Friday Open Thread

Seattle's Central Library celebrates its 10-year birthday.  Lots of fun events starting today with a concert by Harry and the Potters and ending with a big party next Friday, May 23rd.  Music, temporary tattoos, cupcakes and a Lion Dance, starting at 10 a.m.

Lots of awards for high school students.  From SPS Communications:

Keeley Michael, a senior at Ingraham High School, won the 2014 Congressional Art Competition for Washington state through the office of Congressman Jim McDermott.
Her work is headed to Washington D.C. where it will hang in the U.S. Capitol Building for a year, along with the winners from other Congressional districts across the country. 

Madi Owen, another senior at Ingraham High School, was awarded the Washington Art Education Association Award for her artwork titled, "Combustion." 
Madi won the award in the Puget Sound ESD High School Art contest, where her work was chosen to move on to the state competition through the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Two short films by students in the Ballard High School Video Production Program were award winners at the National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY). 

Song for Anna by Lucy Harstrick, Isaiah Hoban-Halvorsen, Josh Vredevoogd and Kiana Wyld won the Audience Award of the Musical Masterpiece program. 

Ballard filmmakers also distinguished themselves in NFFTY’s 48-Hour Film Off.   Jonny Cechony, Will Erstad, Simon Gibson-Penrose, Elizabeth Rosario and Raven Two Feathers represented Ballard High School, and their short Just Plane Lucky took 2nd Prize in the competition. 

Just Plane Lucky will screen at the Ballard Film Festival on Friday and Saturday, June 6 and 7 at 7 p.m. in the Ballard High School auditorium.

No director community meetings this Saturday.  

What's on your mind?


Michael Rice said…
I am very fortunate to say that I have both Keeley Michael and Madi Owen in IB Math Studies this year and I have seen their work. These awards are well deserved. They are two highly talented artists with bright futures.
Anonymous said…
Regarding math adoption

I attended part of and took notes at Monday's (5/12) curriculum and instruction committee meeting. I was interested in discussion of a draft School Board Action Report prepared by staff, in which staff recommended adopting Envision Math. I heard all five directors' comments, and heard the first 30 minutes or so of staff response. The discussion continued another 90 minutes or so after I left.

Briefly, four directors at the meeting told staff that they favored dual adoption, for reason that

1. the MAC did not sufficiently address community input (which overwhelmingly favored Math In Focus). The MAC did not give a rationale for why they picked EnvM over the community's favorite

2. Board policy calls for accessibility of text. The four directors believe that MIF, but not EM, meet this requirement (they described EM as text-heavy).

3. Equity: we already know there are schools using MIF and Singapore Math. These schools have PTAs that can afford to bear the cost. Board wants poorer schools to also be able to choose the curriculum that the community favored and that is showing great results in districts and schools where it is adopted.

Staff made various counterarguments before I left at 7 pm, none of which I felt had genuine merit, so I will not bother to summarize them here, unless someone asks.

Probably the strongest argument staff made up through 7 pm, IMHO, was the very high potential cost of Prof.Dev. for MIF.

I have been doing some research, and am certain that dual adoption need not be much more expensive than single adoption of EnvM, if we do certain things that are being done in other districts to bring down the cost of the materials and the PD, and taking into consideration that probably only 20%-40% of schools would choose MIF.

I have prepared a spreadsheet analysis to prove my point, and will be sharing this with the Board soon. [Why has not the staff done this - why does a community member have to do this!!!]

Joan NE
Lynn said…
The Teaching and Learning Update in today's Friday Memo covers Elementary Science Professional Development and includes this information:Previously, elementary teachers were denied access to core instructional materials and only
provided with core materials upon approval of a teacher’s request to teach science.
Removing this policy barrier and making systems more efficient has increased teacher
access to instructional materials by 25% over the past two years.
I have to admit that does sound like an improvement.

I also read the BEX IV Monthly Status Report. I'm just realizing that in September 2016 we'll be opening two new K-5 buildings, a K-8 and a high school.) I remember hearing many stories when K-5 STEM opened about a general lack of preparedness by the district. (The school was lacking supplies and materials, playground equipment, etc.) We should be watching to see how things go with Fairmount Park and Jane Addams Middle School this fall.
I heard some info about IB at Sealth that backs up what you are talking about Lynn.

Our district loves new programs and then does not back them up probably either with resources or staff.
Anonymous said…
Applications to the Seattle Youth Commission are due May 20th! If you know of a kid interested in politics, government or just local issues, please encourage them to apply.

The most important quality of a Youth Commissioner is a strong desire to work for positive change on behalf of young people in Seattle. No prior experience with local government is necessary, but you do need to be between the ages of 13 and 19. Priority is given to ensuring representation of as many schools, demographic groups, and neighborhoods as possible.

Full Commission meetings will take place every Wednesday from 4:00 to 5:30 pm at City Hall (600 4th Ave) during the school year, and every other Wednesday during the summer. To be on the Commission you'll need to be able to commit to the program from June of 2014 to June of 2015, including two optional but highly recommended confirmation hearings with the City Council.

In addition to this application form, in order for your application to be considered you'll need to have two people who know you well but aren't related to you complete reference forms on your behalf. Tuesday, May 20th is the application deadline by which we need to have received both your application and your references; we'll reach out to schedule an interview time once we've received your completed application.

If you have any questions, please contact Ilani Nurick at 206-335-4591 or
* Required

A student can server for more than one year. My kid did it for the last year and it has been a great learning experience.

Libby said…
In honor of the anniversary of Brown v Board of Education, today's Tavis Smiley Show hosted a panel that explored the status of public education since that landmark decision in 1954. Well worth a listen!
Linh-Co said…
There's an introduction meeting this Wednesday for elementary math adoption at the Board meeting. I think the directors are leaning toward a dual adoption of enVision and Math In Focus. Staff is extremely resistant and are using cost as a major concern. The directors at the C&I meeting asked Shauna Heath to survey all the principals to see if there were any interest for MIF. Please let your teachers and principals know if you are interested in Math In Focus for your school.

Shauna Heath made it seem that MIF required 8 days of training. This would bring an additional cost of $2.5 million dollars once you pay teachers for training.

I spoke with the STEM director at Highline this morning. Highline did not buy 8 days of training from MIF. They provided 3-5 days of training the first year, and then did their own in-house training. The other major concern about MIF was the alignment to CCSS. MIF has a transition guide to Common Core as part of their on-line resource that every teacher can access. So if a certain lesson is not in the book, they can download the lesson and worksheet from the transition guide.

I also found out Highline only bought the student textbooks, student workbooks, and teacher's manual. They did not buy any of the ancillary materials. I'm sure there are ways to cut down costs.

The actual vote will take place on June 4th.

Anonymous said…
I was told this question belongs here and I am looking at the SPS school list which is quite lengthy and then add the K-8 schools to the list..

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So there are about what 7 "re entry" programs in the Interagency? How many kids are being "re-entred" that SPS needs that many facilities?

What are Middle college high schools? Who do they serve? How many students attend those?

As for alternatives I see Center House, NOVA as high schools is that all? What are their jobs or roles and who do they serve?

As for South Lake that used to be the old Shaples and Marshall then Sharples became Aki Kurose if I recall.

So we have 7 re-entry, one school for single mothers? Is that all they do or what is their role?

Then we have Middle colleges. And we have 2 alternative hs

So what is the costs, how many students are they serving? What is the role in the community?

- Just Curious
Anonymous said…
I just saw the bell times for 2014-15, and they don't look much like the change so many were advocating for middle and high schools.

Lynn said…
What is Middle College High School

About Interagency If you read about the individual sites, you'll see that several serve incarcerated youth. Orion Center serves homeless youth.

The Center School


South Lake High School does house a program for parenting students - not just mothers though as boys can be parents too.

School Budget Details

High School Enrollment Data

mirmac1 said…
I just happened to stumble on this site. I wish ALL photos were uploaded. Hey, I'll admit I was hoping I'd catch a glimpse of me and my HS classmates in swabbies and puka shells...

Seattle Schools photo archive
Anonymous said…
I must not be very bright but 412 kids are "enrolled" in interagency but how many actually attend? And with a budget nearly hitting 5 million dollars is that right? What is that per student 12k that must be an amazing program. Anything know anything about them or visited them?

Still curious
Anonymous said…
Interagency both gives children their right to an education while they are incarcerated or otherwise unable to attend regular schools, and helps students have the opportunity to better themselves and increase their options regardless of whatever circumstances they happen to be dealing with at this time. They are likely to have special needs and require more support staff than the typical student, and that costs more. I don't think there are teachers sitting on their thumbs in empty state-of-the-art classrooms. When I taught in juvenile detention, attendance was great, because it was the one shred of normalcy and hope in the kids' lives. To me, that's worth a lot.

Teaching this population can be difficult, messy, and doesn't always turn lives around, but it is very worthwhile. The only other option is not giving a shit, which costs a lot less than 5 million.

I Don't Work For Interagency
Anonymous said…
Not giving a shit only costs less in the short run. In the long run, it costs a lot more.
mirmac1 said…
Amen IDWFI and RR. It's like medical insurance. Let's just pay for the people who get corns and halitosis. Screw those with cancer and chronic illness.

Everyone has an equal right to medical care and an education.
Anonymous said…
So when you talk about what is going on in all these alternative options of which there are many with immense operational costs you have actually never been to any of them, seen the kids, met the teachers, reviewed the programs, the curriculum or well verified who is there and what they do.. sounds like accountability and a taxpayer being demanded to vote for more money sorry but I need to know what it is being spent on before I give more..

So again you have been to all of these schools.. interagency, MCHS, South Lake, NOVA, Center School, the Home Partnership and see what they do there for say a week at a time..

---still curious
Anonymous said…
Link to the Bus Video that had to be edited. It was done by members of the Seattle Youth Commission but on their own time.

Anonymous said…
My cousin works at the Middle College at Northgate. Most of these kids are either from the Indian Heritage High School or they have come from mainstream High Schools that did not work for them. They occupy a couple of rooms upstairs at the Northgate mall. They help these kids get the education they are entitled to just like every other kid and they help them graduate. Many of these kids would end up dropping out otherwise and never receiving a diploma. These high schools, like NOVA and The Center School, are open to all kids across the city. NOVA is more art focused and very dependent on the self motivation of the kid (a lot like Evergreen College). What a kid gets out of depends a lot on what they put into it. For some kids this is the focus they need and are bored and don't do well in regular high school. The Center School is more college prep without a lot of the extras found at traditional high schools such as athletic programs, etc. It is also smaller. Many kids do not do well in very large high schools and need these smaller programs to succeed.

mirmac1 said…
still curious,

That sounds like a great thing for you do to. To get the answer to your question.
Nova and The Center School are not in the same category as the re-entry schools so I would be careful to lump them in together.

The differences in students served and services given are very different (for good reason).

I agree; if you are that curious/worried, the research is out there for you to do.
Anonymous said…
Why testing is so terrible - it's all about the rote answer, not the creative question.

Excellent book on this - sections on how kids learn, what's wrong with schools based on the authoritarian model, how businesses grow - Google, Patagonia, etc.

I’ve learned that the #1 search that leads to this site is “Why do kids ask so many questions?” My question is, “Why do they stop?” Read my posts on how parents and teachers can keep the inquiry spark alive in kids.


Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
mirmac1 said…
still curious,

Are you upset because I'm not going to jump up and investigate your concern on my free time after my fulltime job? Gee, not too concerned about your snark. I love how some think others are supposed to (ruff ruff) watchdog issues that only interest them. Hey the info is out there, if you are so interested.

Couch potatoes can read the Seattle Times for great education news opinion... Hah!
Anonymous said…
Still Curious,

As you are a "concerned tax payer", why not investigate the cost of our prisons, including all the money that is paid to the private prisons that the GOP is so fond of. Then compare that cost to the costs of giving vulnerable populations an education so they have choices of means to feed themselves legally as adults. Then come back here and tell all of us which option uses "our tax money" more efficiently: schools or prisons.

We eagerly await your report, oh ye responsible, concerned tax payer.

DW, that is interesting you say that because on a walk today, my husband and I had paused to inspect some beautiful flowers and I was telling him what they were. A little girl - about 5- playing nearby came up and said, "Tell me what they are, too." She was listened very carefully - she really wanted to know.

We have to encourage that kind of thought and excitement and interest in all children.

Still curious, you seem to feel that because I don't have all the answers at hand you desire, I'm not doing my "job."

First, you used a too-long moniker for your last comment and it was deleted per our rules.

Second, you CAN go ask these questions - I'm just good and knowing who to ask and how.

Third, this blog is interested in all district things. I have often wondered about the costs for MANY things but these types of "alternative" schools are the least of our worries.
Anonymous said…
I think it's possible that still curious thinks this is an official SPS blog and is demanding answers from officials. Just a thought...

--- swk
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
Is the district obligated to provide an employee some assistance with substance abuse prior to taking actions to dismiss them? If so, it's possible the district has taken some action, just not the immediate action you may want to see.

Anonymous said…
I am extremely uncomfortable with anonymous people making scurrilous accusations against staff on a public blog. It is extremely unprofessional and morally repugnant. If you have proof of what you claim, why are you not posting under your name? These kinds of accusations are extremely serious, and can damage people's careers. You can get sued. You do realize your IP can be tracked if there is a legal investigation?

Anonymous said…
BTW, last year when a very hard working teacher received a teaching award, some APP parents posted, (ANONYMOUSLY of course) denigrating things about his abilities on the APP blog, saying he was undeserving, mediocre & other choice comments. Wellll, he was the person who put on the school's Science Fair every year. So guess what happened this year: NO Science Fair. I was shocked, shocked I tell you, that all those parents who could have done so much better than that teacher did not jump in to put on a much better Fair, since they were so much more capable and knowledgable than the teacher.

Why should anyone bust their gut pulling untold unpaid hours and effort, just to be maligned by people who throw mud anonymously at them on public forums.

West Seattle parent, I understand your happiness. But I will have to delete your comment.

However, you did not say "alleged" in referring to substance abuse by an SPS employee. You cannot make statements not based on proven fact. Please do not make such statements.

That said, I can understand why this person did NOT use their name. It would seem like a bad idea given the allegations.

CCA, was that posting about an APP teacher on this blog? Because I honestly don't remember that. And yes, I hear you on people who like to complain about school events but never step up to do the work themselves.
Anonymous said…
Still curious. You really are not. You seem to have a agenda and a point to make. Make it. Make it without the snark. Advise us of your issue. Is it the cost of saving lives? Is it the fact that the widgets/students aren't necessarily served on the same production line? Is it the fact that the teachers and staff who face extraordinary challenges with their populations @ interagency and middle colleges haven't been decimated like other alternative programs? What are your priorities? Why haven't you done your research?

Speaking as someone who fostered a middle college student and known and assisted others, can assure you that they are taxpayers today and one of whom is getting his Master's Degree in counseling now - directly attributable to this fine program. Did you know for instance South Seatttle Middle College enjoyed FREE rent @ SSCC for 20 years before being moved? Is that efficient enough for you?

Tell us your priorities, perhaps we can help.

Anonymous said…
Still curious,

Perhaps you would prefer that some of the kids at Interagency or Middle College who have fallen behind or have behavior issues stay at traditional high schools to be frustrated, perhaps act out and disrupt classes and learning there, rather than get the assistance they need? If, as you say $12k per must make it a good program - yes it would be for the potential cost/benefit ratio of others unimpressed learning.... You'd prefer we throw them in the street? Checked out the costs of homelessness, and the court and prison systems lately?

Again, tell us where you'd spend this money and effort - $5M pretty incidental to the bigger picture in SPS budget seen the Wilson Pacific or BEX threads lately?

Anonymous said…
Unimpressed equals uninterrupted - darn autocorrect.

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