Tuesday Open Thread

Now, for the second year in a row, the most objected to book in libraries is...Captain Underpants.   Do these boys "defy" authority and do silly things?  Yes.  Do I think it needs a warning label, "Kids, don't try this at school?"  Not really.  (I even have a tiny Captain Underpants toy in my car who serves as my parking diviner.  Works 95% of the time.)

You've probably all heard but Senator Rodney Tom is NOT running for re-election, citing health concerns for himself and his elderly father.  Whatever the reason, he has been more of an obstructionist than a leadership (not to mention betraying his party).  As I mentioned elsewhere, Superintendent Dorn told me I would never get a student data privacy bill passed with the current Senate leadership. Well, that now becomes less of an issue.

Here's an interesting feature by National Geographic on what the U.S. population will look like in 2050. 

The U.S. Census Bureau let respondents check more than one race for the first time in 2000, and 6.8 million people did so. By 2010 that figure had increased to nearly 9 million, a spike of about 32%.

What's on your mind?


mirmac1 said…
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mirmac1 said…
Sen. Sharon Nelson for Senate leadership! She is champion for public education and funding the right things. (of course we have to elect a Senate majority first...)
Anonymous said…
Rumor clarification please:

Washington state history, generally taught in 8th grade, is now being mandated as a 7th grade class.

Anyone know what's up?

RavennaBlog Reader said…
According to RavennaBlog, Chris Cronas is transferring from Wedgwood to Highland Park elementary next year. No word on his replacement. I haven't seen an official press release, but this is the letter that was reportedly sent to Wedgwood parents:

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…
The Washington State social studies standards actually suggest such a pathway:

In seventh grade, students become more proficient with the core concepts in social studies. There are two recommended contexts in which students can demonstrate this proficiency in the seventh grade. The first part of the year is focused on a continuation of world history from sixth grade as students look at the geography, civics, and economics of major societies up through 1450. The second part of the year asks students to bring their understanding to their world today as they examine Washington State from 1854 to
the present.

Social Studies Learning Standards

Anonymous said…
Principal Julie Cox is leaving Catharine Blaine and moving to another school. Does anyone know which school she is moving to or who the new Blaine principal will be?

"Dear Blaine Students, Parents and Community,

It is with heartfelt words that I write this letter to inform you that I will be leaving the position of Principal at Catharine Blaine at the end of this school year. I have accepted a position at a small elementary school in Seattle Public Schools. Although I will miss my work with the Blaine community, I look forward to the challenges that this new position has to offer. It goes without saying that I will remain 100% committed to our good work and my engagement in the Blaine community until my departure.

It has been a pleasure to serve as the principal at Blaine for the past two years. I hope you know how much I have enjoyed my time here. It has been my good fortune to experience a wonderful partnership with the students, staff and families in our community.

Sarah Pritchett, Executive Director of Schools for the Central region, will soon meet with families and staff to talk about the next steps in the principal hiring process. I know a change in leadership can be difficult, but the district will work with you to ensure a smooth transition to a new principal.

I would like to thank you for the opportunity to serve you, your children and this outstanding school community. I am especially proud of our students and look forward to hearing great things about their accomplishments as they continue their education at Catharine Blaine K-8.


Julie A. Cox
So I'll need to make a cheat sheet to - once again - keep up with these comings and goings.

Also on the school front, I am hearing that all is not well at Boren with the coming of Arbor Heights in the next couple of years. The district really needs to step in NOW and make sure this is a smooth co-housing. (One interesting fun fact that I didn't know; STEM K-5 and AH have very similar make-up of their student populations. Very diverse, both of them.)
meet the demand said…
Once again, TOPS has a wait list at every grade. It's smaller than it was with open choice, both because filling in options is not the default behavior anymore and because the bus service has been reduced.

It's still enough for a section of K, a 1-2 split, a 4-5 split and section of 6.

It seems like adding a few portables at TOPS would right size it for the current demand, and maybe take a little pressure off Washington. I know that SPS has been very resistant to creating a TOPS II, but expanding it a little seems reasonable. Any idea who to suggest this to?
mirmac1 said…
Cox is going to BT K-8. My condolences.
Anonymous said…
Any thoughts about Sarah Talbot? She's going to Laurelhurst after just a year at Broadview-Thompson.

- Oldmom
Anonymous said…
Cox is NOT going to BT-K8. Sammons from North Beach is coming to BT-K8

Anonymous said…
I am writing today to let you know that your Principal, Julie Cox, is leaving at the end of the school year to serve as Principal of North Beach Elementary, effective July 1, 2014.

Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Meet the demand, good luck with that. I asked that question - let's think, back in 1996 - and was told it was impossible to replicate. And where would you do that?
meet the demand said…
Hi Melissa,
I know they won't replicate. But, would they add 3-4 portables? That would be enough to move the bulk of the wait list. The current demand doesn't look big enough for a whole new school, just for a few more classes.

Are portables controlled by the district, maybe Joe Wolf? Or by the school? Or some combo?
mirmac1 said…
Oops. My bad. My condolences North Beach AND Laurelhurst.

Talbot is terrible in my book. Any BT K-8 parents wish to comment?
Joe Wolf said…
Got to take a tour of The Northwest School's new building at 401 East Pike yesterday. It houses:

- A 150-seat black box theater
- Cafeteria that serves 500 students+faculty/staff M-F, and 50 boarding students for a full meal plan
- Gymnasium/fitness area
- Rooftop synthetic turf field

Came away very impressed, especially since the cost/s.f. is comparable to our current work. For future thinking here arouhd design, space programming, and systems it will be a valuable resource.

My photos, which focus on the guym and cafeteria can be seen here:

And, an exterior nighttime view.

This page by the school has photos and a video of the rooftop field in action. The view is something else.


I did an extensive shoot at Fairmount Park last week, and will try to post those photos tonight some time.
Joe Wolf said…

Unfortunately we cannot add portables (or really any capacity) at the campus under the current city zoning code lot coverage restrictions.

I wiah we could; it would help address several issues.
Anonymous said…
Principals moving - the musical chairs in SPS, prime time. I don't think that there could be anything worse for a school than having bad principals one after another. And again. And again...
Actually I don' think anything could be worse for any school community than having to change the principals every 1-2 years. Is there any way to fight against this in this district?
-Musical chairs
Anonymous said…
mirmac1, re: Talbot, are you able to elaborate at all?


- Oldmom
mirmac1 said…
It's just my personal opinion based on a) direct experience; and b) my friends' experience with her at another school.
Po3 said…
Julie Cox has an interesting profile when you look at the Staff survey. First year high marks; second year plummeted. What happened?
Patrick said…
Wow, the social studies my 7th grader is getting is U.S. history from colonial to pre-Civil War.
Anonymous said…
WA State Social studies standards for US History in middle school:

In eighth grade, students develop a new, more abstract level of understanding of social studies concepts. The recommended context for developing this understanding is U.S. history and government, 1776 to 1900. Students explore the ideas, issues, and events from the framing of the Constitution up through Reconstruction and industrialization. After reviewing the founding of the United States, particularly the
Constitution, students explore the development of politics, society, culture, and economy in the United States to deepen conceptual understandings in civics, geography, and economics. In particular, studying
the causes and consequences of the Civil War helps them to comprehend more profoundly the rights and responsibilities of citizens in a culturally diverse democracy.

Our child's US History class hasn't covered the Civil War either...kind of a big thing to leave out. What's up with that?

mirmac1 said…
Cox railroaded a teacher after she spoke up at a staff meeting in protest of Cox' misusing PTA funds for a math tutor by having him design her data dashboard. Her bestie buddy ex-Ex Dir Nancy Coogan always covered for her.
Charlie Mas said…
So many of the recurring themes are here.

Challenged principals moving from school to school - with all of the talk about accountability for students and teachers, and with all of the authority vested in principals, you'd think there would be some accountability for principals. I've never seen it.

Some school communities get an elaborate process through which they select their new principal. Some school wake up one morning and read about their new principal in the newspaper. And still other schools get something in between. What is the process for principal assignment and why is there no equity?

There are all of these published standards, but if there's no test - and there is no test for social studies at any grade - then the Standards are all empty talk. The schools and teachers are completely autonomous and unsupervised.

That's why elementary schools are free to teach whatever social studies they want - or none. Middle schools are almost as free - they just have to do the Washington State history thing at some point (this is a high school graduation requirement but the law specifically allows it to be taught in middle school so that's what this district does). And that's why high schools are free to require AP Human Geography or whatever in lieu of the standard course. Again, where is the equity? Where is the enforcement of the Standards? How can we know that the class is being taught with appropriate rigor - or any rigor at all?

Here's an interesting point: since the math placement process doesn't consider program, all there is to Spectrum and APP in middle school is the Language Arts/Social Studies block. We are assured, by the District, that these classes are taught to the Standards of one grade level ahead for Spectrum and two grade levels ahead for APP. What evidence - if any - do they have to support that claim? None. And, if the seventh grade APP classes and the eighth grade Spectrum classes are being taught to the ninth grade standards, why can't the students get high school credit for them like they can for high school math and world language classes?

It's easy to suspect that there are no Standards at work anywhere in Language Arts or Social Studies. Sure, some teachers may be making the effort to teach to the state Standards, but we have no way of knowing which, if any, or them are doing that.
Po3 said…
A principal misused PTA funds and is still allowed to work in SPS; yet if a teacher doesn't move the MAPS test needle they could loose their job?
"Cox railroaded a teacher after she spoke up at a staff meeting in protest of Cox' misusing PTA funds for a math tutor by having him design her data dashboard."

Mirmac1, as one who has been put thru the legal wringer, I would warn you about statements like these unless you have hard evidence.
Anonymous said…
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TechyMom said…
Question for you, Charlie...
Is middle and high school language arts something other than reading and writing? Those are tested pretty thoroughly in elementary. Does that change in middle and high? (I guess that was 2 questions)
mirmac1 said…
repost for Anonymous (pick a moniker):

"North Beach community should get records request on Cox about harrassment claims, should be easy to do. Or talk to someone at Blaine."

Po3, I guess that's because PTSA monies are viewed as a slush fund by some administrators, both central and building.

Thanks Melissa but I have all the evidence I need.
Po3 said…
The Blaine principal 1)was just appointed in May 2102 and has announced her departure less than two years later. 2)Only 13% of staff feel she is an effective leader.

Those are facts.

mirmac1 said…
There was a harassment claim that, surprise, SPS denied because their HR "investigation" (essentially a hachet job) found no harassment or bullying. These investigations are often just a means to paper the file when an administrator wants to deepsix someone. They make interesting reading.
Anonymous said…
Mirmac and all,
I was pleasantly surprised to receive a text late yesterday to let me know that topic of the Blaine Principal (being moved to N/B, either by her own choice or otherwise) was being discussed on the Boards.
After reading the comments, and those anonymously sent, I feel I should chime in because I tend to believe that the Blaine families (amongst others) still remain scared as to what could happen as the end of the year is still not "close enough" ... Is this overkill?... maybe to some, but for those of us that have been trying to address the concerns (and there have been many) over the past two years and paid a dear price as result, I can understand the desire to stay in the shadows.
What I can say is the teacher (or teachers) being harassed is documented. There was a data dashboard project that utilized the services of the then Math Specialist to execute the project, he was PTA funded. That there have been two HR Investigations in less than a year, naming the Principal as the aggressor/intimidator... one was overturned lacking evidence... the second and most recent (and is very disturbing) resulted in the equivalent of a slap on the wrist, regardless if the District appears to be in violation of its own policies on that. C'est la vie or c'est la "that's the way the District rolls".
I would agree that sympathies and condolences abound for N/B Elem.,and as such I would tell North Beach go into this with eyes open and knowing what history is out there. What N/B chooses to do with this information is up to them, but I tend to agree with the concept of caveat emptor, particularly in a system as shaky as this. The Public Records requests are a great idea and accessible to all, it's a simple form to fill out but do know this falls on one District staff (in Legal) member's shoulders so you are frequently a month out on getting any docs.
In the end, do I think this move benefits the entirety of Blaine? Were people celebrating on Friday? Yes. But this doesn't detract from the question, has the District ever really addressed the problems/deficits/issues to ensure that instances like this doesn't happen again(because no one is naïve enough to think it is only limited to one District employee)... or maybe if "we" just shuffle them along to another building and hope for the best, it is a "good" solution. [and with this, I whole heartedly agree with Charlie on where is the "accountability" by the District for their principals or senior District staff [for that matter]?! ... it is non existent, or it appears to just be 'talk' to placate "those pesky/problem parents"]

- A Blaine Parent
mirmac1 said…
Suspensions and expulsions: A close look at nine districts

Interesting. The Times got mainline access to our students educational records, and yet they post this barely helpful "analysis" by Washington Appleseed. I thought Linda Shaw and the Education Lab crew were expert research analysts.

Po3 said…
Why does Wedgewood get to weigh in on their new principal; while Northbeach was assigned a principal?

What is the criteria for a school being involved in the principal decision?

Are there any recent examples where a highly regarded principal was assigned to a school with no staff/family input?

I also find it interesting that in cases where principals are assigned one school from another it is under the jurisdiction of a difference education director and school board director. Clean slate!

Charlie Mas said…

Middle and high school language arts are reading and writing.

In middle school reading is MAP and MSP tested in grades 6-8. Writing is MSP testing in grade 7.

In high school only some students are MAP tested in reading in grade 9. Most are not. Both reading and writing are HSPE tested in grade 10.

Last year's pass rates on the HSPEs for Seattle students were 83.3% for the reading test and 83.2% for the writing test. Students are passing these tests in droves.

The Washington State Standards ended at grade 10. The Common Core Standards continue through grade 12, but the standards for grades 9 and 10 are the same and the Standards for grades 11 and 12 are the same.

I can't say to what extent anyone assesses any of the language arts courses to confirm that the Standards are covered in the curriculum. That's pretty much up to the principal. The Common Core says that grade 11 and 12 students are expected to recognize and understand satire, irony, sarcasm, and understatement. I'm shocked - shocked! - to discover that they are teaching irony to juniors and seniors. But, then again, maybe they aren't. We have no way of knowing.

The only evidence one way or the other are the HSPE test results, which don't tell us anything about grades 11 and 12, and aren't very conclusive about grade 10 for that matter.

Things are even worse in Social Studies where there is no HSPE. There is simply no assessment nor any evidence of any kind that assures that the Standards are taught in the classroom or that they are taught to any standard of rigor.

Seattle Public Schools, despite a policy requiring it, does no program evaluation. Our high school language arts and social studies programs could be the greatest on Earth or they could be babysitting. We have no way to know. I will say that the pass rates on the reading and writing HSPEs are significantly higher than the pass rates on the 7th grade tests three years earlier. I cannot, however, provide any kind of attribution for that improvement. It could be entirely a result of the consequence of failure (graduation denied) which is absent on MSP.
Charlie Mas said…

The inequities in community participation in principal selection and assignment is a question I ask all the time. No one has yet given me the courtesy of a response. I encourage you to ask Mr. Banda. You can cc the Board. I would frame it as an equity issue, which it is.

And, yes, there have been some excellent principals assigned to schools without public input. Julie Breidenbach, for example, was assigned to Fairmount Park without community input.
Anonymous said…
Rumor clarification please:

Washington state history, generally taught in 8th grade, is now being mandated as a 7th grade class.

Can you elaborate? Are all schools (and programs) being asked to realign middle school social studies classes for next year?

Anonymous said…
Can you elaborate? Are all schools (and programs) being asked to realign middle school social studies classes for next year?
That's what I'm wondering. The rumor is that yes, the classes will be aligned. The middle school I know best has been teaching WA state history in 8th grade mainly because so many students switch schools and this is their 'last chance' to take the class.

If WA state history becomes a 7th grade class what happens to American history?


Lynn said…
Is Chris Cronas still the planning principal for Wilson Pacific?
Anonymous said…
Washington State History is only a semester course, so presumably the other semester can be spent on World history, then US history in 8th grade. For example, Edmonds follows the State guidelines and teaches one semester of WA State History and one semester of World history in 7th grade, then US history in 8th grade.

Edmonds Middle School Social Studies Curriculum

...still wondering about the basis for the rumor. Following the state guidelines in terms of sequencing makes more sense in terms of students switching schools or districts.

Peanut said…
Gotta say, though, that it really sucks moving into WA State in a grade after WA State history is taught in the particular school.

I moved in as a junior and had to take WA State History as a senior with freshmen. I took state history of my previous state, but that didn't count towards graduation requirements.

No idea what you do if it's taught in middle school in a particular district.
Joe Wolf said…
A little late - my apologies. Sweating this down to the best 55 photos took a bit longer than I predicted.

Below is a link to the photos from the tour my team and I took at Fairmount Park last week. I was really impressed and trust you will be as well.


Anonymous said…

Thanks for sharing these. I posted your links in the Fairmount Park Elementary Community Forum where the sneak peek will be very appreciated.

-Falcon Mom
Anonymous said…
The SBE has since changed some of the requirements around the Washington State History credit:

If a student failed or did not take the course at the middle level, then a district must provide opportunities to satisfy the credit in high school. However, both the class of 2016 WAC (180-51-067) and class of 2012-2015 WAC (180-51-066) provide exceptions for students who have transferred from schools in another state after the completion of 10th grade or for those students that have already successfully completed a state history and government course in another state.

WA Social Studies graduation requirements

mirmac1 said…
Hi Joe,

I do appreciate the insight you provide into facilities design, construction and management.

I looked into the Northwest School addition you posted about on this thread. I don't think construction of a $19M athletic facility, cafeteria and theater and no classrooms is the same as building two schools for 1,500 students at $70M.
Anonymous said…
Thanks for the photos Joe!

I'm really looking forward to FP in the Fall. The building looks to be coming along nicely . The only issue I'm having after looking at the pictures is some concern for that hillside and potential slides. I likely wouldn't have thought twice about it a month ago, but in light of the Oso slide I feel compelled to ask about landslide mitigation at the site. Is there slide risk information available?

Joe Wolf said…
Mirmac: With all due respect and for the record, I said nothing about the Wilson-Pacific project in my comment re The Northwest School's 401 East Pike project. So ... I'm not sure where your reply/rebuttal is coming from.

Moving on to more constructive dialogue: I can think of at least two future questions SPS may face that the 401 East Pike project could help answer, both related to tight sites/scarce and pricey "dirt" to build on:

1. We want to place an athletic field on the roof. How does that happen? How is drainage, for example addressed? How do other systems need to be revised vs-a-vs a traditional roof?

2. We need to stack spaces that have, in the past never been stacked ... say little thester; cafeteria/kitchen; gymnasium (you'll recall this is exactly what the new NW School building does). Again, how does this happen in s useful snd elegant way? We may not fsce this exact combination of spaces. But the systems and space programming processes apply regardless.
Joe Wolf said…
Falcon mom: So glad you saw the links and are able to distribute the photos to an audience that will find them useful!
meet the demand said…
@Joe Wolf thank you so much for being here and fir your transparency. Re TOPS, does the city ever make exceptions to those codes? As you say, it would solve many problems.
mirmac1 said…
Joe, I'm making reference to the part of your post that states: the cost/s.f. is comparable to our current work"

The NW school addition pencils out to $436/SF. WP is currently at $304/SF. I simply don't wish for anyone to get the impression that fancy downtown rooftop fields, gyms, dining areas and theaters come cheap.
Anonymous said…
Did the Northwest building costs include the land purchase price?

Anonymous said…
Meet the demand,
I don't know what the site coverage regs say (although I imagine it has to do with assembly space for fire drills, etc), but I actually don't think there is any room to place portables at TOPS, short of taking out the already too small parking lot. Although it looks like there is open space near the building, it is not SPS property. The paved area immediately west of the school is Franklin St, and the city has just closed that block to vehicular traffic. It is still street right-of-way though, and I have no idea whether SDOT would allow buildings to be placed on it. The sports field, playground, etc west of that is Rogers Play Field, which belongs to the Parks Department, and although the school uses it for recess and gym classes, it is also heavily used by the local community & would not be an option for portables.

Mom of 4
Joe Wolf said…
@Mirmac1 and AA:

My statement that the cost/s.f of the NW School building is comparable to SPS current construction is based on a conversation with the individual who:

- was the the project architect for 401 E. Pike; and

- is currently a HEX/BTA project manager for SPS.

In the interest of not turning this into a tiresome pissing match - there are plenty of those in Seattle already - I can arrange a meeting with us all present to hash this out. Contact me at my SPS email address.
mirmac1 said…
Thanks for the offer Joe but my calculator works just fine. My comment was hardly pissy or exaggerated. It's just dollars and cents.

Actually I misread the square footage for the NW School addition. It in fact calcs out to $496/SF ($19M/38,300). And with the increased MACC for WP, the $/SF is now 230,000 SF for $78M or $340/SF. WP is already blowing the budget.

I say we can't afford to have champagne tastes on a beer budget. Perhaps SPS should have more engineers for project managers and fewer architects.
Catherine said…
"Sammons from North Beach is coming to BT-K8"

Having dealt with Sammons for a year on a very simple issue on which the SSD is in clearly error even based on their own 'expert consultant report' - my condolences to BT-K8.
Sassy Swede said…
Wow! I completely disagree. Sammons has helped the North Beach community heal in the aftermath of a very bad, toxic principal. Our test scores are up and we recently won another academic achievement award from the state. BT-K8 is lucky to have Mr Sammons as their new principal. He will be missed.
BF Day Parent said…
Does anybody know why Katie Pearl is being transferred from B F Day Elementary to Northgate Elementary? I understand the staff and parents at Day were unhappy with her. Does anybody know why? Can that be grounds to transfer a principal after only 2 years?
"Grounds" to transfer her?

Fit is always important to a school. That said, the ways of the district in where and how they move principals is a mystery.
mirmac1 said…
Over the years I've gathered that the Seattle "transfer" is the NYC "rubber room" for some.

Again, it seems teachers are easy to can but principals...? Of the tens of HR investigations I've read, I've only seen one that led to a principals resignation.
Catherine said…
Glad at least a few NB parents had a good experience with Sammons.

Does anyone from Blaine want to help out the NB PTA with understanding what they've been handed? They're being rather proactive - but they'd really like to hear first hand from Blaine parents and staff.
B F Day Parent said…
Yes, puts a smile on my face, the Seattle "transfer" is the NYC "rubber room". Ha! I was just wondering if having parent and teacher complaints would be enough to transfer a principal? The principal herself acted as if it was a demotion from the parent e-mail she sent out to us. The Northgate principal, from what I've heard, has wanted to be transferred to a bigger school like Day for a while. And given that there has been a lot of buzz in the district office that Northgate Elementary will be closed once Jane Addams, k-8, opens at Pinehurst, why would anybody willing allow themselves to be transfered there? I just find it curious a principal can be transferred against their will just because a group of parents complained and teachers gave poor evaluations of the principal's competence. There just has to be something more in the way of "dirt" that we parents don't get to know in order to up-root a principal who was only at our school for 2 years and who had just begun implementing her "vision" of change. Unless the new principal coming in has a lot of pull. I know, from google search, he is a "darling" of the Alliance for Ed who have written articles about him--would his desire to be transferred to Day be enough to make this happen along with the parent/teacher/SEA complaints? Seems a little unfair.... Despite leadership changes, Day is still an amazing school. And it won a 2013 Washington Achievement award for high growth in math! The high growth occurred during the former principal's leadership--Susan McCloskey. She was much loved and a tough act to follow! Someone should tell her about the award--give credit where it's due...My kids are very happy there and I don't think having a different principal will change that, will it? Just curious why...Despite the principals obvious flaws, some curious choices in regards to discipline, etc., I kind of liked her...
mirmac1 said…
If you're tight with Tolley, then you get what you want. Look at Sarah Talbot and Sarah Pritchett. Nobody wants them - and they get promoted!
EyesWideOpen said…
North Beach Parents would really like more information on Cox. Were there really two physical altercations?? Did she really misuse PTA funds? This is totally unacceptable and North Beach is NOT the school to dump the principal that nobody wants on. Why does she still have a job???!
active parent said…
As an active North Beach parent I'd just like to say, for the record, that RJ Sammons has been a great principal. Supportive of the work and fundraising the PTA does, intentional and supportive of the learning community, transparent, approachable. Can he give everyone everything they want - no - it should go without saying that every principal will have to use limited funds and resources to benefit the biggest block of students possible and that there will always be less than ideal outcomes until SPS fully funds education. That said he cares about his students, tirelessly works to make his school a better learning environment and we could see these things evident immediately when he began at NB just 4 short years ago. He will be missed and is a great asset to his next school.
Catherine said…
EyesWideOpen - great question (why does Cox still have a job?)

And yes - North Beach parents want as many specifics and documents as they can.

Anyone done a freedom of information act request? Seems like a good next step.

If any of you can get North Beach parents some details - there are many who would appreciate it. Melissa can reach me - and I'm sure others.
mirmac1 said…
"Can he give everyone everything they want - no - Can he give everyone everything they want - no - it should go without saying that every principal will have to use limited funds and resources to benefit the biggest block of students possible and that there will always be less than ideal outcomes until SPS fully funds education."

Here's the problem with some of these principals (and I speak in generalities) Principals cannot arbitrarily decide which laws to follows and which to ignore. It seems many principals are quick to determine special education students and parents are dispensable, since they're in the minority. This is violation of law and civil rights. Then they "benefit the greater good" with the funds and resources SpEd students bring to the school. Yet another act in bad faith.

Frankly, I don't think it's much of stretch to go from the lackadaisical principals of yore to the lackadaisical principals today who say "just win baby" and collect their bonuses.
David said…
How could Northgate elementary be closed when everything I've read here is that there will be a shortage of seats in the north end even after Pinehurst K-8 and Wilson Pacific come on line? I cannot imagine any more schools being closed.
Anonymous said…
Eyes wide open/Catherine, let me say that I believe I speak for many parents when I say that Julie Cox will be missed. It is unfortunate that a vocal minority have used their personal spite for her in a mis-guided mission to slander her.

Rest assured that there was no "mis-use of PTA funds." A few, and I mean a few, parents launched a tirade against Julie Cox almost immediately after her arrival. In time, these tirades grew so outrageous that it became apparent their anger was based on their own personal grudges/disagreements with Ms. Cox. From what I observed then, as an active member of the Blaine PTA, at least two of them make up the majority of the complaints/complainants on this blog. And, as is often the case nothing is a simple as it appears. I will note that what are "facts" to one person, when scrutinized, devolve into gossip and innuendo. I think the earlier cautionary advise was wise - anonymous or blog names do not remain unidentified in subsequent litigation. And to be clear, I am not suggesting there will be or that I have inside knowledge of such possibility, just stating a "fact."

Ms. Cox will be missed. Was she perfect? No, but I have yet to meet the perfect principle, teacher, PTA leader/board, or parent. Personally, I think she did quite well considering the political atmosphere in existence when she arrived at Blaine. As an involved parent of a Blaine child, I can tell you there are many problems at Blaine independent of the administration.

Exasperated Blaine parent.
IntheBleachers said…
Exasperated Parent
Funny to see that you are the only one writing positives about this principal. Is your school campaigning to keep her? Public records requests will answer all questions NB community has and can sort truth from fiction. The reference to survey results in earlier post and statements from mirmac1 seem to show there are problems regardless if you and others see them or not.
Watching in the bleachers
mirmac1 said…
I would post the facts as determined by the district's own investigators, but I don't wish to further damage those she railroaded. Cox is no loss.
Anonymous said…
Anyone willing to share any more information about Sarah Talbot, who will become Laurelhurst's new principal? I am particularly interested in her approach to advanced learning.

-Laurelhurst Parent
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burnt said…
So who is being assigned to Blaine in place of Cox?

I agree 100% with this comment someone wrote about Sammons: "Principals cannot arbitrarily decide which laws to follow and which to ignore."

Lookout Broadview-T. You may be getting a great salesman for raising money and putting on a show, but not for dealing with any real issues, even minor ones. To those he takes offense and retaliates. Beware. Be prepared for your suspension rates and IEPs to skyrocket. That's another way he raises funds. You can check his record on that one. The rise of assessments at NB and legal expense at district.
Anonymous said…
I couldn't agree more about not missing Cox at Blaine. I've been at Blaine for a decent amount of time and the last two years were the worst. I really miss Mrs. Swanson the previous principal. And now the vice principal Mr. Ouellette is leaving and going to Wedgewood to be principal. I say North Beach and Wedgwood should really try to find out all the information they can. So happy to see both of them leaving. Just hope that their replacements will be able to recover from all the things that have fallen behind.
A frustrated Blaine parent
Anonymous said…
Did you receive information answering these questions!
Anonymous said…
Did you get the public records? I have some concerns and found myself reading this blog after a google search.
This comment has been removed by the author.

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