Tuesday Open Thread


KissingUpToMedia said…
LEV is hosting a breakfast and Frank Blethen will moderate. Nice of LEV to lasso Blethen.

Anonymous said…
Alternative Schools.

Looking at the history of alternative ed in Seattle is rather interesting.

Whatever happened to the Seahawk Academy?

Why did Marshall close exactly?

What was the reasoning for the Summit K-12 closure

Why did South Lake and South Shore get such maginificant buildings why Rainier Beach sits under-utilized.

Why was Sharples closed and re-named Aki Kurose another under utilized school?

Why was Madrona re-built its logistics are terrible for housing a K-8 yet was?

What was Operation Skyway? Is it still that?

What is the difference between the Middle Colleges and the Interagencies?

Why was Meany closed? Why did they integrate the World School and Nova there?

Why was Lincoln closed and yet the building lives on?

What is Pathfinder? Whatever happened to the Native American school?

Where is Pinehurst aka Licton Springs going as the old Jane Addams now Hazel Wolf is going in that building?

Lots of money poors into these programs, building sites and closures only to re-open them?

Who is accountable?

_ Just Curious
mirmac1 said…
Hi Melissa!!! <3<3
Po3 said…
Very nice to "see" you Melissa.

Testing. Testing.

New chart outlines High school test, pretty clearly I might add.

Except for a couple of things:
*Tenth-graders in the graduation classes of 2017 and 2018 who score high enough on the Smarter Balanced ELA will not need to take the test again in 11th grade.

What is high enough?


In 2014-15, Washington state requires all juniors to take Smarter Balanced tests, the state assessments in ELA and math that match our College and
Career Readiness Standards (Common Core). These tests help teachers measure how well students are meeting these standards.

Do 11th graders have to sit for this test to earn a diploma? Or is this just a way to get students sit for the test just to "test the test" before it is required at 11th grade to graduate? (starting in 2019)
Anonymous said…
Welcome back, Melissa. My condolences.

I can't speak to all the others, but "Just Curious", it is Opportunity Skyway, part of the Interagency program. My son was a student there many years ago and it saved his life and turned him around. He was inspired by one of his instructors to not only take up welding but to join the military and is a successful young adult now. I believe back then King County was also involved-I don't know if that is still the case. Whatever the district spends at this school, it is worth it. Lives are saved.

Anonymous said…
Welcome back Melissa! I saw your tweets last night and wondered if you might pop back in.

Anonymous said…

Is that the program there today? Is that what is going on in Operation Skyway right now in Georgetown?

Visited it lately? Know anyone who is enrolled there today?

-Just Curious
GarfieldMom said…
Garfield and Washington just switched from Fusion to a new system called Edline. It hasn't gone smoothly so far for us. Wondering about other parents' experiences.

Interesting part is what my student told me he was told about why they switched. He said the district was sued by parents of students with visual impairment, because Fusion is inaccessible for the visually impaired. And the district knew that when they chose Fusion. The switch only applies to Garfield and Washington because those are the schools attended by the students of the family. The notice we got specifically stated "As an added benefit, the new site is now fully ADA-accessible."

I don't know if the district plans to roll out the new system to all schools, but I would say if you have a child unable to use Fusion due to disabilities, you might want to make some phone calls.
HB 2048 said…
Sharon Tomiko-Santos and Eric Pettigrew spoke in favor of splitting the district. Santos Tomikos claims the district has showed a "beingn neglect" towards the south end schools. What is "benign" neglect? Very disrespectful of those that spend enormous amounts of time supporting south end schools!

The manner in which proposed division of district is uncertain. It is possible for district to be split by "grades".

Gerry Pollet asked about expectation of involving community. Tomiko Santos answer was basically- nothing. A task force will be assigned; the state will use the Educational Service district. The ESD report and recommendation to be given to the Legislature.

It is time for Tomiko-Santos to be voted- out of office. The lack of respect for community is shameful.
HB 2048 said…
It should be noted that Pettigrew and Tomiko-Santos put an emergency clause into HB 2048. This is an abuse of the emergency clause and will disallow citizens from weighing in via the referendum process.

Hugs, Melissa.
Anonymous said…
@Garfield Mom, SPS was sued by an attorney for the DOE's Office of Civil Rights after the district repeatedly ignored her requests to make its site ADA compatible, as it is required to do. Her three children attend school at SPS and she was unable to access the website. The district was given over a year to comply to requests, and it chose not to, so the attorney sued. Why would the district ignore the requests of a blind attorney for the Office of Civil Rights? Because it is a district which routinely chooses litigation over compliance for persons with disabilities. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

Fed Up
NoHB2048 said…
There was a long line of individuals testifying in opposition of HB2048 which included the Seattle Council PTSA Stephan Blanford, Melissa Westbrook, Washington State School Directors Association and more.

Themes revolved around the fact that we are not having a discussion. The abuse of the "emergency clause" would make this bill a law, and there has been a stunning lack of community involvement.

Last night Tomiko-Santos's district voted inopposition to HB 2048
Anonymous said…
Just Curious, it is still listed as a working program with an aviation connection which it was when my son was there. The class either built or repaired a small prop plane. I drive by that area occasionally and it appears to be open. My son is almost 30 so I do not know anyone there now.

Anonymous said…
It is true that the need to comply with ADA regulations was brought up repeatedly by both lower level staff and outside advisors to the SPS head of technology (at that time) when sourcing the district's current website content management system.

Of course, that SPS tech head is long gone, the superintendent's full staff has turned over a couple of times, and the project was awarded to a company who did not at that time nor at any time since provide the federally mandated service.

Anyone who works at the intersection of tech and govt.-funded education knows that the site should have been ADA compliant. SPS shirked its duty and deserved to be sued. Sadly, this means hundreds of hours of wasted time and potentially tens of thousands of dollars of wasted money redoing the site yet again, not to mention the inevitable horrid customer service that will happen when the user interface changes again, documents are "disappeared" from the existing site, yadda yadda.

HB 2048 said…
Sharon Tomiko-Santos and Eric Pettigrew sponsored HB 2048 to separate the district, abuses the "emergency clause", and did not include the community. This bill impacts 52,000 students. She did, however, provide TEN minutes for public comment. Shocking.
HB 2048 said…
Jonathan Knapp testified in opposition to HB 2048. When HB 2048 were brought to the attention of the teachers- they were shocked. You would think that the state would want input from the teachers. Wow.
Anonymous said…
The dog and pony show reminds me of what Al Franken once joked about witness testimony concerning torture allegations:

"Why is it that every time a witness testifies, Dick Cheney has his hand on their back and his water glass in front of his mouth?"

Great visual for what's going on here? Who actually wrote these bills, with who's consult, input and direction? LEV? Stand for Children? Or that mysterious new org DeBell is now part of? WSDWG
HB 2048 said…
Last update:

Ken Goetch showed-up to testify on HB 2048,It was very nice of him to make the trek to Olympia. Unfortunately, he wasn't one of the lucky few to make it into the TEN minute comment period. I would have liked to hear a fiscal analysis.
Anonymous said…
Speaking of SPS adapting for the visually impaired, my daughter had to start opting out of MAP testing in middle school because my daughter could not enlarge the text online. She was able to take it with enlarged text in elementary school because they used Macs, so the computer allowed enlargements. Maybe it's a nice excuse for her to not have to take a controversial test, but I was surprised when we were advised to opt her out.

She's told me that you can zoom in on the Smarter Balanced tests as they took a practice one a couple months ago.

NE Mom of 3
Anonymous said…
Has there been any discussion of levy equalization dollars in the school split proposal? I would think, depending on the math, you might want to split it in such a way the one of the new districts gets some of that money. And I would imagine the east side would not like that. Just curious if that has been talked about.

Woefully_bad_at _math

GarfieldMom said…
Thank you FedUp and Insider for your clarifications on the ADA-accessibility changes. I was frustrated that they would introduce a new system mid-year, but now that I know it allows someone access that they are guaranteed and should have had a long time ago, my frustration seems minor.
Parent said…
This report from Michigan Education Report,2008, reminds me of what is going on in our Seattle schools today:

"Each year, serious injuries are inflicted on school staff
by special education students whose violent behavior
is often substantially related to or caused by their
disability. In the past several years, MEA members
have suffered injuries including broken teeth, scratched
corneas, dislocated jaws, disabling spinal injuries, bites,
scratches, and bruises, among others. Among the
primary reasons that teachers and paras are repeatedly
injured by the same student is misunderstanding on
the part of the school district about whether students
with disabilities can be removed for safety reasons. Even if a staff person’s injuries do not require medical
attention, where the aggressive behavior is repeated
throughout the day, every day, the constant anxiety
associated with the fear of the being hurt causes
teachers and other staff to suffer psychological injury
and burnout.If any student, whether in special or regular education,
attacks any staff member, the staff member may report
the attack to police and can seek to press charges
against the student, whether or not the attack resulted
in physical injury. Staff may also call police if they
witness an attack by a student.
Similarly, if any student threatens the staff member or
someone else, the staff member may call the police to
report the threat.Injuries, both physical and psychological, to staff
and students by special education students must not
be tolerated. The degree to which public schools
provide a safe teaching and learning environment
depends on a number of factors, including 1) whether
administrators, staff, parents and communities
remain in a state of denial about violent behavior and
the injuries inflicted on others by special education
students because of their disabilities; 2) the degree to
which school administrators and staff work together to find solutions rather than tolerate violent special
education students’ behaviors; 3) the education of the
community about the existence of special education
student’s violent behaviors and the resulting injuries
to staff and students; 4) the determination of the
community to provide the programs, resources, and
personnel with sufficient appropriate expertise to
teach students to stop violent behaviors; and 5) the
willingness and ability of school districts to make
available the continuum of placements for special
education students required under the IDEA."

Seattle Public Schools you need to do a better job of teaching your Special Education Students and stop putting them into situations that put the safety of teachers and the regular ed students at risk. Tell the district to do the right things and fund our schools so that this violence will stop. We parents will fight to make this right. Stop setting up schools, teachers, special ed for failure and creating a scary and fearful environment for all of our children. End this now. Get off your and start taking this seriously. Now.
Unknown said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
mirmac1 said…
More problems at our first charter school:

Anonymous said…
A friend from Colorado just posted this link that shows immunization compliance rates at each school in the state. The numbers are shockingly low. Does such a site exist for Washington state?

I was stunned to learn recently that no immunization compliance is required by SPS. They send out notices to let you know about required/missing shots and ask for a form to be returned to prove the vaccinations have been administered, but they don't do anything beyond that. Why not?

Our rates could be as low as those in many of the schools listed on the Colorado site for all we know. My friend has a daughter with a compromised immune system, and they learned through this site that her school has a 37% compliance rate. They're now reluctantly looking at changing schools.

If anyone knows of a compliance list for Washington state, please post it.

-SPS parent
Anonymous said…
Sorry- here's the link:

-SPS parent
Anonymous said…
So...just say that the wish to divide the district by some comes true. To the south we have Highline poised to join forces and spread their pro-charter, ed-deformer, 'yay! tie student scores to teacher pay/firing, Arne Duncan ass-kissing, Race to the Top loving admin. into the southend.

Enfield is grooming it. In the Seattle Times today she is quoted as saying "Our job now is to find a solution to our overcrowding that is least harmful to our students...we will have to consider portables on play fields, double-shifting, and busing students out of their neighborhoods." Ouch! Maybe you can go back to DC and get some advice. Or... you could see if Seattle will split in two and share!

-my crazy ideas come true too often
Lara said…
Melissa, if you are reading...
My deepest condolences to you and your family. Unfathomable your loss and please know there are many in this community sending heartfelt wishes to you. Beyond sorry for your loss.
Anonymous said…
SPS parent,
SPS facebook page and the Times had posts recently. Is this what you want?



other sites

Po3 said…
-my crazy ideas come true too often,

I think you are taking that quote out of context. Enfield was talking about how to handle the district growth in relation to the two failed bond measures.

If voters won't pony up to build or refurbish schools to make room for students, the district needs to find other solutions. I see nothing sinister in her response.

What solutions would you have on the table if you were in this position?
Anonymous said…
"Because it is a district which routinely chooses litigation over compliance for persons with disabilities. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid."

This is true, I'm heading to court this Friday. Again, SPS failed to comply with an order from the OCR, twice. Now SPS will possibly paying 2-3 hundred thousand dollars, plus punitive damages. We attempted to settle asking only for SPS to follow the law, they refused and now they will most likely pay and also lose a few teachers for at least 6 months. Bad Risk Management points straight at SPS legal.

Risk Management
Anonymous said…
immunization rates for SPS:


Cold Elephant
Anonymous said…
The waste going on at Wilson Pacific as they ready for demolition is staggering. Dumpsters full of usable furniture are out front. Inside the building are amazing built-ins of solid wood, plus solid doors and cabinets, a great gym floor, etc... it is so disheartening to see this level of waste. I don't understand why the district won't call a place like Seattle Building Salvage or Second Use to come through and get that stuff before the building falls. Or maybe that is standard protocol and I just don't know about it? I spoke with one SPS employee who said they can't give away stuff like student tables and chairs because it belongs to the district and was paid for by taxpayers. I fail to see how sending it to a landfill is a better solution.
--waste not
Anonymous said…
The waste going on at Wilson Pacific as they get ready for demolition of the building is staggering. Usable furniture--desks, chairs, tables, etc.--have been filling up dumpsters out front. There are all these amazing built-ins, cabinets, solid doors and wood floors inside the buildings. I don't understand why the district doesn't call on a company like Seattle Building Salvage or Second Use to come through and get what they can out before demolition. Maybe they do and I just don't know about it? I asked one SPS employee who was dumping stuff and he said they can't give anything away because it's district property paid for by taxpayers. I fail to see how sending it to a landfill is a better solution than donating it. Am I naive to think there is a better way than how the district is doing it?
--waste not
Anonymous said…
@katydid and @coldelephant- Thank you for the links re. immunization!

-SPS parent
Anonymous said…
What? How do you explain posts like this:

Second Use has salvaged 44 pallets of glass blocks from the Chief Sealth High School gym. 8/3/11

or this:

THIS BLACKBOARD was salvaged by the RE Store from Garfield High School's chemistry labs as part of the school's major renovation, completed two years ago. The school opened in 1923, and this piece is likely just as old. 9/25/10

Anonymous said…
On the Re Use website, salvage work history includes:

Hamilton Middle School (2008)
Garfield High School (2006)
Cleveland High School (2005)
Roosevelt High School (2004)
Madison Middle School (2003)


Anonymous said…
Just read the Seattle Times front page article on the charter commission's first approved school. The school is a mess and the state charter approval process apparently was slipshod. The reader comments are brutal and rightly so.

As a couple posters point out, this has happened under Sundquist's 'leadership'. A heaping helping of We Told You Sos from this blog's longtime readers seems in order today.

Anonymous said…
The City of Seattle sells items they no longer needs as surplus, and the money goes back to the City: http://www.seattle.gov/business-in-seattle/doing-business-with-the-city/city-surplus This would seem to be the correct solution to not giving things away as they are yax-payer funded. I wonder whether the school distict does the same (and if not, why not)?

Mom of 4
Patrick said…
Waste Not, state agencies cannot give away state property to individuals or companies, but they can get bids from companies to take salvage for resale or reuse. I assume the School District is the same. No idea why that's not happening at WP -- lack of time maybe?

Anonymous said…
Interesting re: the Salvage issue - I know I too have seen school salvage materials available so clearly either something changed or someone doesn't know what they are doing (gee, wonder which it is ;)

If it's in the dumpster than does that mean someone can just go rescue it? Weird.

Linh-Co said…
Nice to have you back Melissa.
mirmac1 said…
Arbor Heights was dismantled by hand (just about) to recycle windows etc. And the school was pretty much a dump to begin with. So I believe it is happening. Contractor's make money selling salvage.
mirmac1 said…
Interesting Work Session today. I'm wondering what do Eric Andersen and Clover Codd know about "opportunity gaps" Looks like more scatter plots and graphs showing that, yes, there are gaps. Not a whole lot of insight into how SPS is closing opportunity gaps.
Anonymous said…
If I was a privatizing and Big Data feeding kind of reformer, I'd sideline Steve Sundquist. He's not delivering. Seriously, if this is way to go, then really make it work. This level of incompetence and WTFever is the same type of crap that exists at JSIS, and the legislature allows it to fester.

If charters as currently allowed in WA are supposed to solve our problems, then where's the money required to make this work? If you continue starving public schools while introducing competition for the same pool of funds, with a built in kick back, you're not aiming to "fix" the problem.

We have an ongoing, institutional refusal to fully fund education. We solve nothing by accepting this refusal as the best way to educate a successful society.

Anonymous said…
Does anyone know the where the later start times for high schools proposal is? We were told that it might start this upcoming fall, but I've heard nothing (and can't find anything new).

Also, I really wish that the descriptions of the Middle College program were better. Our daughter's current academic counselor describes it as for bright, committed students who want a smaller, alternative setting. The websites for MC describe the program for "at-risk" kids--which is not what my daughter is. Gack.


Roosevelt Mom
Watching said…
As we know, Seattle's mayor- Ed Murray- considers governance changes within Seattle Public Schools and he has a history of drafting legislation for appointed school boards.

It is interesting to note that Murray seeks to hire Jesus Aguirre as Superintendent of {arks.

It is interesting to note that Murray's pick- Arguirre- was a former science teacher, has executive experience with Teach for America in NY, owned a charter school- which was closed due to federal non compliance, worked under Michelle Rhee in operations and was appointed Superintendent of Education in DC.

Interesting choice.

Stop Them! said…
Amplify testing going on; computers crashed. Math tests require teachers to give-up TWO periods.
Catherine said…
So we now have an MPD, which is equally unaccountable to the public as the zoo, and the mayor decides suggesting someone who can't comply with pretty straight forward reporting requirements is a good choice....

Are you kidding me? Is it April 1 already?
Anonymous said…
Roosevelt Mom

Later start times for high school?


You have a better chance winning a lottery.

President Peaslee totally snowed everyone with her babble last year. However, she did manage to screw up bell times for those on the last tier. And, deny a middle school from starting on the appropriate tier (all so that she could move her precious K8 from the 1st tier - where elementaries belong - to the middle tier - SWEET!).

With Director Carr in charge (what staff wants, staff gets) (oooh! the money, the money!), no bell time 'flip' is going to happen anytime soon. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

But, all of the sleep doctors, keep plugging away. You are on the side of the angles. Eventually, they will get it right, but, not without skillful, credentialed advocates.

Ed said…
Ron English placed on Administrative Leave.
Elsa said…
Hope they let HIM twist for YEARS the way they do plebes in District employ.
Anonymous said…
Roosevelt Mom

MCHS are at risk kids, kids who do not like conventional academics. They do most of their work online and have a self directed concept of what they need to finish to graduate.

Each of them have slightly different approaches and that allows for some variation of a theme. But they are Interagency "lite" meaning less at risk more tuned out to conventional settings academically.

- In the know
Anonymous said…
Is the English situation a run-out of the McWilliams situation? Wasn't he shown to be turning a blind eye there?

Watching said…
"So we now have an MPD, which is equally unaccountable to the public as the zoo, and the mayor decides suggesting someone who can't comply with pretty straight forward reporting requirements is a good choice.... "

Catherine makes an excellent point. Another reason to disallow the mayor of Seattle- Ed Murray- from appointing school board members.

Of course, we know that he is carrying-out the work of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the League of Education voters.

Is it the intention of Ed Murray to use the parks and recreation department to install charter school prek programs?
Ann D said…
The Seattle Times decided to just about abandon its traditionally somewhat biased local coverage of Seattle Schools for an experimental partnership - The Education Lab. This "year long" project started in October 2013 and is still going strong evidently.

I've noticed that a lot of local schools news that should have been covered (capacity, has not been as this "solutions journalism" approach seems to restrict the coverage to aspirational topics.

Anyone else looking for our local paper of record to actually do some regular education reporting?
Anonymous said…
So ... Tomiko is Sharon Santos' middle name. Not part of her last name. Since she is mentioned often, I just thought some on here might want to know.

Anonymous said…
Melissa, welcome back!

Re Just Curious and Alternative Schools:
What is the difference between the Middle Colleges and the Interagencies?

Re Roosevelt Mom: "Also, I really wish that the descriptions of the Middle College program were better. Our daughter's current academic counselor describes it as for bright, committed students who want a smaller, alternative setting. "

It used to be that young people who were expelled from regular schools went to Sharples (now Southlake) or Marshall.
There were also other programs at Sharples and Marshall including GED programs, young parents trying to finish school, etc. Night School was there as well.

I remember this story about Interagency:

Interagency is a last chance opportunity for young people who are at risk. There are also programs for incarcerated youth.

The Middle College concept started in 1974 in New York. Seattle's Middle College High School was inspired by this project. The idea is to increase the numbers of youth going on to AND completing college. Seattle's MCHS started in the early 1990s at Seattle Central Community College; additional MCHS branches were created over time.

Each Middle College site or program in the district is very different. There are currently four sites. The one on the U.W. campus (created nearly 20 years ago) is for 11th and 12th graders; it follows the principles of the original MCHS concept. It is college preparatory and was created for students who'd be the first generation to graduate from high school and attend college (Students don't have to be the first generation).

People I know whose kids went there were really interested in having a smaller learning environment.

The newest branch is at Seattle University.

The site that was at South Seattle Community College was for youth interested in the trades, especially as these opportunities no longer exist in the comprehensive high schools.

It would be lovely to have a thread about the disappearing of/lack of support for alternative programs in Seattle.
One size fits all does not work for all students.

Interestingly enough Seattle had all of these opportunities BEFORE the invention of charter schools. How many of these schools/programs are left?

Just Curious (and Roosevelt Mom), thanks for the post!

Just Curious, one more question to add to your list:
What does Night School in the District no longer exist? It was well -used by those youth needing it.
There was one in the Northend (@Marshall) and another in the Southend (Sharples building).

--Modern Sound
Anonymous said…
Oops, that would be
**WHY does Night School in the District no longer exist?**
Sorry for that!

--Modern Sound
Anonymous said…
Modern Sound,

The MCHS once at SSC is now at Highpoint Neighborhood Center. As for college prep I don't think that is what they do now. It is like Interagency where they mostly do online work and some of the schools do have them do some other work but it is still largely online.

As in all the MCHS schools they have a flexible enrollment as many drop in/out for credits.

The former night school which was relocated to Lincoln after Marshall closed and the summer school programs (placed in varying schools) were cut for budget reasons 2 years ago and the idea is that the can be funneled to intergency, MCHS or South Lake

Sharples closed and became Aki and in turn moved to a location in West Seattle for a few years until the new location was created. It like many of the alternative programs are mini fifedoms of the women admins who run them... as was the Seahawk Academy.

Marshall was closed like Summit with no real plan and no respect to staff, the same as African American Academy and the Hertigate Academy (which after their dynamic leader died it left it foundering w/out an advocate) Some staff remain scattered throughout the system many don't.

Instead of quoting the press releases and materials online go to these schools and see for yourself what they do, who they serve.

- In the know

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