A Couple of Interesting Items

There is a petition at Change.org, asking Superintendent Banda to end early dismissals at SPS.  I have no info as to who started it (it only says F. Jacobs).  It has over 200 signatures.  It's fairly simple text:

Jose Banda, Superintendent, Seattle Public Schools
Jonathan Knapp, President, Seattle Education Association
Phyllis Campano, Vice President, Seattle Education Association
Please stop early dismissals at Seattle public schools.
Frequent early school dismissals are a terrible hardship on families. Parents under financial stress, working parents, multi-child families, single parents, and many other caregivers have no good childcare and/or transportation options to manage early school dismissals. We urge you to find a family-friendly way to provide teachers with the planning time they need. 

 As well, tomorrow the results of the 2012 Healthy Youth Survey and the federal Youth Risk Behavior survey will be released.  I'll be attending a media event at SPS about these findings.


Anonymous said…
District announces meeting dates for seek public comment on changes to elementary and middle school boundaries for 2014-15 school year:

Community meetings on boundary changes

Meetings are scheduled from 6:30-8 p.m. as follows:
• Monday, Sept. 23 - Mercer Middle School, lunchroom
• Tuesday, Sept. 24 - Nathan Hale High School, commons
• Wednesday, Sept. 25 - West Seattle High School, commons
• Monday, Sept. 30 - Meany Building, lunchroom, (Seattle World School, formerly Secondary Bilingual Orientation Center)
• Tuesday, Oct. 1 - Ballard High School, commons

a reader
Anonymous said…
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Patrick said…
School Calendars are published before the beginning of the school year. Parents should plan accordingly, in advance, to ensure their child(ren) will have adequate care on early release days. It is not the responsibility of Public Schools to be your child's babysitter. These early dismissals are scheduled so your child's teacher can get the Professional Development necessary to provide a better education for your child.

Is this quoted from a handbook or press release? More serious than the child care issue is that the class days are so short nothing useful gets done. Child doesn't learn anything, yet still has to be in school. Stupid waste of time. Sometimes the school arranges for an assembly on half days instead of classes, and that's a reasonable use of the time, but a 20 minute period is just long enough to take attendance and then pack up to leave. I'm all for professional development, but why can't they take half as many full days to do it and let the kids have a vacation day? The parents who can afford the time could have a full day with the child, the parents who have to arrange child care would have just one day to arrange instead of two. Maybe the MAP and MSP testing days should be some of those half days, and the schools could use proctors for them while the regular teachers do their professional development.
Anonymous said…
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Patrick said…
How does the professional development work? Do the teachers go to it, or do those conducting PD go to the school? Would it really be impossible to conduct a morning session and an afternoon session rather than afternoon sessions two different days?

Of course care when students are not in school is a parent's responsibility. But the school's responsibility is effective teaching, and half days aren't effective for teaching.

One reason I've seen advocated for doing the half days is that FRL students get breakfast and lunch on the half days, and might not get it at home. It's good to feed the hungry, but is taking up professional teachers' time and the rest of the class's time really the most efficient way to accomplish that?
Anonymous said…
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Anonymous, please read the comment rules before you post.
Anonymous said…
As a teacher I find the majority of PD offered by SPS to be of a uniformly low quality. Frankly, it is a waste of money. I have my degrees so let me do my job. If I'm not trusted to do the work then tell me. The early release days are a bit frustrating as well. Yes, they are on the calendar but they should be used to give students early release on days after mandatory high stakes testing. Send them home! Or organize a field day!

n said…
I agree with Lemons. I can cite a rare time or two when the time was used effectively. But, not many. I'd rather teach. Our year feels too short as it is for all the curriculum and enrichment I'd like to fit in. A waiver day or two to get budget items and other real business completed may be necessary. But these early release day? No way.

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