Seattle Schools This Week

A bit of an exciting week as the district welcomes two new Board members.

Also FYI, the district is looking for members for its School Wellness Task Force.

Seattle Public Schools is seeking members for a Task Force to review, revise, monitor, communicate and evaluate policies and procedures governing school food, competitive foods, nutrition education, physical education and physical activity.
The Task Force will operate for an 18-month period, December 2013 to June 2015.

To be considered for the School Wellness Task Force students, parents, family and community members should complete and submit a nomination form by Friday, Dec. 13, 2013. The invitation letter, nomination forms, and a complete description of the committee are available online.
Tuesday, Dec. 3rd
Oath of Office from 5-6 pm in the JSCEE Auditorium.  It is open to the public.  Sue Peters, Stephan Blanford and returning Director Betty Patu will be taking the oath.  There are opening remarks, the oath, new Board member comments, and a short reception.

Special Education Advisory and Advocacy Council Meeting from 5-6 pm in the JSCEE Auditorium.

Wednesday, Dec. 4th
Board Meeting starting at 4:15 pm.   Agenda
Agenda highlights include:
  • Program Evaluation and Assessment Annual Report - looks like a lot of assessments (see page 5).  I don't see much in the way of "program evaluation" at all.  
  • Election of officers.  I'm predicting Sherry Carr will be President of the Board.  
  • Action item: Acceptance of federal RTTT dollars for implementing IB at RBHS, Chief Sealth and Ingraham.  The funding is a little over $250k (and that's why it comes before the Board).  What is quite interesting about this item is the lengthy explanation of why the Board should vote yes.  You don't see this kind of volume in most items.  Also, I do find it interesting when staff uses Strategic Plan goals to back up things they want but manage to avoid that when they are having problems meeting these goals in other areas.  
  • Intro item - BTA III work at 15 schools.  This is okay with me but there are some oddities.  Like "replacing motors" at schools for energy efficiencies.  Okay, I'll bite - what motors?  Are they talking the HVAC or what?  There is a budget attachment that talks about roofing upgrades for three schools. I'm thinking the wrong budget was attached.  Also, the change order memo says there were no change orders and yet the board item itself says: "change orders - $223, 638.00". 
  • Yes, the wrong budget was attached to the previous BTA III item - it should be here.  This one - for the roofs at Whitworth, Olympic View and Salmon Bay is a whopping $476k over budget ($645k).  I wish I could explain where the issue was but unfortunately, the change order only says "emergency work relating to a rusting roof structure over the library" without referencing which school.  I am a little dismayed at this "emergency" because it is stated that they had 2 shifts, 7 days a week for a week to get it done.  "The school was without their library for about 1 week, whereas it could have been over one moth (sic)."  I would gently venture that for almost $500k, a school could have been without a library for a month.   Wait, so now I'm reading an attached Action Report from August 2012 that says it is Salmon Bay that had the bad roof and yet in that action report, it sounds much more dire.  But what is confusing is why wasn't this work done sooner?  If they knew in August 2012 of this issue (and it's now December 2013), couldn't this have been done without a costly rush?  
  • Then there is the Intro item about Cedar Park.  It's another seemingly rushed idea.  They can't house all of Olympic Hills' programs (they have to find space for an Early Childhood program of 51 students).  They won't have a library but want a separate computer lab (probably for MAP testing).  They will have 8 portables (two as resource rooms).  There is also no art space - most of the building doesn't even meet the ed specs for an elementary.  Then the NEXT school to be in there will then have to decide how to use the space.  It's all very haphazard planning to me. 
  • There is an Intro item for reopening John Marshall (at over $6M) but all the documentation has "place holder."  It should be there because the public has a right to know how the money is being spent.  
Thursday, December 5th
Charter Commission meeting in Hoquiam, WA from 11:30 am to 6 p.m.  No agenda available yet.   The Minutes from November show these clarifications to charter school applicants:
  • There are no federal grant funds available for charter schools within the state of Washington There are not state start-up funds available to potential charter school operators
  • State monthly apportionment dollars will become available to established charter schools on the last day of September of their first year of operation
  • The Commission emphasized the importance of applicants following written instructions in the RFP and not rely on third parties for information or verbal directions.
Friday, December 6th
Meet new Director Sue Peters at Couth Buzzard Books, 8310 Greenwood Avenue N at noon.  Hosted by Seattle Education blog and Parents Across America, Seattle.

Saturday, December 7th
Board retreat from 10:15 am to 4:50 pm.  This will be an interesting day as the new Board gets to know each other.   It will be at City University at 521 Wall Street.  It is open to the public. No agenda yet available.   I did see a preliminary agenda and yes, the Alliance for Education stamp is figuratively (and literally) all over it.  


Wondering said…

I see the RTT dollars is actually part of the Road Map Project and I'm not seeing the actual contract. Why?

Can we assume that acceptance of this grant will relinquish student privacy rights?

Anonymous said…
The Special Education Advisory Committee meeting is from 6.30 to 9pm in Room 2700 on Tuesday evening Dec 3rd. It is open to the public and all are welcome.

Reader, I thought that time for the SEAC was weird but that's what they had at the SPS website yesterday. I'll correct that.

Wondering, I would assume they didn't put the contract because they already voted on that. This is new money for a different project (although why it is part of Road Map, I don't know).
Okay, I take that back about Road Map. From the Action item:

"In alignment with Project 8’s goals of strengthening course pathways as well as course rigor, this grant will support the implementation of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) at Rainier Beach High School and Renton High School, while simultaneously focusing energy and resources in the established programs at both Chief Sealth and Ingraham High Schools to strengthen participation of under-represented students."
mirmac1 said…
Here is the Grant Application. It requires an SPS match of $132K.

We gave up student privacy rights when Banda signed the MOU with CCER, Road Map $ or not. In fact, Enfield signed them away in October 2011. You would be amazed at the amount of data shared to date.

Of course Susan Wright of DOTS told the board that the district has not released any data. This is a half-truth. The district may not have transmitted the data, they in fact did it one better, they told OSPI to give CCER what they wanted.
Samantha said…
It appears, RTT and Road Map project will add Chief Seatlh and Ingraham to data sharing agreement.
Greenwoody said…
Is there any way to get these board retreat agenda out of the hands of the Alliance for Education? It seems extremely inappropriate for them to be having that much influence over our elected representatives.

Also hope Sue Peters will have some more meet and greets - can't make that time but am very pleased she'll be on the board!
Greenwoody, you don't know how I have tried to get the Board to stop using the Alliance. This Board may changes that. Either the Alliance is just organizing the day's logistics (okay by me) or others get a crack at "sponsoring" a retreat (and having input on the agenda.

It appears that there was a pullback on the Alliance's influence but now it's back. Not good.
Anonymous said…
Salmon Bay Roof: The school was having roof work done, then the crews were suddenly called back off the roof when it almost caved in under their feet due to old damage that no one knew about (water I guess- good thing that didn't happen when kids were in the building ). That was the emergency. I think they felt like leaving that for a month wasn't a good idea. Then in addition when they were almost done there was some sort of fire and the fire dept made them rip up a bunch of stuff. It was expensive, and a drag, but it really was a pretty bad situation.
-roof fan
Roof, I get that. But the action report (and the letter explaining this) is remarkably benign. And, I question why this has taken so long to get to the Board. Do you know when this was taken care of (given they knew about it more than a year ago)?
Anonymous said…
It was taken care of immediately (last year-- maybe fall? I can check).
And I recall there being an emergency work order for the board at the time. Maybe that was just to authorize the work.
(I don't know anything about how and when they do these kinds of things)
-Roof Fan
mirmac1 said…
Actually, the 2011 data release was only for the SE schools for the "Baseline" report in support of the application to the Feds for RTTT funds. The current data-share is not restricted to SPS SE schools. CCER gets to dine on the whole enchilada, becaues they are supposedly conducting research and studies for SPS.
Anonymous said…
Emergency work order:

roof fan
Anonymous said…
So, even with adding 8 portables, there is not enough room at Cedar Park to completely house an under 300-student elementary school (Olympic Hills), in interim (no room for a library or preschool classes that are currently at Olympic Hills), but there will supposedly be enough room there to house 400 kids at Cedar Park when it becomes an attendance-area school?

- confused
Confused, my suspicion is that they won't open it as a neighborhood school. I think it's really their best choice for an interim but they knew they would get blowback for kicking out the artists and using a space that is underwhelming.

Charlie Mas said…
I would like everyone to take a moment and read Board Policy 2090, Program Evaluation and Assessment.

It says: "The Superintendent shall prepare an annual report which reflects the degree to
which district goals and objectives related to the instructional program have been
" That's supposed to be the topic of the annual report, not student assessments.

Yet there is no mention of any measure of how any of the programs have achieved their stated goals. None. There is no effort to measure the quality and efficacy of our special education programs, advanced learning programs, ELL programs, general education programs, Montessori programs, language immersion programs, pre-school programs, STEM programs, Native American programs, option programs, or any other programs.

What kind of management is going on if there is never any effort of any kind to assess the effectiveness of the work?

It would be really great if a Board member - any Board member - would stop the superintendent's entertaining PowerPoint about student testing and ask for the report that is required by the policy.

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