Friday Open Thread

Good morning.

If you have the chance - either live or later on - I'd say listen to the discussion at KUOW of the strike which is likely to be the topic of their Weekly News Roundup.  (As well as the charter school ruling but the strike has taken front stage.)  It should be a lively discussion and taking of the public pulse.  (That said, when KUOW discusses K-12 public ed, I'm always shouting to the radio, "Wrong, wrong, wrong."  It's sad they don't try harder.)

What can you do for the teachers strike?
- go to the Soup for Teachers Facebook page and support those efforts

- write to the Board - that is the number one group to put pressure on - not the Superintendent.

- Use social media. Tell your friends on Facebook that you support the teachers b/c it is NOT just about money. It's about recess, testing, race/equity, support staff.  All things teachers are fighting about FOR kids in their classrooms.

- Point out that both the teachers' healthcare costs have gone up and that, for example, Superintendent Nyland makes more than the Governor.  (The district is saying that Seattle teachers are among the highest paid in the state.  That may be true but a house in Pasco averages about $163K while one in Seattle is over $500K.  Are we going to be a city where teachers can't live where they work?

- Use Twitter and, for right now, use #SPSstrike.  Teachers use: #ITeachBecause and tell your story.

 A great event is starting this weekend - the Seattle Design Festival.  It goes on until the 25th and several kid-related events coming including playground design and school building design.

There's an installation in Pioneer Square’s Occidental Mall and Park between 10:00 am and 6:00 pm this Saturday, September 12th and Sunday, September 13th at the Seattle Design Festival Block Party, a two-day street fair celebrating Seattle’s diverse design community.

Also of note for the weekend at the Festival (from UW's CSE department):

This weekend, people of all ages and abilities are invited to discover the Universal Play Kiosk presented by UW CSE’s Taskar Center for Accessible Technology as part of the Seattle Design Festival. In keeping with the festival’s theme, “Design for Equity,” the Universal Play Kiosk provides a configurable space designed to facilitate equal participation of all.

The kiosk, which is a partnership between the Taskar Center, Gensler Design Firm and Hoffman Construction Co., creates an immersive, collaborative environment that truly integrates children and adults with special needs. The modular structure accommodates wheelchairs and other assistive devices, is adjustable on the fly to welcome individuals of varying abilities, and provides rich sensory stimulation through colors, shadows, textures and sounds.

A quick thank-you to all who are coming to the blog - the numbers have been thru the roof.  Glad to have you here.

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said…
Anyone have any suggestions for high school students who need Running Start paperwork signed by their counselors? The classes at the colleges are filling up, but students can't register until they have signatures from their counselors. Any chance principals or district folks could sign off? Is this something to take up with the principal, the district or with the community college? Thanks!

Strike-supporting parent
mirmac1 said…
Another way to show support:

Strike Fund Information

Contributions can be made by check to SEA Strike Fund. Please mail or hand deliver to 5501 4th Ave. S, Seattle, WA 98108

Call your principal or Executive Director for your region. The principal should be able to sign off.
Lynn said…
I'm thinking about charter school students and compulsory school attendance. Are they truant? They're not attending public schools, public charter schools (because we don't have those) or approved private schools and they're not receiving home-based instruction. If so, what are their resident districts doing to get then re-enrolled? Should SPS be hiring more teachers for the schools these students will return to? I am particularly curious to know where the students at Summit's school live.
Anonymous said…
The Charters I read were filling in the paperwork for the kids and having their families sign to register them as home schooled.

I would give you the link Lynn but I think it had to be the Seattle Times

So that is what Summit was doing as I actually met a kid on the bus who had the docs and lives here in Seattle. They don't have that many kids and many of them may end up back enrolling to public schools once this ends. The young gal said she was doing this to stay in school but probably going to go back to I think she said Franklin if her parents will let her.

- SPS ignored staff
Anonymous said…
I sent the board and the superintendent links to national and international news stories (NBC, the Guardian) about parent support for teachers. Hopefully I can continue to do this every day until an agreement is reached.

Here they are if they are not in your FB feed already

Chris S.

Lynn said…
Interesting. Home-based instruction has to be provided by the parent or guardian. I wonder if they are intending to attend school with their children or instruct them at night after the (already long) charter school day.
Anonymous said…

Here is the article.. it was the PI...

And I am sure as often is the case it will be the idea that the kids are at "home" and then at the school to provide the required legal supervision as their staff are still licensed teachers.

Best example is like the SPS Cascade Partnership school... only this is a volunteer run "school" by licensed professionals.. who are being paid by donations.

Remember the best written law is one written by lawyers. They have amazing loopholes

-SPS ignored staff
Akil said…
I just sent a letter to the school board email in support of many of the demands of the union. I hope they read it!

There are many issues, but RE: teacher pay, the people I know at my school (The Nova Project) are incredibly dedicated, have amazing work ethic, creative, and have super power emotional intelligence to support and grow our kids. As a former engineer at Stanford, the caliber of these teachers would earn them several times what they earn now, if they were in the private sector. In order to keep them here and live in Seattle's neighborhoods, they really do deserve more.

Anonymous said…
The latest on the charter situation straight from the press release. Not unexpected, as the state AG's office represents many facets of government. I personally do not understand whether the current decision and cutoff of state money to charters remains in effect until the appeal is heard, or whether it's the opposite and the state distributes funds and allows the schools to continue as planned in the initiative until it hears the appeal.


Attorney General Bob Ferguson today announced that the State will file a Motion for Reconsideration with the Washington Supreme Court in the case of League of Women Voters of Wash. v. State. The decision not only invalidates Initiative 1240, but also unnecessarily calls into question the constitutionality of a wide range of other state educational programs. These important programs range from Running Start to Washington State Skills Centers that provide career and technical education to high school students.

Ferguson discussed his decision to file the motion with Governor Jay Inslee at a meeting this morning.

Ferguson will provide more detail regarding the arguments to be made in the motion when it is completed. The motion will be filed by September 24, 2015. The Rules of Appellate Procedure do not specify a timeline for the court to rule on such a motion.
I think that all this "Running Start" will be pulled is a red herring. It's a program not a school, for one. I don't know what it means for Aviation High or Delta High (in the Tri-Cities) but I believe both of them ARE overseen by OSPI and Randy Dorn.

That's a very key issue in the charter school discussion. The law is flawed in SEVERAL ways, not just one. So you can try to "fix" the funding but the constitution has other provisions that the law doesn't match.
Anonymous said…
@ Melissa, I agree that the charter supporters grasped a Running Start linkage as fast as they could try to get more voters pushing for allowing charters. Agree that they are a program and that this is mostly a tactic to attempt to save the charters.

I don't know about Delta High, but in Highline, Aviation High is most definitely not a charter. It is a themed school fully within the Highline District and is a great example of how public schools can offer a "different" program without being a charter. For that matter, (as Melissa knows) many Seattle schools do the same thing. Nova is a fantastic alternative high school with extremely talented teachers. The city's K8s serve families wanting a different experience than a large neighborhood school. Many of those K8s offer better integration of kids on the autism spectrum into general education than do the comprehensive schools. Some of our elementaries offer highly focused STEM programs - such as QAE and STEM @ Boren.

The public school districts (at least SPS!) need to do a much better job of making parents aware of these types of alternatives, in which family satisfaction is generally high. And the district administration needs to BACK OFF cancelling the Creative School agreements. Seriously, how out of touch can an administration - which quite certainly does not want to deal with charters in Seattle -be with the current news events. This is the district's chance to SELL its out-of-the-box schools, not work behind the scenes to kill them off. SMH.

Po3 said…
The Source is back! Looks just like the old Source.

And no mention of SBAC scores on the Assessment pages!

Staff is working.

Shouldn't we be getting those results???
Anonymous said…
Can I vent about our elementary math curriculum? I know most of the focus is on the strike as it should be, but I want to put a spotlight on what the SPS math dept has done with our elementary school math curriculum. Do you remember a year ago we got a new math curriculum called Math In Focus? It was bit of a kerfuffle. The SPS board got involved. Many parents wanted Math In Focus, SPS administrators did not want Math In Focus, teachers came down on all sides of the issue. Anyway, that is the curriculum that the district bought for elementary schools.

Last year I implemented the curriculum. It's time consuming to learn, teach, and differentiate a new curriculum at the same time, but that is just how it is. At the end of the year I was looking forward, now that I really knew the curriculum, to going deeper in the new school year. I had a good sense of where to move faster, where to slow down, where to supplement, etc.

Guess what! The SPS math dept. has decided to write its own math curriculum. Yes, you heard me right. We are all REQUIRED to use it unless your school gets a waiver. The reason they are doing this is supposedly because Math In Focus is missing part of the Common Core standards. So instead of providing supplementation to the curriculum which is much more efficient and easier for teachers to handle and teach, they are creating a new Scope and Sequence document with new lessons attached. The Scope and Sequence document outlines the sequence and timing in which you need to teach mathematical concepts. The sequence is not a problem for my grade-level, but our 4th and 5th grade teachers think the sequence is awful; makes no sense mathematically.

The worse part is how they expect you to do this. I'm supposed to teach one lesson from one of the chapters and the next day one lesson from a different chapter and then the day after find an on-line link and teach that. WHAT!! To top it off, there are no assessments and they haven't even finished writing the curriculum. I have to wait until they finish writing the curriculum before I can look ahead to see what we're doing next.

It's awful! The reason why they say they haven't finished writing the curriculum is because there are only two of them in the math dept. (As an aside, I am NOT advocating hiring more downtown staff but if the math, ELA, and science depts. don't have many staff, WHAT ARE ALL THOSE PEOPLE THEY KEEP HIRING DOWNTOWN DOING?!)

Thanks for listening to my vent. The cynical part of me thinks that the math dept is purposely undermining a math curriculum they never wanted in the first place, but who knows!
Frustrated Teacher
Anonymous said…
Melissa, we were told at JSCEE that all internet use is being watched and anyone caught on this site would be written up. Can they do that?

PetiteSoeur said…
I recommend that people use Tor Browser to obscure or redirect the IP address if their internet use is being monitored at places threatening consequences or repercussions. The Tor browser what vulnerable populations and dissidents under surveillance use, and what I use when I visit any website that makes money from selling my user activity to other parties.
cmj said…

If you're using the SPS Internet, yes, they can see if you're visiting this site. They can only track what goes through their servers. If you're at home, you're fine.
Patrick said…
Melissa's blog must be very powerful magic indeed, or they wouldn't want you not to see it so badly!
n said…
@Frustrated Teacher
I hope that is not correct. I spent last year really nailing down the MIF curriculum and I sure don't want to change again. Esp. since I made a grade-level change and will be adjusting to a new level but with same curriculum. That truly is bad news. Also, our math people downtown are not curricula specialists.
Anonymous said…
Did you go to the Tuesday, first day of school, training in math? It is absolutely true. Tolley sent something to principals that was forwarded to us saying we were required to follow the district developed ELA and Math Scope and Sequence unless we get an approved waiver. Our principal trusts us to follow the Common Core, but her supervisor is as rigid as they come. Her supervisor will be doing learning walks checking that we are doing everything exactly like the district wants. In fact, its clear in talks with folks in ELA that the supervisor is more rigid than the ELA dept.
n said…
I did the ELA but not the math. I signed up but had an emergency that morning. Oh man. A new grade level and a new math level at an even higher grade and now this. It's ridiculous. Thanks for the information. I'll download the scope and sequence and get started.
Anonymous said…
WOW!!! Chaos abounds.

Frustrated Teacher wrote about MIF and Leadership's new plans:

"Did you go to the Tuesday, first day of school, training in math? It is absolutely true. Tolley sent something to principals that was forwarded to us saying we were required to follow the district developed ELA and Math Scope and Sequence unless we get an approved waiver. Our principal trusts us to follow the Common Core, but her supervisor is as rigid as they come. Her supervisor will be doing learning walks checking that we are doing everything exactly like the district wants. In fact, its clear in talks with folks in ELA that the supervisor is more rigid than the ELA dept."

So what does one do about such a chaotic group leading the SPS?

Would the Board be Micro-Managing to inquire what is happening to the recently adopted MIF?

It would be interesting to find out, what misalignment between MIF and CCSS-M is perceived by the district's math leadership.

Also does the district think that absolute fidelity to CCSS-M is advisable?

Please read the following:
Implementing Common Core: The problem of instructional time

I wonder if the Tolley & SPS Math leaders have checked the data from recent SBAC scores at elementary school level?

My thoughts were with a new implementation the first year would be the worst. So what happened?

I'll do that research and come back.

-- Dan Dempsey
dan dempsey said…
Here is the research on Seattle annual state math testing in regard to Math in Focus adopted for the 2014-2015 school year.=>

SBAC Math scores for Seattle's Math in Focus adoption

-- Dan Dempsey

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