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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tuesday Open Thread

I managed to miss yet another important graduation ceremony- Interagency.  There was a great story on KONG-tv about this SPS program and one of its graduates.   Their graduation ceremony is tonight at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall - congrats to Interagency class of 2012!

What's on your mind?

32 comments:

Jet City mom said...

As my daughter has just failed her 2nd math class in college, I can't stop thinking about the real harm the math curriculum has done to kids.
And as many of the prospective teachers experienced the same curriculum, I worry about children coming into the system.

Anonymous said...

Marty McLaren has a motion to remove Policy 2200 from the Board Agenda.

fyi

Anonymous said...

Additionally, KSB has proposed amendments to the advertising Policy 4237 that would tighten the language and place more restrictions on where advertising could be placed (HS only, not middle and elementary).

fyi

Floor Pie said...

I'm a little perplexed about this inaccurate job posting at my son's school.

This year, our school transitioned from a self-contained behavior program to special ed inclusion. They still call it "behavior," even though something like 80% of the students are not there for behavior problems but for Aspergers, ADHD, etc. -- disabilities that affect their behavior, which is very different from just plain "behavior." I've asked about this several times. I even asked Becky Clifford. The answer is always the same. They know it's not really "behavior" anymore, they know it's no longer self-contained...but they just call it that so we can keep the staffing ratio.

I've been willing to go along with it so far. The day-to-day operations at our school are serving my son very well, so I really don't want to rock the boat! BUT...they've been trying to fill the position for a grades 3-5 special ed teacher for months now.

The job description reads "Special Education, Behavior Disability, Self-Contained." Which is a very inaccurate description of what our program has actually become. There's no mention of autism, Aspergers, or even inclusion for that matter. A friend of mine who's an SPS teacher told me that she knows several people who did not apply for this job who would have been great at it because the job, as posted, requires a very different skill set from what the job actually is. Whoever does get this job will be my son's special ed teacher next year.

I've talked to the principal and his K-2 special ed teacher to express my concerns (and to confirm that my son has not somehow been assigned to a self-contained behavior class...which he hasn't). We have a new principal starting in July, so I guess I'll talk to her, too. In the meantime, though, this all leaves a very bad taste in my mouth. Why can't our school just call our program what it is without fear of having our services whisked away?

Any further thoughts on what I can do? Is a "don't rock the boat" approach really the best?

Someone said...

I keep thinking of the whole "waiting for Banda" theme of late - is it more akin to "Waiting for Godot" the man who never comes or "Waiting for Superman" the man who doesn't exist? ;o)

Godot quote of the day that sums up all that SPS could be doing rather nicely for me:

"Let us not waste our time in idle discourse! (Pause. Vehemently.) Let us do something, while we have the chance! It is not every day that we are needed. But at this place, at this moment of time, all mankind is us, whether we like it or not. Let us make the most of it, before it is too late!"

mirmac1 said...

Okay, but didn't Policy 2200 come through her committee? Buyer's remorse?

Charlie Mas said...

Yes, policy 2200 did come through the C & I committee that Director McLaren chairs. The committee members saw the draft revision for the first time at their May meeting.

They didn't really discuss it because none of them knows enough about the issues to hold that kind of discussion and because they didn't have any opportunity to prepare.

The mistake was in forwarding the policy to the full board without any substantive discussion about it. Taking it back from the full board and bringing it back to the committee is the solution to that mistake.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/19/us/teachers-union-to-open-lesson-sharing-web-site.html?ref=us

Public School Parent

Anonymous said...

Reminder to Bryant parents and community members, the meeting with SPS to discuss the Tamie lease renewal and RFP is scheduled for this evening, 7-8 pm, in the Bryant cafeteria/lunchroom.

Losing Tamie will be such a loss to the Bryant Community. Even though I know this meeting is nothing but SPS lip service, I urge everyone to attend not only to show our support for Tamie, but showcase our disgust with the district. I honestly can't believe with ALL things broken at SPS, they chose to waste time, money and resources to alienate the Bryant community and kill what is arguable one of the strongest afterschool programs in the area. Shame on SPS!

Disgusted at Bryant

Anonymous said...

And as a note, dismantling Tamie's affects almost 100% of the Bryant community (not just those in the daycare) in the form of their after-school classes. Though the classes are separate from the daycare, Tamie's volunteer coordination of this HUGE variety of classes, plus her structuring of the space, credits for kids in the daycare to take classes, etc. cannot and will not be retained by another provider. Bryant classes are FAR MORE diverse, affordable and accessible to ALL families than other area schools with the after-school classes run by Parks and Rec. That the district would boot Tamie's in a power-play to increase revenue from the after-school classes is so very unethical and disturbing.
--Rapidly losing faith

Anonymous said...

Can someone explain the variation from school to school regarding elementary school p.e. requirements? How many hours per week should the kids average and how does SPS hold schools accountable for those hours?

Also disgusted at Bryant

Anonymous said...

WAC 392-410-135

an average of at least one hundred instructional minutes per week per year in physical education shall be required of all pupils in the common schools in the grade school program (grades 1-8) unless waived pursuant to RCW 28A.230.040.

RCW 28A.230.040

Every pupil attending grades one through eight of the public schools shall receive instruction in physical education as prescribed by rule of the superintendent of public instruction: Provided, That individual pupils or students may be excused on account of physical disability, religious belief, or participation in directed athletics.

fyi

Anonymous said...

What does PE have to do with being disgusted at Bryant? I haven't noticed any problems (I have a 1st grader).
Rapidly losing faith

Anonymous said...

I'm disgusted by the events regarding Tamie's, so should have separated that from the p.e. question. I have just heard that other schools do not hold to the 100 minute standard and wonder how they do that. I'm not opposed to p.e., just disappointed that music and art are getting the boot.

If Tamie is unable to stay at Bryant, my understanding is that all the volunteer work she does to support arts during the school day will be extremely difficult to replace. As Rapidly losing faith stated, losing Tamie's not only affects those of us with kids using daycare, but each and every member of our community.

Also disgusted at Bryant

Anonymous said...

I've had kids in multiple elementaries and I don't think any of them met the 100min/wk/yr average (60 hours total for the year).

(not at Bryant)

Melissa Westbrook said...

Floor Pie, I would at least state your concerns to Paul Apostle in HR. If there is something in the language of a job description that is hurting recruitment, he should know. Now he could already, but maybe not.

Someone said, loved your comments. Is he Godot or Superman? Is that even possible?

As for us, we ALL need to support him, be patient with him and believe in him. If there are some movers and shakers in this town who won't, oh well. If there are some who would try to undermine or thwart him for their own purposes, we must circle the wagons.

If he does well, our district does well.

Standing up for STEM said...

The Board has DROPPED introduction of Proposal No.2200 from the meeting agenda! Large numbers of STEM families have requested testimony slots to speak on the ludicrous co-housing of MCHS at Boren and its detrimental effects on both the STEM community and MCHS students. Perhaps they are seeing that 2200 is not good policy after all?

http://district.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Departmental%20Content/school%20board/11-12%20agendas/062012agenda/20120620_Agenda.pdf?sessionid=d95c0d1da54593fe3f07c5b57947309a

Anonymous said...

I can't speak for Also Disgusted at Bryant, but the reason cited for losing the Bryant Art teacher and removing art from the 2011-2012student curriculum was state PE requirements. With increased enrollment at Bryant, discretionary funds had to be allocated from art to PE. The district doesn't specifically fund the PE requirement, even with the state law.

It is my understanding (and I could be a bit off base as this is certainly not my area of expertise!)Principals are given a 'discretionary' bucket of money from SPS, and PE is one of the items they are tasked to fund out of it.

If you look at some past Bryant published BLT meeting notes, it has been brought up that the kids may be getting more PE hours than required. And I am not sure who enforces the state law. Probably no one at SPS - looks like the district is too busy with other hidden agenda and self-promoting prophecies ;-)

First we lost our art teacher/curriculum, and now it is looking like we will be losing Tamie, a major contributor to our volunteer arts program.

Disgusted at Bryant

Jan said...

Here is what I don't understand. Why didn't the Bryant principal come to the community weeks ago and lay out the problem: I have to have more funds for PE, and her proposed solution: I am going to generate the funds by getting rid of Tamie's programs.

That could have freed up all this energy, MUCH earlier in the process, to drill down on whether the PE hours issue could be resolved by a closer review of the numbers, whether there were other ways (grants, fund raising, etc.) to generate the needed PE funds, and/or whether there were other ways to generate the funds to retain Tamie. Why does all of this have to be done TO a school community -- rather than WITH a school community? This is total failure of leadership (by the principal) and of leader management (by the Executive Director who manages that principal).

Second -- this "destruction" of value continues to occur on a school by school basis -- Tamie at Bryant, Spectrum self contained classes at WW elementary and in West Seattle, language arts electives at RHS, the preschool program at Ballard, the preschool program at Graham Hill, special ed inclusion programs far and wide. And each time, my impression is that for the most part, no one rallies EXCEPT the parents of the affected school. Rarely are they enough to get the attention of the disinterested downtown staff and managers -- so they generally lose. Somehow, we need to do a better job (this blog tries, but there isn't enough organizational "mass" in most cases) of organizing families on a much wider scale to help schools prevent destruction of existing programs. I wish I could visualize a workable method so that broader groups of parents could assist whatever "school-of-the-day" is being besieged by the maurading hordes of bad management.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Jan and that is why I say there is always a ripple effect to what happens in the district.

The Bryant parents should be standing up for the unhappy Graham Hill or STEM K-5 parents (and vice versa). Parents should have their own union to protect OUR rights.

The PTA should do this but doesn't. And, if we don't stand together against these strikes at various school communities, well, the district will just keep doing it.

I will offer again - there should be a regional group for five regions. That way you can advocate for what your region needs, keep tabs on the schools in your regions and, if need be, band together to protect parent interests. It wouldn't take that much to organize.

Anonymous said...

PE funds had nothing to do with Tamies, rather the elimination of the art teacher for the 2011-2012 school year.

First Bryant lost the art teacher/curriculum due to PE funding. And then was threatened with losing Tamie (an integral part of the Arts commitee) for the 2012-2013 school year due to some sort of hidden agenda.

Good news is we just received notice that Susan Enfield(?) decided to renew Tamie's lease for one additional year. An SPS oversight committee will be put in place to ensure/monitor Tamie's DEL compliance progress.

Bryant Parent Temporarily Happy

Anonymous said...

While I agree that a larger group is necessary, I worry that a regional approach would lead to the same pitting of parent groups against each other that we currently see.

-- in favor of a district-wide parent group

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, good news then Bryant parent.

I was thinking if the PTA would say to the district "in return for keeping someone we trust and believe in, we will help to keep Tamie in compliance should she need help." That says to the district that parents are that dedicated to someone they trust that they will lend help if needed.

Happy to hear this news.

SP said...

Standing...for STEM-
The Board has not dropped Policy 2200 from the agenda, but rather Marty has added a Motion to Modify the Agenda which would have to be voted & approved by the Board on Wed, before #2200 is removed for now. She is asking that it will go back to the C&I committee for a proper discussion before intro to the Board (which should have happened in the first place):

"Motion to Modify the Agenda – Approval of this item would remove Policy No. 2200 from the June 20, 2012 introduction agenda".

Anonymous said...

Melissa, my understanding is that's exactly what happened. Great news.
At Bryant

suep. said...

Jan said: "...And each time, my impression is that for the most part, no one rallies EXCEPT the parents of the affected school. (..) Somehow, we need to do a better job (this blog tries, but there isn't enough organizational "mass" in most cases) of organizing families on a much wider scale to help schools prevent destruction of existing programs."

Actually, ESP Vision back in 2008-09 did something like that. We all came together from various schools and communities and united in our opposition to Goodloe-Johnson's "Capacity Management Plan" (school closures & splits).

We staged a protest rally and march from T.T. Minor to Garfield Community Center which led the TV news that night.

We wrote and circulated a petition opposing the plan, which garnered over 1,700 signatures district-wide (and got coverage in the Seattle P-I).

We protested at the school board meeting where three of the 'Gang of Four' (+ Cheryl Chow & DeBell) voted to approve the plan. (That also made the news.)

We didn't stop the closures and splits from happening, unfortunately, but we did bring to light the flaws of Goodloe-Johnson's policies, the rubber-stamping of the board, and the complete disregard that the supt and the board majority had for the voice and concerns of the communities they supposedly represented.

It was some of Goodloe-Johnson's first negative publicity in Seattle, and it made certain board members appropriately uncomfortable.

It can be hard for one group of parents to rally in support of another school to which they have no direct connection. But it's not unheard of for us all to rally together and oppose general policies that hurt us all.

One school's problems are rarely an isolated case. There's usually a district-wide pattern to what is going on. If we can identify and unify against dysfunctional SPS patterns of behavior, I agree, we could be more of a force.

mirmac1 said...

Due Diligence and the Evaluation of Teachers - NEPC

Anonymous said...

Last night at Bryant, there were over 140 in the gym to listen to the District walk back their daycare RFP. As there were virtually no kids, that likely means the other parent was home with the kids, which really means the District riled 280 VOTERS enough to have them work their evening around a meeting. These voters may very well turn away from voting pro-ed in February. Not sure that crowd feels confident in your abilities to handle $700 million, given the difficulties in handling one school's daycare. Seriously, District, no more gaffes for the next 8 months. Or, better yet, ever! Which does NOT mean hiding bad news, it just means being both transparent and competent.

-signed, bell times, transportation, boundary redraws, Bryant

Lori said...

I understand the frustration at Bryant, but I hope that families will remember that a vote against the BEXIV levy is a vote to continue, and perhaps exacerbate, crowding in the Northest.

For example, a vote against BEXIV is vote against finding a permanent home for northend elementary APP. If SNAPP/L@L is disbanded due to lack of a building, 500+ kids will placed in large chunks in already over-crowded schools. Some families might just opt to go back to their neighborhood school. I can think of 11 kids off the top of my head who are in 3rd grade at L@L this year who came from Bryant. These kids, and all their classmates, need a permanent home. Bryant certainly doesn't have the capacity to take them back!

Am I happy about needing such a large levy and putting that money into hands that might mis-manage it? No. But, we need to solve our capacity problems, and I don't see another way to do it.

Anonymous said...

No, Bryant doesn't have capacity to take those 11 kids back, I guess. But if the district doesn't start to support Advanced Learning as a whole then I can't support the structure of self-contained APP as it stands. I won't vote against the levy on these grounds, however.
NEM

Anonymous said...

http://www.komonews.com/opinion/kenschram/Ken-Schram-Charter-schools-not-the-answer-159448805.html#idc-cover

This was pointed out on this blog by someone else. The comments are still open you just have to register. Lets comment, I have.

Public School Parent