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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tuesday Open Thread

The Seattle City Council recognized Cheryl Chow's service yesterday.  It was very sad to see Cheryl in a wheelchair with her black hair now gray and clipped close to her skull.  She came with her daughter and partner, Sarah Morningstar.   From Publicola:

Chow also clarified what she meant when she told KING 5 that her life had been “wasted” because she hadn’t come out sooner. “When I said I wasted 66 years, I didn’t mean because I was in the closet,” Chow said. “What I meant was, I could have helped so many more people and kids from committing suicide and feeling bad about themselves.”

Courage at any time is still courage, Cheryl. 

Hey reader Maureen G from TOPS, could you shoot me an e-mail at sss.westbrook@gmail.com?  I need to touch base with you on something.  Thanks.

What's on your mind?

91 comments:

Anonymous said...

HIMs parents not happy about 20 early release days. Wonder if this is the norm for middle schools?


Another HIMS parent.

SeattleSped said...

They say the HOST program will accomodate the MS students on the early release days. Does that include the students with disabilities? Will there be transportation provided, including for Sped students? What budget is that coming out of?

Anonymous said...

Another HIMS parent upset by the number of early release days. Some kids don't want to go to HOST, creating a problem for working parents. Override the kid's preference or let them go unsupervised for the afternoon? And if they don't want to be at HOST what is the likely hood they may just ditch it?

Anonymous said...

Got my no on charters sign yesterday and put it up in my yard!

HP

Melissa Westbrook said...

"HIMs parents not happy about 20 early release days."

What? Echoes of Hale. But, it is the price for teacher collaboration. I'd question the principal.

Thanks HP!

Anonymous said...

My son's bus was 4 minutes late yesterday morning (it arrived with a substitute driver), and when he came home he said he was told "some of the bus drivers are on strike." Like most 9-year olds, my son sometimes "hears" things that only happen between his ears and not in reality. Just curious if there are any rumblings of labor issues in Transportation. I think in less than two weeks, we've had 2-3 different bus drivers...

- Love the Bus

Hamilton parent said...

Note that these HOST program accommodations are on the parents' dime. And no bus service. And space is limited. Whee!

http://hamiltonms.seattleschools.org/

Anonymous said...

Sorry, that should be "40 minutes late".

- Loves the Bus

Anonymous said...

Is it possible that something might be going on with transportation? My neighbor's little girl rang my doorbell yesterday morning in tears after her bus never showed up. She waited about a half an hour at her stop and was there five mins early.

-Neighbor who was working at home that day

Kay said...

Luckily you were home. All our neighborhood kids know I'm the parent in the neighborhood that is home during the day so they all come here if there are problems ;-)

I'm also not happy with the HIMs changes. We best see regular reports of these meetings and obvious improvements in the classrooms as a result. I also hope they do a better job of managing the kid's early dismissal schedules. Last year each one was a confusing mess according to my kid. They weren't in most classes long enough to do anything and the teachers used the day as a "wasted" day. 5 wasted days is one thing, 20 is unacceptable.

- questioning HIMs change

It's not rocket science said...

The bus situation is an absolute mess at best. Buses are no-shows or buses are up to an hour late. SPS abandoned community stops and created insane routes with buses meandering through tight, car-lined streets.

Virtually every parent on our route has called or e-mailed asking for the return of community stops. The responses are rude and unaccommodating. Our route makes zero sense from a logistics perspective.

This is how they are saving money - make transportation SO INSANE so no one uses it! Now, there's a money saver.

Anonymous said...

HIMS: They offer HOST programs for the early release days for a fee ($10 or 20, depending on the length of the program) for a limited number of students and among the programs are movies, like the Hunger Games. I wonder, how can it be justified to loose 20 teaching days (yes, those early release days are so messed up, students don't learn anything but run from one period to the next) in one school year when we already have the minimum number of teaching days?
-Curious

katie said...

I am not thrilled with the late notice for these early release days. However, I know that they work wonders at Hale with them so I am so I am willing to be flexible.

Also with the amount of change that Hamilton has undergone in the last few years, I think the staff could use the collaboration time.

Charlie Mas said...

Get ready for more announcements like the one about the early releases at Hamilton. The school says that "Teachers will use this time for professional development and collaborative planning."

There's going to be a whole lot more of that as the District rolls out MTSS.

CollOR said...

Given the quality of instruction at HIMS, I think they need the extra time for professional development. I am willing to put up with the hassle for the sake of improved instruction. This is from my experience as the parent of an 8th grader in the Spectrum program.

Anonymous said...

I saw this in the Times today and think it's really interesting.

'Skip college' is latest advice for world-beating S. Koreans

With the incessant push to send all kids to college, I wonder if we're on the same path.

-sps mom

Jet City mom said...

Are parents still being charged for full day K?
I see on the state website, that the state will pay the tab for 19 of Seattles schools.
Curious if this is common knowledge with the parents.


Bailey Gatzert Elementary School
Beacon Hill International School
Concord International School
Dearborn Park Elementary School
Dunlap Elementary School
Emerson Elementary School
Hawthorne Elementary School
Highland Park Elementary School
Leschi Elementary School
Madrona K‐8 School
Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School
Northgate Elementary School
Olympic Hills Elementary School
Rainier View Elementary School
Roxhill Elementary School
Thurgood Marshall Elementary
Van Asselt Elementary School
West Seattle Elementary School
Wing Luke Elementary School

Anonymous said...

Hale has late start which is infinitely better than early release in my book. My freshman teenager is loving it.

HP

Anonymous said...

Charlie,

You said above, 'Get ready for more announcements like the one about the early releases at Hamilton. The school says that "Teachers will use this time for professional development and collaborative planning."

There's going to be a whole lot more of that as the District rolls out MTSS.'

Do you believe that this is going to be the standard for all schools? Will all the schools be rolling it out this year?

-FedMomof2

Anonymous said...

Charlie:
What is "MTSS"?
- Curious

Anonymous said...

HIMS wanted late starts, transport could not handle the change.

Personally I would rather see a couple of full Pdays scattered throughout the year instead of the 20 1/2 days.

Nov.is crazy with 3 1/2 days, 4 full days off.


ANother HIMS parent

Charlie Mas said...

MTSS stands for Multi-Tiered System of Support. It is exactly the same as RTI, Response to Intervention.

The idea is pretty normal and straight-forward:
1. Give kids the normal curriculum and instruction. That's the first Tier. If it works for them, great.

2. If not, try something a little different, but something that can be done in the general education classroom by the classroom teacher. That's Tier 2. If it works, great.

3. If not, try something more aggressive, maybe a pull-out or a push-in service. That's Tier 3. If it works, great.

4. If not, then consider a referral for an evaluation for special education services. That's Tier 4.

Schools all across the country are doing this for a variety of reasons.

A) It's just good practice and it's essentially what good teachers have always done.

B) It often catches students early when they start to fall behind, catches them up, and keeps them from falling further behind.

C) It typically provides effective interventions that don't require a referral for special education evaluation. This reduces the referrals, saves money, and creates better outcomes for students.

D) The federal government is starting to require it.

MTSS was one of the central practices that improved outcomes at Mercer. A common Tier 2 intervention brings a replacement of the Tier 1 instructional materials.

Anyway, MTSS might sound obvious, and it might already be an informal practice among good teachers, but it will get a systematic implementation at schools around the District. Only about eight schools are doing it now to various degrees. By the time they are done, all of the schools should be doing it a whole lot and it should be institutionalized.

A big part of MTSS requires teachers to collaborate and share Tier 2 interventions, to get professional development on how and what to do, and to work together to review student work and student assessment data to identify students who are not succeeding with Tier 1. That's why it's going to result in more late starts or early dismissals.

Charlie Mas said...

Here is an example of MTSS information provided by the state of Kansas.

Anonymous said...

Would MTSS also apply to Advanced Learning?

ELB

Anonymous said...

I am a teacher who is soon to be fired for insubordination. I may be your freshman or junior student's already favorite teacher. There is actually a good chance of that as I teach at a NE area high school.

After 18 months of jumping through every Reform hoop my principal tossed at me I have finally said NO to the unrelenting bullying harassment and intimidation that has affected dozens of senior teachers across the district.
I have requested an open hearing on this matter, to which, I am entitled under State law.
I cordially invite you all to attend.
I was the Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest.
Now I am the girl who is playing with fire.
Salander

Anonymous said...

Salander, When/where is your hearing? Tell more about your situation.
SE Dad

Anonymous said...

SE Dad
For two and a half decades I have committed my career to engaging and encouraging and, yes, teaching students who have any number and kind of disadvantages.
I was the Head Teacher at a Seattle Public School whose mission was to transition juvenile offenders back into the community. I have been a Dean of Students, supporting and guiding mostly disadvantaged students.
I have served as a reading specialist, teaching other teachers as well as been a technology integration specialist.
Now I teach American history to students from nations who have no such system as democracy. It is a totally moving experience to stand next to a student new to the country and let them know that they have rights.
I also teach this same profile of students to move from writing one sentence in English to writing essays.
I also teach classes that include what one of my favorite students calls, "Knuckle Heads".
The other day he told another teacher what he thought of me, "Even the Knuckle Heads deserve a great teacher."
Salander

mirmac1 said...

Salandar,
If you are pushed out, it is our loss, particularly those children who needed the extra boost you give them.

I'm happy to throw gas on the fire. Be strong and keep us informed re: the hearing date. I'm there.

Anonymous said...

Mirmac-

Thanks, and I will.
It was the information provided by SPS Leaks that gave me the ammunition to fight this battle.
You dug up the stuff that the District nor the SEA had ever divulged.
This info allowed me understand that I had rights under State law that had been infringed on for a heck of a long time.
Salander

Anonymous said...

Salander:

I wish you luck and I'm rooting for you! I was a new teacher who was bullied and harassed by my administrator in SPS. I used all the avenues I had and still lost my job. Keep up the fight!

-Former SPS Teacher

Anonymous said...

Salander,

I don't know the details of your situation but do know of 2 senior teachers who were bullied and harassed into retirement. SEA has been very slow to respond (at best). I am currently observing another senior (sped) teacher being harassed and publicly bullied. I am keeping notes and encouraging this teacher to do the same. Shame on the SSD for allowing this culture. Hope some spendy lawsuits prompt some change.

Sped Staffer

Anonymous said...

Building principals could not do what they do to teachers without the support of the folks in the John.
HR is particularly rancid.

Urban Legend

Anonymous said...

Salander,

I don't know the details of your situation but do know of 2 senior teachers who were bullied and harassed into retirement. SEA has been very slow to respond (at best). I am currently observing another senior (sped) teacher being harassed and publicly bullied. I am keeping notes and encouraging this teacher to do the same. Shame on the SSD for allowing this culture. Hope some spendy lawsuits prompt some change.

Sped Staffer

Anonymous said...

I have told my story to friends in the corporate world and they were shocked. Apparently, the things that were said to me would get a boss fired in the corporate world.

-Former SPS Teacher

Anonymous said...

Salander,

I sympathize. I, too, experienced questionable behavior from SPS administrators. After more than a year of dealing with the very ugly situation, a co-worker and I finally received an apology from the Board for what had happened to us. At the time, I thought that was a minor victory, but I continue to hear horror stories about the way SPS staff are treated by administrators and Human Resources. It is not just people in the corporate world who are aghast. People in the legal world are also amazed and upset by what SPS gets away with. It is so difficult to make your voice heard when you are "just" a building level employee. The union does little to help. Thank you, from all of us who have been wronged by the district, for continuing to fight. It is difficult, exhausting and demoralizing to fight for what is right in this district, but it needs to be done. I wish you good luck and positive results.

Jennifer

mirmac1 said...

Happy I could help. Here's the info you referenced on SPSLeaks:

SPS PG&E and PASS Eval Material

SPS PG&E and PET Eval Training Material

Anonymous said...

According the Kansas document that Charlie shared, MTSS there includes three assessments a year to gauge where intervention might be needed.

Charlie, is SPS looking to implement it in a similar way? Specifically, three assessments a year to gauge whether intervention will be necessary? And also, what is the nature of the assessments? Teacher driven assessments, standardized testing use, or combo?

Finally, the transparency in the document you shared regarding the process there, the questions for parents to ask, and contacts was great. Wonder what SPS will be providing SPS parents on this as the program rolls out?

-FedMomof2

mirmac1 said...

Couldn't happen to a better guy

Rahm Gets Rolled: Chicago's Winners & Losers

SPS teachers, you still got it. You just have to get your union to stand up for you!

Anonymous said...

SEA is a joke without a punchline. Knapp and company extort money from their members to pay for their coffee chats with the folks at the John.

Urban Legend

Anonymous said...

Salander, I am going to guess Hale because of the large imigrant population there. Please let us know when your hearing is even if I guessed wrong and it is Roosevelt.

Hale Parent (HP)

Anonymous said...

Nathan Hale still has 41 on its waitlist and Roosevelt still has 60. There has been no movement for sometime. Does this likely mean that none of these kids will get into these schools? Also, how difficult is it to switch schools for 10th grade? My daughter has a friend who lives just barely outside the Nathan Hale zone and is number 38 on the list. He has been going to Roosevelt for the last 2 weeks and hating it, probably because all of his friends are at Hale. It doesn't sound like he will get into Hale with the numbers. How hard is it to switch next year?

HP

Anonymous said...

Fantastic article in the NY Times about the sad state of gifted education in our country.

It's high time we end the bias against gifted education in our own district.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/19/opinion/gifted-students-deserve-more-opportunities.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&ref=opinion

Elephant

Lori said...

Indeed, and the title of the article is particularly apt this week in Seattle as we prepare for BEX IV community meetings: Young, Gifted, and Neglected

It's exactly how I feel about my child and her peers seeing that there is no clear plan for APP@Lincoln in the latest BEX IV project list. They are being neglected. Seriously, how can the district just pretend that a school of 530 children temporarily housed in an old high-school building simply does not exist when making major capital renovation and building plans?

There are concerning words in the plan, too, like "maximizing flexibility for programs" and expanding building core facilities (like lunch rooms) so that programs can be placed nearer to where students live. Sounds to me like their approach to capacity management will be splitting the Lincoln kids up into smaller cohorts and sprinkling them around the north end of the city. That might help with capacity, but it would dismantle an important program that represents a best practice in gifted education.

From the article, "...[T]he majority of very smart kids... depend on public education to prepare them for life. Yet that system is failing to create enough opportunities for hundreds of thousands of these high-potential girls and boys.

Mostly, the system ignores them... Here and there, however, entire public schools focus exclusively on high-ability, highly motivated students. Some are nationally famous, others known mainly in their own communities... Many more students could benefit from schools like these — and the numbers would multiply if our education system did right by such students in the early grades. But that will happen only when we acknowledge that leaving no child behind means paying as much attention to those who’ve mastered the basics — and have the capacity and motivation for much more — as we do to those who cannot yet read or subtract."


We need *more* schools like APP@Lincoln in this state, in this country. We have the demographics here in Seattle to support the recommended approach to gifted education; we could be the district others look to as a model for how its done. But instead, we fight year after year to keep the program from being dismantled. I have friends and family in other states who wish they had something like APP in their districts. Yet our district acts like APP is dispensable, obsolete, no longer needed.

I just don't understand it.

I hope we start getting some answers at the community meetings, starting this Thursday at Whitman.

mirmac1 said...

"...sprinkling them around the north end of the city."

OK, that is telling. The community meetings have, in fact, been underway since Monday - but not in the north end of the city. Parents in SE Seattle decried the fact that there is no equitable access for their kids to gifted learning programs. The statement above would suggest that is true.

Anonymous said...

Best practice means best under the circumstances in which the data was gathered. Our district is unique and may find that self-contained doesn't produce the best results for gifted kids. I read the Economist interview with the author who wrote the article. not sure you would want to get in his corner.

ions

Anonymous said...

Access to APP is equitable - APP is located in the north end (Lowell/Lincoln and Hamilton) and south end (Thurgood Marshall and Washington), and the criteria for entry are consistent and equal. How can you get more equitable? If you're talking Spectrum and ALO, that's a different story. In that case, qualifying doesn't guarantee access.

What's becoming inequitable are the programs. APP, when it was at one site, didn't differ as much as it does now. Continued splitting will make the program less and less equal, like Spectrum and ALO. As it is, Thurgood Marshall will now be using different (and some would argue better) math materials than APP at Lincoln.

Unknown said...

I have requested an open hearing on this matter, to which, I am entitled under State law.

Please, let me know via my blog e-mail - sss.westbrook@gmail.com - about your hearing and your situation. We would cover it if you wanted us to. As well, I would like to attend the hearing. (I recall that when they were trying to get rid of Martin Floe at Ingraham, he wanted an open hearing and boy, that got settled fast. It's good to have legal rights.)

I think the person who said ALO and Spectrum are not equitable meant that there is suppose to be access to a program in every region of the city. That's not really true in the case of Spectrum and hasn't been for a long time. I think that the ALOs (where they exist) are mostly a joke so what is the point?

HP, I would say we are now about two weeks in and patience can win out. What happens is that kids become established at a school in a month and then when asked, want to stay. That moves the waitlist a lot. However, it will dissolve at the end of the month so that's basically the deadline.

It IS easier to get into some high schools in 10th great. I knew a couple of students who did this (one from RHS to NHHS and vice versa).

Steve said...

mirmac1, I believe when Lori wrote "...sprinkling them around the north end of the city," she was doing so in the context of what the district might be planning to do with APP at Lincoln. I haven't been to the BEX IV meetings yet; could you give more specifics about how "Parents in SE Seattle decried the fact that there is no equitable access for their kids to gifted learning programs." Were they talking about APP (which is available at Thurgood Marshall and Washington MS), or about Spectrum and ALO? Given that there are these elementary and middle-school APP programs in the southern part of the city, I would assume you (and they) mean ALO and Spectrum.

As has been stated repeatedly on this blog and others, Spectrum and ALO are ill-defined and unsupported programs that are inconsistently implemented everywhere in the district. And some schools do not even have "in name only" versions of these programs.

Steve

Charlie Mas said...

@FedMomof2

MTSS does require frequent assessments. They will go beyond the two or three MAP assessments to include frequent classroom based assessments (CBAs). And I mean FREQUENT. Like, weekly.

It probably won't happen like that all across Seattle. Some schools will do close to that much, most will do less, some will do almost none as they resist the change.

I was very happy to find the document from Kansas for families. It's pretty good. Don't expect anything like it from SPS now or ever.

Anonymous said...

We need *more* schools like APP@Lincoln in this state, in this country. We have the demographics here in Seattle

Since nearly everyone in Seattle is either gifted or disabled, and can pay for an evaluation to prove it, there really is only 1 solution. Provide those services in each local school. Then there would indeed be *more* schools like Lori wants.

-parent

Anonymous said...

Roosevelt principal said that their prof. dev. hours will be devoted to PG&E and aligning to common core standards.

-Roosevelt Mom

Charlie Mas said...

Here's some information on the District's plans for MTSS.

Anonymous said...

I attended a PTA meeting at Hamilton tonight. The principal fielded questions from parents (perhaps 150 parents attendend).

Many parents expressed skepticism for the 15 additional days of 2-hour early dismisal. No parent expressed unmitigated support.

The principal said the decision for the 15 additional early release days was made before her arrival. She is going to honor that decision; it stands.

Parents asked how the decision was made. They were told that the decision was made by the BLT last spring, which has only 3 parent reps.

One parent used the microphone to ask how many parents in the room had a child enrolled at Hamilton last spring. Many hands were raised (maybe 50?). The parent then asked how many of these parents knew before this week of this plan. Not a single hand was raised.

The meeting provided a very strong indication that the measure is unpopular. The parents called for the decision to be revisited, this time with community input.

Anonymous said...

Correction to preceding post:

Last sentence should read "The parent called for the decision to be revisited, this time with community input.

P.S. The parent's comment received strong applause.

Anonymous said...

A couple parents at tonight's meeting asked that the early release days be scheduled with three full periods. This seemed to be received favorably by the group present. The idea would be to alternate between morning periods and afternoon periods on alternate early-release days.

Principal answers this is not possible due to impossibility under this scheme to meet contractual requirements for preparation time. Under this scheme, only half the teachers will get their contractual free period on any given early release day.

Well, if the teachers are willing to sign off on their preparation period every other early-release day, and to give us three full-length classes on early-release days, then I would be more receptive to the plan.

The teachers and the students are both giving up something under this plan.

Under the current plan, it seems all the sacrificing is one-sided.

Another difficulty with this proposal is misalignment between classes. As an example, an early release day with periods 1-3 only will result in afternoon algebra students being one day behind the morning algebra students until the completion of the next early release day.)

I can understand this being an important consideration. This could be solved by another suggestion from a parent: Schedule early release days in consecutive pairs.

Parent of Hamilton 6th grader


Anonymous said...

I was another parent at HIMS tonight. The principal accurately stated that current research shows that when teachers align, using evidence, students benefit. Yet other research conclusively shows the greater amount of learning time, the better. In fact, research does not necessarily demonstrate that greater PD time leads to higher academic skills. My question-- why cannot the contractually permitted collaboration and staff meeting time be devoted to alignment? Why do we need so many early release day? I do not think there is data supporting extensive use of early release, or late start. I am happy to be corrected if wrong, would love to see a citation on point. At this point I am very concerned that especially underserved students wuill be disservedby the wasted days. My child reports that on early dismissal days each period is a face; how does that affect kids who are falling behind? I believe it affects those students even more than students who are successful. Does this well-intended policy actually have the potential of contributing to the achievement gap?

A side note: I felt disrespected by Ms. Watters choice of very informal clothing. Perhaps it is my cultural background. Where I am from, one does not wear casual pants and a v-neck top to meet with a large community; it appeared to me when she wore Saturday-am-run-to-the-grocery-store clothing that she did not think the meeting or parents were important. Hoping I am incorrect and that parents and families will carry weight at this school.

Waiting to See

Anonymous said...

I was at the Hamilton meeting tonight also and felt disappointed
1. by the number of the parents who showed up at the meeting (max 80). After receiving the letter on Monday about the additional early release days I felt that the meeting tonight will be packed with parents who will ask the principal to revise the school schedule (there are more than 950 students at the school)
2. by the fact that the principal couldn't provide the details about the the early release day decision (who exactly decided on this question, when and why, and how did they come up with the number of additional hours/days), and the lack of the communication before even though she stated that she had to face the fact on her first or second day in August.

But, on the other hand I felt that Ms Watters was prepared for the meeting, she was listening to the different suggestions, made notes of the parents input, tried to answer all the questions and also she promised to find the answers to those questions she couldn't answer right away (language, standard base evaluation).

Overall, IMO Ms Watters envisioned a great school where the teachers will be accountable for their teaching ability, where there will be better communication between the school and the parents, and between the teachers also, and where there will be transparency how school decisions were made.
I think this is already more promising start of the school year than in the last 3 years with Mr Carter.
-Another Hamilton parent

Anonymous said...

Waiting to see
If I have to choose between a principal, who dresses up nicely, wears suit and tie all the time, has a huge smile on his face and does NOTHING to improve his school (but in the meantime trying to get another job in another school and announce his leaving one day after school ends), or a principal, who dresses informally on a school meeting, sharing school issues with her partner and not smiling all the time but very straightforward and has a vision for improvement and does big changes in her school on the 3rd week after starts to work there, I feel I would choose the latest one with no question. And I hope I am not alone.
HIMS parent

Anonymous said...

Earlier in this thread Katie said that Hale works wonders with early release days. How does Hale handle them? And are there other middle/high schools that have come up with strategies to avoid the typical "wasted day" approach? If we're going to be seeing a lot more early release days around the district, seems like this is good opportunity to think about what works and what doesn't.


ELB

Anonymous said...

re: HIMS

80 or 150 parents, either way is a pretty good turnout for a PTA meeting. Hopefully parents are emailing with concerns as well. I think the best solution is to cut back on the number of early release days. Altering the schedule on early release days sounds like a logistical nightmare.

Changes and improvements are needed at Hamilton, and if extra early release days can bring about improvements then I'd fully support a reasonable number of them. 20 simply isn't reasonable for students. It's too much lost class time.

I'd also ask what will be allowed during those days - in the past it's been a lot of movie viewing, so there really was a loss of insructional time.

The principal said the decision for the 15 additional early release days was made before her arrival. She is going to honor that decision; it stands. If this is true, then cc M. Campbell with concerns as well. 20 days is simply excessive.

also HIMS parent

mirmac1 said...

Okay, tell me how this works. The board vote on the latest TFA wunderkind was three yes and three abstain. The Board Mgr Theresa Hale said the motion failed, but DeBell, naturally, said it passed.

Huh?!! Does it have to be three No votes? Is it because they were abstentions?

Kudos to the fine ladies on the board who took issue with the diss in the Times editorial!

Anonymous said...

Nathan Hale High School has late start on Tuesdays. I think they start at 10. The schedule is modified and seems to work out well. I prefer late start to early release. More sleep in the morning for a teen is better than idle time in the afternoon.

HP

Anonymous said...

What confuses me about HIMS is that compared to the other district middle schools, it has a relatively high achieving student population. It's not a struggling school that needs serious interventions. Did Mercer's turnaround require 20 early release days? What justifies the high number of early release days when compared to other middle schools?

parent

Anonymous said...

Marni Campbell was at the PTSA meeting last night also at Hamilton. She agreed with the additional number of early release days because she had a great experience at Hale with the weekly one late start. When I asked her opinion about it she stated that this is the trend in the districts around us and it works wonder with the teachers and the students.
HIMS parent

mirmac1 said...

Roberts Rules of Order:

...if the bylaws specify "a majority of those PRESENT" or "two-thirds of those PRESENT", instead of "PRESENT AND VOTING", then an abstention has the same effect as a negative vote.

Where are the boards bylaws. There's not much detail in Policy 1400.

Anonymous said...

About HIMS PTA meeting:

"No parent expressed unmitigated support."

Probably because those of us not freaking out about the early release days stayed home.

--Yet another Hamilton Parent

Anonymous said...

This is the RCW governing instructional hours:

Education Laws in WA

RCW 28A.150.220

(2) Each school district shall make available to students the following minimum instructional offering each school year:

(a) For students enrolled in grades one through twelve, at least a district-wide annual average of one thousand hours, which shall be increased to at least one thousand eighty instructional hours for students enrolled in each of grades seven through twelve and at least one thousand instructional hours for students in each of grades one through six according to an implementation schedule adopted by the legislature, but not before the 2014-15 school year;


HIMS 2012-13 schedule reduces the instructional hours to 1020. Is this allowed until the 2014-15 school year, but not after?

also a HIMS parent

mirmac1 said...

From WSSDA:

"Abstention – Unless otherwise required by law or the documents of the board "the vote is determined by the number of members present and voting", therefore, abstentions are not considered a vote (RONR page 390). They are not recorded except in cases where a record of quorum must be established."

Linh-Co said...

I especially like the request from a parent about banning movies in the classrooms during these short inservice days.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Since nearly everyone in Seattle is either gifted or disabled.."

Parent, that seems like a snark but tell us what that means. Everyone in Seattle or SPS or what? And what do you base that on?

"..sharing school issues with her partner.." And what does that mean? I'm confused.

"Probably because those of us not freaking out about the early release days stayed home."

Well, I don't call showing up to a PTA meeting raising concerns "freaking out." To want to know how a new process works for education outcomes AND how it logistically will work doesn't seem like freaking out.

mirmac1 said...

Guess we're feeling especially snarky this morning...

: )

Jamie said...

My kid is at Ballard High School and they handle their early release days thusly:
Every time the district has a Wednesday early release day, BHS also has early release the following day, Thursday. On Weds they have three periods and on Thursday they have the other three periods. Seems to work just fine.

Chris S. said...

The most recent BEX work session slideshow said there would be community meetings 9/20, 24, & 27. Does anyone know anything about that? LIke when and where?

Anonymous said...

I am going through schools' posted calendars and comparing the number of 2-hr early release days. So far:

Eckstein: 9 total (5 district, plus 4 school, one per month)

Mercer: 5 total (all district)

McClure: 5 total (all district)

Denny: 5 total (all district)

Still have more to go through, but...HIMS is an anomaly.

parent

Anonymous said...

What is very discouraging is Ms. Watters dismissal of every idea parents brought up. I hear that message loud and clear!

Can anybody clarify if in fact HIMS is in violation of the state policy.


Another HIMS parent

Anonymous said...

Ms Watters didn't dismiss any parent ideas - yet. She was listening and made notes what we were suggesting. And there were lot of suggestions! She clearly stated that she single handedly can not change a legitimately made group decision from last year that she wasn't part of. So I would suggest some patience now...

Also : the added early dismissal days received approval from the district last spring after they were decided. Plus, district provides the extra cost for transportation also.
So somehow it can not be the violation of the state policy.
- Don't understand it either

Anonymous said...

Chris S --

The BEX4 info is here:

http://seattleschools.org/modules/cms/pages.phtml?pageid=270265&sessionid=e706add1878717d4fbd451f29d981acf

Note that the first meeting is TONIGHT at Whitman Middle School (9201 15th Ave. N.W.) from 6:30-8pm.

APP Dad

Anonymous said...

The only question about HIMS decision is that how any school decision could be legitimate if no one knew (no parents) about it and there are no meeting minutes.
- Curious

katie said...

I was also at the HIMS meeting last night.

I am so confused about any conversation about how Principal Walters was dressed. I don't remember what she was wearing but it was clearly - clean, crisp and looking like a professional person in most Seattle offices.

I also thought she was very responsive and respectful. I have too many examples of principals who wouldn't even meet with parent groups. I think she was extremely balanced.

She has been in the job for a few weeks. She was not going to over-ride her entire staff at a parent meeting, based on what was very obviously less than 10% of the parent population (I counted 80 people). Particularly information that was clearly presented to her as a community based decision made the previous year.

And frankly, if they do take the suggestion to ban movies in class time and make videos homework, my student will have MORE seat time this year, than last.

Anonymous said...

Here's a list of 2-hr early release days across the district (For middle schools, based on the school's posted calendars):

The district has 5 scheduled 2-hr early release days, which are included in the totals. 1-hr early release days are not included in the total.

Denny: 5
Eckstein: 9
HIMS: 20
Aki (no info)
Madison: 5
McClure: 5
Mercer: 5
Washington: 12
Whitman: 7

Eckstein, Washington, and Whitman all have extra school based early release days, but no school has as many as HIMS. Even Washington (which perhaps is doing some PD with HIMS) has only 7 extra days compared to HIMS 15.

I understand wanting to stand by a previous staff decision, but not if it's plain out of line with the rest of the schools.

parent

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know the testing window dates for the fall MAP tests?

nem

Anonymous said...

Who gives approval for school-based early release days? Does the Superintendent sign off on them, or is it based on approval from the Executive Director only?

curious

Anonymous said...

Just becuase the "disrict" approved something does not mean that they are in compliance with state regulations.


Happy to hear notes were taken - hope to hear that they have rethought the whole thing over and will make some revisons to this absurd schedule.

Another HIMS parent

katie said...

Parent -

I don't know if your list is correct (it could be!). McClure has a long history of having lots of early release dates and you have them listed as having 5. That would be a big change for them to have no extra early release dates this year.

20 does seem to be greater than the average. However, since historically HIMS has taken no extra time, for my 8th grader, this still more seat time over the three years than the other school. Plus, if this reduces the amount of movie time, I call it a win.

Also, I thought Principal Watters was really clear that this was a one year plan and they were not intending to do this every year but that this was a big push year to create teamwork. I think it is long over due. The NSAP has made a lot of changes for many schools. HIMS has had to deal with both a lot of change and juggling multiple programs - Immersion, APP, neighborhood, Spectrum, Spec Ed, etc. Plus a lot of staff changes.

I for one am pretty sick of the us vs them mentality between the programs and I am very optimistic that this might just help create some unity.

Anonymous said...

McClure has the 5 SPS early releases plus 8 more. Similar to last year I think.

Wasn't the decision at HIMS by the BLT (and whoever else weighted in last year) to have the 15 days be Late Arrivals, but the transportation couldn't be worked out?

-seattleParent

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

The nice thing about late arrivals (at least for middle school kids who can get themselves up and to school without parental help) is that it lessens the "what will the whole group of them think of to do that afternoon after school -- they usually just use the extra time for sleep, or to do homework before school -- at least that is what mine did.

The thing that seems to bad to me is that 20 extra afternoons is such a gold mine of time. If the right organization(s) and people could be pulled together -- just THINK what that much time could be used for.
You could set up some incredible service projects (for 8th graders -- and then get special dispensation from the District to could them towards the high school credit). Things that require (or could use) ongoing time -- rather than just "single event" things.
You could do some amazing art-related projects (either performance arts, visual arts, digital arts, or just going to arts performances.
Kids could get their lifesaving certificates, or scuba diving certificates (though the latter is pretty expensive).
You could set up visits to high schools that allowed kids to attend classes (IB at Sealth and Ingraham, academy classes at Franklin and Ballard, STEM classes at Cleveland, etc.).
You could arrange for trips to the science programs at local universities (astronomy, meteorology labs, etc.).
If there is room at the school, you could ask some of the arts organizations (Seattle Ballet, Spectrum, ACT Theater, Seattle Children's Theater, etc.) to come in and give workshopts, or take kids there to watch rehearsals or performances. You could have someone come in and do large group art projects (either in the school or the community) -- jewelry, pottery, murals, etc.
Kids could attend court hearings or trials, or City council meetings.

Given the number of kids and the number of days, there would be a lot of work here to organize this stuff. But assuming they can't switch back to mornings, 20 afternoons strikes me as pure gold, in terms of the possibilities.

Anonymous said...

Okay, but they still have to fit a year's worth of school work into three weeks' less time. That's three fewer weeks to get through the math curriculum. It's three fewer weeks for band and orchestra to practice. It's three fewer weeks of solid instructional time.

Jan said...

Anonymous (who needs to pick a moniker to avoid deletion) said: Okay, but they still have to fit a year's worth of school work into three weeks' less time. That's three fewer weeks to get through the math curriculum. It's three fewer weeks for band and orchestra to practice. It's three fewer weeks of solid instructional time.

I totally concur. It would be great if they could be in school. I was operating from the position that those three weeks are already lost. The PD WILL take place, and the students WILL NOT be in school those hours. All I meant to say was -- now you have all that time, in predictable, well-spaced-out chunks of 2 to 3 hours. What a gift to learning, if someone, or some group, could put the kids and the opportunities together in an organized way.

Anonymous said...

as far as it being a one-year plan: this is middle school. It is only 3 years long. A one-year plan is a big chunk of time in that context.

Moving to pie-in-the-sky land, I sure wish this collaboration time could be scheduled for after school -- this seems quite doable if planned in advance given that school is out at 2:30. And of course, the teachers would be paid for the additional hours in this fantasy of mine.

Anonymous said...

Reality vs fantasy
The teachers only required to be in school for the teaching hours and 30 mins before and after school according to their contract. In any additional time there is a possibility to have only partial participation (even with extra payment).
Jan
There were requests to move the early release days to Friday, so at least the skiers could use that afternoon between January and March to go to ski.
HIMS parent