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Monday, October 29, 2012

Banda to Present State of District Report on Thursday

Update:  The Alliance IS "hosting" this.  I'm sorry but since when does a sober and serious (and mandated by the Board report) have to be "hosted" by anyone?  I don't care if it's Perkins Coie's anniversary or if Sara Morris' husband works there or if it is free use for SPS - this is WRONG.

Still no word from the district.  Not a good sign, Superintendent Banda.

End of update.

Among the happenings in SPS this week, comes a notice that the Superintendent will release his State of the District 2012 report on Thursday, Nov. 1 at ...Perkins Coie LLC(?!) from 11:30 am to 1:30 p.m.

Folks, I just got this press release so I will call district communications as soon as I can to find out why:
1) it is being presented at a very high-profile law firm's offices downtown (is there some major announcement to come?)
2) you have to register to hear it and all members of the media are welcome but space is limited for the public.

I smell the fine hand of the Alliance for Education in all this. 

It will be videotaped and broadcast and the report will be on the website.

We HAVE a district headquarters with a huge auditorium where press conferences are regularly held and has plenty of room for the public. 

This is not a good sign and I think we should ALL e-mail the Board and the Superintendent and get this changed.  

schoolboard @seattleschools.org
superintendent@seattleschools.org

45 comments:

Fed up ...Dept of Just please take over out school district!!- said...

very strange....

How much is Perkin's billing for the prep and press conference?

Must be some deep doo-doo to reveal

Yuck!

Choice of location alone puts parents on defense.

Obviously the dist is already in defense mode..

More theft? More Special Education lawsuits?

Anonymous said...

Gasp, what a message to special ed families after so much public commentary, in the seattle times and in stakeholder engagement meetings, about the inability to settle sped problems except legally. This is shocking.

Reader

Anonymous said...

Mr. Banda, what are you saying to special ed families?


Concerned taxpayer

mirmac1 said...

just emailed them.

I remember the Alliance sponsoring these in previous years. What? We have to sell-out for the sake of refreshments? Is this to show a unified body with the power-suits and bureaucrats (while we're standing out in the rain)?

Anonymous said...

Agree. This does not communicate a change of pace for the districts relationship with sped families, in spite of recent assurances that that change is coming. Unfortunate.


Reader 2

Anonymous said...

Gasp, what a message to special ed families after so much public commentary

What message? I see nothing about special ed in this post. Was there something referenced that I didn't pick up on?

parent

Florence said...

The taxpayers of Seattle School District paid for that auditorium at Perkins, Coie through years of laughable billable hours and then providing a place for former General Counsel's who might know too much. (Not Gary Little, who did the right thing).

Anonymous said...

Live! From the Lawyers' Office! It's the SPS Vision for the Next Year!

Everytime I think the district can't get more stupid in its approach to the public, I realize I'm wrong.

Another example of how SPS falls flat on its a$$ when it allows the Alliance for Education to "help" it "manage" its "business". Barf.

DistrictWatcher

Juana said...

That's too bad. Better to forego refreshments (if any) and sponsorship for neutrality. I will email the superintendent and board.

Anonymous said...

@parent

Here is the Special Education Post on the matter of Seattle Schools and the expensive over-reliance on its legal department to solve problems that staff cannot or will not solve themselves:

"Despite repeated leadership changes and a quadrupling of the special education litigation budget in the last five years, Seattle, Washington’s school district continues to have massive special education compliance issues due to a culture that “suffers from an indifference to special-ed students."

”http://specialedpost.com/2012/10/21/is-seattles-special-education-department-beyond-repair/

Recently Banda's been talking about changing the "so sue us" mentality of his staff and legal department as a way to manage special education. So why give his state of the district report at a location that is bluntly saying the opposite?

You have to wonder

Anonymous said...

Some things to consider in preparing a presentation -


1. Who is the audience?
2. What is your message?
3. What is the most effective way to communicate your message?
4. If you have a choice, where is the most effective location to present your message?

For the answer to question #4 to be "Present the report at Perkins Coie in the middle of the day. Provide media access but limited public access" I shudder to think what the answers to the other questions are.

Oompah

Charlie Mas said...

Oh, and the cost of parking!

Unknown said...

The response I got from Theresa Hale is that "Perkins Coie is donating the free space as it's the firm's 100th anniversary and recognizes their longtime role in civic projects, particularly in support of Seattle Public Schools".

She also addes that the Board will be holding a work session on Thursday from 4:00-5:30pm in the John Stanford Center Auditorium to discuss the district scorecard.

signed public school mama

Anonymous said...

So here the district goes again accepting something "free" without considering peripheral costs as well as if and how the "freebie" fits the overall mission and purpose.

Oompah

mirmac1 said...

"Perkins Coie is donating the free space as it's the firm's 100th anniversary and recognizes their longtime role in civic projects, particularly in support of Seattle Public Schools".

I call BS! That's like thanking Halliburton for their civic role in Iraq.

Mind you, Sara Morris likely approved the agenda and the text of the Address in advance. Surely Burgess will be allowed to say a few words about his largesse with our FEL taxes. The usual suspects will be lined up for recognition of their "civic" role. There'll be plenty of glad-handing and back-slapping to go around (except for us). What do you think? If there was one seat left would it go to a PTSA volunteer treasurer at X elementary, or Tom Stritikus?

Anonymous said...

Actually the PTSA presidents at the schools were invited to the event via an email from the Seattle Council.

I checked past State of the District events and found:

2011 Annual State of the District Address, 11/16/2011 (11:00 AM - 1:00 PM), Seattle Public Schools (Superintendent Event), Presented by Interim Superintendent Dr. Susan Enfield, Program begins promptly at 11:30a.m., Wing Luke Museum 719 S. King Street. Seating is limited and lunch sponsored by the Alliance for Education. Can't make it? The State of the District will be recorded and broadcast on Channel 26

2010 Annual State of the District, 11/9/10, 6 pm Mercer Middle School (regional meetings from 11/29-12/9 about the School Report cards)

2009-10 SPS District Scorecard - didn't find a formal presentation of this to the public

Is the Alliance the group who 'partnered' with SPS to roll out the School Report Cards. Maybe they host this b/c it's associated w/ that initiative.

It is an unusual location, or at least they should host a few State of the District presentations - at least one in the evening so interested families can attend. My 2cents at least.

-sps mom

Unknown said...

Looks bad, smells bad and to make it this inaccessible to the public (even PTA presidents) is wrong. I let the Superintendent know if he is trying to set a tone for his administration, this is the wrong one.

Anonymous said...

sps mom is right - the Perkins Coie event ought not be the only "public" roll-out of the "State of the District" Report. Who is "recognizing" who here?

Oompah

Anonymous said...

Something to do with push for a public school in Paul- I'll count the votes - Allen land.
money follows money

ConcernedSPSParent said...

State of the school district from a lawyers office - priceless! You can't make stuff like that up:)

Po3 said...

I don't beleive that Super. Banda fully understands the political climate in Seattle. It's a rookie's mistake.

Hopefully it won't happen again.

Someone said...

"For the answer to question #4 to be "Present the report at Perkins Coie in the middle of the day. Provide media access but limited public access" I shudder to think what the answers to the other questions are."

Yeah that's pretty much where my thoughts were on this... Yes it is a rookie mistake but the people around him just can't be that stupid - this is a highly politically charged time in SPS history - if ever there was a moment to err on the side of caution and keep appearances fully above board this was it...sighhh...

mirmac1 said...

Frankly, I'll lay this at DeBell's feet (doesn't surprise many). He has effectively cowed the true majority on the board with his snarky, media slander, or ponderous sermonizing. He is the superintendent whisperer (but micro-manager?! No Way!) who could have steered Banda right. But that's a pipe dream.

mirmac1 said...

For what it's worth, the CAS applications are on www.scribd.com/SPSLeaks

Enjoy!

Jan said...

Aside from whatever "symbolism" is involved in giving your "State of the District" address from an attorneys' office, here are the practical issues:

1. Virtually unattendable for working parents (other than those who work downtown and can take the time). But quite convenient for the "business crowd," the city political crowd, etc. I have no problem inviting these people to the party, but hate to see them pandered to at the expense of most parents, who are so left out.

2. Cost and availability of parking. Building parking at Perkins's office is quite expensive -- but the garage is mostly full by midday anyway, so while there are some spots, there aren't hundreds. Parking in neighboring buildings is probably also pretty expensive (best options might be the public library garage, the Benaroya Garage, or the (subsidized) Pacific Place garage and a six block walk), and street parking is scarce. It would have been great if Perkins and the City had gone to Diamond Parking (who runs the building garage) and arranged for free or nominal parking for the 2 hours or so that this meeting will entail. It would have been a nice gesture, and if Perkins can afford to donate the space, surely Diamond could afford to donate (or cut SSD a good deal) on parking for a couple of hours. Something tells me no one cared enough to think about this or about posting on any web site the availability of other parking options.

The GOOD news (if there is any) is that the LINK station stop is in the basement of the building -- so for folks who have access to link (or to other transit that runs in the tunnel), it is ridiculously easy, inexpensive, and dry to get to the meeting that way. I have to say -- for anyone out there who can maybe get there, one way to "make a point" about where they sited it would be to overwhelm the space capacity -- so that next year they select a large auditorium somewhere -- preferably during evening hours when more of the public can attend.

Anonymous said...

This must be a Halloween joke. Mr. Banda isn't that foggy minded about the culture in Seattle and the issues in the district!

Cautiously optimistic

Catherine said...

"ConcernedSPSParent said...
State of the school district from a lawyers office - priceless! You can't make stuff like that up:)"

No kidding.

I'm contemplating a pseudo panicky email to the super about "Oh no, what's wrong that you already have to hold press conferences from an attorney's office?!!!!"

mirmac1 said...

at least it's not at Dewey, Suem & Howe.

Catherine said...

I would submit a new partner to mirmac1's firm: Dewey, Cheatem, Suem & Howe.

Charlie Mas said...

Why will the State of the District report be presented at a downtown law firm instead of the school district's auditorium?

Why should people travel downtown and pay to park to hear a public event in a private space when it could easily have been presented in a public space with ample free parking?

Why do all of the district employees who will attend have to take additional time out of their day for travel to and from the offsite location?

Will the District pay for their parking downtown or their light rail fare?

I know the cost of doing it at a law office downtown, but I don't understand what is gained by it. Can anyone tell me how and why this location is better?

Anonymous said...

http://seattletimes.com/html/education/2019556628_teacherresidency30m.html

Apprentice program to train new Seattle teachers - Linda Shaw

This story was on the ST home page last night before bed, but it's not there anymore...weird

Oompah

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

Oompah - times article is still available via their App. Just checked. Read this last night and have lots of questions. As a teacher who worked with a number of other teachers to propose similar changes to how we help and support new teachers I am optimistic that our voices were heard. Effectiveness of the program and it's implementation as well as benefits to students served remains to be seen.

Still hopeful

Anonymous said...

No one at Perkins probably even knows it's being held there aside from the staff who is doing the set up and the admins who booked the room. I don't see a mass influx of Perkins lawyers rushing the room. Perkins rarely, if ever, does any work for SPS.

Last year it was at Wing Luke museum and no one accused them of trying to sell museum memberships. If it was at REIs meeting room, no one would accuse them of hosting to try to sell bikes and kayaks to participants.

I agree 100% that SPS hq makes a much more appropriate and accessible venue for this presentation, but I don't think there are nefarious intentions on behalf of the host.

I think the more interesting questions are, if this is a public State of the District presentation, why was it by invitation only, who was invited, why was it not very well publicized and will the district do a repeat presentation or two at a better time and place to allow for parents to attend ?

-SPS parent

Anonymous said...

False equivalency regarding Perkins Coie as a venue. The Wing Luke Museum is a public venue. REI is a commercial/public venue. Perkins Coie is not a public venue. Not even close.

If SPS really felt it was appropriate to "recognize" PK's contributions (as Theresa Hale reportedly stated) over its 100 year history, well, SPS could have invited them to an event.

This reeks a little more of "we want you to recognize our contributions so why don't you have your event here". Who at SPS decided it was important to recognize PK?

Charlie, as far as your questions, particularly the last one...what's to be gained? Why is PK a better location? Obviously, if PK is the better place, the "gain" to be had is not going to be had by SPS. It's political gain for ACRID insiders.

Oompah

Oompah

mirmac1 said...

I'm sure Linda Shaw was given an "exclusive" for favorable, "unbiased" coverage (like when she reported on the TFA roll-out). It's on the ST home page.

I would need to see the details like who's paying for what, and who's profiting how, but UTR sounds light years ahead of TFA with its self-promotion and illusionary results. In particular, special ed parents will be interested in the quality and amt of advance preparation of new SpEd teachers.

Just saying said...

Nothing like pounding on the new guy for taking a misstep.

Not a Nit Picker said...

37 comments on this issue? Really?

Who cares where he delivers a speach?

How many of you would have gone to the the event at the John Stanford Center that won't go now? I bet none. (Well, maybe Melissa).

Many parents work downtown and if the event is during the day this would be a decent and easy venue to get to.

I'd cut Banda a bit of slack (actually at ton of slack) on this one.

mirmac1 said...

Not a Nit Picker

I would be there, but I'm not a "suit" and have a job elsewhere.

If Banda doesn't know when he's being play'd, then we're in a world of hurt.

But he knows. So I won't ascribe it to being an ingenue.... Here's where the backbone shows.

He must weigh the pros and cons, and then suffer the consequences.

Anonymous said...

This is a great fund-raising idea! I was wondering when the school district would get with the times. For a negotiable fee, why not change the name to "Perkins Coie Seattle School District"?

- Ebenezer

uxolo said...

REPLY TO MY EMAIL TO SUPT & BD:
"Thank you for contacting the School Board Office. Please know that your comments and concerns have been distributed to all Board members. Also, Superintendent Banda has scheduled another presentation of the State of the District on Wednesday, November 14th, from 6:30-7:00 pm, in the auditorium at the John Stanford Center. More information can be found here: http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/cms/pages.phtml?pageid=282994.


Theresa Hale
Board Office Manager
Seattle Public Schools
206-252-0041

mirmac1 said...

Banda gave a preview State of the District address yesterday at JSCEE to senior staff, before the Board Work Session. He was getting feedback.

Josh Hayes said...

I'm planning on going to this thing tomorrow; do I need to RSVP? And what's the actual street address - or the relevant tunnel stop, since I'll be metro-ing in?

I'll check back on this thread, but you could also email me at josh dot hayes at q dot com.

Jan said...

Josh: Perkins's downtown office (the only one, as far as I know) is in the 1201 Third Avenue Building. They have a bunch of floors -- up in the 40s. If you get on the north bank of elevators (closest to the Chase Bank lobby), I suspect one of the buttons will have a Perkins Reception nameplate -- or you can check the directory at the front desk. The link rail stop probably says either University Street or Seneca Street (it takes up the block between the two of them). It is the last stop BEFORE the Westlake stop, if you are heading north.

Josh Hayes said...

Thanks, Jan. In the dim and distant past, I worked downtown in the 1400 block of 4th Ave; I'm familiar with the area. I'll slog down there and see what I can find out.