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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Blog Business

We had a comment from a reader who had several complaints about the blog, largely around creation of threads and the belief we don't cover enough individual school items/topics.

Our reader acknowledges that we create threads based on demand but apparently that isn't enough (even though readers then take control of the thread and the direction of the discussion).    We also have Open Threads twice a week but that isn't enough either. 

Charlie and I regularly get guest posts sent to us and about 90% of the time print them verbatim.  We have had this policy for years.  So if you have a topic you want to write about, please send it to us. 

This is a down time for the district; summer is a time it goes very dead. 

Much of what we could discuss about various topics in the district is, at this point, speculation.  Superintendent Banda has to come in, get the lay of the land, hire the new people for senior positions that are either interim or open (like Special Ed) and then lay out the agenda of what he proposes to do.   I do not believe, for almost any program, that much will change for this coming school year. 

Some things will become clearer, especially when the definitive plan for BEX IV comes out and, of course, if the charter initiative passes.  (I am going to write a thread on what I believe will happen in our district if the charter passes.  All bets will be off for where our district will go and what it will do.)

Charlie and I are activists and so yes, our focus tends to be on the district view but we frequently talk about issues at a school level.  We are glad for any input or information to expand the discussion.

The reader also complained about the coverage of I-1240.  That is not going to change.  The initiative is one that will have profound and lasting changes on our district.  We have always been about information for our readers and I feel strongly about making sure that you know and understand what you are voting on.  If you see the word "charter" or "I-1240" in the title you can always skip it. 

Charlie and I don't have much time together to discuss the blog.  But we are absolutely willing to start a thread topic for someone or post a guest thread.  If any of you would like to become regular contributors on a specific topic that you know well, let us know.  We will give it due consideration. 

The blog has grown and evolved since Beth Bakeman had the courage (fueled by passion for public education which is what drives Charlie and me) to start it.  Not really by design, we have built a brand and we would have to think long and hard about any major changes.   You can understand that we would have to be very careful and very sure of anyone we allow to post on the blog.

Our door has always been open and will continue to be. Contact me at sss.westbrook@gmail.com.

12 comments:

Po3 said...

There is also the option to not read the Charter posts or for any post that does not interest you. Your headlines pretty much tell readers what the topic is about.

Po3 said...

There is also the option to not read the Charter posts or for any post that does not interest you. Your headlines pretty much tell readers what the topic is about.

Anonymous said...

I didn't read the old blog, so I was confused by the commenter's suggestions. I like that you don't try to cover all of the "nuts and bolts" PTA activities of all the schools in the system. That would be overwhelming and, frankly, boring.

--Beacon Hill Mom

not so nostalgic said...

Nostalgic is missing that Beth started the blog to save Pathfinder from being displaced to Arbor Heights. Guess where she suggested Pathfinder should instead be moved. Don't bother looking for those posts, they are gone. My point is that Beth never started this as a Rah Rah schools blog, but specifically to discuss and fight a particular set of school closures back in the day. It has always been political.

Anonymous said...

I also am glad this is not a "here's what happening at school XYZ's PTA..." That's what the PTAs are for, and agree with "not so..." that it would be boring to read. This blog gives a ton of good info on the inner workings of the District—something that should be of interest to every voter and taxpayer in Seattle, whether they have kids in the system or not.

SolvayGirl

Anonymous said...

About a year ago a Somali family came to me and asked me what to do about the terrible treatment they were getting from the Lafayette community. Since I am active in the Delridge community and had also had a miserable experience there, I emailed Melissa asking if she could start a thread asking if other people of color and or displaced Delridge kids were having similar experiences. I wanted to know if it were a cultural thing or an isolated incident. I never got a response about it. I also have noticed, as well as some of my colleages, that seldom is mentioned any of the good things happening in South end schools, or schools with lots of kids of color. Aki Kurose's students won an attendance award and therefore a concert with, I believe, Drake. National news outlets, such as CNN came to them and did stories. Not a blip on this blog. I know that Charlie and Melissa do an awesome job covering the District, but I know that I just stopped trying to deliver info that I had to them. They seem to be more interested in Northend stories and Administrative issues.

Not sour grapes,just a realist. That is why I write on a different blog.

joy A.

southend parent said...

I agree that the focus is on district wide or Northend schools.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Joy, I am sorry if I missed that e-mail. However, I do mention good things happening in EVERY corner of this district. Mostly it comes from reading the West Seattle blog or the district website but sometimes from readers.

I DID put in the Aki Kurose story about Drake and I was waiting to put in the attendance story from the end of this year about them winning ice cream for their school.

Honestly, I know that many people don't read every thread and its comments and then they write to me and ask why such and such isn't there.

Charlie lives in the south end and writes about issues there. I put in everything that the Rainier Beach PTSA sends me about their efforts.

Do send me good news because we all enjoy hearing it.

Anonymous said...

I read this blog mainly for news about the district, not for local PTA/school info. Sometimes there are issues in one school that resonate because I see similar problems in other schools. I have friends and extended famillies who live all over this city and King county so we often compare schools and what our kids are learning at get togethers. Most of them don't know about this blog (or any blog for that matter). While education is highly valued in our family and community, you probably won't hear from us. My parents and my generation are not fluent English writers/speakers. I love the English language, but it's so much work to write my thoughts down and try to get it translate just right with grammar and spelling somewhat intact. (My daughter is often my editor.)

It may also be a cultural and generational thing too where we see US K-12 educational system far more superior (and free) than anything we had before coming here. We focus a great deal of our energy into our kids' schools, making sure our kids go to school, stay in school, study hard, STAY OUT OF TROUBLE, and take every advantage of educational opportunities. We network informally and I get to share lots of great info and thoughts from this blog. So a very big thank you for that.

-reader

Melissa Westbrook said...

No Reader, thank YOU for doing the most important thing a parent can do for their child's education - support it.

Michael H said...

If someone doesn't like your blog, they can start their own at no cost.

Anonymous said...

http://educationalchemy.com/2012/06/06/if-you-cant-find-justice-who-moved/

This is another blog that the author reminds me that we all need to keep fighting for our schools. Look at her other posts and keep our communities and schools strong. @Reader my daughter shakes her head at my lack of computer skills.

Public School Parent