School Board Directors: Parents Need Your Help

I have now written three e-mails to the Board today.

The first one I sent was about the issue of the school calendar, namely October 9th.  That I have asked - three times via three methods - and there is no reply tells me something is wrong.  There is not really a good reason to not have the calendar nailed down by now.

The second e-mail was about FERPA and the ability to opt out of releasing data on your student while still allowing your student to be in the yearbook, newsletter, etc.  That this issue is ALSO not nailed down is wrong.

The last e-mail was something that many of you have been plaintively asking for months - where are the SBAC scores?  For all the issues with giving them, parents got the promise of fast results that could be used to help their kids.  Crickets.

From Annoyed's comment:

Why doesn't the district live up to its own promises and why doesn't anyone hold them to them (and that goes not just for this but for many things).

Yes, those are excellent questions and why we need a new majority on the Board who WILL hold the staff to their promises.

Here's how I ended my last e-mail to the Board:

Directors, you are responsible for oversight on issues like this.  Why is the district making promises/justifications that they cannot keep? 

This is my third e-mail today and what is the underlying issue?  Communication and transparency in communication.

I don't know how the Board continues to look the other way.  


Anonymous said…
Students, please do not participate in the annual scam. These books are a waste of time and money. Just create your own online yearbook now! Zero cost to students and much more dynamic and fun.

Changing world
Anonymous said…
Hi Changing world,
Have you been to your high school reunion lately? The yearbooks are interesting and they show you people who you didn't know then, so they couldn't/wouldn't be in your DIY year book. It think DIY books are also great. Maybe it doesn't matter in the big scheme of things...
Anonymous said…
As a matter of fact I was at one in the past month and we used FACEBOOK and classmates online yearbook. Of coarse in school produced book, if you were one of "in" crowd then you might be in some of the candid photos, but the majority of students only have a head shot in a traditional year book. The online book can be printed for much less than $50 and allows you to determine what is important vs the year book editors.

Changing world
Heavy Hand said…
Is it possible to submit a signed, dated letter to the school giving express permission for your child's image and name only to be used for the yearbook? You might need to expressly write that all other FERPA opt-out provisions remain in place.

Teachers at our school are very irritated by this choice. It seems like a heavy-handed way to force parents to agree to releasing data that they wouldn't normally release.
Po3 said…
Don't you think it is just so rich that the board is voting to give these people a raise tomorrow?

Good gracious.
Anonymous said…
Well, any raises certainly won't be based on their great performance/achievements that's for sure. Most of these SPS folk would get a rude awakening if they worked in a private corporation at the same level - they'd be looking a performance improvement plans not salary increases if they had any real accountability.

Real world
From a previous thread, here is what one reader came up with (and I believe does follow FERPA and the district has no reason to say no to this):

"Update: Great suggestion from reader MammaHynkel on how to proceed with your child's FERPA form (if you want as little data going out as possible):

I read through about FERPA and I read:

"FERPA requires that a consent for disclosure of education records be signed and dated,
specify the records that may be disclosed, state the purpose of the disclosure, and
identify the party or class of parties to whom the disclosure may be made."

So I am choosing to interpret on the Pre-K to 8 FERPA Form authored by SPS that:

Under FERPA, SPS may release "directory" information to anyone, including but not limited to parent-teacher organizations, the media, colleges and universities, military [recruiters], youth groups and scholarship grantors, unless you notify SPS in writing that you do not want the information released.

I'd amend the form by replacing the period ending text to the right of Box B with a comma, and " and except as outlined in the attached letter."

Then I'd attach the letter with my conditions, sign it, mark Box B, and fill in the rest of the FERPA PreK-8 form, and have my tot return it to the school. Hence I would meet FERPA requirements."
Anonymous said…
SPS received students SBAC scores approx three weeks ago.

SBAC ???
Anonymous said…
Posted today (9/23) on the SPS website and announced on the SPS twitter feed:

Smarter Balance test scores are now being sent out to school districts and parents.

SPS is explaining that it is waiting for "hard copies" of test scores from OSPI.

Something looks fishy here. But at least SPS is finally providing some information about this missing SBAC scores.

Anonymous said…
" I don't know how the Board continues to look the other way. "

That is apparently what most school boards do much of the time.

-- Dan Dempsey
Anonymous said…
Rats and double rats. I wish that I had seen this thread before I was weighing the FERPA signing issue this morning. It made me angry to have to give away all control just for the ability to be in the yearbook and directory. Thanks for the creative suggestions!

World Peace

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