Disqus

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Seattle Schools This Week

Monday, May 13th
Curriculum & Instruction Committee meeting, 4-5:30 p.m.

Tuesday, May 14th
Special Education Advocacy & Advisory Meeting from 6:30-9:30 p.m at JSCEE, Room 2700


Wednesday, May 15th
Rally to save the Indian Heritage program (from press release):

SPS is eliminating an entire program which has served as an anchor and support for Native learners and community. The district needs to reverse this decision and engage Native community. We have solutions and recommendations which will revitalize our Native focused programs and strengthen services, district seems intent on eliminating services and support programs which will serve to widen the acheivment gap and further marginalize our Native learners.

Please plan to come out to the SPS Board meeting and support our community rally to SAVE INDIAN HERITAGE on May 15th starting at 3:30-5:00pm and public testimony 5pm . Call in for testimony is Monday 8am,  252-0040.


Also bring your signs, drums, and please wear a red shirt for a show of solidarity, strength, and unity.


(To note:  I am not sure the program is being eliminated but the district is being vague about its future.  Of all the groups to be vague with, the Native American program parents are NOT the ones the district should be treating in this manner.  Their program has been repeatedly underserved and the district has repeatedly NOT followed reporting rules for federal dollars.)

 
Special Education PTSA meeting from 7-9 pm in room 2700.


School Board Meeting, starting at 4:15 pm.  Agenda.  This looks to be a fairly easy agenda and the meeting will probably adjourn on time.

Items of Note:
- hey, a "student presentation" by the John Muir 4th grade Spectrum class.  Probably the first of its kind and, as we watch AL unravel, probably the last.
- the Green Lake lunchroom at about $4M.  I mentioned this before and even after looking at this item in detail - I don't get it.  The allowable construction cost is about $2.8M.  This is to build:

The scope of work for the Green Lake Elementary Lunch Room Addition project will, or
may include:
- A lunch room facility per current education specifications
- A warming kitchen
-A stage or platform for assemblies and activities
- Chair/table storage to accommodate multiple uses such as daily breakfast and lunch dining,
school assemblies, large group instruction, community meetings, community activities,
testing, speakers, programs and seating for performances
-A moveable wall between the stage/platform and lunchroom/auditorium to accommodate
music instruction, choral/band performances and plays
- A location adjacent to the playground, and convenient to a building entrance and parking (for community use).  


The other $1.2M?  Not so clear to me what it being spent on.  But I know I can say, without hesitation and without having any background in construction/architecture, that if you did this work in any other district in the state, it would not cost this much.  

- I also note that the "final acceptance of work performed at the Columbia building and Wing Luke" does not explain how much was spent at either location. 

- Final acceptance of the academic calendar for 2013-2014 (with almost one month to the day left in this school year).

- Nova at Mann educational specifications - it's 120 pages.

- Resolution on "Green" building in SPS.   This resolution has been greatly improved since we last saw it last week during the Work Session where it was presented.

- settlement between the district and the family of a Special Education student for $476,000 and it comes right out of the General Fund.  It's confusing because the settlement attachment names the student but the district says it will not say what the issue was. 

Frankly, I think they have it backwards.  The student should not be named but the issue, in broad terms, should be.

Thursday, May 16th
Operations Committee Meeting from 4-5:30 p.m.  No agenda yet available.

Saturday, May 18th
Community Meeting with Director DeBell from 9-11 am at Cafe Appassionato at Fisherman's Terminal.

Family Symposium: Building Bridges for Summer Learning from 10 am to 2:30 pm.  Sponsored by SPS.

9 comments:

Johnny Calcagno said...

From the "School Board Briefing/Proposed Action Report" on the School Year Calendar...

Parents were provided with an opportunity to provide feedback through a District poll on the
parent/guardian/teacher conference component of the calendar (scheduled for three days in
November) and overwhelmingly supported continuation of full-day conferences.


I wish they would also have some kind of community engagement (beyond the unions) on the mid-winter break, and on the last day of school.

Anonymous said...


- settlement between the district and the family of a Special Education student for $476,000 and it comes right out of the General Fund.


Gasp! A special education settlement coming out of the general fund. What the heck? How dare they? They should stick to their own money!

Can you imagine this type of comment about any other group?

What if the statement was:
"A settlement for a black student... and straight out of the general fund??!!!#$$#@!"

Nearly everyone would recognize that as a racist statement. Somehow, for students with disabilities, it's just fine and dandy.

The meat of the issue though is WOW! A half million dollar settlement for a single student! That is just a breath taking amount. Most special ed due process cases don't get very far - this one must have been a real doozy, and criminal actually.

The district NEVER settles special ed cases without a gag order. It doesn't want anybody to know what sort of thing they can expect. And, it doesn't want parents to know what is actually illegal. It would rather keep parents ignorant - and pay out occasioinal whoppers like this one.

I'd say these parents are lucky... except whatever the issue was, it must have been horrific for the district to have caved. Notably when it caves, the district doesn't have to pay the parent's legal fees - which in normal due process cases - it does have to pay when it loses.

-sped reader

Melissa Westbrook said...

Sped Reader, I meant that as a ding to the district, not the student. Obviously, if there is a settlement, the district did not fulfill its duties to this student.

I mentioned the General Fund because (1) I have seen insurance used in some other cases and (2) the district needs to follow the letter of the law precisely so they don't lose money in legal cases (no matter who the plaintiff is).

No need to get hyperbolic.

Anonymous said...

I understand your meaning. Obviously, the only party ding-worthy here is the district. And that's a giant number.

I'm just pointing out that the type of writing, and expression really does sort of imply that students in special education aren't "general fund" kids. And, we do hear it a lot. For example, we often hear "Special ed kids are using levy funds! Phone the police!" (thank you Michael DeBell) But if anyone said that another group, say Native Americans, or Black students were using levy funds, it would be unthinkable. And, lo and behold, nobody would ever dream of saying "general ed kids" are using up the levy for general education. Because that would be ridiculous. And yet it's true.

-sped reader

suep. said...

The Green Resolution sounds promising and worth supporting. (It would be good to avoid any future incidents like the toxic out-gassing at the new South Shore building in 2010 which made kids and staff sick and forced the district to close the building for half the year.)

mirmac1 said...

Melissa, thank you for pointing out this extraordinary settlement. It has been finally redacted. How is it SPS is so concerned about protecting TFAers personal information, but will call out a student with disabilities on a board agenda!?

Sped Reader, I hear you on that! Blaming SpEd is a favorite past time at JSCEE. Settlement use and abuse is widespread. They usually include a confidentiality clause, which serves to isolate families in pain.

This one is the exact opposite. Ron English runs off at the mouth and says he has to because of the inevitable FOIA. Hmmm. I wasn't going to ask for it. I'll bet Linda Shaw is working damage control with Lesley Rogers, district PR rep as we speak.

Read here for district standard operating procedures for screwing SpEd families:

Special Education Lawsuits Against Riverside Unified School District Highlight 'Fishy' Practices

Misuse of settlement agreements

Suit against settlement

Anonymous said...

Native Heritage is not being eliminated. They are moving to the Middle College at Northgate. Some of the students have moved already and the rest of them will be moving soon. Their teacher, who is Native American, will be moving with them. Their teacher will be joining 2 other teachers, one of which is also Native American and worked at Native Heritage before moving to Middle College at Northgate.

HP

Melissa Westbrook said...

HP, I can only say that the district's has not been supportive in the way they should have been (and should be) to Native American students and families. I can think of almost no other group that has been treated with such indifference.

Anonymous said...

No arguments there and the lack of good will toward the murals is noted too. The program is not dying though. I know that there was some excitement around the fact that everyone will be together again when they move to the Middle College.

HP