Sunday, June 21, 2015

Questions about Friday Memo

The superintendent's Friday memos to the Board are still online - even if they are very hard to find. And they still make for interesting reading. The most recent one is no exception. Very interesting.

In this Friday memo to the Board, the Superintendent claims that the closure of the Middle College at High Point is NOT a program placement decision. No kidding. Here's the quote:
"This is an administrative program decision not a school closure decision or a program move."
That must be why the closure of the Middle College at High Point was not included in the quarterly program placement report.

It here that the Superintendent tells the Board about the need to spend money to build the Alder Academy. "I indicated that I would propose to you, the SPS board, that we split the $2M cost (with the caveat that SPS will need small annual payments over several years)."

This memo includes the interim report from the Title IX Task Force. It includes a number of recommendations. Oddly, there is no mention of any update of the Sexual Harassment Policy, nor any mention of compliance with any of the policies. I continue to find it odd that despite all of the lip service paid to how gravely and deeply everyone cares about sexual harassment and policy compliance, there doesn't appear to be anyone who cares that the District isn't following the policy. The policy requires an annual report. It's been years and the superintendent has yet to deliver the first annual report.

What are your favorite parts of this week's Friday Memo?


Anonymous said...

We have plans going forward in the MOU to address ongoing
concerns and continue to work toward return of the $3M withheld from this year’s Federal
funds. We will not have funds withheld for the coming year

OSPI does not have the authority to return the withheld funds. SPS and OSPI are playing games and acting with impunity in the face of the law. The RC-CAP has not forced SPS to implement one single improvement in "quality of services" aimed at improving academic outcomes for special education students.

Another wasted school year for most special education students.

Spinning wheels

Anonymous said...

I don't think the "school year was wasted for most special education students", that's a little bit of an exaggeration. But you are definitely right "Quality of services" has diminished. And not 1 thing in the (R)C-CAP, or son of C-CAP was ever really done. Hiring more than a 100 people in central office, and yet another consulting group that does absolutely nothing - except waste money of course. It would be one thing if all those central administrators didn't ever bother anybody, but they actually do muck things up. Wish we could just send them all to a big, vacation in Hawaii. They'd probably all cost the same - but at least they wouldn't mess anything else up.


Anonymous said...

Well it appears the Interagency is working towards consolidating all alternative ed in SPS.

There is the an alternative program in West Seattle and is right down the road in the Youngstown Arts Center.. it does largely the same thing.. put kids on computers to earn credits

Then we have Alder Academy which will have to expand with the growth of the jail that is being built..

And we have South Lake HS which is an excellent building in the South End so what is the problem with closing MCHS?

- Tax Payer

Anonymous said...

Hi Melissa,

I apologize in advance but I am unsure how to contact you directly with an idea for a new thread (and feel free to delete this one since it is unrelated). Last Tuesday (last day of school) I arrived at my nephew's talent show at Schmitz Park Elem and was greeted by a sign on the front door announcing that the pesticide Roundup had been applied to school grounds. I was shocked that this sort of thing still happens, even more so while children are still present. Is this common practice for all SPS locations? Have any concerns been raised in the past?


SE Mom

Anonymous said...

On a positive note, the Friday memo includes a couple of exterior photos of the Cedar Park renovation:



Anonymous said...

SE mom, there is a note included in the first day packets that allows parents to opt-in to notifications about pesticide use around their school. That leads me to believe it's not uncommon to use Roundup on school grounds.


Anonymous said...

"And we have South Lake HS which is an excellent building in the South End so what is the problem with closing MCHS -High Point?"

Tax Payer, this is about different models of alternative education for marginalized students. Interagency and South Lake are both different educational models than Middle College. Interagency and South Lake are both different from NOVA or Center School (officially a comprehensive high school), for example.

The Middle College model that started in 1970s at LaGuardia Community College and brought to Seattle is practiced by MCHS - High Point (High Point School for Social Justice and Community Engagement, formerly MCHS -SSCC) and MCHS - U.W. (Ida B. Wells School for Social Justice @ U.W.)is predicated on having marginalized students see themselves as college students, as being capable of intellectual development as scholars.
This is about the type of education that the students receive. Having a small school environment with a *serious* college preparatory focus is empowering for marginalized youth choosing this model, students who did not see themselves as ever graduating from high school, much less college. This focus allows these students begin to see that they have a responsibility to use their education, not just for themselves, but for humanity.

Ideally if the MC school site is not on a college campus, the site is not prevented from having a relationship with the nearest college campus.

MCHS - High Point was formerly on the SSCC campus for nearly 20 years *RENT FREE* until SPS (lack of)relations with SSCC caused the MCHS site to have to move. MCHS - SSCC generally had 100 - 130 students attending.

In May 2012 the community there was told that it was being closed. After school got out in June 2012, SPS announced that MCHS students in West Seattle would be collocated with elementary school students at the new Boren K - 5, a STEM school that parents had spent an entire year developing. The elementary school parents were not consulted; they were not happy so later that summer, Neighborhood House at High Point was determined to be a better location.

1)Why is SPS choosing not to engage with MCHS - High Point parents? Is it because many are not well-heeled that SPS feels that it does not need to meet with them or even with the teachers there?

2)Why is SPS consistently trying to destroy MCHS bit by bit?

Taking the bus from West Seattle to attend South Lake is not a short trip, especially during peak traffic.

--OldSchool Music

Anonymous said...

Old School Music,

So you teach or taught there? Visit or volunteer with any and/or all of them?

So you are familiar with all the curricula and what they are doing at each Interagency and at South Lake.

And I ride the bus. From West Seattle to Rainier Ave the 50 works. You can connect to light rail on MLK at Columbia City where an Interagency that thrives is or transfer to the 7 or 9 to get to South lake. Trip 45 minutes at any time of the day.

So again as the Interagency are so welcomed and acclaimed and there are 3 other MCHS that are there and have space there is a problem how?

- Tax Payer

Anonymous said...

"It seems to me the SW just has a huge chip on it's shoulders". Maybe, but I think this is part of the agenda to split the district up. Various SW entities keep the adversity card raised and throw it in our faces whenever possible. SPS keeps messing around with the SW schools provoking the parents. Parents in other SPS areas are tired of the problems and the complaints coming out of the central and south end. If this keeps up I can see the district being split within 5 years. Maybe there's already noway of preventing the split?

You know if there is a split, then the charters will easily take over the south end district, because they are very successful operating in that demographic.

I wonder who the mastermind is?

No Charters

Melissa Westbrook said...

SE Mom, it is true that parents get some notification early in the year but yes, they will use pesticides at schools. I know one school got the parents to weed just so the district would not use Roundup.

No Charters, I'll have more on your thoughts soon but yes, I think you are right.

mirmac1 said...


Preschool Enrollment Coordinator SALARY:
$26.23 - $30.53 Hourly

Seattle Municipal Tower, 700 5th Ave., Seattle, Washington

Classified Civil Service, Regular, Full-Time


Department of Education and Early Learning

Not represented

07/21/15 04:00 PM Pacific Time


The Seattle Department of Education & Early Learning’s mission is to ensure that all Seattle children have the greatest opportunity to succeed in school and in life and to graduate from school ready for college and a career. In order to make sure every child realizes this goal, we must provide access to high-quality early education to our city’s youngest learners, which is why Seattle has created the Seattle Preschool Program, which is a pilot program that aims to create a universal prekindergarten education. In order to ensure that all of Seattle’s families have access to this program, we need an organized, dedicated, and thoughtful Human Services Coordinator who can ensure that families have the knowledge, benefits, and support they need to enroll their children in pre-kindergarten education.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Miramac 1, you left out the most ludicrous part of that job description (partial):

Do you want to be part of this program? Here’s what you’ll need:
You will need to understand:
 The cultural and social context of children and families from all backgrounds

I'm sorry, how is that even possible?

Anonymous said...

They'll hire an ex-TFA wunderkind who will magically meet all of the job criteria because they are, after all, the "best and brightest".


mirmac1 said...

My bets are on Nathan Fitzpatrick (unless he has magically become head of all SPS hiring, which wouldn't surprise me)

Anonymous said...

Tax Payer,

Thanks for sharing the bus info. After I wrote the post, I then remembered # 50.
And yes, South Lake is very beautiful!

As a teacher in this district, I know and am connected with many colleagues at the schools you've mentioned. Yes, I am familiar with the curricula taught in the schools you mention.
I do not plan to divulge my identity so I will say no more.

If the concern is about the amount of money being paid for rent, I understand. That is a fair question.
The District could make nice with SSCC (how exactly did SPS mess up such a good deal as nearly 20 years of free rent at SSCC or SCCC?)?
As for those Interagency sites where SPS does pay rent, it would be useful to know how much that rent is. What type of deal does the District have for the Center School at Seattle Center?

My main concern is that SPS did not choose to engage with the families and community and does not seem to think they have to do so.
So, as the District has not yet seen fit to have a conversation with the MCHS - High Point families about the closure, should such a meeting ever happen, someone from the SPS could certainly discuss Interagency and South Lake as neither Interagency nor South Lake is listed as an option for MCHS - High Point students on the letter dated May 18th.

Was this an oversight? A meeting would clarify things.

Dr. Nyland's letter does state that students/families' two choices are to return to their original high school assignment (in this district or, if out of district, to attend their assigned school) or go to either of the other 3 MCHS sites.


--OldSchool Music