Tuesday Open Thread

To update, an early-morning crash on I-5 near 520 has created a 6-mile backup.  There are about 66 SPS buses affected by this situation "in directions throughout the district."  There may be anywhere between 15-90 minute delay in buses getting to schools this morning (with Whitman being one of the schools on the high end).  I'll have updates as I see them come in.

Deeply troubling story about why kids bring guns to school - there have been more than two dozen cases of kids bringing firepower to school just since the start of this school year. 

A 2011 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 5.4 percent of students nationwide had carried a weapon (e.g. a gun, knife, or club) on school property on at least one day during the month before they were surveyed.

Students who face harassment are among the most likely to bring a weapon to school. A further analysis of the 2011 CDC study by Andrew Adesman, a New York-based developmental and behavioral pediatrician, found that more than 200,000 bullied high school students carried some type of a weapon to campus each month, and were 34 times more likely to carry a gun.

According to a Pew survey from last year, a third of Americans with children under 18 at home keep a gun on the premises, and an article published in JAMA Pediatrics today reports that states with higher level of adult gun ownership see more adolescents carrying guns.  Nearly a third of households with children younger than 12 fail to lock up their guns, according to a 2006 study by Harvard’s Dr. David Hemenway. The same study found that parents of adolescents in particular appear to be more likely to keep guns unsecured in the home. 

It's National Coffee Day:  here are the freebies (you're welcome; I don't drink coffee so this is public service):
  • At Krispy Kreme locations in Sodo, North Seattle, Issaquah and Tacoma, customers will receive a free 12-ounce cup along with a signature glazed doughnut.
  • Top Pot Doughnuts will give customers a 12-ounce drip coffee or Americano.
  • Peet’s Coffee & Tea locations are giving out free small cups of Major Dickason’s blend with the purchase of a food item.
  • Free coffee at 7-11 until 11 am
  • Whole Foods is celebrating through the end of September — charging only 25 cents for a 12-ounce coffee.
  • Starbucks: Buy 1, Get 1 Free Starbucks Via Ready Brew House Blend Online Only. Use coupon code: B1G1HOUSE
  • Dunkin Donuts - free medium coffee
What's on your mind?


Anonymous said…
A new resource for students who need resources education equality and harassment.


Shoreline Parent
Lynn said…
Here's a link to the Superintendent's proposed bell times. They've moved the K-8s to the second tier (so an 8:50 start rather than the proposed 9:40 start.) Interestingly, they made this work by moving elementary schools with higher FRL populations to the third tier. I believe they're going to mitigate that by offering before school academic support at those schools. This makes sense to me.

Footnote on the document says * Includes mitigation for educational racial and equity concerns, Team Read, and childcare
Another Name said…

There is an entity calling themselves American Center for Transforming Education. This entity has ties to the Discovery Institute and former school board member Don Nielsen. The American Center for Transforming Education are behind efforts to continue the charter school battle. Here is more information:


Anonymous said…
Another Name - I pointed that out on the their facebook page and now I can no longer comment!

Lynn said…
Have you seen their "news" website? http://www.evolutionnews.org
Anonymous said…
HP wrote:

"Another Name - I pointed that out on the their facebook page and now I can no longer comment!"

Some organizations and blogs, like this one, encourage the free interchange of almost all ideas.

Many "Big Buck" reform ed organizations do not want to discuss diverse ideas as these ideas might undermine their "propaganda".

Opening Mind
Anonymous said…
Lynn, thanks for posting the bell times link. Do you know what year this is meant to go into effect (since the form itself does not say)?

Mom of 4
Lynn said…
I think next fall. The board resolution (from 2014) referred to implementation in the 2016-17 school year.
3 in APP said…
Having a kid in all three schools I have skin in the game about start times. I believe this is a great solution to a real problem. What are the next steps?
Patrick said…
The bell times look like a good proposal. I hope it happens!
KM said…
As an SPS educator I am concerned about the high school start/end times. I totally agree that kids need more sleep - so the later start time is not at issue for me. In fact, I was wondering if it would be even later based on past conversations. My issue is the end time and sports. I have a big worry about kids missing out on the last period of the day to get to sporting and other after school events. Already kids miss so much and I wonder if they will miss even more with this change. I wish it was easier to move sports to later but with the city contracts it just isn't going to happen....trust me, I've been on enough committees to know. I certainly don't think sports should drive what we do, I just worry about some of our kids missing 1/6 of their day so they can get to their game across town. I do think it is what is best for most, but I see some bumpy roads ahead as we get it figured out. Home sick today and enjoying the blog!
KM, I agree - sports should not drive anything in public education.
Karen said…
Wow, I have skin in the game and I think this is an improvement for sure, but elementary (or anyone) starting at 8am and ending at 2:20 will be tough. Again, I'll take this over the current schedule since I'll have one in middle and one in elementary next year, but how did many of the K-8s end-up with such a sweet start and end time? I really, really want to see the numbers showing it is cost-prohibitive to put everyone on a reasonable schedule. I know I shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth, but we should all be on a normal, say, 8:30-3:20 schedule. When I was in school, everyone (k-12) in our big city went from 8:15-3:15....perfect.

Nothing about SPS was built for working parents! How ironic is it to say that I need a lots of money to continue in public school. Daycare money, money to supplement crappy education, transportation money, money for sports....
Anonymous said…
Karen asked "How did many of the K8s end up with such a sweet start and end time?"

PEASLEE, the Patron Saint of Hazel Wolf. That's how. It must be nice. But, for those lesser, like Loyal Heights, that she didn't even know was in her 'portfolio', not so much. Oh well.

Peaslee was the gift that kept on giving. Ignoring the birth of Jane Addams Middle School, the first comprehensive middle school this District has opened in 50 years; ignoring the growth management challenges at both Hale and Ingraham; ignoring SpEd and ELL. Ignoring her constituents. All, except for the K8. It appears personal, this deep love of K8s. Her, and the former president, Kay Smith Blum, they have a thing for K8s.

Anyway, that is why the K8s got what they wanted and drove the process. K8s are the sacred cow, yet essentially they are optional elementary schools (Blaine and Broadview Thompson are assigned K5)with a very small slice of middle school students. So, the should be on the 'elementary' track on the first tier, when little kids naturally are wakeful and ready to go and at the peak of their learning. The overwhelming majority of Seattle middle students pick comprehensive middle schools for grades 6-8. And, the majority should have carried the day. Bell time solutions have should have optimized the majority first. But, they apparently can't get first crack at the best bell times. They just don't have a patron who calls BS. K8s are good for students needing smaller environments. But, for the majority of students, a comprehensive middle school offers the multiple languages, multiple tiers of music, multiple electives, multiple athletic offerings, multiple academic offerings that can meet their needs.

And, implementation in 2016? I will believe it when I see it. Charles Wright will find a way to put a stop to it. Or, we will have a new Super who won't be bound by this guy. Or... you know the drill.

Tired Optimist
Anonymous said…
Those bell times don't account for the extra 20 minutes of instructional time they're adding in 2 years. Are people really ok with middle school ending at 4:30pm? Kids leaving at 4:45? Or if they have practice, not leaving until 6 or 6:30? My middle schoolers would have really suffered under that schedule.

Half Full
ProSleep Mom said…
Tired optimist,
The main theory behind all the times is middle and high should have later start times (Tier2 and 3); younger kids should have earlier times- Tier 1 and 2. This matches the typical patterns of the different age groups. The K8s have a broad range of age groups (elem and middle) hence there is a rational basis for them to be in Tier 2.

If someone has to be in Tier 3, and the District insists they do, Middle schools makes the most sense. The kids generally don't have after school jobs, and they are historically a group that is vulnerable to getting into trouble during long unsupervised afternoons. The police captain on the task force spoke eloquently of the value of keeping these kids in school and off the streets in the afternoons.

No system is perfect, but this one is a huge step forward. I hope we can continue improving it and move the elementary schools out of Tier 3 over time, or some day get to two tiers- but that's not on the table now. Lots of money got committed in the teacher contract, the Board will not spend on transportation.

SPS Mom said…
I'm anticipating that MS sports practices might also be able to be held before school as well. No, not ideal, but logical within the constraints given. Better for middle schoolers to be on buses at 4:45 than early elementary kids.
Benjamin Leis said…
Amplify is dying (*Hurrah*):


Benjamin Leis said…
Amplify is dying (*Hurrah*):


Anonymous said…
ProSleep Mom
You really think the Board won't commit to transportation because of the teacher contract. Oh PLEASE!(LOL) I haven't seen the Board rushing to do anything about transportation for ages, besides cutting back. And now it's the teachers' fault :) I'm not saying that money isn't committed to the teacher contract, but SPS always manages to find money for things it really wants. (Notice all the bloated administration at Stanford Center).
Too Much
Anonymous said…
What percentage of middle school kids even get yellow bus transportation in Seattle though? I would hate for my kid to be walking back from school at 4.45 in the winter when it's dark (we live 1 mile away, and kid has to cross two major intersections). 9.25 is also a ridiculous start time for any kid, especially if both parents work.
Whitman/Whittier parent
Anonymous said…
Whitman parent - are you saying you don't like the idea of middle schoolers (aged 11-13 ) having to walk home in dark from afternoon bus at 4.45 - yet are you aware that currently elementary schoolers (aged 6-10) are expected to? I'm far more worried about those little kids navigating the streets in the dark than middle schoolers.
Yes, 9.25 or so is a crazy late start time but even more so for elementary kids. And 7.50 is far too early for older kids - it goes against all the scientific evidence. Plus middle schoolers getting off at 2.20 in the afternoon - who is supervising them all afternoon while parents work. We're talking 11-12yr olds here. I would rather they start and finish later - its biologically sound and keeps them from playing video games for hours or worse.
Its crazy that we can't have sensible middle-ground times for all kids.

timing is everything
Another Name said…

Being being blocked from American Center for Transforming Education is a badge of honor! Liv Finne of Washington Policy Center has ties to ALEC and she moderates comments as well.

As we know, former Seattle School Board member - Don Nielsen- is connected to American Center for Transforming Education via Discovery Institute. Nielsen creates op-eds and the American Center for Transforming Education and Liv Finne blast the pieces. Just the same people in an echo chamber.
Anonymous said…
At the special education meeting last night three school board candidates participated: burke, harris, christopherson. Burke left early. Harris heard the difficulty of parents accessing information. christopherson questioned why the "corrective action plan" states that the SPS won't be adopting evidenced based curriculum for students with dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dsysgraphia, until 2017. He is right to be astonished.

mirmac1 said…
Laura Gramer was there, as well. Unfortunately technical problems and a late transcriptionist made it difficult for her to participate fully. I'm very sorry for that.
Anonymous said…
Great new website on Title IX and sexual harassment/assault in K-12 schools: Stop Sexual Assault in Schools. Especially relevant to SPS!

Anonymous said…
No, I don't want my 11/12 year old walking back in the dark. She doesn't qualify for a bus, so walks a mile. 4.20 is generally a bad time for any kid to walk back in the dark. The two tier system seems much more sensible, but I guess that won't fly.
Whitman/Whittier Parent
Anonymous said…

You should apologize to Laura Gramer for what happened. It was embarrassing, but at least she attended the entire meeting where your endorsed candidate "Burke" decided to spit mid meeting.

How can we take Burke's upcoming SPED town hall meeting seriously when he can't commit to listening to a 1.5 hour SPED PTSA meeting. Perhaps Nyland will bring him up to date?

I'm really having issues with you as SPED PTSA president pushing your personal agenda!

12 Parents
Even in Seattle in the winter, 4:20 pm seems a little early to call it "dark." It starts to get dark, starting at what? 4:45ish? Not to say you shouldn't worry but I think it's worse in the morning.

12 Parents, school board candidates leave for all kinds of reasons; you can't fault them if they do.

How can you take Burke seriously? He's making an effort to have a meeting just for Sped.
Anonymous said…
When is Burke's meeting? Where?

I attended the SPED PTSA meeting. It was not the PTSA's fault that the transcription person was late but it was disturbing that there were no solutions for Gramer's dilemma in the meantime. This must happen to her and other hearing impaired people all the time. Maybe the PTSA could skip the transcriptionist and get somebody who can sign to come to the meetings (on time).

Anonymous said…
Elementary students currently walk home alone in the dark? I thought they got out at 3:35. And I mostly see them walking with parents, siblings, caregivers, rarely alone. I suppose those who have a long bus ride might face a short walk in the dark to get from their bus stop to home, though many have people watching/waiting at the stop. Regardless, that's still very different than starting your mile-long walk home at that time or later. Kids won't be expected home until 5:30 or 6. Even my 7th grader would have been FREAKED OUT by all that time alone in the dark. I'm glad this change won't affect my family, but feel terrible for the many MS students who will be negatively impacted, including by the likely loss of extracurriculars that are so important to their well-being as they transition to a 6-period academic day. I think it's optimistic to expect schools will start holding practices at 7:15am to help offset this, but who knows.

Half Full
Anonymous said…
"How can you take Burke seriously? He's making an effort to have a meeting just for Sped. "

Just SPED ? nice jab.

Rick Burke - "Specifically, I’m supportive of his recent “100 days of customer service” initiative, which I would like to see continue as the new normal for SSD. I have also been pleased with improvements in special education and his candid handling of recent district mis-steps, such as the response to the inadvertent release of over 7,500 student records containing personally identifiable information."


I would think Burke could have asked at least one question, maybe stayed and talked with SPED PTSA members? I guess doing a fly by gives him credibility with you and the SPED PTSA president, but not with me.

In my opinion Burke is completely out of touch with SPED and he should just admit it and stop pandering to the SPED community.

12 Parents

12 Parents, that's not a jab; that's what his notice says. (But I assume he'll talk to any parent who shows up.)

So Burke knows nothing but when he tries to engage, he's "pandering?" It appears your mind is made up and that's fine but I'm not sure you're being entirely fair to him. That's your choice.
Reading, if you read my thread on School Board campaign events, Burke's meeting is there. It's tonight at the Capitol Hill Library at 6 pm.
Anonymous said…
Can I say that I'm exhausted by the bell times thing? I am an advocate for later start times for the older kids. I've participated in all the meetings over the past few years. When I saw that there were more meetings on the topic this fall, I gave up. As far as I can tell, they're going to kill the topic by holding endless meetings on it.

As to sports being impacted by the time changes (if they ever happen): I feel like sports are a choice. School is not. So, if sports don't want the kids to be meeting so late in the afternoon, they can meet in the morning before school.

North End Parent
Anonymous said…
I'm just calling it as I see it or how he has presented his stance on SPED in print and in person.

It's not personal just my observations. Burke himself or his CM are welcome to present a counter to my opinion.

I'm completely with him on most of his statements regarding math adoption, I just wish candidates would just say, "I don't know" when they obviously don't.

12 Parents
Anonymous said…
As to sports being impacted by the time changes (if they ever happen): I feel like sports are a choice. School is not. So, if sports don't want the kids to be meeting so late in the afternoon, they can meet in the morning before school.

It's not just sports, but physical activity, whether through organized sports or just jumping rope, after a long day at school. It's a release. To think it can just be shifted to the morning seems pretty shortsighted.

A 9:40 start simply doesn't make sense. Not for elementary, middle, or high school students. You lose prime learning hours, and you reduce time for homework and activities after school. The district needs to get back to dealing with more pressing issues, like capacity and curriculum. Then they should figure out how to get back to a two-tier bus system. Flipping times, but keeping a 3-tier system, just shifts the unwanted 3rd tier to a new group of students each year.

mirmac1 said…
Actually Laura left early as well but I don't judge her for that. Kids have homework or need to get put to bed.
Anonymous said…
Actually many students already exercise in the morning & some SPS school sports teams practice in the morning. That is before the 7:50 start. Shifting start times does not decrease the amount of hours available for exercise.

My college student & friends work very hard to have no classes starting before 10, often not til noon. They sleep late, exercise & study before classes. I don't think it is really so hard to fathom exercising before class.

If middle school students are walking a mile or two to school & will be walking home in the dark with later start times, presumably they are currently walking to school in the dark for that 7:50 start. Is it so much safer to walk to school in the dark than home from school in the dark?

-more sleep
Anonymous said…
Huh? What does a college student schedule have to do with K-12 schedules?
Anonymous said…
Our elementary school has had the horrendous start time of 9:35 for a couple of years now. Time to share the wealth:) It's an awful time, no matter who gets stuck with it. Many working middle-school parents I've talked to like the later start for middle school. They like the idea of middle-school kids not being home alone after school.
North end
Anonymous said…

My point was that when teenagers select their own exercise/class/sleep schedule, like in college, they do not inevitably choose to exercise from 2:30-4:30pm & then build a schedule around that.

-More sleep
Anonymous said…
I misunderstood Whitman parent - thought you meant you are worried your middle schooler would be walking home after getting off bus at 4.45. This IS the case for elementary schoolers on the 3rd tier currently. No-one is walking directly from school at 4.45. But if school is out at 3.40 and they have a long bus ride or the bus is delayed leaving the school then it is after 4.30 when they disembark at their bus stop and make their way home. So, there is no way your middle schooler will be walking home FROM school at 4.45 - even on a 9.30 start, school finishes at 3.40. I suppose extending the day by 20 mins as proposed for a couple of years time would mean it finishes at 4pm.
I agree - these 9.30-9.40 start times are bad for both elementary and middle school. My kids can't do some of the after school activities or swim team etc that they would like to do because they mostly start at 4 (or earlier) and they can't get there in time. A 'normal' school start time (eg 8.30) for all those groups would be great ( the high schoolers are the one group that benefit from the 9.30 start though). Why can't actual school and optimizing learning be the driver of start times rather than transportation anyway? Money I suppose as always : (
And as for sports -they should not come into the equation. Sport should fit around school rather than visa versa. School is for all, sport is not. And I don't buy the old argument about the importance of physical activity, need for release after school. That is not a reason to set earlier school times for all - not all kids want a physical outlet after school, some unwind by reading, playing computer games, practicing their musical instrument etc. We don't set school times to accomodate the myriad of other outside interests/pursuits that kids have. It should be the same with sports and the teams/coaches etc will just have to work around it. If you read the book " The Smartest kids in the world" you will see how countries in which there isn't this emphasis on sport do much better educationally.

timing is everything

Anonymous said…
@ timing is everything, that's not correct. You said: "So, there is no way your middle schooler will be walking home FROM school at 4.45 - even on a 9.30 start, school finishes at 3.40." The proposed times have middle school starting at 9:40 and ending at 4:10. Add that extra 20 min and they're getting out at 4:30. By the time they get to their lockers and do whatever else they need to do, they will be leaving close to 4:45pm.

Half Full
Anonymous said…
So much for Friday ski bus!

Anonymous said…
What school is lucky enough to have a Friday ski bus?

Where's mine?
David said…
Ballard had a Friday ski bus - you had to pay for your kid to be on it, and last year I don't think it ever actually ran since Snoqualmie wasn't open during the weeks it was supposed to run. Yay global warming.
Anonymous said…
Salmon Bay has Friday ski bus and so does Hale. It is an extracurricular activity you have to pay for. Hale gets out at 3:10 now and the bus left around 3:30.

Anonymous said…
Reader said above "christopherson questioned why the "corrective action plan" states that the SPS won't be adopting evidenced based curriculum for students with dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dsysgraphia, until 2017. He is right to be astonished."

This is the first I am hearing about this corrective action plan. Can you let me know where to find information on it? Who will receive this curriculum? All students? Will all teachers be trained? Have they chosen a curriculum?

Teach Everyone
Teach Everyone, you can go back and search thru threads here. Go to the OSPI site and you'll find it.

They just started talking about money for this effort at the last Board meeting. No, no curriculum has been chosen or created.
Anonymous said…
JAMS is also hoping to have a Friday Ski Bus (if there is snow). I'm pretty sure Eckstein and Hamilton have them, too?

- North-end Mom
Anonymous said…
Mass shooting reported at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. 10 dead, more injured. Gunman in custody.

- North-end Mom
Anonymous said…
Most K8s offer them and expect they still will.

North mom
Joe Wolf said…
Link to BTA IV Levy Planning page and meeting materials/handouts:

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