Seattle Schools This Week

Quite a week to come.

Monday, Dec. 8th
Curriculum & Instruction Committee meeting, 4:30-6:30 pm.  Agenda
It would appear to be a two-hour meeting but the agenda is quite slim as well as the time allotted for each item.

Of interest: an update on Special Ed work and "pre-K work" from Early Education head, Cashel Toner.  Perhaps this is where she will explain how the new preschool classroom room at Bailey Gatzert likely won't be just for BG area students.

Tuesday, Dec. 9th
Audit & Finance Committee meeting, 4:30-6:30 pm.  Agenda
UPDATE:  Agenda now attached.  Looks like several updates including an issue with the SEC, the WSS (with adjusted Guiding Principles which I have some concerns about), MOA with Africatown (NOT attached as usual, still concerns there), Transportation standards for next year and Title IX and grants updates.  Wondering if there will be any mention of the Gates Foundation preschool grant.

End of update.

Community meeting with Director Peaslee at the Northgate Library from 6-7:30 pm.

Wednesday, Dec. 10
Executive Committee meeting from 8:30-10:00 am.  Agenda
- discussion of SMART goals for both Board and Superintendent (SMART being the latest  - "let's get this right" attempt to matrix and chart performance.)
- an update on the MOU extension for the Alliance of Education.  Did this "neutral" meeting with the Board take place?  How much more money does the Alliance want to make from the district?   Someone please go and take notes.
- presentation about the upcoming Tech Summit in January

Special School Board meeting, 4:30 pm.  Agenda

Action Item highlights:
- a double-combo for the issue of permanent superintendent - my recollection is that the Peters/Patu amendment will be considered first and then the main BAR to allow new President Carr to negotiate the contract with Dr. Nyland.  I think what will happen will be less than interesting as you will likely hear the issues trotted that were previously stated at the last Board meeting discussion.

 The only real question is just exactly what Director Blanford will say.  Will he stand up for the principle of community engagement or will he go with the "Nyland's a great guy and we can't lose him" meme?

What is fascinating to me is that I'm not sure the Board knows - for certain - what the general feeling is at JSCEE about the supposed calming of the waters there from Dr. Nyland.  I think that's what the SENIOR staff wants the Board to believe but I wish they would go on a walk and talk.  I think many in JSCEE would say the same thing that Patu did - it just hasn't been long enough (and he hasn't done enough) for any real opinions to have formed.

- Again, the Technology item which says "discussion and/or action."   Kids, time's a wastin'.  You need those computers - which apparently will be Dell computers - if you want to meet that spring testing schedule with time for teachers to get up to speed on the usage of these computers.

Intro Highlights
- Capacity management
- Authorization for Superintendent to sign extension of MOU with the Alliance for Education.  This is for an extension until the end of March 2015.

I call a big red flag here.  Why an extension and not just a new MOU?  Why all this time and drama and secrecy?  Something's up, for sure.  What's silly about this is that this issue is surely NOT the most important thing the district should be doing with its time.

After those two items, the Board meeting will end and the Board will go into Executive Session.  I presume this is to talk about the contract with Superintendent Nyland.  One thing I will be disappointed about is if Nyland's salary is higher than Banda's.  He has already positioned himself as a caretaker superintendent and I don't see a salary bump for that.

Community meeting about placement of Interagency in the old Queen Anne gym, 6:30 pm in the John Hay Elementary lunchroom/gym.  Again, this is for that area and community only.

Friday, Dec 12
BEX Oversight Committee meeting, 8:30-10:30 am, JSCEE, Room 2750.

Saturday, Dec. 13
Community meetings with directors.

Carr - 8:30-10:00 am at Bethany Community Church
Martin-Morris - 10:00- noon at NE Branch Library
Peters - 11 am- 1:00 pm at Magnolia Branch Library


Lia R. said…

The Seattle Times reports that SEA supports Nyland. Truth: Jonathan Knapp supports Nyland. SEA membership was never made aware of Nyand'a plan, or took a vote on supporting Nyland for SPS.
Lia R. said…
The above article indicates that Nyland supported another failed Gates project- small schools. disappointing that Nyland pushed forward with small schools despite objections.

It is wonderful that the Alliance for Education and Jonathan Knapp support Nyland. They must know his top secret plan. SCPTSA, parents etc. have NO idea about Nyland's plan.
Lia R. said…
The above article indicates that Nyland supported another failed Gates project- small schools. Disappointing that Nyland pushed forward with small schools despite objections.

It is wonderful that the Alliance for Education and Jonathan Knapp support Nyland. They must know his top secret plan. SCPTSA, parents etc. have NO idea about Nyland's plan.
Anonymous said…
There were many districts and many educators that bought into the "small schools" idea pushed by Gates in the early-00s.

On its face, it seemed like a farce, but was a response to one of the great criticisms of giant high schools - it is too easy for a student to get lost.

There were a couple of Seattle High Schools that were on the verge of going to "small schools" in the early 00s, but couldn't get the financing to do so.

While looking back on it now, with results at hand, shows that it was not a workable idea; it was pretty hot stuff at the time. Probably not something worthwhile to be critical about.

From the article is this key quote:
“Gradually you fix one thing, then you fix another, and over time you build the momentum, you build the trust, you build the track record,” Nyland said. “And together we’ll figure it out.”

If you've never been part of a change management team, or have never worked through a structural change at your organization, you don't know what this is about. I've led change management within the managerial structure of a company before. The way Nyland described what it feels like as you go through change management within your organization is exactly the same way I'd describe it.

I never felt that Banda, for instance, knew how to implement change management.

Now we'll see if Nyland can deliver.

Anonymous said…

"I never felt that Banda, for instance, knew how to implement change management. Now we'll see if Nyland can deliver."

Um, ok. Yes, change is needed, but what I think Lia is saying that the type of "change" that Nyland will push through may not have anything to do with what is in the best interest of kids, families or teachers.

Exactly what change? Who sets the agenda? The small schools idea was a total bust, but lots of energy was spent forcing this “change” on districts. Things changed, but did they change for the better? In the case of small schools initiative, no.

The question here is not about whether or not he can push through change, but if that change is what we need. The Gates Foundation, the Chamber of Commerce, The Alliance for Education, League of Education Voters, all of these groups think they know the answers to "fixing" our schools. And who are they? Are they teachers with years of experience and knowledge, or are they business interests who don’t actually want to pay their fair share to fund our schools, and instead come up with the next “hot stuff idea” that teachers were already saying “was not a workable idea?”

We already know what works well. We need reasonable class sizes, and quality school buildings (that aren’t overstuffed) with counselors, and librarians and text books and materials. The problems in this district are not the school board, or the teachers union or the parents. It is the chronic starvation of our schools.

If he’s going to change this district to focus on kids and families and teachers, I’m all in. But if he’s going to be only listening to the business interests and the next hot stuff idea to “close the achievement gap” I’m very very very worried.

What change is he bringing?

Anonymous said…
If it is the testing that is forcing us to buy swaths of new computers every few years then we need to drop the testing. What happened to scantrons where the testing agency was responsible for the digitizing and reporting, not school IT departments. Maintaining labs of computers is too expensive. Schools need teachers. Until small classrooms with instructors are funded we should dump the computer labs.

Money sinkhole
Transparency Please said…
Who will be assigned to the PreK Committee? Can we expect the committee to be stacked with individuals that support charter schools and Teach for America? Will we see a committee that will support increased city involvement with K-5?

Keep your eyes open, folks. The city wants to be able to align professional development from prek-5th grade for teachers. It is entirely possible that we are watching a pipeline for Teach for America being created.

Toner also suggests preschool teachers looping into kindergarden. Again, this is a situation that would allow the city to bring TfA into our schools.

Of course, very possible we're looking at a backdoor mechanism for charter schools, too.

Special thanks to Peaslee, McLaren, Carr, Blanford and Martin Morris for voting on the Gates contract before a MOU was in place.
Transparency Please said…
I am in agreement with curiousercuriouser. Deals have been the top.
Anonymous said…
Seattle channel did a panel discussion a few days ago with Dr. Nyland, Johathan Knapp, Director Peaslee and Katherine Schomer (SCPTSA)

Worth a watch:

Anonymous said…
Can somebody report on the C&I meeting?

Anonymous said…
Did anyone else get an erroneous email today from Highly Capable Services and Advanced Learning Programs stating that testing for these services was going to happen this Sat, December 13th during the "school day" at their child's school? I emailed a Ruthanne McPhaden back asking for clarification and she said that the original location at the JSC was the correct one for my child's testing. She said that she had tried to "cancel [the erroneous] email." I also asked her to check on my son's testing date/time/location and found out it's also Dec. 13th. First time I'd heard of it...

Salmon Bay parent

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