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Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Open Thread

What's on your mind?

60 comments:

Anonymous said...

On Sunday the 29th there is a fun art show to support a great cause.

Differently Designed Artist Trunk Show

Sunday, April 29, 3 - 7 pm at Thornton Creek Elementary

Shop for handmade art by twenty local artists. Twenty percent of proceeds benefit the Every Body Plays community playground at Thornton Creek Elementary, s specially designed playground for children with special needs.

To learn more abut the project...

-StepJ

4/17/12 1:19 PM

Anonymous said...

Word is there's a all staff meeting that Cathy Thompson is also leaving - verrrrry interesting

a reader

Anonymous said...

oops that should have been "all staff email" not meeting - not enough coffee yet - sorry

a reader

Nick Esparza said...

Dear colleagues,

After 19 years with Seattle Public Schools, I have decided to move on to a new challenge. I have accepted a position as Project Director at the University of Washington’s Center for Educational Leadership, within the College of Education. My last day with Seattle Schools is May 24th.

This was not an easy decision, as I am proud of the work we have all accomplished together. I have enjoyed my time in the classroom, as a literacy coach, as a principal and finally, working in the central office, supporting the great work we are doing in our schools. I am grateful for the people I have worked with in Seattle and appreciative of the experience I have received as a result of my years here.

In my new position, I will be working with school districts nationally, supporting them in strengthening instruction. I am excited to take on this new challenge. Still, I hope our paths will cross again.

Starting May 25th, Wendy London will serve as Interim Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning and Kimberly Kinzer will take over as Interim Director of Curriculum and Instructional Support. They have both graciously agreed to step into these roles in the short term, and I know you will be in good hands.

Thank you for all you do every day; I wish you the very best.

Sincerely,

Cathy Thompson
Assistant Superintendent
Teaching and Learning

Anonymous said...

Cathy is an earnest person in wayyyyyy over her head. And she appears overworked. Good on her if she recognizes this and moves on to more rewarding work for her.

Oh, and maybe our math program will finally have a redo.

Savvy Voter

Anonymous said...

Attended an awards ceremony for a group of Federal Way schools in support of a friend last night. The awards went to teachers, volunteers and students from elementary through high school. It was amazing because student after student being recognized was cited for doing above-grade level work through online programs, in other classrooms, or independently.

They weren't in a special program; they weren't in their own special building. They needed accelerated work and they got it. Why can't Seattle SD do this??

As I understand it (will have to ask my friend), although Fedweal Way DOES have a GT program, any student can request advanced work or self-select an advanced program. This makes so much sense to me.

I also saw teachers who seemed happy with their jobs, their principals and their school board (members were on hand to make the awards). Parents were happy and gave all of these people loud cheers. It was a night and day difference from the disaffected parents and disillusioned teachers in Seattle. Should have moved there years ago.

KidsRGrown

Anonymous said...

But how did Cathy Thompson strengthen instruction in our district?

Huh?

T Mobile Sucks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

PLEASE send your emails in regarding the Superintendent choice.

The STAND, LEV, etc organizations are in full force today - sending out sample letters to their members asking them to forward to the school board urging them to choose Dr. Husk.

signed - worried!

Someone said...

@KidsRGrown - my stepdaughter goes to school in Federal Way - she's in their "Cambridge" program which is a seperate module within her middle school (there's also a high school version) - we could not be more pleased with what she's done there the last 3 years - excellent teachers who challenge her in every way - my spouse and I often agree how we are thankful she could go to school there instead of here in Seattle - she'd be an entirely different kid. SPS could learn alot from how that district handles many things - though, no district is perfect, by any means.

Po3 said...

LOL, maybe the other position Husk is considering is Thompsons?

Anonymous said...

my letter to the board:

Dear members of the Seattle Schools Board,

Thank you for your work on behalf of Seattle students. I know you have a very big decision ahead of you and thank you for your thoughful consideration of all the candidates for Superintendent.

I have read the resumes and bios of all the finalists, have read and/or watched the media coverage, and done some independent reseach on all of the candidates as well. After this review and analysis, I believe the best candidate to lead Seattle Public Schools is Steven Enoch. My (very close) second choice would be Jose Banda. I imagine you are getting a lot of emails from interested parties so I won't enumerate the reasons why I feel these two candidates are best, but as an informed voter, taxpayer, public school parent of two, and PTA board member my children's elementary and middle schools, I wanted the Board to know my opinion. I have serious concerns about Sandra Husk. Concerns specific to her management style, policies and personal choices but moreover (and more importantly) I do not see her the candidate who will be responsive to students and families, be able build consensus or be able to restore confidence to SPS teachers, staff and families.

I want a candidate who always puts the needs of students first. That has been lacking for a while. We are on the right track. Please keep that positive momentum going forward by picking Steven Enoch or Jose Banda.

Thank you again for your service to Seattle students.

-ok mom

Jan said...

Great letter, ok mom.

Anonymous said...

The SPED community clearly rejects Husk but like Banda and Enoch? Interesting. The question is whether the board will take notice.

If they won't take notice, then what happens? Lawsuits? More bad headlines? Unlike other areas of unhappy parents, these students are in a federally protected classification. The current program does appear to be a total disgrace and the SPED parents seem suddenly energized. I'm watching with interest.

EdVoter

Anonymous said...

Astute observation EdVoter.

I've found it ridiculous and ironic that the board would listen to the "moderate voices" of the privileged, versus the righteously adamant voices of protected classes. Could be because more than a few board members attend the same cocktail parties as the former, and feel annoyed by the latter.

More disgusted

Anonymous said...

This is the best news all day about Cathy Thompson leaving! I'm hopeful we will see effective changes in direction with regards to instructional practices from Wendy London.

-Aarrgh!

SeattleSped said...

Not to beleaguer the point but these two articles show just where SpEd parents stand in many districts. In the Atlanta case, one must look beyond the family's internal issues but see how the district treated their child and their legitimate complaint.

Personally, I believe SPS has better SpEd teachers than the few criminals in Atlanta and New Jersy. Yet, there is the same callous attitude from administrators here in enlightened Seattle, under the marvelous Enfield.

EdWeek: Parents Compelled to Secretly Wire Children to Track Events at School

AJC: An expensive fight over a boy with autism

Anonymous said...

Now is a good time to ask for math waivers! Perhaps there won't be obstruction from central office with Cathy Thompson gone.

Aarrgh!

Anonymous said...

Re Federal Way: I met Robert Neu when he first arrived and he impressed the heck out of me. The presentation I saw was organized, informed, inspiring and cogent, but also warm, easygoing and funny - actually funny. In other words, a great communicator and genuine. He also presented some excellent ideas, such as the opt out system for AP. Some may have problems with it, but I think it’s brilliant - simple, cheap, and effective. Even students who don’t score high enough on the MS tests to get automatic AP assignment can choose to opt in if they want to try. Sounds like he’s managing this sort of transformation across his district - that is, making it easy for students to access higher level learning.

In Seattle you have to jump through a thousand hoops to be allowed to work harder. In my experience, only the kids who have super engaged parents or who are lucky enough to catch the attention of an astute teacher get the encouragement necessary to take on more difficult work. Working harder is not the default choice of most teenagers, just as saving is not the default choice of most Americans (hence the change to opt out 401k’s), but, in my experience, they usually find they like it, it feels good to step up (like it feels good to have some money when you retire). Most of us remember our most exacting teachers as our best.

Of course, students should have a shame-free choice to move out of a class that’s not a good fit for them - maybe AP physics just doesn’t hold their interest enough for them to stay with it. That’s okay. But for goodness sake, Seattle's got to stop counting on teenagers to ask, “please, sir, may I have some more?” Or counting on parents to do it for them.

Since I met Neu I’ve been so grumpy that we can’t figure out how to hire someone like him. But, alas. We’ll see how things go today. I’m not sanguine, though the new make up of the board gives me a tinge of hope.

By the by, Enoch’s my choice (w concern about him not sticking around long). I find Banda okay, but boring and other things. Husk, no way. Seattle needs NO more big ideas - just mending and tending by someone we actually like.

Jan said...

When does the Board meet? When are we supposed to congregate outside JSEE and watch for the puff of white smoke?

Jamie said...

Anon @ 11:50am, I am reposting your entry here since it will likely be deleted.

Re Federal Way: I met Robert Neu when he first arrived and he impressed the heck out of me. The presentation I saw was organized, informed, inspiring and cogent, but also warm, easygoing and funny - actually funny. In other words, a great communicator and genuine. He also presented some excellent ideas, such as the opt out system for AP. Some may have problems with it, but I think it’s brilliant - simple, cheap, and effective. Even students who don’t score high enough on the MS tests to get automatic AP assignment can choose to opt in if they want to try. Sounds like he’s managing this sort of transformation across his district - that is, making it easy for students to access higher level learning.

In Seattle you have to jump through a thousand hoops to be allowed to work harder. In my experience, only the kids who have super engaged parents or who are lucky enough to catch the attention of an astute teacher get the encouragement necessary to take on more difficult work. Working harder is not the default choice of most teenagers, just as saving is not the default choice of most Americans (hence the change to opt out 401k’s), but, in my experience, they usually find they like it, it feels good to step up (like it feels good to have some money when you retire). Most of us remember our most exacting teachers as our best.

Of course, students should have a shame-free choice to move out of a class that’s not a good fit for them - maybe AP physics just doesn’t hold their interest enough for them to stay with it. That’s okay. But for goodness sake, Seattle's got to stop counting on teenagers to ask, “please, sir, may I have some more?” Or counting on parents to do it for them.

Since I met Neu I’ve been so grumpy that we can’t figure out how to hire someone like him. But, alas. We’ll see how things go today. I’m not sanguine, though the new make up of the board gives me a tinge of hope.

By the by, Enoch’s my choice (w concern about him not sticking around long). I find Banda okay, but boring and other things. Husk, no way. Seattle needs NO more big ideas - just mending and tending by someone we actually like.

4/27/12 11:50 AM

Anonymous said...

Is there a video of Husk's interview out there? It has not been posted on the WSBlog yet.

MC

Steve said...

The District has posted videos of all three candidates on their web site (currently linked-to on the home page). You can find the video for the Husk interview here.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know when the high school packets for class selection for freshman will go out? My daughter is anxiously awaiting hers.

Thanks,
Future Hale Parent

Patrick said...

When does the Board meet? When are we supposed to congregate outside JSEE and watch for the puff of white smoke?

Well the board meets today (or has met?) but then they need to contact their preferred candidate, talk about money and other contract provisions, and if they come to agreement they still need to contact the other candidates with rejection notices. So it will probably be the middle of next week before they're ready to make an announcement, even if the first preferred candidate takes the job.

suep. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jan said...

Gee Patrick -- I guess you are right. It can't quite work like the Vatican, can it? At the Vatican, there is no need for a contract, as everyone has been hired for life and taken vows of poverty; and all those not selected know, as they are in the room voting; and you never have to worry about rejection by a pick, since the appointment comes from God -- and who would turn God down?

Anonymous said...

Well, here's an interesting way to use Husk's past, as a promo for Seattle DUI defense lawyers:

http://www.cowanlawfirm.com/blog/2012/04/24/seattle-superintendent-candidate-talks-about-previous-dui-arrest/

dui

Patrick said...

Well, here's an interesting way to use Husk's past, as a promo for Seattle DUI defense lawyers:

What a strange promo, since they didn't defend Husk and the Husk's arrest didn't even happen in Washington. Kind of like name-dropping the name of someone you don't even know.

Anonymous said...

What is going on in the district: it seems to me that everyone is leaving like from a sinking boat? Will we have more scandal to come to light soon?
-Wondering

Anonymous said...

That promo for the law firm is wierd. Should we expect more of this kind of stuff in the event that she is hired? I guess they don't need her permission to use her name like that? Makes me cringe.

MC

Anonymous said...

It is not the only law firm referencing it. The point they seem to be making is that DUIs follow you and can affect future job prospects, so hire a lawyer to lessen the charges.

mirmac1 said...

So they mention her name? It's not like it's slander. Of course she can claim that "the incident" or the "traumatic event" actually happened to someone else (or to her under an altered state of consciousness).

Jet City mom said...

I guess I am not as cynical as I thought because it didn't even occur to me that Husk had any attributes that the neo -reformers would be interested in. Not any that weren't outweighed by her glaring deficits anyway.

Color me surprised.

Now is the chance for the board to show who they represent.
The families of Seattle?,or those "who think they know best".

Anonymous said...

There was a expose on Leajack constructgion today on King5 as a DBE - they worked on garfield as part of the silas potter program

read it on the web

Anonymous said...

Some older news about the contractor (March 2011):

http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/dailyweekly/2011/03/seattle_schools_contractor_boa.php

from the web

Anonymous said...

KING 5 story prompts governor to call for criminal investigation

http://www.king5.com/news/investigators/KING-5-story-prompts-governor-to-call-for-criminal-investigation--149179935.html

Anonymous said...

On another topic: Los Angeles high school being dechartered: L.A. Unified moves to revoke charter at Valley high school The district has faulted Birmingham Community Charter High School for allegedly mishandling student expulsions and services to disabled students. School officials say they're aware of no major problems.

I'm glad Thompson is leaving. Let's clean house. Oh man, I hope it's Banda or Enoch. I sure do.

n...

Patrick said...

The Seattle Times, in an article by Brian Rosenthal, is reporting that Bob Boesche will be interim superintendent from June when Enfield leaves until the new superintendent starts.

http://blogs.seattletimes.com/today/2012/04/bob-boesche-to-oversee-transition-to-new-seattle-schools-chief/

mirmac1 said...

Leajak. Look at nearly every GC-CM overpriced contract for SPS, Seattle Housing Authority and for Sound Transit. Nearly every prime contractor handed over the requisite tribute to Leajak to "perform" what is called NSS or Negotiated Support Services. NSS along with other pots of money in the GC-CM gravy train simply fattened the profit margin and eliminated risk that the old school hard-bid contractors used to carry. Leajak, Lease Crutcher, Absher etc were laughing all the way to the bank.

Is it any wonder that, after years of pissing away money like this, SPS is figuring it out that, uh, they weren't getting our money's worth? Of course Lucy Morello had to have Doug Nichols point out the obvious. They figured I couldn't possibly know WTF I was talking about.

Anonymous said...

Jobs at K5STEM for Phase 1 staffing are posted on the SPS careers page under "Internal Opportunities". These posting close April 30. If you know someone in SPS who would be a great fit for STEM and is looking for a new challenge. Please contact them now and encourage them to apply.

-Fiverson

Chicken Little said...

The district is as a living organism which seeks to preserve itself. The status quo is easy and familiar. Frankly, I'm not trusting anyone over 50 these days to make good decisions about the future of our kids. We need some fresh ideas from some younger people to turn around this district which fails to deliver to so many kids and their families.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Chicken Little, on behalf of the 50+ set - ouch!

age discrimination said...

Honestly, Chicken Little? I believe in the possibility of "older and wiser."

BL said...

Chicken Little,
Wasn't Maria Goodloe-Johnson under 50 when she was hired here?
How did that work out for us?

Anonymous said...

Chicken Little,
I am not yet 50, but I am certain that I do not trust ed deformers at *any* age.
I don't trust people in their late twenties or early thirties who taught for two years for TfA , worked for TfA admin and then get to make a
$100, 000 salary in this district.

Where is the learning curve?
Some of the old timers on this blog can probably testify to being contacted by some new hire in admin who is in over his or her head. This new person invites more experienced teachers out for coffee in order to "pick their brains" to basically learn how to do the job.
Now there is nothing wrong with getting information and history mind you. It is important to have people do their homework and stay current and keep connected to communities, especially if they are hired to serve our children.



-Old School Music

Someone said...

Ah youth - wasted on the young ;o)
Perhaps it's the perspective of having multiple nieces & nephews in their 20s and 30s and seeing how their lives are going (or not, as is more often the case) - but I trust an experienced mind more these days - amazingly enough, those of us over 50 can have some useful things to say, even inventive, creative, "new" ideas - now and then. There's a place at the table for both perspectives.

Anonymous said...

Great NYT article re: privatization of public schools.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/28/opinion/collins-a-very-pricey-pineapple.html

-ok mom

Anonymous said...

Chicken Little -

Ouch, ouch ouch!

- 50 yr old mom of a 2nd grader

Anonymous said...

Chicken Little, your rude and ageist attitude is going to get in the way of you making informed decisions. MANY people have children later in life so you're likely to meet a number of "over 50" parents of your own kid's peers, teaching them in school and running the schools, not to mention in every other aspect of life.

You might want to re-examine your belief system.

Betty White is my hero

Anonymous said...

Chicken Little is reflective of reform thinking. Very thoughtless.

Watched online the first Frontline hour talking about Wall Street and the destruction of our economy. Apparently the idea of credit swaps was dreamed up by a bunch of twenty-somethings (young turks) at a Baton Rouge resort hotel while basking in the sun and brainstorming over drinks.

Thank you very much kids.

I watched another Canadian documentary that said so much of what we consider progress is the product of young minds which takes chances more easily than older ones. They focused on teenagers and physical challenges like jumping off the roof of a moving car onto the roof of another moving car or something similar. Great exhilaration for those who make it.

Now once those kids grow up and reach their forties and fifties, I'm all for listening to their ideas. If they've survived youthful recklessness, I consider their ideas more valuable.

n...

Anonymous said...

Sorry, can't help myself, crossing over here with more Monty Python since red herrings are flying:

King Arthur: Old woman.
Dennis: Man.
King Arthur: Man, sorry. What knight lives in that castle over there?
Dennis: I'm 37.
King Arthur: What?
Dennis: I'm 37. I'm not old.
King Arthur: Well I can't just call you "man".
Dennis: Well you could say "Dennis".
King Arthur: I didn't know you were called Dennis.
Dennis: Well you didn't bother to find out did you?
King Arthur: I did say sorry about the "old woman", but from behind you looked...
Dennis: What I object to is you automatically treat me like an inferior.
King Arthur: Well I am king.
Dennis: Oh, king eh? Very nice. And how'd you get that, eh? By exploiting the workers. By hanging on to outdated imperialist dogma which perpetuates the economic and social differences in our society.

-Gumby

Disgusted said...

I'd like to hear more about Knapp's junket with the Alliance for Education.

It sounds like he is attempting to advance his political career on the backs of teachers.

GreyWatch said...

thanks gumby!

Digusted said...

Holy Cow!!! Maier to be treasurer for proposed $1B Levy:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2018096982_majorlevy29m.html

Maier- the guy that failed to oversee district operations is treasurer for levy?? It isn't what you know ..it is who you know.

The levy is going down...fast!!

Chicken Little said...

let's face it, honorable elders, 50+ ers have neither the energy or inspiration to dream up credit default schemes. Or, understanding and stopping them in time. the youth have the ideas and more and more they will trump traditional power, for better or worse.

Charlie Mas said...

couple things...

I don't want to censor this blog, but the one thing that I really should not allow is the extensive quotation of copyrighted material. Please link to articles rather than re-printing them. Yes, I know that Melissa often pulls a lot of quotes from articles, but she intersperses them with her commentary, which her original work. That's a more protected use.

Also, there are certainly advantages that come with experience and deep knowledge. There are also some advantages that come from approaching problems in a fresh way. We recently had a discussion about whether technology, specifically computer technology, is a tool or a medium. Those of us who were working with them more than twenty years ago retain vestigial memories of computers as tools. Younger people are free of those memories that might color or limit their approach.

I would remind everyone that radical ideas that challenge institutions become institutions challenged by radical ideas. The television toppled the radio and now the computer is toppling the television.

As for credit default swaps, bond insurance is an old idea. The new idea, the real financial engineering wizardry that crashed the economy, was tranched mortgage income pools that allowed the highest tranches to receive AAA credit ratings. It used to be that mortgage backed securities paid all unit holders equal shares of the income. The idea of prioritized pay-outs was the novel idea.

Financial engineering is still a new line of work and they they are getting new tools everyday. Unfortunately, Wall Street is happy to gamble huge sums of other people's money on things that they don't fully understand. The wiser, older people in charge don't understand the risks invented by much younger, smarter people. Mathematical whiz kids who used to go to NASA now go to Wall Street.

In a few years the MIT math grads will be the people in charge and the next set of whiz kids won't be able to baffle them with the math, like today's whiz kids do to the slick salesmen who are now in charge. This isn't so much a generational change as a cultural change.

I'm probably stuck now between saying too much and saying too little, but its still a good place to stop. The point is that people who aren't burdened by legacy do create advances, but just because you're old doesn't mean that you're burdened by legacy. Sometimes it informs you. But there are times and there are areas of thought that have been so radically changed that the legacy is only a burden, or is shown for the burden it always was.

Rufus X said...

re: n... on 4/28

That doc ("The Nature of Things" w/ David Suzuki, episode title is "Surviving :) The Teenage Brain") was indeed fascinating. IMHO It's a must-see for any parent. Unfortunately, for now, streaming of the full episode is only available in Canada.

Anonymous said...

Well go at it Chicken Little! Waiting for youths to trump SPS, Seattle political machinery, and the world's ills. It's your Spring. I'm ready for world peace, quality education and equal opportunity for all. I'm encouraged and buoyed by your brave words.

Old Fart

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Charlie for calling out reverse ageism! Ageism, reverse ageism - neither is productive. Why can't we simply judge people on the merits of the ideas/energy they bring to the table and not write them off because they are young or old or taught for TFA or whatever. Have an open mind, people!!!!

40 year-old-mom