Friday Open Thread

One Community meeting on Saturday, Director Carr, from 8:30-10 am at Bethany Community Church.

It is Neighbor Appreciation Day in Seattle this Saturday the 8th.   Nearly all the Seattle fire stations will be open so it's a good time to take the kids to meet your local firefighters.

Superhero ladies re-imagined by artist Celeste Pille.  I like this.

Speaking of heroes, GI Joe, the very first action figure, turns 50 this year.  That's okay, Joe, we're all getting older. 

The Siemens, We Can Change the World Challenge, is still on until March 4th.  The Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge is the premier national environmental sustainability competition for grades K-12 students. Through project-based learning, students learn about science and conservation while creating solutions that impact their planet. Beginning August 13, 2013 through March 4, 2014, teams from across the country will be challenged to create sustainable, reproducible environmental improvements in their local communities.

What's on your mind?


JvA said…
Maple PTSA will be selling adorable Valentine's Day cards handmade by Maple students at Georgetown Art Attack on Saturday night between 6 and 8. Each card + envelope costs just $3, credit cards gladly accepted, and stamps also available. We'll be at Dog's Dream pet store, conveniently located right in the thick of things, between Jules Maes and Fonda La Catrina on Airport Way.

Details and pictures of cards here:

Thanks for supporting SE kids!
John Stewart said…
Feet First is also doing our second annual Stairway Walk tomorrow. Free (suggested donation $5/participant) and a great way to get the kids out and about exploring our amazing legacy of public stairways. Still space available on several walks, including two in West Seattle, UW campus, Ravenna, and the amazing Deadhorse Canyon in Rainier Beach.
I totally endorse the stair walks. My husband and I have done dozens throughout Seattle and it is great way to see our beautiful city.
Anonymous said…
The JAMS PTSA Steering Committee has launched a website with information for incoming families:

There are forms to fill out for the music program and the PTSA mailing list. We are planning our charter membership meeting in early April so keep checking the website for more information.

Anonymous said…
Does anyone know if the MSP (middle school) can be made up if a child is not there on the date of the test? We expect to be out of town the week after spring break, and the test is that week. I imagine it will be an unexcused absence.

Sorry for the random question. I don't even know whom to address the question to at JSCEE. I anyone could suggest whom to call, that'd be great, too.


SPS mom
Charlie Mas said…
SPS Mom, why do you care? What would the MSP do for your middle school child?
Anonymous said…
There is a summer program at the UW I think she would love. They require MSP scores to apply. This would be for the summer after next. You have to score well on the MSP.

Otherwise, I wouldn't care if she missed it.

SPS mom
Anonymous said…
Another teen shooting teen accident:

How many more innocent will be killed by a family member/friend until they change the gun laws / owners responsibility???
Eric B said…
Some schools also use MSP scores for placement in math classes.
Lynn said…
SPS mom,

If you can't schedule another time to take the MSP, scores from a talent search work too. The Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins has a test (SCAT) you can take at a local testing center.
Anonymous said…
And now for something completely different:

This comic accompanies a two-year long Truthout supported series illustrating the education reform debate from an alternative perspective, both ideologically and visually.

Anonymous said…
Charlie, it's great to encourage folks to opt out of excessive testing, but I think it's also important to make sure they know there are some points at which testing can in fact be valuable. I'd hate for someone to opt out of a test their kid needed in order to qualify for a program or class down the road.

So parents, be sure to plan ahead. I'm sure there are others, but these are a few scenarios under which testing might be worth it, even if you feel it usually isn't.

- Planning to enter APP or Spectrum within two years. It might make things easier to just take MAP tests now, since they use qualifying MAP scores in one year to determine who to invite for AL testing the next fall. Sure, you can apply for testing in the absence of that invitation letter, but personally I find it helpful to get that letter as a reminder that it's time. Too easy to forget to register otherwise.

- Transitioning to middle school within next 2 years. Hamilton, for example, is using a combination of 5th grade math MAP scores and 4th grade math MSP. I'm not sure what they do if you're missing one or both scores in the matrix.

- Planning to enroll in a non-SPS program for gifted learners. Eligibility criteria for some classes at UW's Robinson Center, for example, can be met by showing qualifying MSP scores or proof of qualification for advanced learning services. Or if you're planning to apply to Bellevue's Gifted High School program (which offers more advanced classes than SPS and accepts out-of-district students on a space-available basis), MAP and MSP scores can be used to qualify for further eligibility testing.

--Planning to apply for private school. This isn't really a formal requirement, but if you're planning to apply for private schools it might be a nice idea to take the MAP and MSP tests as offered, so that your kid's current/future teachers have those extra data points for use in completing their recommendations. Particularly if your child is advanced, it's easy for a teacher to not really see the extent of their abilities, since they usually don't cover material at an appropriate level in class. A high score can help get a teacher's attention (which can be helpful in your negotiations around the current year, too).

In most cases there are other ways to meet the requirements or obtain a placement or make your kid's needs known, but they're going to involve additional work on your part, and probably additional--but different--testing for your kid. So unfortunately, the MAP and MSP are sometimes the easy way out.

Anonymous said…
This is a great article...

Pushing Back Against “Education Reform”

syd said…
I am wondering if SPS is taking note of the baby boomlet happening this year. 16% of my department (8 out of 50 people) are expecting. Usually one or two a year are expecting. One person's OB said she had never seen anything like it - a crazy amount of people are having babies. We think we are crowded now. We may need to start building now for these kids.
Anonymous said…
Just curious...what neighborhood? Not that it really makes a difference, since it is happening all over, but just wondering.

- North-end Mom
"I'd hate for someone to opt out of a test their kid needed in order to qualify for a program or class down the road."

And there's where the district cleverly has you by the throat. Most of these tests are not made for what the district uses them for. There are other ways to determine eligibility for programs BUT this way, they keep you in the corral.

I submit that you could even say the district is wrong on this method legally.

I thought the private schools had their own test - some of my friends had their kids take it when they applied.
Anonymous said…
Yes private schools have their own tests. If you are going to apply to private school you probably are going to have to take that test no matter how many MAP and MSP tests you have. There might be some exceptions but I don't know about that.

Gen Ed Mom
syd said…
The OB is at Swedish on First Hill. I work downtown, but the expecting parents live all over Seattle - West Seattle, Ballard, Belltown, Capitol Hill.
Anonymous said…
Anyone go to Director Carr's meeting? How did it go?
Anonymous said…
Yes, private schools have their own tests. But in our experience, many public school teachers are oblivious to our kids' abilities until they see the evidence on these standardized tests. Once they see the test results, their impressions change--and likely their letters of recommendation, private school assessment forms, etc.

David said…
Did this surprise anyone else? 2370 kids, about 5% of all of the students in Seattle Public Schools, are homeless? I had no idea it was that many.
reader47 said…
I don't think the homeless kids number is all that surprising - especially if you look at some of the coverage lately on rising rents in Seattle. Lots of people getting "priced" out of housing locally, with few options if they want to stay in Seattle. Its more surprising that number isn't higher, frankly. At least within the city limits. I think the scarier part of the equation is the number having to use motel vouchers - and ending up in questionable places because of that.

Not to mention the dramatic costs of transporation as it relates to the McKenny-Vento Act - an excellent concept but the reality has become much more expensive than I think anyone anticpated.
A-mom said…
I'd say that's a low estimate. Many families probably just change schools to be close to wherever there current housing is, because they don't know about transportation availability.
Northgate has 80+FRL and I've heard about 60% of those are homeless.
Seems like a lot for one school to handle. Does anyone know if extra resources (other than Title 1 funds) are allocated for a situation like this?

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