Friday Open Thread

End of the first "week" of school - how did that go?

Threads to come:
- why I'm heading the No on 1240 campaign

- a public dispute over whether charters would actually be legal under the WA State Constitution (Randy Dorn says no, Stand for Children says they don't want to quibble over a word like "constitutional").
Unfortunately, words DO have legal meaning and particularly in laws and in courts of law.

- what should we allow to be said at this blog about anyone and when should we strike statements made (and, if this should apply to all media when they allow statements to be made that are not true)

- what should be on the agenda for the first PTA meeting at your school?


mirmac1 said…
Watch for the heavies to start leaning on Directors Smith-Blum and McLaren to push through the cobbled Creative Approach Schools MOU.

If parents and teachers want more of a say in CAS applications, implementation, and "loyalty oaths", then please write to the Board and Superintendent. Who runs this district? LEV, OSC, A4E, Stand, MJ Ryan and Holly Miller etc etc?!
Anonymous said…
The Seattle Times has an article on LEV not endorsing either gubernatorial candidate. They don't believe McKenna's funding and they're mad that Inslee won't support charters.

I found the comments following the article more interesting than the article. LEV gets slammed. I can't say, at this point, that I disagree with the sentiment.

Anonymous said…
John Muir school is piloting a new math program called "ST Math" in the 4th and 5th grades. Is anyone familiar with this curriculum?

-Muir mom
Single Child said…
Does anybody have an issue with class schedule/unassigned classes at high school? My child at Garfield has an unassigned period and is spending already 3rd day in line for the counselor office trying to fix this issue (w/o success)...
Anonymous said…
FYI. The Cedar Park School building was designated as a landmark this week, by the Landmark Preservation Board.

The Cedar Park structure was proposed to be torn down in order to build a larger building to house the current Jane Addams K-8 program, so that the Jane Addams building could be opened as a comprehensive middle school. A landmarked building cannot be demolished. So, apparently the K-8can't be moved to Cedar Park.

North End Mom

JohnS said…
At her community meeting last night, Sharon Peaslee wanted to make sure we knew about the machinations behind the Creative Approach Schools MOU. Her website has her concerns.

Somewhat alarming, really.
For Rainier Beach's first PTSA meeting of the school year our topics include:

Introductions of new faculty and administrators

New graduation requirements

Do you KNOW if you student is on track to graduate on time?

Has your student met the college entry requirements?

What does parent engagement look like?

Officer elections

Announcements of events/activities
Benjamin Leis said…
Wow I'm a bit surprised on the landmark decision. Disregarding the implications for BEX, the current structure seems so plain and ordinary. If its a landmark building which current schools wouldn't also be?

JohnS said…
Cedar Park was designed by a prominent architect, Mark Thiery (sp?). Obviously there are various agendas pro/con on this one.

My prediction is, if the landmarking sticks, it will be converted to an elementary school, and they'll still have to figure out what to do about Jane Addams K8 and its almost 600 students, undoubtedly more next year.

Sounds like a new improved revised enhanced modified BEX plan will be revealed at the board workshop on Sep. 12. They're going to have to do some construction somewhere in NE Seattle, that much seems certain. Given that, they need to accomodate JA K8. If they can't even keep the successful schools going...
Anonymous said…
The current interim interim interim (interim) Executive Director for Special Education --and one of two recent interims with no professional training or credentials in SPED-- is going to be leaving in about a week. What's the plan?

Mary G said…
Bihoa Caldwell is leaving?
Anonymous said…
The Seattle Times article on LEV that EdVoter noted above in this thread is sure worth a read. Below is my favorite comment. It explains so much. I look forward to Melissa's full-on No on 1240 fight and to LEV finding a different reason to exist. Or not exist.



Like Involved, LEV used to have my support, but not any longer. When I joined with them as an “activist” they were in full fire support of the 2010 income tax initiative (I-1098) which, tragically, lost due to the well-financed opposition of the very b/millionaires now funding LEV and its ever more conservative goals.

I don’t know what happened to them.

My first guess is that Hanauer - and through him LEV’s top brass - have, in the intervening years, spent more and more time in the echo chamber of the very rich. It’s impossible to overstate the cognitive effects of "the wealth bubble" (and the wealth worship of hangers on).

My second guess, which is somewhat less charitable, is that they made a psycho-strategic decision to back-burner the funding fight, disheartened and panicked by past failures. This time they’re going whole hog for something they can get, even if that something is lame. It’s obviously much easier to win with policies that conservative obstructionists and billionaires adore.

Probably both.

Honestly, though, I’m not sure they realized how divisive this would be. They’ve ripped apart the very constituency they spent years trying to build. But there’s no backing down now. They’ve convinced themselves they’re freedom fighters. And egos are on the line.
Patrick said…
For Jane Addams enrollment, I haven't heard this year's figures yet, but I did hear that there were waiting lists at most grades. Seems to me the District should be looking for middle school seats elsewhere rather than shrinking a school that families want their students enrolled in.
Anonymous said…
Mary G,

She has a long planned overseas trip coming up. Her deal with SPS is to stay until that trip, which is a couple of weeks from now.

Anonymous said…
Stand for Children and LEV are trying to take down state legislator Rosemary McAuliffe, a great Democrat and friend to public education, because she refuses to bow down to charters and the Gates Foundation and, um, LEV and Stand for Children.

This fall Stand on the Children and LEVity (because they have become laughable) are all about raising money for their political PACs. It is pathetic. My email inbox overflows with the SPAM. You remember these groups...accusing Corp Reform Naysayers as letting adult issues get in the way of children? Well, pots, meet kettle. The children in the classroom this fall? In the overcrowded classrooms and crumbling facilities? Let them eat...not cake, in fact, not anything (since we can't fund the classroom let alone the lunchroom.) The groups are too busy with their political ponies.

What a crock. And how sad for public education in WA. I am writing letters to my legislators and democratic precinct pals right now telling them to tell the 2 groups to take a flying leap.

I am a "Former Supporter"
Mary G. said…
Thank you for the information. I met with Becky Clifford in June over on ongoing concern. She left. I was told to bring up the concern with her replacement. So I have emailed and called Ms. Caldwell. Even though as far as I can tell, Ms. Caldwell has no Sp Ed experience, she was supposed to be able to answer my questions, which I was rather pessimistic about in the first place. It is very disheartening to hear that if I ever do make contact with Ms. Caldwell, she will probably respond by telling me she will pass my concerns onto her successor. I will seemingly have to retell my tale of woe to yet another individual after her, who will likely be just another interim executive director. To me it's become an untenable revolving door of irresponsibility. No one knows anything, no one remembers anything and no one is responsible. Do people have thoughts on solutions to the leadership vacuum in Special Ed?

Anonymous said…
Well said, Mary G.

The sped executive leader vacuum is creating untenable situations.

But ... there were untenable situations before Banda appointed BiHoa. None have been solved, some are getting worse, new ones are cropping up. BiHoa leaves it all in the hands of staff who couldn't or wouldn't solve the problems in the first place. Such negligence.


Mary G. said…
Well, Bihoa Caldwell must be reading this blog, because she called me 5 minutes after my last entry. So she gets 10 points for returning my call, 10 points for saying she will call me back on Tuesday with an answer and another 10 points for being emotive. Whether she can get the question answered remains to be seen.
SeattleSped said…
Nah, someone in Communications monitors the blog. I believe Banda's told Bihoa to be (more) responsive, in the short time she has left.
Anonymous said…
Eckstein is on lockdown, anyone know why?

- eckstein parent
Anonymous said…
Single Child -- my son is also at Garfield and had a heck of a time getting schedule issues worked out. He got put into a class that he isn't supposed to be in (doesn't have prerequisites/teacher permission for, and he wasn't the only kid who got plunked into the class) and another class that he didn't want and doesn't need. Every time he turned in a schedule change form he got rejected because the classes he was asking to get switched into were all full. No way to know in advance which classes have room, so it's just a blind request -- very frustrating. Finally he just listed every class he could think of (about a dozen, I think) and got one -- but is stuck with the class he doesn't need because according to the counselor "all the other electives are full." I'm sure the counseling staff are working to get things figured out, but I can't help thinking there must be a better way to do this. Best of luck to your child!

Mary G. said…

I was just kidding, I hope BiHoa's not reading this. But it is a hopeful sign.
Anonymous said…
Eckstein parent, there was a Bank robbery on 35th and 73rd in Wedgwood.
JohnS said…
@Patrick, Jane Addams K-8 enrollment is about 575 last I heard. The kindergarten wait list was 23, I believe. Not sure about the other grades, but that was the biggest.
SeattleSped said…
Darn, I thought a miracle happened...
Anonymous said…
City partners with Seattle Public Schools to offer meeting space in school libraries

Community groups and nonprofits can sign up online

Likes to attend meetings
Mary G. said…
@Seattlesped, no she really did call. So it is a miracle of sorts. I was just kidding about her reading the blog.
Anonymous said…
Forget Bihoa Campbell, Marni Campbell is now back in charge of special ed, right? If she's the assistant superintendent of instruction, and the exec dir, or future exec dir of sped reports to Marni. So, in the meanwhile Marni is the sped director of last resort. I'm sure that will work out just swell.

The problem is all the interim supers wouldn't hire any of the many candidates they had. At some point, you've got to go with who you've got, not who you wished you had.

SeattleSped said…
Oh gawd, that's like placing the lunatic in charge of the asylum.

Note, I'm not calling anyone any names, just making an analogy...
dan dempsey said…
It was asked:
"John Muir school is piloting a new math program called "ST Math" in the 4th and 5th grades. Is anyone familiar with this curriculum?"

Mr. Banda is familiar with it. It was part of the k-5 math program in Anehiem that produced a marked improvement in test scores.

ST Math is also being used in Highline (a decision made before Enfield's arrival).

There is a list of schools showing improvement with Mind Products. This is quite impressive and completely unlike the Smoke Blown by Admin on "Discovering" "Everyday Math" and $800,000 "New Tech Network" contract for services.

ST Math comes from the Mind Research Institute.
Read About ST Math HERE.

I gave examination copies of A Blueprint for the Foundations of Algebra to Sherry and Harium which is part of
The Algebra Readiness System. .... Instead SPS wound up with Discovering and no classes below Algebra in High Schools...... The old board was clueless about the need for INTERVENTIONS.
Anonymous said…

Public School Parent
Anonymous said…
"Mr. Banda is familiar with it. It was part of the k-5 math program in Anehiem that produced a marked improvement in test scores."

Thanks this info. Sounds encouraging. I wonder if they have plans to expand it. It looks like there is a lot of computer instruction.

-Muir mom

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