Tuesday Open Thread

The Seattle Times is reporting that the previously-desired-by-the-District Federal Reserve Building may somehow rise taller under its new owner, Martin Selig.  The article also corrects/contradicts earlier reporting that the roof was part of the historic landmark status; it's not.  Reading what has to be done in order to build higher is pretty much convincing evidence that SPS could not have made this into a school.

KING-5 story on the installation of geothermal heating at Adams.

It's something the district says is becoming its new standard.  

The district anticipates $30,000 of savings on energy reduction every year for Adams Elementary.

Is it?  I think maybe a goal as it's pretty expensive to do.  Otherwise, the district would be doing this at all the new or renovated buildings.  As for that second statement, I'll have to ask.  Because when they did this at HIMS, we were told the savings wouldn't be realized for at least a decade.

Want to see something completely heartbreaking at a school?  It's a kid in Kentucky being handcuffed by a school resource officer for bad behavior.  But because the cuffs are too big, the cuffs are up the child's arms, behind his back, therefore pulling on him harder than if he were just cuffed at the wrists.  The ACLU is helping the families sue.

The groups say that law enforcement in schools must be trained on how to work with children with disabilities and trauma. Learning de-escalation skills should be as common as fire drills for schools and any law enforcement officers who serve them

In much better news, the Connecticut News Project reports that President Obama has chosen a nationally recognized expert, Dr. James P. Comer, to join an Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans.  

Comer said he will stress to the committee the central importance of child development in helping disadvantaged minority kids succeed.

“The modern school reform movement that focuses on math and reading,” Comer said, “misses what schools are about. Schools are to prepare students to be successful in life.”

In an update from my previous reporting about upcoming SPS meetings, there is indeed an Executive Committee Meeting on Thursday, August 13th and it is a regular committee meeting, not one of the Whole.  Still no agendas for the three Board committee meetings next week.

Normally, this is the point where I would say, what's on your mind?  But I need to add that for the next couple of days to a week, I'll be moderating comments.  It certainly isn't my first choice but it's necessary for now. 


Anonymous said…
Do you think we will see some movement on the waitlist after August 7th when enrollment returns? So far from what I can tell, Hale's is the only waitlist that has been reduced. Hale was allowed to let in 30 freshman of the 42 freshman on the waitlist. There has been little movement in the other grades or categories. I haven't noticed any real movement on any of the other high school lists.

SPS Mom said…
Surprised that the geothermal wells and heat recovery and ground loop heat pump system going in at the Pinehurst site wasn't mentioned. I'm quite sure that the same set up is being used at other new buildings going in as well.

Source: http://bex.seattleschools.org/bex-iv/pinehurst-school/
Eric B said…
A couple of reasons the new geothermal at Adams may have a faster payoff than HIMS:

This technology has gotten a lot more common, so it's probably cheaper from both economies of scale and for finding enough contractors to have a really competitive bid.

There may be different tax or other incentives for doing this. I don't remember WA rules, but something like waiving sales tax makes a huge difference.

$30K/year may still be a decade-long payoff period. The district may have chosen a different length of payoff periods to make a project worth it. This is all speculation, but I know that my co-workers installing solar panels now are getting about 2.5X the installed power for the same price as ones installed 5-6 years ago. I'm a little surprised more SPS projects don't include a smallish (~10 kW) solar array.
Anonymous said…
Also in Connecticut here is what is happening with pre-schools.

Universal preschool: Reality falling far short of vision

It was an ambitious plan: the state would provide the funding necessary to guarantee every child access to a high-quality preschool.

“Let’s commit Connecticut to achieving universal pre-kindergarten,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy told legislators during his State of the State speech last year.

....... And then reality hit.

Just 22 of 123 eligible school districts applied for the funding.

“We considered it for about 30 seconds,” said Merrill Gay, a member of New Britain’s school board and the executive director of the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance, which represents early care providers across the state. “It wasn’t that good of a deal.”

The state on Monday awarded districts $1.6 million of the $15 million available — and no more is expected to be given out before the fiscal year ends in seven weeks.

-- Dan Dempsey
Anonymous said…
In Connecticut

The commission is tasked with “improving educational outcomes for African Americans to ensure that all African Americans receive an education that prepares them for college, productive careers, and satisfying lives.”

Yale's James P. Comer tells us he will stress to the committee the central importance of child development in helping disadvantaged minority kids succeed.

The modern school reform movement that focuses on math and reading,” Comer said, “misses what schools are about. Schools are to prepare students to be successful in life.”

Please contrast what Comer says with WA State's "Career and College Ready" edicts. In my opinion this huge thrust for college ready is "missing what schools are about" and in doing so does not prepare all students to lead successful lives.

"College and/or Career Ready" should replace "College and Career Ready" thinking.

Here is another Commission, will it be any more productive than its predecessors?

--To improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data. Can this commission do that?

-- Dan Dempsey
Anonymous said…
The footage of the student in cuffs is beyond heartbreaking. My son told me that the special ed staff at his elementary school sometimes threatened to call the police when students misbehaved. (This was in a semi-self-contained classroom.) And now that I think of it, twice this past school year there was a police car parked in front of the school when I came to pick up. How involved are the police in our schools here in Seattle?

- Gemini
mirmac1 said…
Too Much Gemini. It's ridiculous.
Eric B said: There may be different tax or other incentives for doing this. I don't remember WA rules, but something like waiving sales tax makes a huge difference.

My husband is an energy analyst for City Light; his job is to "give away" money for commercial buildings to either install (new construction) or convert to more energy-efficient systems—everything from HVAC units to lightbulbs. SPS is not his customer, but I'll bet they are one of his coworkers'. It is likely the District got a nice subsidy to do this, though I am not certain they participated in City Light's program.
That story out of Kentucky is appalling and quite disturbing. Glad to see the ACLU is taking the lead in fighting for justice. Shackling kids is never acceptable.
TALFan said…
I'm so moved by this story from This American Life on education and segregation. http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/562/the-problem-we-all-live-with
Dr Kate said…
We just got moved off of our wait list (and into the school) at our elementary - so things are starting to move. I found it interesting that we were contacted via E-mail to ask if we wanted the spot.
Ragweed said…
The story in Kentucky reminds me of an article in Indian Country Today Media Network about a pair of child-sized handcuffs that were made for US military agents taking Native American children to boarding schools in the late 19th and early 20th Century.
RosieReader said…
HP, a HS principal told me that Hale's wait list got moved because it was under enrolled. But even though many of us would assume there would be an automatic domino effect in such a situation, in fact the other HS wait lists would not be moved. Instead, by not moving their wait lists, the district slightly reduces their heavy loads.

Don't know if this is true, but it does match what the facts currently demonstrate.
Charlie Mas said…
The district uses a mysterious formula to determine the number of seats that should be left open at popular schools in case someone moves into the neighborhood during the school year.

Also, there may be seats in the school, but they may not be at the grade level that you need.
Lynn said…

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