Superintendent Updates

KING 5 report from last night.  Note Director McLaren's tone - I'm baffled why she's this agitated.  She says something like "how can we let this man go?"  All I can say is that he's retired so where is he going anyway?

I am on the Speaker List for tomorrow night (there looks to be about 15 people on the waitlist which surprises me as I thought it would be longer).  I note this message - fairly unusual as the Board office rarely contacts speakers -

Thank you for your interest in speaking before the School Board at the December 3rd Board meeting.  
According to Board Procedure 1430BP, the order of those giving public testimony was determined as follows: those speaking to agenda action items, those speaking to agenda introduction items, and then those speaking to items of general interest.
Please note that the “Action to Select a Permanent Superintendent” item will be introduced at this meeting and action will be taken at a Special Meeting of the Board on December 10.

As per our Public Testimony rulesthe Board does not take public comments on issues related to personnel matters or individually named staff.

 If you intend to speak on the Action to Select a Permanent Superintendent item, the Board will accept comments related to the process to select a superintendent or to the characteristics of a permanent superintendent.

I'm sure President Peaslee will also reiterate that speakers NOT say Dr. Nyland's name.  So you are warned.

(But I think you CAN say Board members names (as long as you aren't being rude).  

I also note that another item has been added to the meeting next week - the Technology contract.  

I keep pointing out how behind this contract is and now it gets delayed another week?  Still no numbers or vendor attached?  Hmm.   Good luck with those Smarter Balanced assessments this spring.

I keep getting asked, "What can we do?

Simple.  Keep the pressure on. 
  • Did you write to the Board?  Write them a hard-copy letter (even better).
  • Did you write to Martin-Morris and Carr, separately?  Might be a good idea to appeal to their fairness and order sides.
  • Did you ask your PTA Board to write something?  You should because that would count for a lot.
  • If you are a teacher, did you ask your building rep or SEA President Jonathan Knapp what SEA's stand is?
  • Go to the Board retreat on Saturday - you don't have to stay.  But if enough people were there at 9:30 am at JSCEE with a letter in hand, it would say a lot.  You don't even have to talk (it's a busy morning for them) - just say, "I'd like you to consider what I have to say about the lack of process over finding the best fit for a superintendent for our district."  
One last thing.  Have you noticed the dearth of media coverage?  KING 5 and KIRO have been there but where's KOMO and  Q13?  

Nothing at all at Publicola.  Or The Stranger.  Or Crosscut.  Or Seattle Weekly (despite an interview they did with me last week).  Very, very odd.  

Something is up, kids, so if you want just a smiling caretaker for our district, sit back and do nothing.


Anonymous said…
There is very little of interest in the Stranger/Slog anymore. Most of the good, knowledgeable writers are now gone and I have little interest in the food and music fluff that makes up the bulk of it currently. It does not surprise me that they are not paying attention. Glad to see that at least KING and KIRO are paying attention.
Thanks for keeping us informed on all of this.

n said…
Isn't Nyland on a pension? The supe's paycheck in Seattle is a pretty nice carrot. Can't blame him for being a pleaser if it means keeping that paycheck coming in.

Don't know much about him so if I'm wrong, let me know.
N, you probably aren't. More on this later.
Holy Cow said…
"According to Board Procedure 1430BP, the order of those giving public testimony was determined as follows: those speaking to agenda action items, those speaking to agenda introduction items, and then those speaking to items of general interest.
Please note that the “Action to Select a Permanent Superintendent” item will be introduced at this meeting and action will be taken at a Special Meeting of the Board on December 10.

As per our Public Testimony rules, the Board does not take public comments on issues related to personnel matters or individually named staff."

Why the intention to silence voices? Can you spell: Stupidity
english must go! said…
I think this is all Ron English trying his damnedest to stay alive. Having a yes man Sup who didn't fire anyone over 8,000 IEPs and Roosevelt HS kids info is unconscionable but pair that with GHS $700,000 and GatesGate and English is the puppet master here. Didn't our crack legal team handle all of those and don't we pay a cool million to support that team? WTH! that is 10 Latin teachers people and it is just our outsourced legal budget. We must be paying X2 or X3 of other districts pay for legal. Why have a legal team if it is such a cash suck - just through the million in to good schooling and the GC and team budget into a payout slushfund and I am sure we will be in a better position. English must go. oh and did someone say pottergate and paying MGJ to leave. English must go.

A real sup would recognize that and not let him try to buy you with your 1500 a day pay.

The board has proven they are not going to lead on this why don't we -- the true stakeholders -- advertise for qualified/ interested stake holders to come forward. That would be my message every time I talked to the media ... If i talked to the media. Send your resumes to the board and CC MW.

Lets fight!
Pam said…
The district paid-out $700K in the Garfield settlement. Did Nyland hold anyone accountable or did he shrug?
english must go! said…
sorry I meant to say just "throw" a million into education and put the internal legal into a slushfund.

and yeah Pam no one has been held accountable for that... Including English for something that had SPS finger prints on it from day one... but good a good lawyer would have insured we weren't following overnight field trip procedure and that details were followed and then when not that the title 9 was being dealt with. How many federal investigations do we have going on right now?

Nyland should see that. Who pushed to change the deal? Peaslee and English.

Nyland gets the job... English gets a raise.

Just crazed
Charlie Mas said…
I'm not seeing what Directors Peaslee and McLaren see in Dr. Nyland's performance. Not seeing it at all.

He treated the Garfield rape report as a public relations issue rather than a compliance issue. No one was ever held accountable for the multiple failures. Also, you'll notice that since the settlement with the family and since the issue is no longer in the news all of the work on Title IX compliance has stalled.

He has treated the problems in Special Education as a paperwork problem. His focus is on completing and delivering documents to the OSPI rather than on changing anything in classrooms for students.

He was unable and unwilling to answer the most fundamental questions about the Garfield teacher transfer. How can it be that Garfield loses a teacher due to lower than expected enrollment when the enrollment is higher than the projected number and there are students on the waitlist?

What, exactly, has Dr. Nyland done well? It's not a rhetorical question. I would really like to share the positive view of Dr. Nyland that Directors Peaslee and McLaren have, but they need to show me what they see that is so laudable because I'm not seeing it on my own.
Charlie Mas said…
Oh, and there is the Gates grant signature thing.

He didn't know? That's a lie. He knew. There was a grant approval at his very first Board meeting. The requirement was mentioned and it appeared in the Board Action Report.

Also, how is he, as superintendent, supposed to implement and enforce the policies if he doesn't even know them? Why hasn't he read them? That would seem a basic step in starting the job.
Anonymous said…
Though not his direct doing (one assumes), lets add in the unprecedented removal of enrollment data from public access and the questionable facilities issues that have arisen of late.

For a great guy, an awful lot of stuff is slipping under the radar with little admin accountability - or at least little obvious accountability.

But maybe that's the point? Maybe they all like him precisely BECAUSE things can slip under the radar?

I really don't have a clue - just engaging in a little early morning idle speculation ;)

cmj said…
I'd like to know what happened with the nearly 600 vanishing 9th graders. By a very conservative estimate, the district lost over $2 million in state funding because of that. (500 students x $5000/student = $2.5 million). That is a lot of money!. SPS hasn't said -- to my knowledge -- anything about that. No one on the board commented about it when Meg Diaz brought it up at the last Board meeting.
Speaking of vanishing students, when Nyland was superintendent in Marysville:

"By the district’s OWN numbers, published in a Spring 2012 public Q&A document show that they have lost 2,778 students the past 5 years. Marysville School District Financial Officer Jim Baker continues to toss out a red-herring that is, apparently bought by the Marysville citizenry. His mantra is that the state has cut their budget by $2.4 million.

FACT: Washington State provides about $7,600 per student per year ( 45th out of 50 in the U.S. ) to educate children. Therefore, the LEAST the MSD have chased away to nearby districts is $21,112,800. That is a LOT of red-herring to swallow."

I find a lot to compare and contrast between what he did in Marysville and what he is doing here. Hmm.

mirmac1 said…
This may explain some of the variability in student counts:
Watching said…
Do we know the terms of the superintendent contract?

mirmac1 said…
Watching said…
The district is out of compliance in many areas.

At the least, the board must put contractual provisions into place that demand the district reach compliance. There must be provisions that address Nyland and failure to follow policy; he does have a history. Hiring a superintendent without a contract in place is irresponsible. I am not seeing a contract and I'm not seeing discussion regarding this issue.

Peaslee, in all her brilliance, tried to sneak this through the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. IMO, this might not be a hard fought battle if taxpayers knew there were protections.

I understand continuity arguments with Nyland, but he also violated a major policy and hasn't held administrators responsible for major lapses.

For some reason, I think Nyland will be the guy that inserts prek into our schools and institutional short-comings will persist.
Watching said…
Lastly, the time to negotiate contracts is BEFORE hiring- not after.
Watching said…
"By the district’s OWN numbers, published in a Spring 2012 public Q&A document show that they have lost 2,778 students the past 5 years. Marysville School District Financial Officer Jim Baker continues to toss out a red-herring that is, apparently bought by the Marysville citizenry. His mantra is that the state has cut their budget by $2.4 million. "

The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Yikes!
Anonymous said…
Watching - if you look at the action report for Nyland, it says they will negotiate the contract, and then bring the contract back to the Board in January (read the motion on the first page).

Just sayin'
Anonymous said…

From a document attached the the 11/21/14 Friday Memo (Current Issues and Updates):

"Data Discrepancies
There have been several inquiries regarding the enrollment data the District
uses. Several departments reviewed questions submitted by a concerned
parent and provided the following responses:
• Significant drop in 9th grade enrollment
o Board policy 2420 outlines the promotion of students from one
grade level to the next. The policy was changed this summer so
that student promotion would be based on years in school
instead of only credits earned."

- North-end Mom
Anonymous said…
Hoping someone will be on hand at the board meeting to ask about the proposed Garfield teacher cut? Is it going forward? Has a teacher been named? Can we stop it?

Can we save the wonderful and unique Latin program at Garfield?

-fingers crossed
Anonymous said…
Weekly chimes in on the topic

The Seattle Schools Superintendent Debate in Three Parts

Anonymous said…
What if Nyland went to Peaslee, et al and said something like, "There's a lot of dysfunction in the central office. As interim, I really can't do anything about it or hold anyone accountable. I'd like to take action now, but I really need the authority, both real and perceived, to start making significant changes. As long as I'm interim, I simply can't get this done. That's fine. You know and I know the dysfunction that exists. You can do a search and wait for change to come, or you can hire me now and I'll make the changes now."

I'm only speculating, but is there a chance this is happening?

--- swk
Greenwoody said…
swk, that's certainly a possibility. But we'd need some hard evidence that this is the case. It would not be wise to base a decision as important as this on mere speculation. Even if it were true, that doesn't address the other concerns about Nyland's leadership - his coziness with the Gates Foundation, his support for charter schools, and so on.
Lynn said…
fingers crossed,

There are three people on the Public Testimony list who will address the Garfield staffing issue and three more speakers on the wait list.

Garfield's testing coordinator is going to talk about the graduation requirements waiver. I'd like to hear her address Garfield's policy of scheduling late start days for testing. This year classes are cancelled for 30 hours while various tests are given. For example, on February 4th and 5th the Math and Biology End of Course exams will be given to 10th, 11th and 12th grade students who have not yet passed them. School starts 3 hours late for everyone that day. This is a school-level decision and Garfield students miss more instructional hours for testing than any other students in the district.

Still to be determined - class schedules for two more days of testing...
Po3 said…
"The policy was changed this summer so that student promotion would be based on years in school
instead of only credits earned."

Make sense...except that I would then expect that the 10th grade enrollment figure would increase by the same number as the 9th grade decrease.

But that's just me...and my thought process.
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
@ swk, why does interim status mean Nyland can't make the changes necessary to clean up the mess downtown? If he can enter into multi- year agreements and sign off on all sorts of activities, why can't he also implement changes with his staff? Sure, some changes he initiates might be aborted if someone else takes over, but that's always true--and some things are aborted when folks stay , too. If he initiates positive changes, others might see them through whether he stays it goes.

Half Full
mirmac1 said…
The Garfield speakers should review this document. It shows ALL the FTE adjustments and the rationale.
Anonymous said…
If the Board votes to hire Nyland without a search, they should stipulate that funds saved by not having to hire a search firm should go towards funding the Garfield FTE.

- reality check
Anonymous said…
Is the continuity/stability meme being pushed as the reason to keep Nyland, more about preschool than K-12? The mayor needs a partner in SPS and HE would rather do business with Nyland rather than someone not yet hired. Nyland seems more interested in preschool than providing a Latin teacher at GHS. IMO K-12 will take a back seat for Nyland really wants to focus on the City's preschool program. hmmm.

From a November 19 press conference,

“We look forward to working with our partners from the City of Seattle to increase access to quality preschool programs,” said Dr. Larry Nyland, Seattle Public Schools interim superintendent. -

See more at:

Lynn said…

That document only shows the 12 FTE reduction staff recommended to the board. When the staffing standards are applied to every school, we are 61 FTE over. A working group of JSCEE staff determined that the district could eat the cost of all but 12 of those positions.

I've requested a list of schools that were not required to give up their teachers. I want to see how staff determined which schools should have to deal with the disruption two months into the school year.
SWK, good question because my research shows a different superintendent in Marysville than the interim one here. Is he waiting to have to job to clean house? You could hope so but there is zero indication of that.

He held no one accountable for the data breach nor the Gates Foundation grant.

These are things an interim can do and yet he didn't.

Perhaps, if he does end up with the job, he'll surprise us all. But that he is so cozy with the Mayor does not lead me to that conclusion.

Good question on where the money would go from no search.
Lynn said…
Directors Patu and Peters have submitted an amendment to Peaslee's motion that would offer a one year contract extension to Dr. Nyland.

Given that the search is behind schedule, that makes sense to me. They could ask him to clean house at JSCEE over the course of that year.

Looking forward to the board elections tonight.
Anonymous said…


Truly disturbing.

Precious "equity" has TOTALLY FLOWN OUT THE WINDOW!!!

Forget the WSS, apparently, staffing schools with teachers is a matter of personal value judgements. Why bother having the WSS then?

FINALLY, the basis for 2014-15 teacher FTE pulls/adds is 'revealed', via a public records request (why weren't they just made public with the announcement? WTF?)

What can the rest of us lowly schools do to get the "Hazel Wolf" treatment?

Madronna K8, with 290 children, was overstaffed by 3 teachers, they got to keep 2 extra teachers. 2/290 is .007 teacher extra per child.

Garfield with 1,586 students (really?, whatever), was overstaffed by 2 extra teachers, they got to keep 1. 1/1586 is .0006 extra teacher per child.

Drum roll please... and the winner is.... Hazel Wolf K8 with 711 students was/is overstaffed by 1.5 extra teachers, they got to keep them all! 1.5/711 is .002 extra teacher per child. They win!

Stevens, Sandpoint, McDonald, Highland Park, Lafayette, Madison, all got to keep .5 FTE extra.

Sansilo and Concord both got 'gifted' extra .5 FTE. Huh?

Who got screwed?

Mercer got short sheeted 1 FTE, and Middle College got shorted by .5 FTE.

Look at BF Day and Emerson, both schools have high F&RL, they were both suppose to get a 1 FTE pull, and, they both had a 1 FTE pull. Compare that to Hazel Wolf, suppose to get a 1.5 pull, but instead got given that 1.5 to keep. (On the "Equity Factor Points", BF Day is a 4.0; Emmerson is rated a 5.5, Hazel Wold is rated 0.5)

Makes it seem like the rumors about favoritism shown by a certain Board Director are true after all. Depressing. How else can this happen, where poor schools without a patron saint Director face the WSS data-driven rubric, but other schools get to deke out of the rubric and keep extra FTE? Extra FTE without any extraordinary circumstances (like Schmitz Park, having to run a school in a shanty-town portable farm)?

Do we schools need to hire a paid lobbyist to curry favor with Michael Tolley and Shauna Heath? Is it just a free-for-all wild-wild west? How do we get the...

Hazel Wolf Treatment

Anonymous said…
VNESS has come out in support of Nyland on their facebook page. If you remember, VNESS was the group that was created by a couple of NE parents who created VNESS as, allegedly, a group that represents the interests of all NE Parents. If you're interested in learning more about the parents behind VNESS, I believe their Facebook page is open and is at:

Looking at the "long description" under their ABOUT section of the page is helpful.

TEXT of the Facebook Post:

"SPS School Board is voting next Wednesday (12/10) on whether to offer Larry Nyland, our interim superintendent, the open superintendent position through June 2017. VNESS strongly supports hiring Nyland for the position. We believe his experience, local knowledge, current relationships and leadership strength will help provide much needed stability and management for the district. Pursuing an expensive national search ($85k) has historically produced unsuccessful candidates and costly instability.

Larry Nyland, a1966 graduate of Roosevelt High School who was born and raised in Seattle. Nyland was named state Superintendent of the Year in 2006 by the Washington Association of School Administrators and was one of four finalists for National Superintendent of the Year.

His experience includes:
Marysville School District, Superintendent
July 2004 – June 2013 (9 years)
Highline Public Schools, Chief Academic Officer / HR Director
1998 – 2004 (6 years)
Shoreline Schools, Superintendent
1997 – 1998 (1 year)
Pasco School District, Superintendent
1982 – 1992 (10 years)
SPS students have endured extremely volatile superintendent turnover in the district over the past 4 years…
Larry Nyland (current interim) 2014
Jose Banda (national search superintendent) 2012-2104
Noel Treat (interim) 2012
Susan Enfield (interim) 2011-2012
Maria Goodloe-Johnson (national search suprintendent) 2007-2011

Please join us in supporting Larry Nyland and more stable SPS leadership.

Email the school board today!"

Anonymous said…
Po3, the adjustments would happen all the way across grade levels. The total number of students doesn't show a loss like the grade level breakdown does.

Anonymous said…
What! VNESS supports a Sharon Peaslee initiative? Did Hell freeze over?!?

- reality check
Lynn said…

When the change in grade assignments happened, students were pulled out of the 9th grade into 10th, out of the 10th grade into 11th, etc.

This schedule shows last year's high school enrollment by credits earned (pages 1 and 2) and year of enrollment (pages 3 and 4.)
Anonymous said…
Perhaps Mr. Nyland has promised VNESS that he will make improvements to Eckstein a priority during his tenure?

I couldn't help but notice that the Board legislative priorities included capital funds for schools in distress, with emphasis on middle schools.

- VNESS cynic
cmj said…
North-end Mom, thank you for letting me know about the Friday Memo that addressed the missing 9th graders. Also, Lynn and Po3, feel free to correct me if I'm getting something wrong.

• Significant drop in 9th grade enrollment
o Board policy 2420 outlines the promotion of students from one
grade level to the next. The policy was changed this summer so
that student promotion would be based on years in school
instead of only credits earned

I don't quite understand their explanation. We could expect to see credit-deficient 10th graders (10th graders who don't have enough credits to be considered 10th graders) to be reclassified as 10th graders instead of 9th graders between September 1st and October 1st. The same effect would occur with grades 10/11 and 11/12. But we should expect the overall number of high school students to stay the same or increase (as it always does) between September and October. Instead, the district lost about 300 high school students. Even if we're re-classifying students by grade, the total number of high school students should be going up, not down.

I could also see Running Start as a potential culprit -- except that SPS students have been widely using Running Start for at least a decade.

Another possibility would be that advanced incoming 8th graders were getting treated as 9th graders (due to having extra credits) and then were reclassified as 9th graders -- except that wouldn't make sense. First, the drop in 9th graders is too big to be explained by a few students taking high school classes. Second (and I could be wrong here), I don't think SPS grants high school credit for any classes that 7th graders could have taken last year.
Lynn said…
High School headcount by month:

13,585 September
13,788 October
13,700 November

(Here's the report.
mirmac1 said…
Student Schedules and FTE Admission Status

All scheduling schools are required to have students completely scheduled to include placeholder courses by the first day of school. During YET, all student FTEs are reset to full time 25+ hours. On the evening of the first day of school, a once-a-year automatic Student FTE Admission Status “update” process will be performed. The student’s scheduled hours (minus placeholder courses) will be calculated and the FTE will be automatically adjusted on the Basic screen.

•Run the Free Period Analysis report to find student’s with incomplete schedules.

•Find students with less than full time FTE by running the SPS Enrollment Accounting Report or the SPS Student Locator Report.

•Once a student is fully scheduled, change the FTE on the Basic screen to the actual FTE.

On the morning of the 4th day, secondary schools will receive a list of the students whose scheduled hours does not match their FTE so the FTE can be changed before the official 4th day enrollment count at 9:00 p.m.

Running Start Students

must be in Grade 11 or 12 and have a full schedule of Placeholder classes. Full Time Running Start Student FTE Admission Status will be set to Zero (0). Research will programmatically remove full time Running Start students from the fourth day count.

Skills Center Students

SPS Resident Students are assigned to a Home School and Cross Enrolled to the Skills Center and non-resident Students are assigned to the Skills Center. Their combined FTE must not exceed 1.60. Skills Center Students who are also attending Running Start FTE may not exceed 0.20"
cmj said…
Lynn and Mirmac1, thanks for the info.

The "total number of high school students decreased between September and October" came from the OSPI data and a Friday memo from September that stated the high school enrollment to be an even 14000 (which is highly suspect).
Unknown said…
The truth is you don't know what is going to happen tomorrow. Life is a crazy ride, and nothing is guaranteed. See the link below for more info.

Unknown said…
Good article. I was really enjoyed reading your post. This is truly worthy to read. Good content and good information. God bless!

Unknown said…
I really enjoyed reading your article. I found this as an informative and interesting post, so i think it is very useful and knowledgeable. I would like to thank you for the effort you have made in writing this article.

Popular posts from this blog

Tuesday Open Thread

Seattle Public Schools and Their Principals

COVID Issues Heating up for Seattle Public Schools