Showing posts from September, 2014

OSPI Says Seattle Schools is "High Risk" for Sped

SPED reported that this letter was sent to Seattle Schools today by OSPI.   As the Seattle Schools SPED Community blog says: Strong words from OSPI and withholding of $3,000,000.00 should get someone's attention at SPS, maybe the school board should step in and make sure people are doing their jobs. I note that on item called out by OSPI is the hiring of a consultant to come in and oversee the work. That is on the Board agenda for Wednesday's meeting but it may have come too late for OSPI's comfort.   The district has thirty days to appeal to OSPI over the withholding of funds. What is going on?  How did it get this far?  When Sped director after Spec director left, why didn't someone in senior management take control and not allow this to happen?  And meanwhile, it's the students, teachers and parents who suffer. You can't be mad at any SPED parent who says they can't take the district seriously.   A summary of OSPI's letter:

California First in the Nation to Eliminate Student Suspension for Minor Behavior

From ACLU of Northern California: SACRAMENTO, CA  – Today California becomes the f irst state in the nation to eliminate suspensions for its youngest children, and all expulsions for all students for minor misbehavior such as talking back, failing to have school materials and dress code violations. Gov. Jerry Brown’s signing today of AB 420 caps a landmark year for the movement away from harsh discipline policies and toward positive discipline and accountability approaches that keep children in school. AB 420 places limits on the use of school discipline for the catch-all category known as “willful defiance,” which also includes minor school disruption. Willful defiance accounts for 43% of suspensions issued to California students, and is the suspension offense category with the most significant racial disparities.  For the next 3.5 years, the law eliminates in-school and out-of-school suspensions for children in grades K-3 for disruptive behavior currently captured i

Tuesday Open Thread

Parents, the Enterovirus D68 has been documented in 40 states including ours.  There are about 300 cases nationwide, mostly in children.  From the CDC: CDC is prioritizing testing of specimens from children with severe respiratory illness. There are likely many children affected with milder forms of illness. Of the specimens tested by the CDC lab, about half have tested positive for EV-D68. About one third have tested positive for an enterovirus or rhinovirus other than EV-D68. All the confirmed cases this year of EV-D68 infection have been among children, except for one adult. Many of the children had asthma or a history of wheezing . So far, no deaths attributed to EV-D68 infection have been documented. Symptoms of the virus, which can include coughing, fever and runny nose , can appear mild, the number of those infected could be exponentially larger than what has been reported.  However, this has morphed into limb paralysis in some children in Colorado.  It i

Seattle Schools and Garfield Field Trip Incident: PTSA meeting

I attended Garfield's PTSA meeting last night.  There were about 65 people in attendance.  It was a bit odd because they chose to have the lights down so as to put the agenda and supporting documents on a big overhead screen.  It was pretty dark and made the remarks even more gloomy. I was fairly astonished and dismayed at what both Principal Howard and Director Blanford said on the subject of the Garfield field trip incident.  Some of it was contradictory and some was incoherent.  I think they made a confusing situation even more confusing.  But, as Principal Howard told the crowd, he got himself a lawyer and got advice from that lawyer on what to do. I can only say that loose lips sink ships and I was more than surprised at the comments from both men. There were three handouts, two quite interesting. Letter from Principal Ted Howard to Garfield parents Letter from Garfield PTSA to Superintendent Nyland, Michael Tolley, Sarah Pritchett and Richard Staudt (cc'd to

Why the NatureBridge Case Matters

The reported rape on a Garfield High School field trip in November 2012 matters deeply to me. Not only because I care about student safety in general and sexual assault in particular, but because I see this case as a prime example of the central dysfunction in the District. This is a particularly tragic consequence of the District’s culture of lawlessness.

Seattle Schools This Week

Tuesday, September 30th Meet Superintendent Nyland from 6 pm - 7:00 pm at New Holly Community Center, 7054 32nd Ave S Wednesday, October 1st Meet Superintendent Nyland from 8:30 am-9:30 am at John Muir Elementary, 3301 S. Horton St. School Board meeting , starting at 4:15 pm (note: there is to be an Executive Session on Potential Litigation from 8-8:30 pm Agenda On the Consent Agenda are various Board policies that have been revised.  Of note is that the Board will not be posting their agenda three "working" days before the meeting but three days.  Under the old policy, you could see the agenda on Friday (with Friday, Monday and Tuesday being the three "working" days) but under this new policy, you may not see the agenda until Sunday.  Action Items (partial) Race to the Top money for Pre-K-3.   Parents, we need to have a very serious talk soon about the district's PreK-3 Action Plan.  I did not know this existed until today (and it's in it

Tacoma School Board Vents Frustration with Charter Schools

Let's start with what raised my antenna - the memo staff gave to the Board about Seattle Schools becoming a charter school authorizer.   Staffer Clover Codd, who wrote the memo, told the Board: We have formed a cross- departmental working group to better understand the implications for the district. The working group includes representatives from Budget, Enrollment, Facilities, Legal, DoTS, Policy and Strategic Planning. So I wrote to the Board this morning after I was cc'ed on an e-mail from Ms. Codd to President Peaslee. Ms Codd wrote: Just to clarify, the District does NOT intend to submit a LOI by the October 1st deadline. We do have this school year to learn more about the pros/cons of becoming an authorizer. Staff wants to be sure we provide you with all the information you need to make informed decisions. Seven people in SPS formed a group to work on this? Why, don't they have enough to do with the schools we have? If you read Ms. Codd's e-mail, it se

Hoping to See More of This

I attended the Executive Committee meeting of the Whole this week.   It was actually a pleasure to be at the meeting and I hope to see more of what I heard and saw. It's kind of sad, really, that it was just me, the Board and staff.  (Long-time watchdog Chris Jackins came in briefly but left.)  Because I wish more people could have been there.  And, especially critics like the Times, Crosscut and Joel Connelly, who you virtually never see at any district meeting but they do like to go on at their outlets as if they really seeing the Board and staff in action firsthand. What did I like? - I liked how the meeting ran smoothly. - I liked how the mood seemed relaxed and easy-going. - I really liked how staff and the Board interacted with respect and kindness. Maybe this is the influence of Superintendent Nyland or maybe they have all decided the way forward is thru cooperation and honesty.  What were they discussing?  The agenda was the Superintendent Evaluation 2013-2014

Friday Open Thread

This has (and continues to be) an interesting week for me as I stump against the two preschool measures.  More on this to come. From SPS: Hello West Seattle Families, Due to potential family scheduling conflicts, Seattle Public Schools is rescheduling the Monday, Sept. 29, Superintendent meet and greet at the Neighborhood House in West Seattle. We’ve recently learned the Seattle Housing Authority is holding a meeting about its proposal for rent changes at the same date and time at the High Point Community Center and many of our families wish to attend. We are rescheduling out of respect for many of our families’ desires to attend both meetings. The new date for the Superintendent’s meeting will be in late October to ensure families have time to plan and attend. Saturday community meeting with Director Patu from 10 am to 11:30 am at Cafe Vita.  I note that the SCPTA has this to say in urging members to go to Patu's meeting: Have your students been impacted f

Seattle Schools Updates

It looks like the NWEA (the company that gives the MAP testing ) had a "denial of service" attack today.  This was at about 11 am and they sent a message out about the attack saying, "MAP is currently unavailable.  We apologize for the inconvenience."   Don't know any SPS schools were giving MAP today. I was doing some research on FERPA and found this clause: A school must inform eligible students of how it defines the terms "school official" and "legitimate educational interest" in its annual notification of FERPA rights.  Did anyone read their FERPA form carefully for this info?  Was it included? As to who on the Board might have requested the staff memo about charters schools , I got a little clarification but it's still a bit unclear.  Apparently someone senior thought the Board should know about the Oct 1 deadline for districts to file a Letter of Intent to become charter authorizers, told the Board and then Director McLar

Garfield Cancels all Field Trips for the School Year

Principal Ted Howard II and the Garfield PTSA sent out this message today. It's confusing because he says there will be no field trips "for the current school year" (which would be 2014-2015) but then says it may change in Jan. 2015, depending on the recommendations of the taskforce.  Apparently he didn't check the link to the taskforce because they won't have recs until Oct. 2015.   Maybe he meant January 2016.  I have already heard from parents who have had students go on successful trips in the past.  Will he actually say no if the Garfield Jazz Band is again invited to the Essentially Ellington competition?  I find some of the "suggestions" for future field trips both surprising and sad, mainly because I can't believe they weren't in place already.

Superintendent Nyland Meets the Public

If you haven't met Superintendent Nyland, here's your chance.  I think it worth your time especially as he is considering whether to apply to be the permanent superintendent. From SPS Communications: Dr. Larry Nyland, who was appointed by the School Board in June to serve as Interim Superintendent, has outlined several opportunities this fall to meet with community members. These informal gatherings will include a few short remarks from Dr. Nyland, followed by time for an open question and answer period.

Eckstein Building Meeting

That was interesting.  I'm going to flesh this out because I think a lot of these questions asked about Eckstein might ring true for your school building. I was a little confused at first as there were very few parents (even at 5:45 pm) and no handout.  It was in the Eckstein auditorium (about 1/3 ish full by the time it started.) The organizers were smart; Eckstein's curriculum night followed at 7 pm.  (although what a parking nightmare). The district was represented by Flip Herndon, Richard Best, Bruce Skowyra.  The meeting was videotaped (by I don't know by whom). Principal Sherry Kokx was there as was Executive Director, Kim Whitworth.  Elected officials included Rep. Gerry Pollet and Rep. David Frockt.  I saw no School Board members. Dr. Herndon said he would answer some questions already submitted and then take questions.   It's pretty easy - as the parents/staff circled back to the same questions - what the issue is. The district has a commitment to getti

As if Seattle Schools Didn't Have Enough on the Plate...

...both mandated and non-mandated, along comes charter schools. Yes, some mysterious Board member (I'm taking bets but remember I will win) asked staff about the district becoming a charter authorizer. Now when some Board members ask staff for analysis, staff waffles, balks or just ignores their requests.  Or, Charles Wright, Deputy Superintendent, will call them out in public for making "too many requests." That's if they don't like the topic asked about and/or the volume of work it might take to get answers. But ask about charter schools and well, staff has lots of time. The timeline on all this is a bit confusing but somewhere during the summer (while Banda was still here?) some Board member asked for info on the advantages and disadvantages of becoming a charter authorizer. So staff, at least from this memo of August 7, 2014 , sprung into action.  Because: As you are aware, staff has been asked to understand and communicate the implications o

Mayoral Takeover of Seattle Schools

Update: I checked with OSPI about one reader's claim that there was a grand plan from OSPI and the feds to take over the district. From OSPI: There are no laws that allow for OSPI to take over a district. We can, in some circumstances (see Question 5), withhold funds from districts. But we can’t simply take over the district’s day-to-day duties. That’s what local control is all about. On whether OSPI would be part of any legislative action to take over the district: State Superintendent Dorn would have his position to influence legislators to vote one way or another. Has OSPI been supporting/advocating for this direction for SPS? No one that I know of at OSPI is doing that kind of work. If someone is doing that work, it’s not been sanctioned by State Superintendent Dorn. Would you know under what circumstances OSPI can withhold funds from a district?  Noncompliance of state law (RCWs) or agency regulations (WACs). Audit findings also can result in a district repay

Tuesday Open Thread

Update: just missed my e-mail letting me know that SPS has just released its "Facility Condition Assessment Report for 2014."   This should make for interesting reading.   The district will engage the community over the next 13 months and ask for input and feedback with regard to projects to be included in the BTA IV capital levy. I know something - don't use it like BEX to build/renovate (like $100M downtown high school and $53M to renovate the Federal Reserve building.)  If those are on there, I'm voting no. Is there no end to the number of people in government who suddenly want to invest in early childhood programs?  It's almost as if they all got a memo.  Or something. The latest one is KC Executive Dow Constantine who plans to ask voters for a new levy for early childhood programs by next fall.  The Times reports that he calls it "Best Starts for Kids."  In yet another curious item, the PI's Joel Connelly, in reviewing the Mayor'

Seattle Schools and the Search for a Superintendent

Update : search firms and candidates - you're welcome. end of update. The Board had a meeting of the entire group (without Carr) to discuss how to look for a superintendent.  It was a lot of logistics talk about finding the right search firm. (I will try to get a electronic copy of the document they were working off of from Erin Bennett.) They will be putting out an RFP around October 3rd and will decide on a firm by early December.  There was no firm date for the applications to go out for superintendent.  

Seattle Schools Updates

Teacher of the year (hint: from SPS), what's in the Mayor's budget for public education, breakfast on the go and the bell times taskforce. Great news - the Washington State Teacher of the Year is Lawton's Lyon Terry .  From OSPI : Lyon is a National Board Certified Teacher. He has taught at Lawton since 2005 in 2nd, 3rd and multi-age classrooms, where he focuses on creating confident, hard-working and compassionate learners. Lyon wants his students to learn how to be both kind and smart. During his time a Lawton, 4th-grade writing proficiency rates on the MSP have risen over 10 percentage points.   Lyon has served in numerous leadership roles in his school and district, most often in the areas of writing and literacy, and also as a union representative. The Mayor announced his budget today.  I was particularly interested in the new Department of Education and Early Learning ( DEEL ). 

Public Ed Stories (with a tie-in to our discussions)

One story is absolutely horrifying and appalling and ties right into the situation around the Garfield field trip incident.  The other story is about how treating more kids as "gifted" makes them perform better.

Seattle Schools This Week

Update: so the 2.5 hour Executive Committee meeting of the Whole on Wednesday from 4:30-7:00 pm now has an agenda. The first 2 hours will be devoted to discussing the Superintendent evaluation, Board Committee Structure and Calendar and Board evaluation. The last half-hour is a closed session on the "performance of a public employee." end of update Update: a great conference is happening this week at the University of Puget Sound.  It's the 2014 Race and Pedagogy Conference.  Speakers include Henry Louis Gates and Angela Davis. The theme for the 2014 Race & Pedagogy National Conference is “What NOW is the Work of Education and Justice?: Mapping a New Critical Conscience.” In asking “What Now?” the conference challenges us to align concepts of education and justice in ways that call for conscience, critique, and change. end of update. I'm going to add in some events about public education as well this week. This week is, once again, Banned Books

Does Seattle Public Schools have a Broken Governance Model?

At every Board Retreat the Board discusses their governance model. They don't have a formally stated model, but they are loosely working towards using a sort of Carver Policy Governance Model in which the Board sets expectations (the ends) - both for outcomes and for limitations on methods - and the superintendent is given a relatively free hand in decided how those ends will be met (the means) and is evaluated on the accomplishment of the goals. It's not a bad model but it isn't working for Seattle Public Schools. It isn't working for three primary reasons: The Board isn't doing it's job of setting expectations. The Board isn't doing it's job of staying focused on policy. The Board isn't enforcing the policies that limit the means and three secondary reasons: The Board isn't evaluating the superintendent properly. A lot of the Board policies are not consistent with this model. The Board often abdicates their policy duty to the s

West Seattle Schools Were on Shelter-in-Place

From SPS Communications (tweeted 25 minutes ago): West Seattle schools were in shelter-in-place after dismissal because of shooting in the High Point. Parents can now pick up students. From comments at the West Seattle Blog: 4:32 pm - All the fall athletes (soccer, cross country, swimming…) are at school still sheltering in place.  4:52 pm - I just rushed to meet my kids at 29th and High Point. They walk along Sylvan/High Point on the way home from Denny/Sealth. They had just walked past the police tape off area. They won’t be walking anymore… 4:55 pm - Pathfinder K-8 at Cooper has been shelter in placing for about an hour. Students are allowed to leave the childcare and school with an adult and must go directly to their cars.

Seattle Schools Odds and Ends

I plan on writing a thread this weekend that is an overview of how I see the Seattle School Board today.  There are certainly some interesting things being said by directors and frankly, I'm not sure I see them working as a unified body (but not the same people who usually get called out for having special interests).   I listened to the Board comments and more and more, I find them quite telling. - Update: forgot this one piece of info.  You may have heard that some school districts around the country have accepted various "items" from the Armed Forces.  One in San Diego accepted a tank.  Seriously.  I had a chance to ask Ass't Superintendent Pegi McEvoy this question yesterday.  She said the only things that SPS accepted from the military were blankets, cots and MREs.  Sounds good to me. - the district appears to have solved its website problems.  However, apparently the 46th Dems were to have an Endorsement meeting last night at some school site.  The 46th had

Friday Open Thread

What's going on this weekend? What happened this week that we missed? Now is the time and place to tell about it - Friday Open Thread.

Operations/Executive Committee of the Whole

Update :  the Discipline Appeals Counci l has been set with a couple of issues. One big one is that they did not get any volunteers to represent Sped.  It was stated they asked internally but it was unclear to me if any Sped parent organizations were contacted.  They would like a Sped teacher.  Peaslee wants SPed in there.  Peters said SPed is important because of disproportionality and Sped issues in discipline cases. Two is that Director Carr is on this council.  I was confused when I saw the name as she is listed as "community."  I asked and according to the policy, she can be on the committee as a community member. I personally think it is strange that a sitting board member could be on this council (or even want to). Also, Memorial Stadium got new turf and Richard Best, head of Capital Projects, casually said that they are considering putting a new high school there AND it could be on BTA IV (which is becoming quite large just with this project and below, the d

Seattle Schools having issues with websites

I see this at 2:51 pm but I don't know how long this has been going on.  I'll let you know if anything changes.  You can see the homepage for SPS but I assume they mean school websites.

Student Data Privacy: Where's Your Line?

From Marketplace: Meet the most measured, monitored and data-mined students in the history of education.  Your children . How about this district in California , tracking every kid who uses social media.  From Tech Dirt : The Glendale School District in California is facing some backlash from the recent news that it has retained the services of Geo Listening to track its students' social media activity . After collecting information from students' posts on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter, Geo Listening will provide Glendale school officials with a daily report that categorizes posts by their frequency and how they relate to cyber-bullying, harm, hate, despair, substance abuse, vandalism and truancy. As the article states, the district was starting to use this service at the end of the year but waited until the start of THIS year to tell parents. Nice. The company's About Us page is, as the article says, pretty o

It's Constitution Day

Constitution Day commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution by thirty-nine brave men on September 17, 1787, recognizing all who, are born in the U.S. or by naturalization, have become citizens. Our Constitution still stands as our country's guide.    I don't think that it's some kind of "in stone" document.  I believe our founding fathers meant for it to be a living, breathing document.  That we have some strict Constitutionalists on the U.S. Supreme Court is a pity. In honor of our Constitution, it's pop quiz time from the Washington Post's Answer Sheet. Also, don't forget about Civics for All , our local home-grown initiative.

Seattle Schools' Meetings Update

Tonight is the regularly scheduled Seattle School Board meeting starting at 4:15 pm at JSCEE. A few updates. One, there are only five people signed up to give testimony.   If you have anything you might want to convey to the Board, this would be a good time. Two, at the end of the Board meeting, there will be a closed Executive Session for "potential litigation."   This closed session will begin at the conclusion of the regular Board meeting and last approximately 30 minutes.  The legislative session will not reconvene after the executive session, and mo action will be taken as a result of the executive session. Is this about the Sped Director? Three, the Operations Committee meeting on Thursday will only be an hour, from 4:30-5:30 pm.  The agenda is still not available for this meeting. Four, the Executive Committee meeting of the Whole, on Thursday the 18th starting at 5:30 pm, is indeed about the Superintendent Search.

Public Education Updates

Get a cup of coffee/tea - there are a lot of them (and big news items at that). Good News The governor of Tennessee just signed into law that every single high school grad gets a free ride for two years at a community college .  From Yes! : The bill provides two years of tuition at a community college or college of applied technology for any high school graduate who agrees to work with a mentor, complete eight hours of community service, and maintain at least a C average. High school graduates will start to reap these benefits in fall 2015. Oregon Sen. Mark Hass is selling the idea to his state, too. He sponsored a bill that passed earlier this year to study whether a similar system in Oregon would work. The results should be out later this year. Education Satire Hey, you 3-year old slackers ! It has come to our attention that your older brothers and sisters have been showing up to Kindergarten completely unprepared for the requirements of a rigorous

My Take on Preschool Measures for Publicola

Update : Consider attending/viewing a debate on this issue at a Town Hall presented by Seattle Channel, Town Hall Seattle and Seattle CityClub.  It's next Wednesday, the 24th at 7 pm.   It's cable channel 21 (or HD 321).  They will be having polling during the event.  It's free but you have to register.  (I am not on the panel but did a pre-recorded interview with host Brian Callanan that will be shown.) Register at or call (206) 682-7395 . Doors open at 6 p.m. with audience instructions at 6:30 p.m. and the live televised program at 7 p.m. End of update. My concerns are outlined - for both preschool propositions - at Publicola.    I flesh out those concerns in detail there but broadly: - did the City and the unions really try to find unity?  Because I believe a joint-measure would have passed easily.  Instead, we have two nearly completely difference measures.  What happens if one side wins?  Will we see complete unity from the other sid

Tuesday Open Thread

Yesterday, Google and Mayor Murray surprised Highland Park Elementary with a major announcement about their request via Google "flash-funded" classroom requests from every teacher in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties who had made a request at DonorsChoose .  From Google donated $338,000 for 388 projects resulting in 295 teachers receiving materials for over 36,000 students. - See more at: Mayor Murray joined representatives from Google today to announce that the company has fully funded classroom requests from every teacher in King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties on the education crowd funding site . Google donated $338,000 for 388 projects resulting in 295 teachers receiving materials for over 36,000 students. “There’s no better way to start off the school year than with this surprise funding for our local teachers. This generous donatio

Director McLaren Op-Ed

Recently I learned that Director Marty McLaren had written an op-ed for the Seattle Times about the good things and hard work happening in Seattle Schools. According to McLaren, the Times encouraged her to edit her op-ed and resubmit it (which she did) but then the Times declined to print it. They then published the editorial about SPS and its leadership (and egging on the Mayor and the City Council to try to take control of the Board). I find this quite troubling because frankly, it seems like the Times is hell-bent on doing everything they can to undermine the Board to the point of undermining the entire district.  It is hard to get the message out about the myriad of good things in this district if media only wants to write about the problems and/or bang out the same tired stories about the Board and district leadership. But the Times' loss is our gain.   Here's what Director McLaren has to say. Seattle Public Schools are Thriving August 29, 2014  This week many

Seattle Schools This Week

Update: A&F Tuesday meeting agenda .     The minutes from the previous meeting reveal that the next district audit will include Ballard High and Special Education.  (The previous audit included Garfield and guess what?  They were found to have several volunteers not screened or had no application at all. ) Also, the Internal Auditor, Andrew Medina, said this: Mr. Medina spoke about an additional finding for personal service contracts (PSC). He noted that there have been instances where work started before the PSC is approved, as well as sole-source contracts that lack adequate supporting justification. Mr. Medina also noted a lack of administrative procedures, an employee handbook, and clear channels of communication. The audit also cited that the District lacks procedures covering the delegation of purchase approvals to administrative staff.  Ms. Technow listed some of the forms, contracts and checkout lists cu

Title IX Work List from SPS

Here's a link to the current status of Title IX work as presented to the Board Audit and Finance Committee on August 19. A number of the action items on this list are familiar to those of us who have read lists of action items before. Of course the expected completion dates have all been pushed out later. I can't help noticing that a number of the "next action" dates fall before the meeting where this table was reviewed. Editorial comments after the jump...

Monday! Let Senator Murray know you value Student Data Privacy

The Senate HELP (Health Education Labor and Pensions committee) is negotiating over the re-authorization of the Education Sciences Reform Act.  We were told that there are Democrats on the committee who are pushing for relaxing limits on access to personal student data, and are saying that researchers should be able to obtain open-ended access to complete student data sets– and that they shouldn’t have to even specify which specific student level data they want for what purposes. Please call Senator Patty Murray, who is a senior member of the HELP committee, and let her know strong controls and oversight of student data are important to you. It is especially important that parents/advocates who live in the states represented by Dems below call on Monday. Senator Murray's D.C. office:   (toll-free) 866-481-9186

Seattle Schools Updates

Tweet from the district about priorities for 2014-2015 : During a retreat today, the School Board picked its top governance priorities for the 2014-15 school year: bell times analysis, multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS), special education and stewardship of resources/internal controls. First, shouldn't these "priorities" have been set at the end of the school year (so that everyone comes to the first day of school with those in mind)? Second, someone would have to define the last priority, " stewardship of resources/internal controls."  If it means getting on the good foot for operations and watching over the dollars (like not spending them on pre-K junkets), great news.   In other news: On district-given assessments :

Pre School discussion event

SEATTLE SPEAKS PRESCHOOL POLITICS Join the conversation Should Seattle invest in prekindergarten education? Join Seattle Channel, Seattle CityClub and Town Hall Seattle for a live, televised community forum about the future of early childhood learning and hear from the supporters of two competing ballot measures—a city-backed plan to make high-quality preschool accessible and affordable and a union proposal seeking better pay and training for child-care workers. Wednesday, September 24 Town Hall Seattle, 1119 8th Ave . 6 p.m. doors|6:30 p.m. audience prep | 7 p.m. live show Watch live on Seattle Channel 21 or . Register Admission is free, but seating is limited. Sign up at or 206-682-7395. Weigh in Follow the conversation #SeattleSpeaks | Take the pre-show poll !

Friday Open Thread

Update :  there is one Director Community meeting tomorrow - with Director Carr - from 8:30-10 am at Bethany Community Church with  a hard stop at 10 am as the Board also has its Board retreat tomorrow from 10:30-3:00 pm at JSCEE.  I would put up the agenda but it is not available.  Why it isn't available is always a mystery (although here's the Board agenda for the next school board meeting). I'll lay odds there will be discussion of preschool (which staff does want to do) and bell times (which staff doesn't want to do).  Good luck, Board members. End of update. (No, I am not officially back but I feel for Charlie.)  I see a lot has been happening. It appears that the district IS creating a taskforce on Prevention and Response to Sexual Harassment (PRSH), apply by September 26th. The district also wants public comments on the new 21-page Superintendent's Procedure on Sexual Harassment. I also note that there is a district narrative of the "Garfiel

Proposed Advanced Learning Policy

I now have a copy of the Advanced Learning policy brought forward by staff. It is essentially identical to the proposed policy that was roundly rejected by the Board about a year ago. It hasn't gotten better with time. The proposed policy is little different from the WSSDA model policy, which is crap. The policy fails to fulfill the minimum requirements in that it does not say what kind of students HC services are for, it does not say why they need HC services, and it does not address the requirements of policy 2090 : The Board requires efficiency and effectiveness in all facets of its operations. In order to achieve this goal, the Board shall provide: A. A clear statement of expectations for the district's instructional programs, B. Staff, resources and support to achieve the stated expectations; and C. A plan for evaluating instructional programs and services to determine how well expectations are being met.  The full text of the proposed policy is after the jump.

The District's Real Response

This is good news. It's beginning to look like Seattle Public Schools is finally going to take real action in response to the reported rape of November, 2012 and how that case exposed district failures in both prevention and response to sexual assault and harassment complaints. The real action from the District now includes improvements to both prevention and response. There had been nothing but talk so far, but now we're starting to see signs of real action - and, of course, the usual amount of forming a committee to make a plan to talk about proposing changes. This real action includes: Significant changes to field trip procedures  - done A draft revision to the Sexual Harassment procedure  - should be complete by September 30 A task force to work on revisions to the sexual harassment policy  - formed by September 30 Task Force Charter  - they will work for a year. Task Force Nomination form Assignment of Title IX officers Still remaining are: Revisions to

City of Seattle Pre-K Initiative

Here's a thread to discuss the City of Seattle's pre-k ambitions and their co-ordination, or lack thereof, with Seattle Public Schools.

The District's Title IX PR Effort

Seattle Public Schools has a real problem with Title IX compliance. They knew about this problem for years and took no action. Recently, these problems were exposed in the press. When the District started getting bad press about their Title IX problems they began to respond - to the PR problem. I have long said that the School District only responds to three stimuli: litigation (or the threat of litigation), money, and bad press - especially bad national press. The District's senior leadership had no trouble with their Title IX failures until they were reported in the national media, in Al Jazeera America. Then they became a PR problem, and the District has responded to them as a PR problem. Here is the heart of the District's PR response: a brand new district web page on Title IX.   This page can be found by clicking on Title IX on the Districts Departments page. I was not aware that the District had a Title IX department, but, apparently, the web managers think they do.

Tuesday Open Thread -NOT- on Wednesday

Ack! Melissa usually does this. Sorry I muffed it. Here is your Tuesday open thread just one day late . Did anyone attend the Curriculum and Instruction Policy Committee meeting? Can we get a report? Has anyone seen the draft policy for Advanced Learning? What else is going on? Somehow, when I first created this thread I thought it was Wednesday. What a goob.

So What Have They Done?

Since the sexual assault complaint that arose on a Garfield High School field trip to NatureBridge in November of 2012, we have heard from the Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors and senior management about how seriously they regard it and how committed they are to tightening up procedures, policy, and compliance. But what have they actually done? Shockingly little. And let's remember that they have had almost two years since that day. Almost two years and they haven't really done anything. We got the lip service. We got the crocodile tears. What we didn't get was any real movement towards improved policies, procedures, or practices. Nor have we seen any movement to hold anyone accountable for failures to follow the policy or procedures. Instead, we've seen the Board and the senior management close ranks to not only excuse the non-compliance, not only condone the non-compliance, but actually defend the non-compliance. I'm sorry, but how tragic do the outcome

Open Thread: Waitlists and Assignments

By request.  Discuss among yourselves.

CPPS: Tapping the Power of Parents

 From Community & Parents for Public Schools, Seattle ( CPPS ): SEATTLE: Students win when families and schools work together, but not all parents engage equally. So Community & Parents for Public Schools of Seattle is bringing an acclaimed program to the city that strengthens ties to public schools by recruiting, placing and mentoring volunteers who might not otherwise participate.

NOW National PTA Wants Your Opinion on Common Core

Kind of late but okay.  Cast your vote .  Currently it's 89% against (38K+ votes) and 11% for (4600+votes).  PTA tweeted this yesterday: Have your voice heard on # CCSS ! Poll in advance of Sept @ IQ2US debate wants to know if u "Embrace the # CommonCore " http://   1:20 PM - 4 Sep 2014 The link in the tweet takes you to a poll which is tied to an upcoming debate. The event will be live streamed here on September 9th at 6:45pm EST. Where Do You Stand?

Seattle Schools This Week

 I will be taking a hiatus this week to do other things.  Charlie may or may not be able to provide the Open Threads for this week. Monday, September 8th Curriculum & Instruction Committee meeting from 4:30pm - 6:30 pm.  Agenda

Director Peaslee's Community Meeting Today Canceled

I receive a brief request to put up that Director Peaslee's Community meeting today at Northgate Branch Library has been canceled. No explanation. Also, the Northgate branch was kind enough to also let me know.

What's wrong with the District's narrative on NatureBridge?

Seattle Public Schools, and Board President Peaslee in particular, have been pushing a narrative about the November 2012 sexual assault that has been making a lot of people mad. Just in case you, or someone you know, has read the District's account and cannot see why people are angry about it, I will offer an explanation. Here is the District's narrative . Here's what's wrong with it:

Seattle Times, This One's For You

Guess what?  According to a new Brookings study , teachers matter. Principals matter. Superintendents?  Not so much. Findings:

Items of Interest - Smarter Balanced/NCLB Waiver

The WEA did a survey of schools that field tested the Smarter Balanced assessments .  The highest score - on a 1-4 scale - was "alignment with Common Core."  That came in at 2.65. The lowest was a 1.72 for "Overall Impact of SBAC Practice and Administration on the School Day." 50% (!) of member respondents said it 11-20+ hours for student to take the test. Also SB had an estimate of how long it would take students to complete tests in various subjects.  Most respondents said it was about one hour more than estimated.  (Learning curve?) But when asked what were challenges to students in taking the LA test, the biggest one was "keyboarding skills" followed by " test screen - split screen, navigation, scrolling." For math, the biggest student issues were "test tools - fractions, calculator, graphs, formulas), followed by "difficult, above grade level." The biggest concern for teachers was "Schedule disruptions,

Friday Open Thread

Two Community meetings with Board directors tomorrow, Sat. the 6th (I note that Blanford's was likely added in the last couple of days.)  They are so spaced out, you could conceivable go to both. Director Blanford , 10 am-11:30 am, Capital Hill Branch Library Director Peaslee, 3:30-4:30 pm, Northgate Branch Library A student at a Seattle public school in Wallingford was hit by a car this morning after the car ran a red light.  The boy was taken to Harborview with a cut to the head.  SPS is providing counseling at his school as several other students were with the victim at the time. According to the Times, the state's GET plan (for parents to save money for their child's college education) is doing well and is "fully solvent" according to the State's Actuary, Matt Smith.  He's saying the uptick from the recession combined with a freeze on state tuition rates made it happen.  The program had not been expected to be solvent until 2021 The pr

Seattle Schools Updates

Update: In my original thread, I mentioned that "several" staffers are to go on a trip to Toronto for an Asian American Alliance.  Now I get a press release - again, on info from the earlier thread - about who is going to the White House to represent SPS for a discussion about SPS' PE programs.   It's Superintendent Nyland. It seems the invitation was just for superintendents from districts who have programs that are working well to share ideas (SPS' being PE).  I'm sure that despite the Superintendent being so new that staff will have him well-prepped for questions and, of course, he may come back with many good ideas from other districts. As well, on the story of a student getting hit by a car in Wallingford today : - it is a 7th grader - he was being treated and would be released today From SPS Communications: There were also new flashing lights installed within the past week on 43 rd /Stone as another safe crossing option for students. This ca

Seattle School Board Comments from Last Night's Meeting

I only watched the Board comments and a bit more of the meeting.  (They moved at lightening speed and I think may have adjourned by 6:30 pm.)  This is NOT coverage of all their comments but just the issue-specific ones that they made. I wish I had heard one Board member say that he or she was committed to following thru on every stated commitment and accountability measure that staff has said.  No one did.