Disqus

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Tuesday Open Thread

It's less than one month now until SPS starts back up.  Back-to-school resources from SPS.

Tonight we find out who cleared the primary for Mayor and School Board.  Might make for some interesting analysis tomorrow morning. 

What's on your mind?

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Any word on a new manager for Advanced Learning?

-wondering

Anonymous said...

Not free, after all: Public school fees add up

http://www.nbcnews.com/business/not-free-after-all-public-school-fees-add-6C10851880

On NBC news today. At Hale, the various booster clubs try to help out with fees as much as possible. A uniform for a cheerleader is around a $1000 making it impossible for some kids to even consider trying out.

HP

Anonymous said...

Did you mean $100?

Maureen said...

Interesting (to me!) that Stephan Blanford is running for Kay Smith Blum's seat, but his daughter goes to Beacon Hill which a neighborhood (not Option) school in Betty Patu's district. I guess she's old enough (5th grade) to have enrolled before it changed to language immersion and got popular? Maybe they moved after she was enrolled?

He sounds well informed and should be able to hit the ground running. I am a little concerned that he seems to have done consulting work for SPS? I went looking for a web site for his consulting firm (Lighthouse Consulting) to see his client list, but couldn't find one (not even linked from his
Linkedin profile) so I'm thinking it must be pretty small. (There is a huge snazzy Lighthouse Consulting based in the DC area, I think, but they don't seem related.)

Maureen said...

Actually there is a link to a "Company Website" on his profile, but it goes to Educare Schools which may be associated with a job he held before he went back for his doctorate? I guess he's been too busy to update his LinkedIn profile!

mirmac1 said...

Maureen, i've never known a consultant too busy to update the ole resume/profile.

Anonymous said...

Blanford's wife is the district's director of college and career readiness.

Lynn

dan dempsey said...

Netflix: Steve Jobs the lost interview

Really fascinating Steve Jobs talks about leadership, content, and process among many other things. From minute 23 to 33 there was an opportunity for the viewer to draw parallels to education.

Seems like the substandard to at best average leadership we see in most public education circles can be explained by Jobs insights.

His insights into how a great product is created illustrates that the Common Core State Standards movement is a lousy idea. He talked about how in 1995 Apple was on a glide path to extinction because of leadership decisions. In my opinion CCSS is an expensive glide path to create a worse educational environment.

mirmac1 said...

Yes Lynn, she will benefit directly from the Road Map Project. I don't see how, if elected, Stephan Blanford can vote impartially on anything related to grants or investments in college and career readiness.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Mirmac1 makes a good point; Blanford's wife is very up the food chain in SPS and decisions he votes on could affect her area. Will be interesting to see how often he will recuse himself (as DeBell did each and every time any vote was about an area his wife worked in).

Melissa Westbrook said...

I guess I can say it here.

Blanford would not talk to the blog during the primary despite requests. When I saw him at the Alliance event, I introduced myself and asked if we might meet.

He said no because our blog was telling mistruths about him. He said he himself never read our blog but "friends" told him that.

I said we could print a clarification if we could talk but he refused. I asked what the issue was and he said we said he supported TFA. (According to Charlie and other witnesses, he raised his paddle YES at the 34th Dems while Estey and Peters said NO.)

He said that he only said yes because TFA is now in the district and, as a Board director, he would be required to support it.

I was pretty startled. One, that he himself had read nothing we wrote. Two, that he would have the chance to clarify his position but didn't want to. Three, no, he does NOT have to support any program if he doesn't want to especially one with a contract (that is rapidly approaching).

I suspect there is more to it than just this one thing and he is within his rights to never talk to us. But he cannot accuse us of printing falsehoods because we haven't.

I know this because I went back and reviewed everything we wrote. The only negative really was the TFA thing and I pointed this out to a couple of his biggest supporters. They were surprised he would not talk with us and to give nuance to his stand.

In fact, we've said some pretty good things about him and his background.

Does not bode well.

mirmac1 said...

Olu is looking better and better.

Maureen said...

I don't mean anything I post to undermine Blanford's candidacy. I figure if Kay Smith Blum has endorsed him he must be a reasonable candidate. I'd just like to know more and expect I'll have that opportunity in the general campaign. I do wish he would talk to Mel and Charlie. This blog is really a magnet for K-12 Education geeks in Seattle. I expect many more people read it than post.

Anonymous said...

Yes, cheer uniforms are around $1000 the first year. There are lots of pieces to it - indoor and outdoor, winter and summer. After the first year, there are pieces that have to be replaced but the first year is the most expensive. Some of the high schools have school bought uniforms but it is hard to plan for all the sizes. I would bet that some of the bigger schools have even more expensive uniforms.

HP

ConcernedSPSParent said...

From the times,
Fresh faces can offer a contrast to a board often polarized on opposite ends of policy issues. It does not mean smooth sailing for here on out but new energy coupled with improved board training can only help. From the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s scathing 2012 report on the board’s dysfunction to the board’s own recent harsh self-evaluation, the argument for change has been made. And now here it comes. — Lynne K. Varner


So I'm confused. Varner has been the mouthpiece of DeBell claiming board churn is causing the disfunctionality (since DeBall, Carr and Martin-Morris walk on water), but now new members can only help?.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Maureen, you'd be right.

We can see, at any given point in the day, how many hits a given post gets. When I see a very quick spike on a post just put up, I know it's mostly single hits (not people coming back throughout the day). It's amazing the topics that get multiple hits in a short period of time.

Also, I know who follows us on Twitter so that's interesting as well.

HP, wow. Schools used to fund these uniforms simply because they weren't really affordable back then either. (But at my high school, we used uniforms for a looong time.) I can't believe students have to fundraise/pay for these.

One thing I always thought troubling is buying those graduation gowns. Why not have a gown donation (tried this at both my kids' high schools - no go). No reason for so many to have to buy these pieces of polyester.

Concerned, good catch.

Another one I saw recently is this term "civil rights." It's used for ed reform, charter choice, quality public schools, better teachers.

Which one of these IS the right "civil rights issue of our generation?" No one will tell me but they don't mind using an very sensitive and loaded phrase to push their agenda.

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

From anonymous:



The new Executive Director for the Southwest region is Israel Vela of the Kent School District. (Announced on the West Seattle Blog.)

Olu looking better said...

I'm not finding anything about Blanford's consulting company, either.

Voting Olu.

Anonymous said...

I just got a phone call for a survey asking questions about how much I know about the Common Core standards. The survey was commissioned by the School Improvement Network which appears to be a for-profit company that offers training to schools on implementation of Common Core standards. Has anyone else received one of these phone calls?

Jane

Anonymous said...

Just received a welcome back email from Hamilton. Not only did they lose their principal, but apparently both Asst Principals are new this year as well. Crazy.

HIMSmom

Melissa Westbrook said...

HIMS, that happened at Roosevelt one year. They came out okay but yes, there was a learning curve there.

ws said...

looks like the Genesee school has been redesigned to a three story (in one section) structure. should be interesting to see how this all plays out. the tallest part is right next to an existing single story home.

http://genesee-schmitz.org/

Anonymous said...

The 2013-14 school year is the last year students will be tested on WA State standards as the following year's assessments will be based on Common Core. Results of New York State's first year of Common Core testing have resulted in much lower pass rates - around 31% for both math and reading (previous pass rates were 65% and 55%, respectively).

http://www.k12.wa.us/assessment/StateTesting/default.aspx

be concerned

Anonymous said...

What? Is Ms Cindy Watters no longer Hamilton's principal? When did this happen?Where is she going? Who will replace her?

CCA

Anonymous said...

Pretty sure Ms. Watters is still principal...perhaps they meant that last year HIMS had a new principal? The welcome back letter is posted on the HIMS website with Ms. Watters listed as principal.

relax

mirmac1 said...

be concerned,

Yep, schooling must be sucking knowledge out of the brains of our youth!

Anonymous said...

Oops, my error re: Ms. Watters. In all the principal churn in this district I had mentally checked her off the list as well! Glad to re-learn there will be some stability. :)

HIMSmom (who appears to be suffering from summertime learning loss!)