Tuesday Open Thread

When the Silas Potter incident was exposed, naturally I was following it very closely.  But when Potter took a plea, I was less interested and so forgot that one of his co-conspirators was going to trial.  According to the Times Potter and David Johnson are turning on each other.    Mr. Johnson is on trial for 42 counts of theft.

What is slightly amusing is that Potter testified that he forged Johnson's signature:

On the stand, Potter testified that he occasionally forged Johnson’s name on contracts. He said that made it hard for him to say definitely whether it was he, or Johnson, who signed certain documents admitted into evidence.

Well, that ought to make dropping some of those 42 counts easy for Johnson's lawyer if no one knows who signed the contracts.  

It looks like each could receive between 4-5 years in prison.

On a happier note, Diane Ravitch will be on The Daily Show tomorrow - Wednesday, the 30th.  I'm going to love watching that. 

What's on your mind? 


Patrick said…
Does anyone remember offhand how to look up seismic safety reports on the different schools?
RosieReader said…
Has anyone seen a spreadsheet with school-by-school enrollment numbers?
Anonymous said…
The minutes from the advanced learning taskforce meeting on 10/23 are posted. Included are lots of attachments, including the numbers of APP and Spectrum kids currently in ALO schools. Not many.

Anonymous said…
Curious when a student is expelled from a school for assault, do they talk to other students who were there or get the student who is charged with assault side of things? Reason I ask, my child witnessed the 'assault' at Hale on the principal. My child felt that the principal did not behave like an adult and taunted the teen after taking a cell phone from the student. When the student tried to retrieve the phone in protest, the principal slipped and fell and claimed assault. Frankly, my child has lost all respect for the principal at Hale. Any other Hale parent's have a child witness the 'assault'?

Are those pesky [Mann]contents (lol) getting you and yours all hot and itchy?

Stay calm. Breathe. In through the nose, out through the mouth. It will be "o.k."

We promise.

Find a nice quiet spot, and listen:

Po3 said…
HP - That student was arrested and is facing assault charges.

If your child did in fact witness a different version that was been reported I could call the Seattle Police department to get your child's statement added to the case.

I would not mess around with this as your child account paints a very different picture than what was reported in the Times, which states the the student tackled the principal and another student had to pull the student off the principal.
apparent said…
Superintendent Banda, please, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it . . .

Despite Superintendent Banda’s October 24 recommendation to close Pinehurst K-8, readers should be very aware that school’s cause is far from lost, since in recent days 3/7 SPS board directors (Peaslee, Patu, McLaren) have all publicly expressed their desire to keep Pinehurst K-8 alive if suitable interim and permanent locations can be found. Even now, Pinehurst actually needs only a viable plan and just one more vote out of the remaining four directors.

Also note that Superintendent Banda’s recommended but pointless 3-way split of APP (North) MS beginning in Fall 2014 (without even waiting to hear pending recommendations from the advanced learning task forces he appointed!) can also be averted by moving that cohort intact to a reopened fully comprehensive John Marshall Middle School on either an interim or permanent basis. Far from competing for space, 952-seat John Marshall MS (852 seats for K-8) is roughly the same size as Hamilton MS and Jane Addams MS, large enough to provide either a temporary or permanent home for *both* APP (North) MS (549 students at Hamilton 2013-14, draft Growth Boundaries Plan Version 2, Slide 18) together with Pinehurst K-8 (156 students 2013-14, draft plan Version 2, Slide 27), and even with lots of room to spare for a third SPS option program.

If John Marshall Middle School is to be reopened as a fully comprehensive middle school, it will also be necessary to cohouse Jane Addams K-8 in portables with Jane Addams MS during construction from 2014-16 as originally recommended in Version 1, not needlessly taking up John Marshall MS for the exclusive interim use now recommended in Version 2. Moving Jane Addams K-8 out of its own neighborhood and back (as proposed in Version 2), with likely substantial resulting school choice attrition into Jane Addams MS, would cause a huge merry-go-round and inevitable havoc. Instead, drop the unhelpful “interim” tag and simply restore John Marshall Middle School to its original purpose as a fully comprehensive middle school, one big enough to house APP (North) MS intact and one or more additional SPS programs such as Pinehurst K-8.

Superintendent Banda notes in his open letter that Public Hearing # 2 will be held *tonight* at Pinehurst, Tuesday, Oct. 29 at 7:00p.m., and that advance signup to testify is not required.
HP, interesting you should say that because I saw that charge at a Facebook page.

Yes, I believe the district does (or should have) talked to witnesses. I would urge your child to go to the Police and that you contact the Executive Director. It may make a difference in the teen in question's punishment.

All Power to the Positive, I've read your website.

I was a bit appalled that the public hearing - a legally required meeting for the district - was not on the district's calendar. Not good in terms of notification.

Anonymous said…
I plan on talking to my child about it. It was my spouse who talked to my child and told me our child's view on it. That is why I asked here about it because I was surprised at what I had been told. I was out of town and didn't find out that my child had witnessed it until today. What if the principal did taunt the student? I don't believe it would excuse the student but the principal's actions would call into question the principal's fitness for the job.

Anonymous said…
@ apparant,

By your logic there would be plenty of room for both Pinehurst K8 and JA K8 at John Marshall. Is that also part of your proposal as APP seems to be trying to stay at Lincoln until Wilson Pacific opens.

- north seattle mom

Po3 said…
The Times article also says the whole incident was caught on camera.

"The incident was captured on the school-surveillance system, which will be available to prosecutors, according to police."

Anonymous said…
I heard the same thing. The Hale principal snatched the student's phone and antagonized the student. When will our schools have any sort of due process?

Anonymous said…

You wrote this: "If John Marshall Middle School is to be reopened as a fully comprehensive middle school, it will also be necessary to cohouse Jane Addams K-8 in portables with Jane Addams MS during construction from 2014-16 as originally recommended in Version 1,"

I'm confused.

Wasn't Version 1 rendered obsolete?

JR Mom
Anonymous said…
My child was standing 10 ft away from the incident and confirmed what was said before. The student is a black young man and very nice according to my child. He had been suspended for a fight he did not start. He was attacked in the hall by another student and fought back in self dense and was suspended for that. He was back from suspension and asked the principal what would happen if he had a fight video on his phone. This was before school started at 8:15 AM. According to my child, the principal snatched the phone out of his hands and held it up and away from him. The principal did not ask for the phone or demand it be handed over but rather just snatched it from his hands. The young man asked for his phone back and tried to get the principal to give it back to him. During the argument the principal fell and then accused the young man of pushing her. She then yelled for help and for someone to call 911.

My child is pretty upset and disgusted with the whole thing. The principal has lost all respect with the students who already did not like her. My child said the young man is already back in school at another high school.

I was never a big fan of the principal at Hale though I do like the rest of the staff and faculty and my child likes the school. It will be interesting to see what happens as things go forward. I hope they do talk to other students who were there as well as look at the video. I wonder if the video has sound.

apparent said…
north seattle mom,

"The SPS staff-calculated capacity for John Marshall:

- Housing a middle school program: 952
- Housing a K-8 program: 850

Happy to share other data from Capital Planning." Joe Wolf, K-12 Planning Coordinator, SPS, jawolf@seattleschools.org

"By your logic there would be plenty of room for both Pinehurst K8 and JA K8 at Marshall."

No. I did wonder about that, but based on SPS numbers it does not appear that both Pinehurst K-8 and Jane Addams K-8 could fit together in the John Marshall Middle School building: if that building has the lower K-8 capacity of 850, it will not hold Pinehurst K-8 (133 in 2014, Slides 27 & 28) plus Jane Addams K-8 (808 in 2014, Slide 24). In contrast, APP (North) MS currently has 549 students in Hamilton (Slide 18), which leaves lots of extra room especially with the John Marshall building's higher middle school capacity of 952. The SPS staff does also offer unreliable and unsupported predictions of an aberrant 80% increase in APP (North) MS over the next decade, and another cryptic table that is not clearly labeled (Slide 19).

"APP seems to be trying to stay at Lincoln until Wilson Pacific opens."

My proposal is to put APP (North) MS intact (instead of Jane Addams K-8) in a reopened fully comprehensive John Marshall Middle School in 2014, as either an interim or permanent home, together with Pinehurst K-8 or another right sized option program(s).

It may be possible to imagine some intact APP (North) MS program with no isolating 6th grade roll-up that could work out of a Ham/Lin Annex on either an interim or permanent basis. But APP (North) MS cannot just "stay at Lincoln until Wilson Pacific opens" because right now Superintendent Banda is recommending splitting the program in 2014 (without waiting for any pending task force recommendations!), and assigning only 2/7 of that split cohort to the new WP building.

If Superintendent Banda eventually does recommend keeping APP (North) MS intact without splitting in Version 3, on both an interim and a permanent basis, I would support that at Lincoln, Wilson-Pacific, John Marshall, or any other viable location. That would thus free up several hundred needed attendance area seats in other neighborhood middle schools such as Jane Addams MS because no destablilizing APP (North) "pathways" will have been needlessly created.

Hence, pulling Jane Addams K-8 out of its neighborhood and accordingly making John Marshall Middle School unavailable for two years 2014-16 would really be a huge Version 2 blunder by Superintendent Banda (if approved by the SPS board). His alternative Version 1 proposal to cohouse Jane Addams MS and Jane Addams K-8 using portables during interim construction makes much more sense. Jane Addams MS and K-8 cohousing during interim construction should now be restored as one major premise of Version 3.
Anonymous said…
Silas Potter is such an irrelevant side show when you look at the millions which went and which go out the doors to 6 figure a edu-parasites.

Oh yeah - which school board candidate is tied in tight with all the 6 figure a year vampires?

Anonymous said…
HP - you sound like the kind of parent who enables the incessant excuse making and the cost to the community is that a few of your out of control kids get to wreck our schools.

'the student tried to retrieve the phone in protest' ??

The student is going to be Nelson Mandela or Gahndi? Billions go to bed hungry every night and this noble sacrificer is risking it all to be able to sit in class and text instead of doing work!

Save The Excuses
Anonymous said…
I am making no excuses for the students behavior but I do not believe the principal acted professionally. The young man in question was violently attacked in the hall and suspended for defending himself while another student was choking him. Then he comes back and the principal snatches the phone out of his hands. It was before school. He was not in class. What about his rights? I don't think he should have tried to get his phone back but he did not attack or assault the principal. He asked for his phone back and tried to snatch it back. Why are you making excuses for the principal's behavior? It looks like an abuse of power to me. Now I understand why none of the students I have talked to Hale like the principal. They like their school, they like their teachers and the staff. It is just the principal they dislike. Now they dislike her even more.

Ed said…

Don't let Jill (under an "anonymous" name) fool you, I have witnesses conduct on her part but Michael Tolley protected her.

I have records that show her unfit for the job. Several as a matter of fact.

If I knew where that student was I would buy him a dozen meals. He deserves a pat on the back for putting up with her antics without landing a punch!

Remarkable restraint.

HP-Melissa or Charlie can give you my email address.

Jill; Sign your name next time. Anonymous posts are supposed to be deleted.

Ed said…
"Witnessed unfit" conduct on her part..........


Anonymous said…
"His alternative Version 1 proposal to cohouse Jane Addams MS and Jane Addams K-8 using portables during interim construction makes much more sense. Jane Addams MS and K-8 cohousing during interim construction should now be restored as one major premise of Version 3."

Seriously? As a prospective JAMS parent, I honestly can't fathom how you can say co-housing of JA K-8 and JAMS "makes sense!" You obviously don't have a kid who would be a part of the co-housing experience you are promoting.

Does it make sense to assign a 6th grader to what amounts to a K-8 on steroids, instead of the middle school-focused experience his/her family had anticipated and most-likely prefers for their child?

Does it make sense to co-house 450 elementary kids with a comprehensive middle school population?

Does it make sense to run two separate programs with different schedules out of the same building/parking lot? How, for instance, would they possibly serve lunch out of one kitchen?

Does it make any fiscal sense at all for the district to buy or lease 15-20 (or more???) portables, plus the supporting modular core space?

Geez! Our kids are getting kicked out of Eckstein, and the JA K-8 (or whatever it ends up being called) is no longer a realistic option now that it has filled as a 3-up in grades K-5.

We deserve a real middle school for our kids, and preferably one that is not more over-crowded than Eckstein.

Our kids should not be treated as an inconvenient population to be warehoused in a portable village.

Version 2.0 at least has JAMS launching as a real, stand-alone, comprehensive middle school. That, in this parent's opinion was a step in the right direction!

- JR Mom
Anonymous said…
Ed, I think it would be better for you to talk with either Melissa or Charlie as they are in a more objective position than I am as a parent at the school. My child is in a leadership position and is still at the school, which my child likes very much, and I don't won't to place my child in the line of fire. My child is doing their best to keep out of the way of the principal.

I can say this, if the principal were ever in Principal Floe's position of being ousted, I doubt there would be a rally of support or a facebook page.

Anonymous said…
Sorry for the dyslexic writing.

Anonymous said…
HP - I agree, a complete and total abuse of power. I personally dealt with a different SPS principal who was abusive to both me and my child. The district just lets this stuff happen, the general attitude is a principal would never lie or bend the truth. Their word is Gospel. I sure hope your son, and other witnesses, share their account of the events with the Seattle Police Dept. The district will always side with the Principal, even with evidence telling a different story. Speaking from my experience of course.

mirmac1 said…
What I hear about NH is not too far off of what happens with students with ASD. After my quiet 1st grader was bullied and harassed to the point of lashing out in self-defense, guess who gets punished. Sometimes these administrators forget anything they ever knew (presumably) about bullying, disability, adolescence and bias and act out their power trips. I know they have a hard job, but a little bit of understanding goes alot further than calling the cops. In fact, it is the district's utter failure in following IDEA and behavior intervention plans that has them in this mess with the Feds. Are they just priming the pump for the SPD?

My child knows excuses don't get her anywhere, but we know who's the grown up and who must be the role model.
Lynn said…
apparent and JR Mom,

It would be interesting to know how many of the JAK-8 middle school students will choose to stay in the building when it becomes JAMS next year. Maybe there is room for Pinehurst and JAK-8 at Marshall next year.
dw said…

I have heard from multiple JAK8 parents that many of the middle schoolers will just stay put at JAMS. When I say many, the guesses I heard from parents who are actually in the building is as many as half.

If half the JAK8 6-8 kids really intend to stay in JA when it becomes JAMS it means that district plans need to take this into account! Specifically, it means:

1) The building is going to be a lot more crowded than the district thinks (unless they've actually been reaching out and listening to the JAK8 middle school families). That means moving NE APP to JAMS would be an even worse idea than it is already.

2) If as many as half of those JAK8 6-8 kids stay behind, then there could very well be room at John Marshall for Pinehurst to co-house with JAK8. They are both K-8 programs, and I'm unaware of any animosity (unlike JAMS/APP).

3) #1 leads back to what to do with North APP, and I personally don't see any reasonable option other than the Lincoln Annex for 1-3 years, depending on the Advanced Learning Task Force recommendations (and follow-through). It's not a pretty option, to be sure, but it seems to be the "least bad" proposal.
apparent said…
JR Mom,

Yes, seriously.

It makes sense to cohouse Jane Addams K-8 and Jane Addams Middle School using portables for just two years from 2014-16 until the new JA K-8 building opens on the Pinehurst site. That will mean that the John Marshall Middle School can again serve its original purpose as a comprehensive middle school, or at the very least be used as a needed interim location for other SPS programs such as APP (North) MS and Pinehurst K-8 – the former of which is about to be chopped into thirds, and the latter about to be closed down completely, in each case based on the entirely false premise that there is supposedly no SPS building that will hold them.

I do agree with some of your other points. Everybody deserves a real middle school for their kids, and preferably one that is not more over-crowded than Eckstein: you will in fact have a choice of two such schools in 2016 when Jane Addams K-8 moves out of JAMS portables into its own new Pinehurst building, and JAMS will certainly be much less crowded if 3/7 of APP (North) MS (maybe 250 students?) is not being stuffed into that building to the exclusion of attendance area students.

I do also agree that your kids should not should be treated as an inconvenient population; I hope you will agree that neither should mine. And in this parent’s opinion too, just like yours, we can agree it is a step in the right direction that Version 2 now recommends launching JAMS as a real, comprehensive middle school; you should rest easy that this will not change, since from their own recent public statements at work sessions and community meetings, none of the board directors supports roll-ups.
Ed said…
HP and AL

I will check in with Melissa today, happy to as always.

I just wanted you to have an avenue to reach me if you (or anyone else) were pursuing anything related to NH principal.

When mirmac speaks, I advise all to listen.

We all need to protect our kids from District abuse of power. NH principal was a favorite of MGJ. That's why she's there. Her (similar) record at Madison was certainly not stellar, by any means.

It just goes on and on and anyone who objects is labeled 'caustic' for speaking up with the truth.

I read Orwell for comfort, like a bible, just to think about SSD.

kellie said…
@ apparant,

I can certainly see how it looks good on paper for the K8 and the new middle school to co-locate for two years. Nobody like to go to interim housing. Moving is just not fun.

The part of all these changes that I think is hardest on folks is the rapid pace of shifting plans. With 1000-1500 new students entering the district every year for the last few years, things shift rapidly. Plans that would have worked a year ago, just don't work with an extra 1500 students.

IMHO, I think co-location could have worked if enrollment were growing more slowly but that hasn't happened and the current 5th grade class is significantly larger than last years class.

That said, there are real benefits to splitting the K8 and the middle school now. If as dw reports about half of the middle school students plan to stay in the building that means that the families that go are part of the K8 culture and moving now, gives everyone a change to solidify their school identity.

K8s' have many advantages over the comprehensive experience and the majority of those benefits tend to come from being known at school by a variety of adults. That benefit just vanishes on a campus swamped by 20 portables and that is what it would take for everyone to fit in a co-location.

Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
There is lots of uncertainty regarding middle school placement and locations and it is trickling down to the students, which is unfortunate. Our family left Hamilton this year for JA K-8 and are very grateful to have made the move. the JA K-8 is a great school. The interim location at John Marshall is not ideal for the K-8 and I would expect many NE families with middle schoolers will opt to stay at JAMS. As Wallingford residents, we are in the minority who would find the new interim location more convenient. For middle school families located further south and looking at jam packed Eckstein and Hamilton, the John Marshall location for the ESTEM K-8 could be a very attractive option.

NW mum said…
@ apparent
Would it be possible for you to post links to the slides you refer to?

I am especially interested in JAK8's predicted growth to 808, considering the building at the Pinehurst site is to be for 681.
John S said…
Here's the presentation Apparent referred to, page 24. (Sorry for the ugly link.)

Anonymous said…
@ NW mum

I think the numbers "apparent" is referring to are from the Oct 17th work session, where staff presented the "North Middle Schools: Full Grade Assignment in Year One" plan.

Here is a link to the work session presentation:


In slide #24, it gives the following enrollment forecast for Jane Addams K-8 (these appear to be a maximum forecast, because there is no subtraction for "choice" enrollment to JAMS):

2014-15: 808 students (J. Marshall)
2015-15: 819 students (J. Marshall)
2016-17: 749 students (new building)
2017-18: 749 students (new building)

I believe the 800+ numbers for 2014-15 and 2015-16 include the big bump in enrollment from this year's 6th grade class, which has 6 cores instead of 3 cores). I think the 749 number is what enrollment would be with a 3 cores/grade configuration for grades K-8.

- North-end Mom
Someone said…
Here's you link in clickable format

Equitable access Oct 17
Anonymous said…
when, oh when, are the MAP scores going to posted??

Anonymous said…
"Charlie Mas said...
I just submitted a report on the hotline. We'll see what happens.

10/29/13, 6:05 AM"

today he writes about the needs of Black children:

"It is an ongoing emergency that urgently demands a response."

Charlie is demonstrating once again that he is a law-and-order guy--just like he was a law-and-order guy when he charged that the MAP boycotters were violating their contracts and should receive whatever punitive consequences were their due.

If law and order solved oppression, then we wouldn't have oppression--now would we??

Action speaks, Charlie. Your on-going doublespeak--presenting yourself as the progressive who has mastered politically correct jargon, and then siding with those who perpetuate the immorality and injustice--is very transparent.

I disagree with Melissa's stance on the Mann issue, but she has been consistent and is willing to take the heat.

The "real meaning" of Mann is that families are horrified at the loss of another generation of their children's potential and God-given talents.

Your lip service to the issue is evident in the fact that you call it an "on-going" emergency today, but have never treated it as such until today--shortly after filing a report against the protesters!


--enough already

Anonymous said…
HP, hats off to you and your child. Many would worry too much to speak up for fear of retaliation.

We had a friend pulled her black daughter out of SPS because her daughter was accused of being a bully and inflicting an injury. The principal investigated this group of friends, couldn't find any evidence after interviewing all the kids involved, no proof of any injury, no doctor's note, but the mom of the " bullied" kid kept insisting and it was enough for my friend's child to get a behavioral improvement plan in her file. The rest of the year was miserable after being labelled a kid with behavioral problem. The teacher appeared sympathetic, but didn't do much except kept kids apart, isolating this girl even more. We spoke up on this matter and got smeared by the parent rumor mill and was told basically our words weren't reliable since "we were of a kind and would stick together". Still stings after all these years. We couldn't wait to get our kid out of that school too.

Christina said…
I don't have cable television so the only Diane Ravitch appearance I immediately saw was the March 2011 episode in which Ms Ravitch was promoting her book.

If anyone watched "The Daily Show" on October 30, could s/he please summarize some of Ms. Ravitch's points made in conversation with show host Jon Stewart?
Anonymous said…
Watch it in HULU for free. Dianne didn't look too sharp to me. Her point seemed to be that people without kids in public school would not vote for levies if there were too many charters. I didn't go the website, daily show.com to watch the whole interview so I can't say it didn't get better.

Prefer Cobert

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