Friday Open Thread

My husband just happens to be in a conference in South Africa.  He said they had a moment of silence this morning for Nelson Mandela and their first speaker said this:

"He shamed us into putting aside our petty differences by shaking the hand of his tormentors when he was released from prison."

I wouldn't say I have tormentors but I would like, as an early New Year's resolution, to try to talk with those whose work/opinions are different from mine and see if we can find common ground (especially in trying to get the Legislature to fulfill McCleary).   I have tried in the past to do this with some of the bigger names in ed reform in Washington but did not get any response or not a favorable one.  But it matters to keep trying if only to follow Mandela's example.

For the kids:

- amazing shadow sculptures created by artist Tim Noble using trash (note: not for elementary students and sensitive teens)
- Da Vinci invented many things that he never actually made.  One was the viola organista and here's what one sounds like (a cello played by a piano).
- my favorite - a giant ant colony excavated.  Jaw-dropping.

No Director community meetings tomorrow as the Board has their retreat from 10:15 am to 5 pm at City University at 521 Wall Street in Pioneer Square. Open to the public but parking can be tough. UPDATE: Agenda.  The agenda is vaguely straightforward.  "welcome" "review of last year" "board members areas of interest" "code of conduct" (don't know if this is for the Board or who),
"overlap/extension of Policy 1620, 1620BP" (again what is this extension?). 

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said…
From the JAMSplans blog (

From Paula Montgomery, the JAMS Planning Principal:
While it is early in the process (we have not hired team leaders), I know that parents have many, many questions, want to meet me, and want to start to give input.

The agenda is the same for both meetings. And we will have monthly meetings after the school year, including a day time option.

Jane Addams Middle School Community Meeting
Jane Addams Middle School Library
(Same agenda both dates)

Wednesday, December 11 6:30-8:00
Wednesday, December 18 6:30-8:00
Overview of timeline , teacher hiring, and spring processes
Review of facility work
Q & A
Opportunity for parents and community to give first input into the educational design
Brief school tour
- North-end Mom
Wow, two meetings so if parents can't make one, they have another opportunity. Good job, JAMS
Anonymous said…
From Seattle Schools Coalition:

It's short, read it through to the end.
39% making standard in math is beyond unacceptable.

Anonymous said…
The next meeting of the K-5 Math Adoption Committee:

Monday, December 9, 2013, 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM
Professional Library
John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence.

K - 5 Mathematics Instructional Materials Adoption Committee

Ann D.
mirmac1 said…
Take heart Melissa. After my year's of (often ascerbic and aggressive) advocacy I, along with those I'm critical of, have begun engaging in constructive ways. If I can do it, you certainly will.
Anonymous said…
Seattle Schools needs to work on the information design of many of its forms, as well as training its support staff to be more helpful for parents who have questions about how to fill the forms out.

I heard from one mother of a bi-racial child that she had to check one box or her child couldn't be enrolled.

The permission forms given out by schools are non-standard and aren't very clear. I actually attempted to redesign the permission form last year and shared it with District staff and was ignored. Our neighborhood school's secretary told me no, they only used the district forms but when I compared what the teacher sent home to what the current district forms template from the main site it was completely different.

Perhaps SPS could initiate a secondary process through the school newsletters and the phone system to encourage folks to help make sure that special designations that help get the districts more funds are noted in the kids records. That said, given SPS's track record in using SPED and funds for Native American children -- why bother? They have misappropriate them in the past and it is questionable as to whether the students and their schools see any benefit anyway.


Ann D.
Anonymous said…
Meany Middle School Planning Blog

There is a new blog for tracking the Meany Middle School planning.

Any suggestions for content is welcome.

Ann D.
Anonymous said…
Seattle PI has a story about sexual misconduct allegation at Eckstein. The teacher is no longer there, but still in the district.

-concerned parent
Anonymous said…
I am in North Delridge, a neighborhood affected by the new Fairmount Park boundary change. Is the district planning to do any sort of outreach to families who will be impacted by the boundary change? I talked to a mom on my street yesterday with an older child at our our old neighborhood school and a younger one going in next year who will be assigned to Fairmount Park. (My son will be, too, but I have an older child at an option school so hoping sibling priority gets us in there.) She was not aware there had been a change. She can grandfather her older child and her younger one will get sibling preference at their current school, but that is no guarantee he will get in. She was also concerned about whether grandfathered kids would still get busing. I can only assume that there are many families who will be in her situation. In my neighborhood, many families do not have computer access. They do not speak English. The district needs to do a better job of notifying impacted families. I fear many will not find out until they go to register their kindergartners.

Concerned mom in WS
mirmac1 said…
Correction: 521 Wall St is in the Denny Regrade area. Should be street parking available.
WS Mom, well, you'd think the district would do this. I have no idea if they will or how. I note that
at the Board meeting Shauna Heath told the Board that they had sent out a Common Core letter to parents. Director Carr had to gently tell her one long letter wasn't enough and they needed to have more (or at least an "elevator explanation.")

It might be good for schools to advocate for this outreach or maybe schools should be doing this themselves.
Anonymous said…
Ann D. - As the parent of bi-racial child, I can attest that they do in fact force you to choose one race. My kid is a 10th grader so it's a bit disheartening to hear this is still the rule. I too, was told she couldn't enroll unless I chose one. In a split second, I was forced to choose a racial identity for my 5 year old. Still pisses me off to this day.

Franklin Parent
Joe Wolf said…
Good news on biking and walking to school:

Via, a great aggregtor/curator of planning and development news.
Anonymous said…
Updated address lookup is now on SPS website for those wondering about school assignment for next year.

Josh Hayes said…
Ann D and Franklin Parent,

That's puzzling, since the OSPI report cards LIST a category for "two or more races" for enrollment (apparently, statewide, it's about 6.3% for the 2012/13 school year). The same report-card form lists a slightly higher level for SPS, as well: 6.6%. SOMEONE must be able to, at some point, put that down. Puzzling: I wonder where the OSPI forms get their data from?
Josh Hayes said…
An article in the blogs section of Ms magazine has been making the rounds; it's thought-provoking and I thought maybe this group would like to think about it. It's about dress codes, especially for girls, and what they say about girls' bodies. It's short and well worth a read, IMO.
Josh, that's quite the article and I am of mixed feelings. But I hesitate to say anything without starting an argument.

I will just say what I used to tell tour groups at Roosevelt:
You don't have to come to school dressed as if you are going to church or Grandma's house but please don't come dress as if you were going to a party.

School is their workplace. No time like the present to think about that especially as teens think about jobs and internships.
rather "dressed" as if you were going to a party.
I had one other thought. I had no problem telling boys that I didn't want to see their underwear when they walked down the hall. Nothing like somebody's mom noticing your underwear AND pointing it out. They generally pulled up their pants in a hurry.
Anonymous said…
I tell both boys and girls that I don't want to see underwear or butt cracks. If it is an area of the body that is supposed to be covered by a swimsuit out in public, I don't want to see it hanging out in my classroom. If their clothing is restricting proper movement and/or blood flow - i.e. too tight pants, extra high heels, pants sagging down to the knees so they can't walk without waddling like a penguin- then it's not something that should be worn at school. They laugh, nod OK, and we move on.

Common sense

dw said…
Another worthwhile article on the Seattle Times Education Lab about The Power of Parent in Schools.

Do they have a different review board now for education articles? There was one small snide comment about parental involvement in high-income schools, but overall the article was a good read and highlighted what sounds like a great program with the potential to grow in other places, like Seattle.
Anonymous said…
Josh Hayes - I am not sure where OSPI gets that info from b/c the enrollment forms for SPS instructions say: "What race(s) do you consider your child?
Check all that apply. Please circle your primary choice." but when I did in fact choose both 'white' and 'african-american/black', of which she is equally both, I was told unequivocally that I must choose only one. I think this is what Ann D is also alluding to - that the people helping at enrollment for people with questions are telling folks to do something other than what appears to be instructed on the form. You can see the application for yourself at

Also, once enrolled, they do list only one race under your kids info so you don't really have a choice - you just have to pick one. Perhaps some folks have been able to leave their other choices checked on the form and that is where OSPI gets that info. But I was told I could only have one choice.

Franklin Parent

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