Friday Open Thread

Did your senior write a great college essay?  Here's a link to an award for $5,000 through  The deadline is May 19.  (Great judges like Anna Quindlen, Wally Lamb, and Mary Roach.) 

This is not "new" news but the Gates Foundation invests in a private prison company as well as a company with 19 juvenile detention facilities in the U.S.  This from Mother Jones.  A Gates spokesperson attempted to, according to The Slog, "philanthro-splained" "The trust invests in a lot of things to make sure we have the most money we can have to do that job."  Oh.

Nothing like creating - via your work and your investments - your own school to prison pipeline.

A horrible week for students in two high schools.  First, the stabbings at a high school in Murraysville, Pennsylvania where 20 were stabbed with one in critical condition on a breathing machine.  Second, the news this morning that bus with seniors from LA/Fresno going to visit Humboldt State when a Fed Ex truck crossed a median and slammed head-on into one of three buses.  Both drivers died as well as 5 students and 3 chaperones. 

Could you please keep these students, their schools and their families in your thoughts this weekend?

What's on your mind?


mirmac1 said…
Bringing Data to the Community

Have you ever asked, “If I have my child’s test scores and grades, what else do I need to know?” Or wondered, “What does it all mean -- 3rd grade reading to 8th grade math? What are the connections?” Education Results Roundtables are designed to help parents and community members connect with experts and find answers. Please come to learn about resources and opportunities to make a difference!

Results Roundtable - Kent
6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 17
Kent Senior Activity Center
600 E. Smith St., Kent, WA 98030

Results Roundtable - Renton
6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Tuesday, April 22
Renton Community Center
1715 SE Maple Valley Highway
Renton, WA 98057

Maybe this dude will talk Knewton collects millions of data points about student users in order to provide them with more effective timing and content to enhance learning. (thanks for the link James)
mirmac1 said…
The Results Roundtables are brought to you by your friendly neighborhood data-miner CCER and Road Map
Kathy said…
Very concerning video from Knewton. I am unclear: How will data be collected? Will it be similar to facebook and google? Will student data be transferred by clicking on link? Will data be collected by using computerized tests?
Kathy said…
Very concerning video from Knewton. I am unclear: How will data be collected? Will it be similar to facebook and google? Will student data be transferred by clicking on link? Will data be collected by using computerized tests?

Did anyone else have a visceral reaction to speaker talking about "poor schmuck"?? These are the same people that want to use our children for innovation.
Lynn said…
I'd like to understanding the finances related to high school sports. Here's a comment from the Friday Memo:

Follow-up from Athletics Oversight Session: As requested by board members, attached is information on the revenue collected from sports participation fees, listed by school. Please note: the money collected stays with the schools’ ASB funds; none of this revenue comes to the district Athletics Department. The inequity between schools with wealthier communities and others will be part of the continuing work of the Athletics Department as all Seattle schools come back into the Metro League.

This makes no sense to me. I thought that athletic fees cover those costs. Are the ASBs paying the bills? Because Rainier Beach collected only $1,200 last year and their costs must be higher than that.

Also, on athletic transportation: Athletics is working with schools and the transportation department to determine the best times for student athletes to be excused from classes for athletic competition. As discussed at the Athletics Oversight session, having the flexibility to create our own Metro League schedules will provide both opportunities and challenges to have events at the best times and also create a viable middle school program for the district. There are no dedicated buses for after-school activities; the district would need to add extra buses or schedule events after the routes are done for the day. Having dedicated buses would cost approximately $1.2-$1.5 million which would not be reimbursable by the state. Transportation is working with third-party vendors to provide options for schools to be able to book buses once schedules are established.
mirmac1 said…
Interesting. I was not aware SPS has this report. Now what will they do with it?

Assessment of Data Systems
Administrative Applications

It was noted at yesterday's A&F meeting that buildings buy IPads and just hand them out like candy. This report concludes that there is no clear vision of how technology will be used in SPS.
TechyMom said…
"...the district would need to add extra buses or schedule events after the routes are done for the day."

So, then, there's no problem for late start, right? The busses are used mostly for K-5, so they will be available when high school gets out at 4:30, right?
Anonymous said…

FRL kids pay like $25 to participate (for some kids this is even too much so our Sports Boosters cover it at Hale). For everyone else it is $100 for the first sport and $50 for the second.

Anonymous said…
New principal at B.F. Day (just announced by Superintendent Banda). I don't believe there was any parent engagement in this. Interested to hear what people know about the incoming principal, Stank Jaskot from Northgate Elementary.

- BF Day Fan

Dear B.F. Day Elementary community,

I am writing today to let you know that your principal, Ms. Katie Pearl, is leaving your school at the end of the school year to be Principal at Northgate Elementary. We wish her the best in her new position. I am pleased to share my decision to appoint Stan Jaskot as your new Principal, effective July 1, 2014.

Mr. Jaskot comes to B.F. Day from Northgate Elementary, where he has been Principal since 2010. He is committed to working with staff, students, parents and the community to help B.F. Day continue to build excellence in student achievement, opportunities for enrichment and school pride. His experience and dedication to academics, arts, and strong community partnerships make him a good fit for the B. F. Day community.

Mr. Jaskot is looking forward to transitioning to a larger, well-established elementary school. A Seattle resident since 2002, he recognizes the unique character of Seattle neighborhoods and the influence they have on their schools. He plans to begin getting to know the students and staff by learning about what they value most at B.F Day. This information will serve as the lens to review student achievement data and the plans for intervention and enrichment programs, professional development and priorities for community involvement.

Previously, Mr. Jaskot served as Principal for five years at Meridian Elementary in the Kent School District. He also worked as an elementary school principal and teacher in Elizabeth, N.J. He has over 31 years of experience in education.

Mr. Jaskot earned a Masters degree in Educational Administration and a Bachelor of arts in Music Education from Kean University of New Jersey.

I know Ms. Pearl and Mr. Jaskot will work together this spring to ensure a smooth transition for both schools. Please join me in welcoming Stan Jaskot to B.F. Day Elementary.


José Banda


Seattle Public Schools said…
This should make the co-location of Arbor Heights even more interesting.
New Principle for K-5 STEM:

Dear K–5 STEM at Boren community,

I am writing today to let you know that your principal, Shannon McKinney is taking a leave of absence, starting at the end of the school year. I know you join me in thanking her for all of her efforts to establish and build the STEM program. She has been an exceptional leader for a new school community.

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Ben Ostrom as your new Principal, effective July 1, 2014.

Mr. Ostrom comes to K–5 STEM at Boren from Highland Park Elementary, where he was Principal for the past four years. He is committed to STEM learning and your future expansion to a K–8 school, and will be a great fit for the K-5 STEM at Boren community. He is passionate about learning, and about students applying STEM subjects to understand and affect the world around them. Mr. Ostrom believes that families are our most important learning partners.

Prior to Highland Park, Mr. Ostrom served as Principal at Orca K–8 for seven years. Previously, he spent three years as Principal at Loyal Heights Elementary and has extensive classroom experience after teaching in the district for six years.

Mr. Ostrom’s professional preparation includes a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brown University and a Masters in Teaching from Seattle University. He also completed the Danforth Educational Leadership Program at the University of Washington. He received a Golden Apple Award for Educational Excellence from KCTS-Washington Public Television in 1999 and an A+ Award from the Alliance for Education in 1998. In 1997 he received an EDS Leadership in Learning award and Washington Software Foundation Innovation in Teaching Award.

I know Ms. McKinney and Mr. Ostrom will work together this spring to ensure a smooth transition. Please join me in welcoming Mr. Ben Ostrom to K–5 STEM at Boren.


José Banda


Seattle Public Schools
Anonymous said…
Yes, I have heard that Banda is moving some principals around. If I had to guess, I'd say he needs Katie Pearl to fix whatever's not working at Northgate...she is like Mr. Wolf from Pulp Fiction. We at BF Day are shocked and saddened to be losing her.

Northgate folks, what's the deal with Jaskot? What can we expect?

- Another Day Fan
Anonymous said…
Wow! Was there any community engagement with K5STEM on this appointment? I thought one of the few perks of being an Option school is more input in selecting a principal. I also find it surprising that this letter refers to "Ms. McKinney" when she always goes by "Dr. McKinney". Classic SPS with the Friday of Spring Break timing. Will the K-8 experience of Mr. Ostrom help to build a strong K-8 STEM? Orca oldtimers?
-STEM neighbor
My experience with Mr. Jaskot is that he is a good guy, very forward-thinking.

Again, elementary schools - no matter regular or option - don't always get input on their principals. It would be good if the district made this clear.

katie said…
Found this on the Friday memo. If enrollment can't figure out all the changes that happened, how is anyone else supposed to follow this!

Open Enrollment assignment and waiting list information for 2014-15 is scheduled to be loaded into PowerSchool overnight on April 10 and available for schools the morning of Friday, April 11. Families can get assignment and waiting list information beginning the afternoon of Monday, April 14. The information will be available online through the enrollment website, as well as through our automated phone line at 252-0212. Individual letters, including translations, will be mailed about a week later.

Enrollment Correction: After the Board’s November approval of Growth Boundaries implementation for 2014-15, Enrollment Planning updated the assignment software to reflect those changes. This was the source of information for our annual pre-Open Enrollment mailing, which went to some 51,000 students. Subsequently, we identified 32 students who got an incorrect assignment letter to Eckstein, when they should have been assigned to Jane Addams Middle School.

 6th Grade – 4 (all Gen Ed students)
 7th Grade – 17 (16 Gen Ed students, 1 Spectrum student)
 8th Grade - 11 (all Gen Ed students)

Individual letters were sent to each of these families on March 24, apologizing for the error and providing the correct assignment to JAMS. Because they didn’t receive this information until after the Open Enrollment deadline, we offered them the option of submitting an application and having it processed as an on-time Open Enrollment application so they would not be penalized for our error. Two families responded to the letters. If you have questions about this, please contact Tracy Libros,
Charlie Mas said…
The argument that was made by the Gates Foundation, that the investment in the private prison company was tiny in relation to the total investment fund, is a silly argument. If the investment is so tiny and meaningless, then why not give it up? Why fight to keep it? Why bother to keep it against even the smallest resistance?

I rarely hear adults make this argument. Usually only children use it. They will say "Why do you care? It's no big deal." To which, of course, the rational response is "If it's no big deal, then why not accomodate me on this matter? If it's no big deal, then why do YOU care? Clearly, it is a big deal and your claim that it isn't is a false claim." The tactic is so feeble that even children quickly abandon it. I don't recall ever hearing it from an adult before.
Anonymous said…
Thanks Charlie, first smile for my weekend.
mirmac1 said…
Dear Wedgwood Elementary School community,

I am writing today to let you know that a leadership change will take place at the end of the school year. Your Principal, Mr. Chris Cronas, has been appointed Principal for Highland Park Elementary, effective July 1, 2014.

I know Mr. Cronas has provided excellent leadership as Principal of your school for four years and has been deeply engaged with the school community. He has had a strong relationship with families and has established opportunities for parents to support classroom teachers. I know you join me in wishing him the best in his new assignment.

Under his leadership, Wedgwood has become the highest achieving school in our District. I am proud of all of the work he has accomplished, and I know much of that success is because of the hard working staff, families and students at Wedgwood.

Kim Whitworth, Executive Director of Schools for the Northwest Region, will be in contact with you soon to talk about next steps for hiring a new Principal to continue the great work Mr. Cronas provided for Wedgwood.

José Banda
Seattle Public Schools
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Po3 said…
Very interesting (and scary) YouTube video mapping those with ties to Common Core:

Walmart. Pearson. Dept of Defense. Jeb Bush. Condi Rice.

Among those with ties to CC.

Anonymous said…
Has anyone seen the play Gidion's Knot at Seattle Public Theater? The play is uses a parent/teacher conference to address the balance of the needs of individual child vs the standards of a classroom. The mother played by Heather Hawkins who runs drama programs a couple of Seattle schools.

very thought-provoking

-hs parent
Anonymous said…
Trying to ignore @LincolnAPPerson, but Cronas was hammered for eliminating self contained Spectrum. So was he right-is it really true that all kids can prosper without full day groupin? How did he do it and is it a model for other schools?
Anonymous said…
KP, I'm not familiar with that school, but just to be clear, high percentages meeting standards is not the same as all kids prospering. Those Spectrum kids you mention could probably learn zip in school all year and still meet the standards. But hopefully that's not the case, and that something fabulous is truly going on.

Anonymous said…
There are zero app qualified kids in 4th or 5th grade(which is very unusual for a spectrum school-usually some kids who qualify for app will decide spectrum is enough), so I don't think it is good for all kids. It is certainly working for some kids, though, and has a relatively homogenous population overall to work with.

ZP, that school was operating on what Cronas created. He was not following the Bulles model (which I could support). I heard things on the next AL committee aren't going so well.
Anonymous said…
The Wedgwood test scores do not include the students that are part of the "Cronas experiment". Current 4th and 5th graders still have self-contained Spectrum classrooms.

A Parent
Charlie Mas said…
An anonymous comment that was deleted because it was unsigned, said:

"I'm curious how they define "highest achieving school in the district."

APP@Lincoln vs Wedgwood

Wedgwood does not have any scores higher than Lincoln's.
HS, I read a review of the Gideon's Knot. Sounds interesting.

I did hear something interesting recently from a senior staff member about K-5 STEM. I was wondering why any of Arbor Heights should have to be in portables when Boren is a large building that would house K-5 STEM (at what, 500?) and Arbor Heights (I think about 350 or less). The person said something about well, with a K-8 you need more room.

I said, but the STEM school is K-5 and was told "oh they want to go K-8."

Now I know they want to go K-8 but I thought that was a future issue. If it comes into play for AH being at Boren, I have to wonder if it will sooner rather than later.
Anonymous said…
No kidding. Well one would hope not given one school is screened for highly cable and gifted. Though looking at both schools' demographic make up, they are quite similar with APP being a bit whiter with slightly less FRL. Both schools achievement numbers by state measures are pretty tight. People can certainly ding Supt. Banda or SPS for that statement if it makes their day. But honestly, you gotta be running on empty to be scratching your head over this one.

Anonymous said…
National Opt-out movement - following the money. Again.

“Without the testing,” Rodriguez says, “there is no profit to be made.”

Anonymous said…
Re: Wedgwood

I think the statement, Under his leadership, Wedgwood has become the highest achieving school in our District, is perhaps the point of contention. Wedgwood has ranked near the top of the district for over a decade.

Wedgwood Elementary
TechyMom said…
Today, the day when open enrollment results are supposed to be announced, all the SPS systems are offline due to an air conditioning failure. SPS is not good at mission critical. At least it's not a VAX.
Anonymous said…
Choice assignments and waitlist information are now available online at the SPS website.

Frequent checker
Anonymous said…
system is down again. :/

-wterlogged parent
Linh-Co said…

Dear North Beach Elementary School community,
I am writing today to let you know that your Principal, RJ Sammons, is leaving at the end of the school year to serve as Principal at Broadview Thomson K–8, effective July 1, 2014. I wish him the best in his new assignment. I know his strong instructional leadership, along with his community building skills, will continue to be of great benefit to your school.
Today I am pleased to appoint Julie Cox as your new Principal, starting July 1.
Ms. Cox has served as a Principal for both Seattle Public Schools and abroad (Jordan and India) for 15 years. Currently she is the principal at Catharine Blaine K-8. An educator for 28 years, Ms. Cox began her career as an elementary teacher before taking on the role of a Literacy Curriculum Specialist.
Ms. Cox has her administration credentials from the University of Washington and her Master’s of Education from Seattle Pacific University. She holds a BA in mathematics education from Oregon State University.
Ms. Cox brings a wealth of experience to North Beach Elementary and I know she will be a good fit for the community. Her 7-year-old daughter, Ava, will also be joining the North Beach community. She said she looks forward to getting to know the students, staff and families of North Beach. Mr. Sammons and Ms. Cox will collaborate this spring to help ensure a smooth transition for next year.

José Banda
Seattle Public Schools
Anonymous said…
You don't have to go through the "source" to check school assignments. You can just click on the link in the enrollment section.

--Frequent checker
Linh-Co said…
Here's the link to enrollment.
Anonymous said…
47 kids on the K waitlist at McDonald Int'l and 40 on the K waitlist at JSIS. I wonder how many of those kids live in the neighborhood but can't get in now that these are option schools. I wonder how this will affect Green Lake Elementary K enrollment.

--Joe Curious
TechyMom said…
Joe curious, where did you find those numbers? Can you post a link? Thanks
Linh-Co said…
Here's the link to the Waitlist. I think all the high schools have waitlist for 9th grade. The waitlist for Franklin 9th grade is 80 and Garfield 9th grade Gen Ed is 75 far higher than any of the North End high school.
mirmac1 said…
OMG. BT K-8. First, I wonder where they're plunking wash-out interim Talbot. Then I worry what Cox, friend of ex-big shot/hot mess Coogan and who wreaked havoc at CB, will do to BT.

I'm sorry for Tolley's political messes and Banda's cluelessness.
Anonymous said…
Cox is headed to North Beach, pray for them to vote her out before she is allowed to ruin another school
Anonymous said…
JSIS waitlist used to be over 100 under the old choice plan before NSAP, so there is some improvement I guess. But usually those waitlist don't move much, unfortunately.


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