's time. The district is proposing a new amendment to each policy (adding one more/4th LA credit to graduation requirements for 21 total, and adding a new amendment to the HS grade & credit marking policy (allowing a 0.5 credit given for students after failing a class but passing the EOC). Intro will be Feb. 1st.

The problem is that these two policies were (rightly) delayed last fall and put into the Phase II review to allow for more "community input" but suddenly are whisked through the back-door with new amendments, but no time or attempt to review the entire policy.

In particular, the credit policy contains the controversial definition of a high school credit. The district's interpretation in recent years of "instructional activities" is that passing time between classes (as well as second breakfasts, advisory time, study hall/silent reading, and often even early dismissal time for professional development etc.) should ALL be counted as instructional time towards the 150 hours per credit rule, contrary to WSSDA's own model policy and 95% of all other districts.

This year the state legislature is removing the 150 hour wording and wrote that all districts need to adopt their own new definition of a HS credit into policy (I believe the timing was by June 2012, in order to be in place for the 2012-13 school year). This in itself definitely needs a full review (including promised "community input") and passing the amendments discussed today should not remove either policy from Phase II.

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