Seattle Schools This Week

Seen the new district website?  I haven't used it yet but I think it looks much better.  (I do think their Facebook/Twitter/Instagram section is too big and too prominent.  Also,  the district calendar is way too hard to find. And again, why do they call Enrollment "Admissions?")

Monday, June 1
Community Meeting with Director McLaren from 6-7 pm at the Southwest branch Library.

Tuesday, June 2nd
BTA IV Capital Levy Community Meeting from 6:30-8:30 pm at the JSCEE.

This is likely the ONLY community meeting until the fall so try to make it if you want to give input.  I suspect that after the meeting we will know the preliminary ideas for this levy.  My stand will be if more than one-third is for technology, I'm not supporting it.  You will likely be asked - after their draft plan is presented - to weigh in via e-mail.  I'll get that info for you later this week.

Wednesday, June 3
Board meeting starting at 4:15 pm at the JSCEE.  (There is to be a closed session of the Board immediately after the meeting is adjourned.)  Agenda

I want to note that supporters of Middle College High School at High Point will be there to show support for that program which the Superintendent has decided to close.  However, since this is a program placement, the Board will not be reviewing the ending of the program in this region of the district.  You do have to ask - re: the Strategic Plan - where the equity is in this move?  Separate thread to come.  
- contract with First Student for transportation for $26, 225,728.  Pet peeve for me: when staff sometimes puts the amounts on the agenda and when they don't.  Every single amount should be on the agenda.  One item of note here:

  1. The contract with First Student supported Board Policy H25.00 by expanding the use of alternative fuel (propane) to 15% of the fleet.
- more portables.  The district is purchasing 12-15 more for six schools for about $800K- $1.1M.   They also need between $900K-$1.3M for installation.  (The funding is from BEX III and BEX IV.  I'd have to go back and look but I don't recall BEX III having capacity management in it.)

- there's also a revamping of Policy No.3520 about student fees, charges, fines, restitution and damage deposit.  There's a whole new part about fines, damage to property and buses.  Students who are suspended because of damage they made will not be allowed to return to school until a fine is paid.  In adding in this new language on fines, it then repeals Policy D83.0 on fines.

- City of Seattle/SPS Partnership Agreement on Seattle Preschool Program.  Expect to see City Councilman Tim Burgess or even the Mayor show up at the meeting for this one.  My stand is still the same - despite a couple of tweaks, this is not a good agreement for the district.  It is still too vague.  I'll write up a separate thread on these issues in specific.  I hope the Board says no.

The "alternative" to not signing says this:

Do not approve this Partnership Agreement or authorize the Superintendent to sign. This is not
recommended because the Partnership Agreement is a prerequisite for receiving funds under the
levy. Failure to sign would mean the levy funds would not be available to the District.

Yes, there would be no levy funds but that would also mean the District decided not to participate in the Preschool Plan and therefore needs NO funds.  The District is not losing money if they don't participate.

- the District is receiving a grant from OSPI for math/science for middle school for $.1.5M for PD.  I note that in one place in this agenda staff complains about not enough bids fro RFPs but here they had too many - 14. But the District also had a team of 19(!) reviewers.

- we also see the introduction of the contract with Amplify in support of Common Core.  You remember this one - it's the one where staff says SBAC is not "fully transparent" and only provides "general" feedback but "not for specific standards and skills" and "teachers cannot view the test items" and cannot "inform teacher understanding of student depth of knowledge...or why students answered specific items incorrectly."  Hilarious.

- introduction of item to name the new Wilson Pacific school building from Woodrow Wilson School to Robert Eaglestaff Middle School. As well, there is the introduction to name the new Wilson Pacific school building for the elementary school as Cascadia Elementary School. ( You should check out the list of possible names.  I saw some surprises there.)

Thursday, June 4
Executive Committee Meeting of the Whole at JSCEE from 4-7:30 pm.  Agenda not yet available.

This is a committee meeting for all the directors and an exceptionally long one so I will be interested to see what topics they will be covering. 

Saturday, June 6
Community Meeting with Director Peters from 11am to 1 pm at the Magnolia Library.


McLaren Sez: said…

The district seeks to close W. Seattle's alternative learning program, and put students into a large comprehensive high school and/or transport these students (cost??) to north Seattle. Martha McLaren has become a rubber stamp for the school district. Here are her comments regarding Middle College, which is in her district:

"I had been briefed by Alonzo and visited the SSCC site in 2012, and have regularly visited and/or maintained contact since the move to HP, and have advocated for MCHS in the southwest area ever since. There have been various issues in the last two years that have indicated to me that the strength of our program was in question by district. My main way of addressing this has been to make absolutely sure that district leaders were hearing all sides — to facilitate communication. At various points, MCHS staff members maintained that they had not been given adequate chance to meet with leadership; although I couldn’t force meetings, I did make sure, with MCHP staff permission, that their communications were seen by district leadership, and did repeatedly remind our leaders of the value the community places on the program. I think I’ve heard of a recent meeting between MCHP staff and district leaders, but am not sure.

"As far as the closure announcement: I learned over a month ago, I think, that staff had been told not to enroll for MCHP for next year. I was told that enrollment had been down, but I don’t have figures. At that time, I pushed with inquiries about the future of the program; there were enough issues that I couldn’t make a strong case against the impending decision to close the site. Staff knows that I am adamant that SPS needs to find a way to serve the kinds of students who have thrived at MCHP."

Fortunately, Leslie Harris for School Board, is running for McLaren's seat.
Voters said: said…
"Yes, there would be no levy funds but that would also mean the District decided not to participate in the Preschool Plan and therefore needs NO funds. The District is not losing money if they don't participate."

Voters approved Family and Education dollars for schools. Does this meant that the city would not provide schools with voter approved dollars?
No Voters, we are not talking about F&E levy funds. We are talking about Seattle Pre-K funds.
I did find Director McLaren's statement on Middle College wan. She says she's told enrollment is down but doesn't have the figures. Why not?
Voters Said said…
Family and Education dollars are linked to pre-k classes. The city wants prek as a part of receiving Family and Education dollars.

The city also wants prek-3rd grade alignment to prevent "fade-out" effect. The district is perfectly capable of handling alignment and does not need the city to insert themselves into K-3. The city has acted poorly with Sandpoint Elementary and there is no reason to believe we won't see more of the same.
mirmac1 said…
There already are 27 FEL PreKs in district buildings. As far as I'm concerned they will continue to receive FEL dollars or get kicked out. Then maybe SpEd PreKs can be moved from the Old Van Asselt "support facility" into a real school with real staff and real resources. Or maybe we could spend less real money on portables etc.
NW Mom said…
Thank you for the link to the suggested names for Wilson-Pacific. I got a chuckle out of some.
Anonymous said…
Friday memos (and their associated docs) are no longer available on the new SPS website, with the exception of the most recent week. Does anyone know if those are gone for good, or just late in migration? It would be a shame to no longer have that info, since it's often the first place anything is announced or explained.

Also, just noting my annoyance here... I knew the Fusion pages would be gone, so we were instructed to communicate directly with teachers via email. However, staff lists on the school websites haven't been completed yet. Wouldn't you think that if you're directing people to communicate by email you'd make sure to have all the email addresses easily available to people?

Half Full
Lynn said…
The board office is aware that those documents have disappeared. It's a temporary problem. The archives section of the board web page now says PLEASE NOTE: Due to the transition to the new website on June 1, 2015, the document links on the archive sheets for each year are not currently functioning, as the files have not yet been migrated from the former website. If you need immediate access to a document, please contact Kathie Pham at with the date and file name.
Anonymous said…
The fonts are bigger, making navigation on a tablet much easier.
-west parent
Unknown said…
Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. See the link below for more info.


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