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Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Board Meeting Reveals Chaos

Three interesting notes from the Board meeting tonight.

1. After a long list of conservationists, architects, and conservationist architects got up to praise the District for proposing a resolution on sustainable building practices, the resolution got put on hold. Directors DeBell and Carr slowed the process and Director Patu called for a work session to discuss it. Director DeBell said that a resolution is not the way to codify the idea and he and Director Carr complained that they were hearing about the resolution for the first time at the Board meeting. Ummm... isn't that how every motion works? Only the members of the committee who vetted it get to see a motion before it comes before the full Board.

2. Director Smith-Blum said that she got input on the language of the resolution from a long list of experts on sustainable buildings. Contrast that with other things brought to the Board without any effort at outreach at all. This illustrates the utter lack of any kind of standard practice for policy development.

3. Speaking of policies that get no expert input and a chaotic policy development practice, the proposed Highly Capable Services policy was also deferred as pointless, poorly thought out, and non-urgent. The proposed policy is so badly written that one of the sentences lacks a verb. Board President Smith-Blum suggested, and her colleagues agreed, that the District should first develop and articulate a Vision for Advanced Learning - all of Advanced Learning - before trying to write the policy.

When the video becomes available, everyone will get a taste of Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Shauna Heath's amazing speaking style. She is asked if the policy only applies to APP. The correct answer is "Yes." but she runs on for about fifty words to say nothing meaningful. She struggles with the question a second and third time before Mr. Tolley comes to her rescue and answers the question "Yes".

18 comments:

Melissa Westbrook said...

I will have to watch this video (with popcorn) because it sounds entertaining.

There is so much that could be said but the last item -about Advanced Learning - was the topper.

Of course, the policy is about APP. All that matters, all they talk about at all is APP.

Anonymous said...

"The correct answer is "Yes." but she runs on for about fifty words to say nothing meaningful"

When you can't dazzle them with facts, you baffle them with bullsh*t...


NEFather

mirmac1 said...

In positive news, the motion to authorize a RIF was pulled! This is all Mr Banda; he is considering the morale and commitment of teachers.

After years and years of RIFS, knowing full well we'll need MORE teachers for a growing enrollment, the district recognizes that this is not how to maintain and retain an experienced workforce that feels vested and respected.

Anonymous said...

Board President Smith-Blum suggested, and her colleagues agreed, that the District should first develop and articulate a Vision for Advanced Learning - all of Advanced Learning - before trying to write the policy.

Thanks to KSB for pointing out the obvious to staff and fellow board members.

-thankful

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

(Anonymous, I'm doing you this favor of reposting your comment but do read the posting policy next time.)

You didn't mention Stevens Elementary Choir 5's amazing performance before the board last night! My son was there.

I worked for the City of Seattle 15 years ago and we worked closely with the school district on sustainable building practices during the Building Excellence work. We even put together a manual in 1998. Sustainable building has been a major initiative with the school district for YEARS! Why do they need a resolution now? What difference dose it make to getting the work done?

mirmac1 said...

This is a cause dear to KSB's heart. I see DeBell's and Carr's histrionics as just a way to give her a poke. So much for taking care of business. How many SBARs and Resolutions and MOUs were intro'd and rubberstamped two weeks later, under the Sundquist/DeBell regime?

Carol Simmons said...

Dear Anonymous,

Stevens Elementary choir and the songs they performed were inspirational. Congratulations to your son.

Testimony was presented requesting that the 80 students who had completed all other graduation requirements but did not pass the Math test,be allowed to walk in commencement exercises. Thank you

Testimony was also presented requesting that the Murals at Wilson Pacific be preserved. It is totally unacceptable that our Native American students and their families are being tragically discriminated against by moving the Indian Heritage Program off of native land, destroying the Murals and placing disproportionate numbers (30%) of our Native students into Special Education programs.

Charlie Mas said...

The video is up!

Jump to 87:55 for the start of the discussion on the HC policy and to 89:00 for the question and answer from Ms Heath.

mirmac1 said...

Thanks Charlie.

In part 1, fast forward to 86:31 to hear parent Erica Pollard powerful testimony regarding the shaft given students who will be denied graduating with their class. Also, at 88:55, you will hear the incoming president for the SpEd PTSA Mary Griffin, point out the (heretofore quiescent) disparity of disciplinary action against students with disabilities.

mirmac1 said...

The testimony Charlie refers two is in Part two of the video. Here is the link:

Part two, yada yada

Anonymous said...

I still don't get the change from highly capable "programs" to "services." I watched the video, the change was noted, but it's not clear why they made the change. The presentation did not inspire confidence.

confused

Anonymous said...

They went on record around 119 minutes (in the second video) saying that pay for K is subsidizing/paying for free all day K. My child HAD to attend half day K this year because we could not afford the tuition. There is a huge gap between qualifying for free/reduced lunch and being able to afford AKD tuition. They yammered on about the importance of ADK and how amazing it is that paying students are allowing for students in south Seattle to attend ADK for free. What about all of the students in the north end who can't afford ADK that need it? Why is it okay to dismiss their needs because the state isn't fully funding it?
Maybe it is just my individual school, but my child's teacher and principal seem to view the half-day kids as kids who attend half-day by choice. There is no choice.
No Equity

Anonymous said...

No Equity,

The paying for full-day kindergarten does not sit well with me either. For the ammount spent at schools where most families can afford it you still see class sizes of 28 in kindergarten.

Why stop charging families in kindergarten, why not charge every family tuition?

That families finally move out of the total free-for-all situation of preschool and childcare -- largely unsubsidized by goverment (tax breaks or tuition) or employers -- and then have to pay again. Why not have 5th grade families pay too?

I'm just saying, why is it set-up so badly? It is like our society is entirely inept when it comes to the realities of raising and educating our young.

GMG

Anonymous said...

Is it even legal for a public school to charge a family more for K/student than it costs? The costs for those that can't pay should not be placed disproportionately on other K families.

Apparently I have a different definition of equity than the district.

not ok

Melissa Westbrook said...

I would add that especially during these recessionary times telling families they have to pay for all-day K is probably a big burden for many families (beyond F/RL families).

I urge you to write to your legislator and tell them the first thing they do on the first day of the Special Session is to vote in the most dollars for McCleary. That WILL pay for all-day K.

Charlie Mas said...

Here is where we smack up against the District's new definition of Academic Assurances.

They will only assure you of those academic opportunities that the law requires. In this case it means half-day kindergarten.

Academic Assurances used to be much more ambitious. It used to mean a baseline minimum that the District wanted every school to offer. It included access to a minimum number of AP or IB classes in the high schools, music in the elementary and middle schools, and full day Kindergarten. No more.

Under the new definition of Academic Assurances, the district only commits to a five-period day in high school and twenty credits to graduate.

Anonymous said...

De Bell and Carr are such toxic presences on the Board. When and how can we be done with them?
A concerned father