Monday, May 13, 2013

Items of Note

Roosevelt High School's Jazz Band placed third at this weekend's Essentially Ellington competition in NYC.  Congrats to all!

Ballard High students in their video program won two major prizes at the Dominique Dunne Film Competition in Colorado Springs.  The competition only awards four prizes and the judges are a who's who in Hollywood  so this is huge honor for Ballard.  Good job!

 Pinehurst K-8 is circulating a petition about their proposed relocation to Broadview-Thompson.

From the petition:

Pinehurst K-8 at Broadview-Thompson provides the district with a much-needed Option School in the northwest area. 

As Pinehurst K-8 community members, we consider these requests to be reasonable for the success of the co-location:
• That we retain our principal, administrative staff, and instructional staff to ensure stability for our entire community during the transition; for initial negotiations with Broadview-Thompson staff regarding scheduling and sharing spaces and resources; and for crucial institutional memory.
• Wet portables.
• A “resource portable” for our library, including our special collections, and for our computer lab.
• Guaranteed access to common areas and physical spaces such as the gym, cafeteria, library, and playground, with the understanding that Pinehurst K-8 is its own distinct community.
• Transportation with a hub stop at the Pinehurst building.

We feel strongly that our administrative and instructional staff is critical to the success of our co-location. Without them, it is difficult to imagine maintaining the integrity and distinctiveness of our unique school.

We were told that a final decision of the location of our school would be made by the end of this current school year (June 2013). We hope that our reasonable requests are included in the outcome.

Pinehurst is one of the oldest alternative programs in our district.  It has struggled over the last several years with much of that struggle coming at the hands of uncertainty for their future.  Please consider signing their petition.

The Charter Commission has posted the Executive Director position.  Please send it out if you know of a good candidate.

The Executive Director will work with Commission members to implement Charter School Legislation, identify education trends and policy priorities, and make recommendations based on research and best practice for improving the education of students in Washington State.
The Executive Director is accountable to the Commission for carrying out its mission and achieving its goals. Under the authority of the Commission, the Executive Director is responsible for establishing the Commission as a quality authorizer. Duties include planning, organizing, directing, communicating for the Charter School Commission and overseeing the annual budget of the Commission.

There is no ending date set for this position but candidates are advised to submit their materials as soon as possible.


Anonymous said...

Congrats to Roosevelt - that is so awesome. I watched some of the live feed this weekend (I don't have a kid involved or even one who is in band, but it was very cool to see regardless). The one-on-one with Wynton Marsalis was incredible. He is a character with a wealth of information and insight for these kids.

Very proud of the high schools from Seattle that represented this area.

From what I understand, the other two bands that won 1st and 2nd weren't public high schools (Tucson Jazz Institute and Jazz House kids) - so even more impressed that our kids continue to do so well as competition ramps up.

-GHS Parent

mirmac1 said...

Another item of note:

Report to the BMG Foundation on the A4E/SPS Strategic Plan 2008-2013

mirmac1 said...

Why are we spending money on this?

ConnectEDU is a privately held technology company, committed to preparing and transitioning 21st Century Learners on their pathways from school to college to career, helping them realize their potential, achieve a secure financial future, and ultimately connect to life's possibilities.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thank you Mirmac. That is interesting reading and deserves its own thread.

You can't read that Report to the BMG Foundation on the Alliance's work without realizing how far the Alliance has stepped over the line.

They think the Board needs to be checked? They need to be checked.

mirmac1 said...

Here's the Alliance talking about the school board with my commentary)...

"Ongoing Governance: We underestimated the amount of time and effort it would take to reach agreement about sound governance practices and implement the protocols to support them (we couldn't ram DeBell's Board Policy through). We have learned that governance must be an ongoing topic woven into particular areas of work (we will continue to brainwash the board in the retreats). In the coming year we will use the strategic plan “refresh” process as the framework through which we reinforce proper (as we define it) governance."

Jazz! said...

Congratulations to Hamilton International Middle School's Senior Jazz Band who took top honors at the 2013 Bellevue High School Jazz Festival held over the weekend. They won 1st place in the middle school division, as well as the Sweepstakes trophy which recognizes them as the outstanding band for the entire festival. This is the top honor of all 50 bands that competed over the weekend, including 32 high school bands. This is the second time in the festival's 31 years that a middle school was selected for these top honors! Congratulations to the musicians, as well as to Mr. Rowe for his outstanding dedication and support of the students!

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I know this post will generate major flack, retorts may accuse me of being 'selfish', but honestly, even though I am anti-charter, and campaigned against them, and voted against, considering what is happening to the Pinehurst k8 community, how they have been treated with not *little* regard, but rather NO regard at all, I honestly think they should go charter. They've been treated badly for years, destabilizing their program, for years. And now, they are being treated as an after-thought. They have a great program and a great group of teachers and committed families. I would wish them well if they bolted from SPS and went charter. At this point, I think that is their best and really only option. They, like all school communities, deserve our support. And why do they have to leave anyway? Why, just because the estem k8 is taking their building, do they have to leave to Broadview-Thompson? If they *have* to be absorbed into another k8, why wouldn't they be a program inside a program (like MONTESSORRI) at the new Pinehurst building, as opposed to given the heave-ho? After all, their building is going to remain a k8. Does Director Peaselee not care about them at all? They've been a going concern for nearly 40 years.

So yes, I would think they would take control of their school's future, and go charter pronto.

--pulling for Pinehurst

Melissa Westbrook said...

Pulling for Pinehurst, I don't necessarily think what you are saying is wrong. And, it might be necessary for the survival of the program.

Here's the problem - it IS not and WILL not be easy to do. The application process (still in progress) will take a huge lift especially if you have never done one before. (And so, this favors charter applications from out-of-state groups.)

Just saying, "we've been a school for 40 years" will only count a little in this process.

I think many who wish to go this route will be in for a surprise.

Now if Pinehurst was remaining in their building, they could convert to a charter but not if they move to B-T.

Anonymous said...

Congrats to the Ballard Jazz I band who took first place at the Mt. Hood Jazz Festival! Three outstanding soloists were also singled out for recognition: Julian Amrine on Trumpet, Will Radford on Alto Sax and Luca Cartner on Drums. You can hear all the BHS Jazz Bands tonight, May 13, at Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. for dinner and the show kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 at the door.

Also, several BHS film student projects have been nominated for Emmy Awards in the student competition.

Doh Driver said...

Thanks, Melissa, for posting the link to our petition. Also thanks to "pulling for Pinehurst" for, um, pulling for us. :)
We have talked of applying for charter status but Melissa outlined what we learned: we really aren't capable, as a small group of busy, working parents who have never created a charter before, of making it happen.

Having said that, it's not entirely off the table. If the district decides to *not* co-locate us as Broadview-Thomson, then we have no other option.

We are supposed to have the decision settled next month, according to Peaslee (who, despite outside appearances, does care about us, and comes to meetings with us regularly; she's just one person in a district that has been hell-bent on closing us for 40 years).

If we learn in June that we are to be closed, the problem facing us at that point will be having just 1 school year to make something happen, and the parents & staff with the most institutional memory aging out. But chartering will be one of the things we consider.

Don't be rash said...

North Shore School District is moving students to other schools because of overcrowding.

I can understand and appreciate Pinehurst's concerns. They are a great school and have done many wonderful things. But, is holding the district hostage with the threat of a charter school the way to do it? How many other schools will do the same?

I doubt Pinehurst would make the top lists of schools to be converted into a charter. It is possible that these individuals will be making a long term decision for the communitity when they will only be in the school for several years. Then, those folks won't even have access to an elected board.

Curious said...

" Guaranteed access to common areas and physical spaces such as the gym, cafeteria, library, and playground, with the understanding that Pinehurst K-8 is its own distinct community."

What does "own district community mean"? I understand Pinehurst has been a wonderful school. Why would the community want to limit it's success? Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but would like to know more.

What is a "wet" portable?

Hmmmm said...

"If we learn in June that we are to be closed, the problem facing us at that point will be having just 1 school year to make something happen, and the parents & staff with the most institutional memory aging out"

So, then you will be making decisions for a community- even though you won't be there. You will also be taking away the community's ability to have an elected board- when you won't be there. Very interesting.

Pinehurst/ AS-1 parent said...

For Don't be Rash:
How many other schools are being threatened with closure?

I see our school as more of a scapegoat than a hostage taker.

I also have doubts about our viability as a charter.

For Curious:
Pinehurst is a small community of learners that wants to grow with people who choose us as an option school.

A wet portable has a water supply.

For Hmmmm
Yes, an interesting, challenging, desperate and not very palatable (to me) measure.

Good Karma said...

I'm sympathetic to Pinehurst.

If you are new to the district, you wouldn't be aware of the fact that multiple schools were closed several years ago. So, Pinehurst is not an exception.

Regarding a small community of people wanting to grow. I have to say that I've been involved in a community that has transformed Loyal Heights Elementary and Whitman (still working on that one)
Many families from the NW cluster are moving to Ingraham and making positive impact. Something good happens when a community works for common good. My children are fine.

My children have also spent time in "dry" portables during their elementary and middle school experiences. Again, my children haven't been damaged.

I'm not aware of all the issues, but it seems like Pinehurst could provide support to Broadview Thompson.

In my view, all things happen for a reason. Maybe this is an opportunity, not a catastrophe. I believe a charter school would be detrimental to the greater good.

Doh Driver said...

I don't know if people come back to check replies but in case anyone really wanted their comments addressed:

Curious, what we meant by "own, distinct community" is that we do not want the higher-ups to think it's ok to separate Pinehurst kids from each other just for the ease of scheduling. For example, rather than give our school dedicated time in the gym, they could say "send your 2nd graders over at 11:35am when BT 2nd graders are already in the gym," when actually our 2nd graders are part of a k-2 (as part of our educational philosophy) who are learning together in their classroom. Pulling out some kids - as if our community design doesn't matter - for the sake of easy scheduling would disrupt their learning.
We are TOTALLY open to growing with people who choose our school. We'd be thrilled, in fact! Please, send people to us!

Don't be rash, I'm a bit confused by your comment because I specifically said we are not pursuing charter. We talked about it, decided it wasn't what we wanted.
Some parents might consider charter IF the district closes Pinehurst. But then we would no longer be an existing SSD school pursuing a charter, we'd just be parents of a closed school who want to replicate the valuable learning experience we had at Pinehurst.
However, none of us has the means to pursue charter EVEN IF the district closes Pinehurst, so it is a moot point.
The idea that we're holding the district hostage in ANY way is, unfortunately, laughably pathetic. IF ONLY we had that kind of power.....

Hmmmmm, I'm not sure I understand your point. If our school is closed, we will not have taken away anyone's access to an elected board, the elected board will have taken away their school and disbursed the population within the district. Access to the board will remain the same. (Not that having an elected board would have done us any favors, if they close us... so again... I'm not sure your point.) What happens with the families after that would be up to the families - I'll be out of that fight (and taking my institutional memory with me, so they can make their own plans). If they want to regroup and try to pursue a charter for themselves, that's up to them.

It's really in the hands of the School board. We're waiting to hear from them as to whether we're going to be moved to portables at BT, or closed.

Doh Driver said...

Good Karma, we're definitely looking at it as an opportunity! We hear good things about the BT kids and staff, and would be happy to co-locate there. We just want to make sure we are set up for success. Thanks for your support.

Anonymous said...

B-T is not a huge campus. Is there really room for enough portables to house the Pinehurst program there? And if Pinehurst grows, will there be room for that growth? Or, is this a temporary situation until a permanent building can be found? Pinehurst deserves a good home, where it can grow and thrive.

Incoming Parent

Doh Driver said...

Incoming Parent, yes, there's a paved area to the east /n'east of the school that is big enough. (And, in doing the research for this, Peaslee and Brockman found that there's a whole bunch more land, between BT and Bitter Lake, that actually belongs to the District per a land swap back in 1963 that no one knew about! It's forested/too sloped to use. It's just an interesting/ironic tidbit that, because of the district wanting to get rid of Pinehurst, they found they own some lakefront property!)