Friday Open Thread

Hogwarts (if it were graded under an A to F school grading law).  Thanks to reader Tammy.

Looks like Director DeBell is already looking for a new gig - he's applying to be a PCO for the 43rd district (where apparently he lives now).  It may be a prelude for the appointment to fill the representative seat being vacated by Jamie Pedersen in the 43rd (Pedersen is filling Ed Murray's senate seat).  By coincidence, I live in the 43rd.

Hey, look who The Stranger thinks is one of the smartest people in Seattle politics.

Silas Potter will be sentenced today for his crimes against Seattle Public Schools after pleading guilty to 36 counts of theft in April.  

What's on your mind?
Meg Diaz, Kellie LaRue and Charlie - all in the same place, all smiling.


Anonymous said…
Anonymous said…

This is a great article about meeting kids where they are and treating them as individuals, not problems when it comes to discipline. Interestingly enough they are doing this in Spokane. Why can't we do it in Seattle.

Gen Ed Mom
Anonymous said…
They've employed positive discipline, which encompasses many of the same techniques, across the board at T. Marshall for the past 4 years, and it's worked very well.

Interestingly, the prior principal was an iron clad disciplinarian who ran the school like a prison, keeping all students in a perpetual state of fear. So, undoing that trauma and getting the kids to trust and understand a new group of kids and a new principal took some time, but worked out pretty well.

But you know what made and even bigger difference in the discipline rates and interventions at T.M.? Dumping Discovery Math. The principal couldn't believe the difference that switching math curriculum had on the behavior of kids. It was like a miracle.

So, Discovery Math = Trauma. Sure caused it's fair share of trauma at my house.


Linh-Co said…

Did the Thurgood Marshall principal actually make that statement? Can we share that information at the Elementary Math Adoption Committee?
They just had their first meeting yesterday.

Anonymous said…
Gen Ed Mom - we are doing it in Seattle! I am managing the program for Public Health Seattle & King County, in collaboration with Dr. Blodgett and team from WSU. We are just starting a three year project in Beacon Hill International and Olympic Hills Elementary Schools. See recent piece in the Seattle Times - Very excited to see where this goes in Seattle.

Thanks for this blog, so important for keeping up with the district.

Sarah Wilhelm, MPH
Public Health Seattle & King County
Anonymous said…
So, SPS is trying to improve discipline practices by trying this program, which sounds wonderful for ALL schools because even in schools with financially secure upper middle class populations there can be kids with trauma in their past or at home (often very hidden, because what would people think?) and it makes sense that in areas where people struggle with financial issues the trauma might be worse. What do people think about this program helping with disproportionate discipline for Sped students and students of color? I think it's a great start! But really, it's good for all kids. NYT indicates WA State and MA leading nationally with this program. Great news!

Gen Ed Mom
Anonymous said…
Linh-Co: It was repeated to me from another parent who the principal said it to. But it's consistent with the trouble Discovery Math caused in my own home, so I believe it. And knowing Julie B, it certainly sounds like her. No BS. Straight shooter, all the way.


mirmac1 said…
Unfortunately, little to no money is being set aside for PD on positive discipline or PBIS. It's pretty much ALL on Common Core and teacher evaluation system. Yep. The Ed Reform priorities.
Charlie Mas said…
NOVA at Vera tonight!!

Tonight is the second annual Nova Beats Committee benefit show.
Friday, Nov 15th @ 7pm
@ the Vera Project
All Ages; $10

Student performers:
-Henry & Triston
-Yoseph Amare
-Quinn (Street Logic)
-Omar Tellez
-OC Notes
-Keyboard Kid
-Kung Foo Grip

If you know young people, organizations, people that are well connected, or anyone who wants to go support our kids, please take a few minutes to send an email or a text. It is greatly appreciated.

Here is the ticket link

They've got a really cool line-up of student performers and professional beat makers and hip hop artists.
Anonymous said…
Mirmac1: PD doesn't have to cost much at all. And it's not hard to implement. The main requirement is a team approach and getting the buy-in and commitment from staff at the outset, followed by timely reviews and updates, and the willingness to modify policies along the way so nothing becomes too rigid or counterproductive.

Basically, it takes long-term thinking vs. magic bullet theory. So, naturally profiteers and Ed Reformers would hate it. But I can't see why it would cost a lot of money. It's primarily behavior modification - a mindset adjustment - not something that requires a lot of study, materials or information.
Anonymous said…
WSDWG Above.
Michael Rice said…
Here is an article on another urban district doing boundary adjustments.
Anonymous said…
There is a Teen Health Center included in the building re-purposing plans for Jane Addams Middle School.

- North-end Mom
Patrick said…
Congratulations on the recognition, Melissa!
Anonymous said…
The information about Discovery Math from the T.M. principal needs to go to the math committee. It is ridiculous to keep using this curriculum when it is so damaging. Parents and UW science and math professors have complained about it for years, yet it is still in most schools.

I am tired of lip service about how much the district wants to close the achievement gap and help all students succeed. It is time to dump the unsound math and help them do it.

S parent
ArchStanton said…
Hey, look who The Stranger thinks is one of the smartest people in Seattle politics.

Who, Nick Hanauer?

-just kidding- Congrats on a little recognition, Mel.
mamashines said…
Read the link to the Stranger. Thanks for your work on this blog! I'm wondering about the personal info the district collects on kids. We are new to SPS. I noticed that paperwork in our September packet and had quite a few concerns. Would be interested in learning more about that. Thanks Melissa!
dw said…
Michael Rice said: Here is an article on another urban district doing boundary adjustments.

clickable link: OregonLive Portland Boundary Adjustments

Nice find Michael. The big takeaway I get from this article is that they are allocating 2 years for the process. That means time enough for planning, community engagement, layers of revisions and parent/community psychological adjustment and planning before getting tossed off a cliff.

SPS, on the other hand, is making decisions almost willy-nilly, with half-assed community engagement (especially south end), wild revisions based on community pushback that will result in a "who complained loudly and got pulled out from under the bus at the last minute just before the vote". Of course that means someone else got thrown under the bus at the last minute just before the vote, but oh well.
Anonymous said…
Police are investigating an attempted kidnapping from the Coe Elementary after school program yesterday.

Very scary how much information the kidnapper had about the kids.

Anonymous said…
What can be done to get elementary school teachers to be able to use other means of behavioral correction than taking away recess? I've been hearing of a lot of 6 year olds who are losing recess for moving around too much, forgot their homework (this is the child's responsiblity?) and other minor issues.

Kids need exercise and a break from all this forced academic common core nonsense. Missing recess seems to be doled out liberally with no other things tried.

Don't teachers have other ways to manage their classes than doling out punishments?

Ann D
MomAnon said…
Congrats to you, Melissa!
Ann D, that's a big issue that needs addressing in our district especially for Sped students and students of color.

What is new that can help students with their behavior? There's got to be other ways.

Mamashines, we are going to have more - a lot more - on student data privacy in the coming months.
mirmac1 said…
Unfortunately parents must be very circumspect with those FERPA forms. Our school had 4, count 'em, 4 places to sign including for a school directory, for the school annual, and two others. I was very careful which ones I okayed. My philosophy is, when in doubt, refuse.
mirmac1 said…

Anonymous said…
Interesting article in New York magazine on ethical parenting.

Anonymous said…
I appreciate the Hogwarts reports -- isn't it interesting that in this week of the release of inane School Reports in Seattle, New York City made clear this was the last year of Bloomberg's school grading system.

Riper still was the irony that on the same day that Seattle Schools released their "teacher growth ratings," the smart folks at Microsoft announced they were abandoning their stack rating system, blamed for a culture that stifled innovation:

One can only hope it doesn't take SPS the same two decades to realize the damage these ratings can do.

Quaker Dog
Julie said…
Gen Ed Mom

That's an awesome and useful article - Thank you.

Anonymous said…
What are all these new changes from the staff for 2014??? What does "Area 3 to Van Asselt" mean? There is no Area 3. How could anyone even respond to this if they are announcing new changes after the School Board has submitted their amendments???


I further move that
changes in attendance area
and GeoZone be implemented
with assignments for
for the following areas
, as shown in Attachment
, pages 4 and 6:
Areas 118 and 125 to Green Lake
Area 11
to Laurelhurst
Area 3 to Van Asselt
Areas 45, 55, 61, 65, and 71 to Fairmount Park
Area 19 to Lowell
Area 208 to Eckstein
Area 206 to
Jane Addams
Anonymous said…
Do we know who is on the Math Adoption Committee? I know someone who didn't get on, who would have been an awesome addition, but there was no info, nothing from the district, not even an acknowledgment of receipt of his application, until the rejection letter.

Would be nice for this committee not to work in secrecy, and it would be nice to know the people on the committee know what they are talking about wrt math /math education.

Anonymous said…
Sigh. It must be a typo. It's supposed to say "Zone 7," not "Zone 3." I've asked staff to correct it.

I was seriously starting to worry that it was a typo for "Zone 31" and that Tracy Libros was punishing my neighborhood because she's mad at me for calling her out on her accidental reply-all that she tried to recall.

Apologies for copying and pasting the above and retaining the bad formatting.
Anonymous said…

Try this linkand check out page 3. Found this after much searching through past presentations. But as it is from past presentations not completely confident about accuracy.

JvA said…
Thanks, StepJ! The error isn't in the map; it's in the report wording. I think it's actually just a typo. I've emailed staff to correct that, along with a couple other things I will tell you about it a moment. :)
JvA said…
OK, can anyone take a look at the #1 section of the mail I just sent to staff and let me know if I'm offbase here? At the Wednesday work session, the presentation clearly said that any post-2014 changes would require Board approval. Shouldn't that be reflected in the new Action Report? Instead, it just says that the Board is handing the whole thing over to the Superintendent to implement. That seems like a BIG difference. A HUGE, VAST, ENORMOUS, BAD difference.


Hi, Tracy and Flip. Can you answer the following questions for me about the 11/20 Growth Boundaries Action Report. I know you had to work quickly on this; I think there may be errors/omissions in this version of the document:

1) On Page 1 (section V1) of the Action Report, it says "I move that the Board approve the attendance area boundaries (Growth Boundaries), feeder patterns, and option school GeoZones as shown in Attachment A to the Board Action Report and direct the Superintendent to take any appropriate actions to implement this decision, including authorization for the staff to make minor clean-up or correction adjustments to boundary and GeoZone maps."

However, Slide 4 of the presentation for the 11/13 Growth Boundaries work session states that "Board action will be needed each year to determine whether to implement specific boundary changes and/or feeder patterns for subsequent years." (

Based on the new assumption announced 11/13, shouldn't Section V1 say:
"I move that the Board approve the attendance area boundaries (Growth Boundaries), feeder patterns, and option school GeoZones as shown in Attachment A to the Board Action Report and direct the Superintendent to take any appropriate actions to implement this decision for the 2014-15 school year only, including authorization for the staff to make minor clean-up or correction adjustments to boundary and GeoZone maps. Board action will be needed each year to determine whether to implement specific boundary changes and/or feeder patterns for subsequent years."

2) On Page 2 (section V2) of the Action Report, it says "Zone 3 to Van Asselt." Is this supposed to say "Zone 7" to Van Asselt?

3) Didn't Betty Patu instruct staff to change her Amendment 8, to clarify she wants to rescind recommended changes for both the 2014-15 school year as well as in subsequent years? Why isn't that reflected in Amendment 8?

Anonymous said…

Are Micro-chips next ?


Anonymous said…
How Maryland leads the nation in excluding SpEd students from NAEP testing and is the highest scoring state on NAEP reading.

From the Baltimore Sun:
Md. excluded large number of special-education students in national test

The National Center for Education Statistics, which administers the test, estimates that Maryland's scores were 7 points higher for fourth-grade reading and 5 points higher for eighth-grade reading because of the exclusion.

-- Dan Dempsey
Anonymous said…
About Common Core....

From Sandra Stotsky:

Here is the most recent paper I've written on the so-called Validation Committee. I think there needs to be much more focus in public communications about who chose the standards-writers and why.

-- Dan Dempsey
Anonymous said…
Does anyone understand or have information about the Privately run preschools located in dedicated spaces in a number of Elementary schools (Oly View, Stevens, Greenwood, for example)? Are they "for profit," do they actually pay rent and for use of the school equipment (copy machines, etc) ? I have noticed that that tuition is high, in my opinion, at some of them, and they have lovely appropriate classroom spaces, which is terrific for those lucky enough to attend.

On the other hand, Seattle public school Preschool programs for kids with SPECIAL NEEDS (serving hundreds of preschool kids throughout the district for the past 30+ years, mandated by law, btw) are bumped around from school to school and often located in leftover and inappropriate spaces. This does not compute.

Also, are there any plans (PLAN being the operational word) for permanent locations for our special ed preschool in all of the new boundary and new school proposals? Or have these programs once again been forgotten?


Anonymous said…
Re private preschools in some buildings:

I've asked this too. Here's what I learned.

First, those preschools are also used as before/after school care for students who attend those elem. schools. In general private preschool students have to be out during before/after care times.

Second - in various remodel and new construction projects in the past, the City of Seattle entered into agreements w/district about providing before/after school and preschool care on site. Many of the spaces are required for that use by the city, in binding contractual terms as part of receiving grants from the city at the time of construction or permits for enlarging a building or whatever - it's part of one iteration of that "Families & Education" levy in the past, I think, that some of the money went to schools in exchange for PERMANENT placement of child care in the buildings to help increase the amount and affordability of quality child care.

There truly isn't much SPS can do about those preschools - except lobby the city to let them waive the requirement for a couple years - but SPS doesn't seem willing to ask the city for much help on anything, does it? I guess they're afraid to open the door to meddling. But they need a lot of city support in the capacity crisis, and trying to go it alone is IMO dumb.

Signed: me too
Anonymous said…
thanks, "me too" Re.
PRIVATE preschool use of schools

Do you know if they actually pay rent for using the space? Considering the TUITION they charge at one school, $880.00 dollars/MONTH for a 5 day program from 9:30-1:30- and the little they pay their staff (no benefits) someone is profiting from the lovely tax payer provided space.

The before and after school care supports the school population, but the preschools at 4 -6 hours per day, are NOT sufficient childcare for any working parent that I know.

I guess I wouldn't pay much attention to this except when in contrasts with how the SPECIAL EDUCATION preschools are constantly treated like an annoyance.

How can I find out if there are any PLANs at all for the special ed preschools in all of the closing buildings, and in the new building plans....does anyone actually know that we have special education preschools????

Linh-Co said…
You can find the names of the 25 members of the Math Adoption Committee here. I don't know how the members were chosen. There were definitely some highly qualified teachers with great track record not chosen.
Anonymous said…
The private preschools are enabled through the district's Community Alignment Partnership which was developed in the '90s:

I have heard that at least one preschool was not paying rent. The rent should be at the discounted rate of a community partner and not a private entity due to the CAP agreement but collecting no rent is not cool. And offering that space not for head start or SPED is a bit of a travesty.

Ann D
Anonymous said…
Hiya Save Seattle Schools!

I am the Music teacher at Cleveland High School. The kids I work for are WONDERFUL, but pretty low income. It is always a struggle to make sure we have the funds to provide the best education possible for them. SOOO We are going to host a Holiday Bazaar. December 16 from 3-8 pm. If you are a vendor, you will donate $25 and one item to the music program. We will have a booth all ready for you. We will set up a table if you wish, students will even help you move stuff if needed! You can help by... Coming to the event, spreading the word, or helping me with suggestions as to how to make this event super successful, I would be eternally grateful!
Thank you SO SO MUCH!!!

Michelle Maury
Anonymous said…
Thanks for the link, Ann D.

It is old, yet interesting. I can't find any allignment reports after 2010. I believe that the she statistics about the preschools serving low income student are misleading. Some of the preschools are LIMITED to low income students, so that skews the total data picture.

I have a serious problem with a preschool charging OVER $10,000 per year occupying a dedicated space, possibly for FREE RENT, according to the agreement, for 4 hours per day program- Who does the actual accounting for these programs? where is the current data?

All, the while SPECIAL ED PRESCHOOLS have to constantly watch their backs and scramble and beg for leftover space.

Does anyone actually have information about how 22 "developmental" SPECIAL EDUCATION PRESCHOOLS are being planned for in the new boundary plans and in the new school plans.

Sorry for the ranting, but I rarely hear a voice for our youngest children with special needs.

Anonymous said…
As of today, the Mann building is still being occupied, with gates and doors barricaded.


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