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Monday, January 30, 2012

Seattle Schools This Week

It's a fairly slow week.

Wednesday, Feb. 1st

- Work Session: Facilities from 4-5:30 p.m. No agenda available yet.

-School Board meeting from 6-9 p.m. Agenda.  (note; normally SB meetings are two weeks apart but, because of the snow, this one occurs just one week from the last one on Jan. 25th)

The agenda includes:
- Creative Approach Schools MOU - as I previously mentioned I support this effort but it cannot go forward without the Board having some oversight ability. Without that, we are giving away our public schools and their oversight. Director Peaslee has introduced an amendment towards that end.
- The Waiver for Basic Instructional Materials policy. The agenda indicates that the action report and policy has been updated but I have not read it yet.
Director Peaslee is offering two amendments; one is to allow the school principal the right to appeal to the School Board if the Superintendent denies a waiver request. The other amendment is to allow the district funding (or grant funding) to be used to support materials for waivers for schools that cannot afford it.
-Approve a resolution in support of an application to OSPI for a new skills center program.
-Policy Book preamble (edited) as well as an amendment by Director Smith-Blum regarding community partners.
- Intro items include an agreement for work to be done at John Marshall for "reopening 2013 project", approval of Facilities Master Plan (which I haven't seen available yet), policy on visitors to schools and a couple of other policy revisions.

The John Marshall contract is for $250k (that's just for consultant fees for architectural and
engineering services).   The rest of the contract details spending of about $2M mostly to fix electrical, mechanical and basics like flooring.  
 
There are no Director Community meetings this Saturday.

13 comments:

anonymous said...

"Director Peaslee is offering two amendments; one is to allow the school principal the right to appeal to the School Board if the Superintendent denies a waiver request."

Isn't it the boards job to set policy and the supers to follow that policy? Wouldn't it be considered micromanaging for the board to override the superintendents decision regarding an individual schools material waiver? Wouldn't it be best for the board to set a clear policy on materials waivers (what qualifies, what doesn't) upfront, and then expect the super to uphold that policy for all schools in our district. Overriding the supers decision on a materials waiver for an individual school seems like crossing the line.

I'm beginning to see what Debell was suggesting regarding some board directors trying to micromanage.

FIAO

mirmac1 said...

FIAO,

The Board has a duty to govern and oversee. The right for an appeal is NOT micromanaging. The right for an appeal provides the checks and balances that the LEVs, Stand, and other centralized power advocates decry.

Let's say we have a dictatorial superintendent who does not use facts and data to drive decisionmaking (not naming names, but rhymes with MGK), who will lavish waivers on the fair-haired child, while slamming the door on everyone else. The way the POLICY is currently written (yes, the board writes the policy), the unelected superintendent can unilaterally say H*ll no to a waiver. At least the affected teachers, principals and families can let their elected representative know the reasons why they support the waiver request.

Enough with the top-down apparatchik mentality. Cripes, DeBell's the one who's been pushing for a waiver policy for years. Wot!? Is HE micromanaging? Because he got tired of the delays and excuses?! I'm just happy we have board members who actually read WTH it is they are voting on!

Josh Hayes said...

So they're looking to "reopen" the John Marshall building; any plan on what they expect to put IN there? A middle school? Or what?

Anonymous said...

Mirmac, the board should set policy that clearly guides the superintendent, and hold him/her accountable to follow it. In this case the materials waiver policy should spell out exactly what criteria is needed to grant a waiver. If a school meets the criteria they get the waiver, if they don't meet the criteria they don't get the waiver. That prevents an evil dictatorial superintendent from "lavishing waivers on schools with fair haired children while slamming the door on everyone else". Having the board override the superintendents decision for an individual school seems like crossing the line of micromanagement.

FIAO

mirmac1 said...

FIAO,

I'm glad things are so black and white in your world. I suppose that teacher evals will be prescriptive and 100% without bias, that all schools will get equal (but separate) treatment, and that principals need not fear the whims of unqualified, neophyte Executive Directors of Schools.

This materials waiver policy was essentially written by staff, central office staff, who have no &*%#@! idea WTF is going on in classrooms. If it doesn't appear on their "dashboard", then it doesn't exist. Charlie and Dan have presented many reasons WHY this staff-written policy is screwed up. Now, in the past, the board would just glance at it, pretend to listen to teachers and citizens, then pass crappy policy anyway.

The amendment is in line with current policy and procedures for instruction Materials Complaints. 2020SP.A reads: If the instructional material being appealed (like Discovery Math, say) is a School Board-adopted material, the complainant may appeal the decision to the School Board."

This voter does not wish to see any more Floe debacles, and would like to see more Mercer happy flukes (though from what we're told, it was central admin's double secret strategy all along). The "Superintendent as demi-god" crowd simply wants to maintain its control and influence. Bzzzt, rejected.

WV: is BROAD, too funny : )

Anonymous said...

If Wilson Pacific becomes the site of a north end middle school, students of the new school may be placed at an interim site during construction - which would mean more reasonable numbers of students at the now overcrowded middle schools. John Marshall and Lincoln would be candidates for an interim site. APP will also need to vacate Lincoln at the time John Marshall becomes available.

It seems to be anyone's guess...

mirmac1 said...

It seems to be anyone's guess...

That is what I believe SHOULD have happened at Boren and a new WS neighborhood K-5 school. Instead we got a new flavor K-5 STEM option school - that nobody knows what the heck it looks like.

I believe the problem was the angst about redrawing boundaries twice (once now and once for BEX IV planning). Seems shifting boundaries wasn't an issue in Wallingford....

Anonymous said...

Repairs for John Marshall include "spot repair envelope rot...repair water damaged ceilings and walls..and replace duct work in mechanical attic damaged by water." How bad is it in there?

neighbor

Anonymous said...

A draft Facilities Master Plan is now posted on the School Board Agenda.

http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Departmental%20Content/school%20board/11-12%20agendas/020112agenda/20120201_FacilitiesMasterPlan.pdf

-parent

anonymous said...

"This materials waiver policy was essentially written by staff, central office staff, who have no &*%#@! idea WTF is going on in classrooms. If it doesn't appear on their "dashboard", then it doesn't exist. Charlie and Dan have presented many reasons WHY this staff-written policy is screwed up."

I never said that I liked the staff-written materials waiver policy, or that the board should approve it. The board would be well within their rights to tell staff to go back to the drawing board and come up with a better proposal. But to approve this policy and then have to override the superintendent when individual schools appeal it seems backwards.

FIAO

mirmac1 said...

FIAO,

I can live with that. Unfortunately, the Board does not have the resources to craft good policy. They must be led by the nose by staff.

Anonymous said...
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Charlie Mas said...

A question was asked about the enrollment number shown for Hamilton in the FMP. The number did not appear to account for the APP students at the school.

Reading carefully you will see that the numbers reported in the FMP are SPS enrollment numbers for residents in the attendance area, not necessarily the enrollment at the school. There are 684 SPS middle school students living in the Hamilton attendance area, but that's not the number enrolled at the school and it is not intended to reflect the number enrolled at the school.