Monday, September 22, 2014

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). 

The new department will take in work from other departments (along with the people who did that work) as well as expand the work of the Office of Education.  A couple of items caught my eye:

-The community outreach strategic advisor 2 added in the 2014 Budget is refocused to help plan and facilitate the proposed education summit and build relationships with the School District, community members and providers. The sunset is permanently lifted on this position. 

An education summit?  Well, that could be interesting if there was actually a real discussion, the good, the bad and the ugly.

I hope they will include/listen to all voices when planning this event.  Because if it's the City's "Education Summit sponsored by the Gates Foundation," forget it.

- A strategic advisor 1 to conduct training and provide ongoing technical assistance for the use of SYVPI's new Risk Assessment tool. 
Well, that means more data to collect.   

 From SPS Public Affairs (partial):

Seattle Public Schools is forming a year-long task force to analyze a potential change in bell times throughout the district. The task force members will review the sleep research and study potential implementation impacts including benefits and challenges for starting elementary schools earlier, and middle and high schools later.

The superintendent will consider the task force work, along with additional community and school feedback to make recommendations to the school board for potential changes in the 2016-17 school year. The superintendent’s report to the board will include analysis of sleep research and operational impacts in other districts.

The task force is only one aspect of community engagement planned during the school year. Flipping bell times is a complex task and has a significant effect on families and schools. Staff will work to engage all families throughout the district

Task force members will consist of Seattle Public Schools staff, City staff, and community members including parent representatives.   There is no official name for the taskforce yet.

To read the charter of the task force including a list of positions that the district is seeking to fill, or for the nomination form, which is due October 6, click here.
According to the charter, there will be
-13 members from Seattle Schools
- One from the City's Office of Education
- One from Parks
- a sleep community specialist
- a community-based organization rep
- PTSA rep (can be any PTA member)
- parent reps from these regions; Central, NE, NW, SE,West Seattle
- School Family Partnerships Advisory Committee
- Sped rep
- Police department
- KC Metro
- Safe Walk route rep
- two student reps

I have to laugh at the statement in the charter, "Members must attend any and all meetings of the taskforce unless previously excused by the taskforce chair, in order to participate in the recommendations." 

My experience on these taskforces is that members employed  by the district/city usually do not show up regularly (and someone should keep track of who comes to meetings because if you do have multiple people missing more than two meetings, they should NOT be part of voting for recommendations).

My count is that there are 30 members. I question the number of district staff on the committee; seems a bit loaded.  I also don't know why, if Parks and SPD are the most likely city departments to be affected, that they need someone from the Office of Education.

Also from Public Affairs:

Seattle Public Schools launched a new free Breakfast-to-Go program today at Aki Kurose Middle School. A mobile kiosk is positioned near the front entrance, where students can head to the cafeteria or grab a breakfast bag from the kiosk. The Breakfast-to-Go meals are packed with healthy convenient options including whole wheat bagels with cream cheese, low-fat yogurt with cereal and a honey wheat breakfast bar. Fruit, lowfat milk and juice are also offered with each meal.

The Breakfast-to-Go pilot program is supported by grants received by the district’s Nutrition Services Department, from Action for Healthy Kids and United Way of King County. Aki Kurose is one of 14 schools in Seattle that offers a breakfast at no cost to all students, regardless of eligibility for free, reduced or full pay meals. It is the first school to offer the kiosk option. A similar Breakfast-to-Go kiosk is in the works for Rainier Beach High School.

For more information about Nutrition Services including a list of schools that offer breakfast at no cost: www.seattleschools.org/meals 


Jon said...

The district loading a committee to get the outcome they want? Naw, they never do that. Other than all the time.

ms said...

Congrats to Mr. Terry. When we were at Lawton he was the guy who was on every committee, went to every bbq, did crossing guard, helped get us through the Spectrum redo without too much bloodshed and plays a pretty mean guitar.Go Dolphins!