Showing posts from 2016

Friday Open Thread

The last Open Thread of the year.   It will be a challenging year ahead but, if there were any evidence that the world should go on, look into your child's face.  Wishing you all a healthy, safe and yes, Happy New Year.  And, of course, go Huskies! Great opportunity for girls, 16-17 - Inspiring Girls Expeditions is offering free glaciology and marine programs next summer. The deadline for applications is January 31st.

Mumps Expanding Across Region;One Case at Nova

From Q13: New numbers show the mumps outbreak in King County has now spread to 108 cases, including one new case in a Seattle public school. The Public Health Department of Seattle & King County has confirmed a student who attends Nova High School has been diagnosed with mumps.

Helping Students Spot Fake News

Here's the link to this infographic.

Nyland Speaks Out About Seattle Schools' Deficit

Update: I note that the Times had this up on their front page webpage for just a couple of hours before it disappeared into their Op-Eds links. Hmm. end of update The op-ed in the Seattle Times is like many adminstrative missives; kind of bland, kind of vague and without much real strength behind it.

Looking Ahead (Nationally) - Part Two, Personalized Learning

I've already written several times about "personalized learning" (here's the latest post that I wrote.) But let's see how personalized learning will play out within a Trump administration. 

Tuesday Open Thread

Carrie Fisher, our Princess Leia, dead at 60.  I just watched a great documentary - Bright Lights - about her and her mother, Debbie Reynolds.  It was a fun and funny film about two women who lived their lives out loud.  Sad. Interesting story from NPR about whether software in classrooms can help save lives from teachers viewing what topics students searched for.

Looking Ahead (Nationally) - Part One

You'll notice I didn't say "looking forward" because honestly, I don't see much hope for public education for all students in this country, state and city.  Let's start with nationally. Trump won the Electoral College and is therefore elected president.  However, that win is clearly not a mandate when you consider that he received nearly 63 million votes to Hillary Clinton's nearly 66 million votes.  Add into her votes the ballots cast for Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, and others and you get to about 74 million people who voted against Trump. He has not even been sworn in and already there are many warning signs.  His background and actions tell us three important things.

Good Will Towards All

As we come upon different holidays, I want to wish everyone a safe, peaceful and happy time. The blog will be quiet for this weekend but, as promised, next week I will have posts on issues of "segregation," HCC, and 10,000 foot view of the district. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Kwanzaa (not to mention the just-passed Winter Solstice.

Naughty and Nice List 2016

On the subject of gift giving....

This and That

From Ed Week , New York State lifts disciplinary action against teachers who discuss test questions that the state has released. A reader asked about a threat at Ingraham High School in the cafeteria by a student with a backpack.  A staffer asked around and not a single student knows about this.  In this day of phones with cameras and social media, that would seem odd.  I'm thinking someone was trying to stir the pot here.  Don't do that. Last spring, Mayor Murray had his Education Summit.  I was there as were hundreds of other people.  He said this about homeless students in SPS (transcript from the Mayor's office, dated April 30, 2016):

What's Up With the Security Cameras at Washington Middle School?

So what's up with this story about Washington Middle School and security cameras in the cafeteria?  From the South Seattle Emerald : (In late November) the principal of Washington Middle School said she thought so, announcing the installation of “video surveillance throughout the school.”   “We intend to identify kids who do not fulfill their clean-up responsibilities,” said Principal Susan Follmer. “Who wants to sit at a crumb-ridden table?” In another e-mail Follmer said:

Stay Calm and Join the Resistance

Worried about what comes next for our country and public education?  Great uplifting words from the Gadfly on the Wall blog Why should we despair when we behold the glass menagerie of fools Trump has assembled to populate his administration? Glass breaks. Why despair when hearing the tired rhetoric of Nazi Germany and the Jim Crow South coming out of his mouth? We defeated both! We can do so again. Yes, we don’t have any political party that supports us. So we’ll either take over the Democrats or build our own legislative network.   “Fate whispers to the warrior ‘You cannot withstand the storm.’ The warrior whispers back ‘I am the storm.’ ” – unknown

Bellevue School District

A reader recently referenced the high PISA-like scores for students in Bellevue School District; I read about it in the Times via this article: If the Bellevue School District were a nation, its high-school students would rank among the top of the world’s developed nations on an influential international exam.

Fighting Trump's Ed Secretary Nominee

Update from Politico: Billionaire Betsy DeVos has been unabashed about using her wealth to advance her own agenda. “ We expect a return on our investment,” she once wrote about her family’s massive political contributions. After giving millions of dollars to politicians over the past two decades, she now heads into her Senate confirmation hearing for education secretary with a clear advantage: DeVos and her husband, Dick, have donated to the campaigns of 17 senators who will consider her nomination — four of whom sit on the Senate education committee that oversees the process. end of update Billionaire Betsy DeVos has been unabashed about using her wealth to advance her own agenda. “We expect a return on our investment,” she once wrote about her family’s massive political contributions. After giving millions of dollars to politicians over the past two decades, she now heads into her Senate confirmation hearing for

Tuesday Open Thread

I'm celebrating a child's birthday this week (I have grown men now.) One thing I always tell parents of boys; record that little boy voice because when puberty hits, it goes away.  I can still hear my older son's voice in my head but not my younger but hey, it's all on tape.  Whether with video or not, get some audio of your son's voice - you'll be glad you did.

UW 2017 History Lecture Series

This winter's lecture series on Equity&Difference has some good ones that could be useful in thinking about public education.  (Two of the early ones - Equity and Deeper Learning and White Privilege are already sold out.) Feb. 15th, Kane Hall at 7:30 pm Joy Williamson-Lott -   New Hurdles, Same Territory: How History Can Guide the Future of Education Many look to “the school” as the great equalizer, a meritocracy where equal opportunity is realized. For communities of color, this is often far from the truth. Throughout history, each time communities of color have made progress toward equal educational opportunity, a major societal pushback has caused the loss of gains that appeared won. Dr. Williamson-Lott looks to history to show how we can work toward real progress.

Overview Thoughts as We Come to the End of 2016

We don't need to have an expanded discussion here on these various issues but here's what I'll be writing about by the end of the year:

Friday Open Thread

The Governor has announced that he wants to have a new department, for Families, Children and Youth, to provide a streamlined, one-stop service agency for those citizens. This makes sense to me.  I think better outcomes, faster, for children in need is what we all want and this could be it.  From the News Tribune:

Friday memos are fun!

Another week, another Friday Memo . Read this to the end for the best part.

SPS Budget Crisis Meeting Open Thread

I did not attend the meeting at Ballard last night but please give us your thoughts/report if you did.  Here is a photo from Rep Gerry Pollet who was at the meeting:

Why I Have Little Respect for Bill Gates on Education

If this statement doesn't convince you, then I give up.  From The Hill : Bill Gates said Tuesday that President-elect Donald Trump ’s potential to bring innovation to the U.S. resembles that of President John F. Kennedy’s.   Gates, the billionaire Microsoft founder and philanthropist, told CNBC that Trump can lead the U.S. “through innovation” and compared Trump’s ideas to Kennedy’s expansion of the U.S. space program in the early 1960s.   “But in the same way President Kennedy talked about the space mission and got the country behind that, I think whether it’s education or stopping epidemics … [or] in this energy space, there can be a very upbeat message that [Trump’s] administration [is] going to organizing things, get rid of regulatory barriers, and have American leadership through innovation,” Gates said. There are no words for the words of Gates except that, well, it's business on parade.

Tuesday Open Thread

Finally, some good news for students with disabilities and ELL students who are taking the SAT.   Via the Washington Post:

Seattle Schools This Week, December 12-17, 2016

A very busy week before the holiday break next week.

Budget Deficit Revealed (Kinda)

I spoke at the School Board meeting on Wednesday.  One of my topics was the fact that in order to understand the raging budget deficit facing SPS, I was told to file a public disclosure request.  I pointed out to the Superintendent and Board that this was not transparency at its best and if they want support from the community, it might be useful to be open about the situation. This information  is not some state secret and, in fact, the finance/budgeting folks probably all know the numbers by heart.   To my surprise, I was sent this information by JoLynn Berge,Assistant Superintendent of Business and Finance. Great but, once again, not specific enough (but, of course, that's by design.)  I'll first note the obvious for every single one of us adults - when creating a budget, you start with what money you DO have and what you owe/needed spending and THEN you see what is leftover for other things.  The district seemingly operates with what they WANT to do and then moves

Yay for Girl Scouts of Western Washington

If you have ever wondered about the difference between the Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts. I am very proud to have been a Brownie, Girl Scout and Cadette. Dear Girl Scouts,

New York Times Asking Kids: What Are Your Reactions to President-Elect Trumps Cabinet Appointments?

  New York Times: From George Washington’s presidency until today, the president of the United States has always had a cabinet, a group of close advisers who help him make decisions about how to run the country. Since winning the election, President-elect Donald J. Trump has named many of the individuals he will nominate to serve as members of his cabinet. Have you been following the news about Mr. Trump’s cabinet selections? What’s your reaction so far? Students 13 and older are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff, but please keep in mind that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public.

Friday Open Thread

Interesting way to get kids to consider those less fortunate during the holiday season - the Christmas Cat of Iceland. So this blog has had lively discussions over tracking in music and athletics - China takes this a step too far.  From the NY Times:

Oh, those Friday Memos

Friday memos , the gift that keeps on giving.

Seattle School Board Meeting Tonight

Update 2: Sue Peters is the new School Board president.  VP is Leslie Harris and Member-at-Large is Scott Pinkham. End of update Update: Guess who is getting a raise?  Superintendent Nyland. He has generously offered to only take a COLA of 1.8% of his base salary of $289,878.75.  The BAR states that no public engagement was needed and that research had been done around other superintendents' salaries.  There is no such data attached to the BAR. This information was put up this afternoon, less than 24 hours before this BAR has intro/action.  That is completely wrong to put this up in this timeframe. Like this is an emergency or something. I cannot believe anyone can believe – with a straight face and that kind of salary –that you will have any support from the public or parents when you come and say that big cuts must be made to schools and personnel. To say I am aghast and disillusioned is putting it mildly. End of update  A couple of things to look for: - The

Thank You, Nordstrom

From Nordstrom's Facebook page for their downtown store Santa schedule:

Updates to Garfield Report Card Conferences

The district requested that I provide these updates for clarity.

Washington State Charter School Updates

With the Growth Boundaries, 20-Minutes added to the school day, changes to the Student Assignment Plan, Cedar Park, etc, I have found nary the time to write about charter schools in Washington State.  But finally, here it is.

"I Know You are a Good Boy"

This is a singularly beautiful video on being a teacher but especially those who take on the big challenges.

Want to Know What Makes Up Budget Deficit? Mum's the Word

Last week, I asked district Communications a couple of questions about the projected $70M+ budget deficit for the 2017-2018 via email.  I also spoke to a member of the Communications team. When I asked, I was told that was probably a question they would get from many reporters and they would get that info.  (Makes sense, no?)

Tuesday Open Thread

Unfortunate news from View Ridge Elementary; a smash-and-grab windows and then theft of purses from cars in front of school right after drop-off time.  Apparently, one mom was only gone 10 minutes so that meant the thief was watching the school because that's pretty brazen for daylight hours. One huge story comes from Washington's Paramount Duty's Facebook page: Senator Michael Baumgartner (6th LD, Republican) filed a resolution today to amend Article IX (Education) of Washington State Constitution and call for a state vote on numerous amendments. 

Director Blanford Starts a Fight (and to what end?)

The South Seattle Emerald newspaper has an op-ed piece from Director Blanford that is, well, pretty incendiary.  The title of the piece (I don't know if it is his or the newspaper's) is School Budget Deficit Too Heavy A Price For Our Children.  Which children Blanford is talking about becomes clear as you read the piece. He starts by explaining that in mid-November, the Board had been informed about the budget deficit.  He says it's the biggest one the district has ever experienced and could not be solved by McCleary.  The SPS’s financial staff advice to the board was clear: Using the Strategic Plan as a touchstone, the board must commit to exercise financial discipline in order to manage current and future expenses. Otherwise, projected teacher layoffs and program cuts would be catastrophic in our classrooms and schools. Now I stop here to interject that when the district had this so-called "underspend" last year of $11M, staff could not find enough ways to

Seattle Schools This Week

The district's info on buses and inclement weather for what may be an up-and-down weather week. Also, two items of note to put on your calendar. One, a community meeting on Cedar Park and its designation as an Option School.   This is on Thursday, December 15th at Cedar Park Elementary from 6:30-8:30 pm. The other is an Option School Fair that the district will be holding on Saturday, January 28, 2017 at Cleveland STEM High School from 10 am-2pm.  Monday, December 5th Student Assignment Plan meeting from 6:30-7:30 at JSCEE.   At UW, Education and Society Film Series : Starving the Beast.  Sponsored by University of Washington College of Education Master in Education Policy program Kane Hall 120 from 7-9 pm. Some of the most pressing issues facing America's educational systems will be discussed during the "Education and Society" documentary film series. Watch "Starving the Beast" and join a conversation about the funding of public high

Contact the Governor NOW

I'm going to offer the simplest advice I can on the levy cliff. There is NO reason it has to happen.    I urge everyone to call 360-902-4111 or, email or  tweet @GovInslee    and tell him to put pressure on the Legislature to have a one-day special session to extend the levy deadline from 2017 to 2018. Remind him that until the Legislature completes McCleary work, districts should not suffer even more from a lack of fully funded schools. Yes, contact your own legislator as well but I'm hoping that if the Governor feels the full force of citizens begging for this, he can make it clear that whatever the Legislature wants to get done when they do convene their regular session, nothing will get his signature.

2017-2018 Student Assignment Plan

Or, as more commonly referred to, the SAP. Background The district created a new Student Assignment Plan in 2009 that was approved by the Board.  It was a big change, primarily because the district went from a choice plan to a neighborhood plan.  I know that many of you don't like this form of SAP but, at the time, many parents were clamoring for a neighborhood plan because of the assurance of knowing what school their child would be assigned to.  The interesting thing I wonder about is that under the choice plan, 90% of people received their first choice.  That's a pretty good percentage but was that their desired choice or just the best choice they felt they could make in terms of knowing where their child would be?  I haven't heard any numbers on the choice within the neighborhood plan. Then, with the explosive growth in the district, the plan had to be tweeted and so there was a Transition Plan.  What is confusing to me is that the district is still in a growth mod

Legislature Needs to Act Fast

Email your legislators right now by clicking  here  and ask them to fully fund public schools so they don’t lay off teachers this spring. Dear friend, Please  email your legislators right now and ask them to fully fund public schools so they don’t lay off teachers this spring. Across the state, already-underfunded school districts are being told to prepare for a new round of budget cuts. You may have received letters or emails warning about the possibility of teacher layoffs or program closures. Let's be clear: this is unacceptable. And it's unconstitutional.

Friday Open Thread

The big news is that the City of Seattle announced three new homeless encampments to be established in early 2017 and one of them is right by the Wilson-Pacific complex that will be home to Robert Eagle Staff Middle School, Licton Springs K-8 and Cascadia Elementary.  The location is 8620 Nesbit Avenue North and it will have up to 50 tiny homes, serving 60-70 people (Nesbit is one block east of Aurora.) The other new encampments are down in Georgetown and White Center.  (The one in White Center will also be near an elementary school but with enough distance that it's not the issue that Wilson-Pacific campus is.) I think we can all agree that the homeless crisis in Seattle is a major issue.  But I am shocked the City would choose a location in an area that is already problematic AND has so many school children nearby. As I previously reported, RESMS planning principal Marni Campbell announced at a community meeting this week that the City is giving the district $1M grant to imp

Understanding the Dire State of SPS' 2017-2018 Budget

Update 3 : partial from letter sent to families that has new information: Next Steps Between Dec. 5, 2016 and Jan. 4, 2017 we will continue to solicit feedback on budget priorities from staff, families, and community partners. I would like to thank the Seattle Council PTSA for hosting three regional meetings for families to provide feedback on budget priorities.  Community Budget Gap Meetings Tues., Dec. 13 , 6:30 - 8 p.m. Ballard High School 1418 NW 65th St. Thurs., Dec. 15 , 6:30 - 8 p.m. South Shore PreK-8 School 4800 S Henderson St. Tues., Jan. 3 , 6:30 - 8 p.m. Franklin High School 3013 S Mt Baker Blvd. Interpretation will be available. To request interpretation please contact with your requested needs.  Additional details regarding the budget deficit, budget development timeline, and actions you can take will be posted to the 2017-18 budget webpage by tomorrow, Dec. 2.  If you have specific questions or concerns

Robert Eagle Staff Community Meetings

I attended the community meeting for Robert Eagle Staff  Middle School on Tuesday night.  There were maybe 5 parents there including one father with his daughter.  Marni Campbell gave the presentation with Executive Director, Jon Halfaker, in attendance.  There were no handouts. She led with the phrase "dream ambitiously."   She also referenced the heritage of the Wilson Pacific site that SPS wants to honor. 

Garfield's Report Card Conferences

I actually don't really want to write about this subject because it's pretty tiresome. I've done some research and frankly, I'm appalled at one big issue. According to the GHS website:

Tuesday Open Thread

OSPI had (seemingly) been rushing to submit its plan to the US Department of Education for the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) which is the NCLB replacement.  They announced yesterday that they are allowing 60 more days for public comment.  From Superintendent Dorn: After consultation with Superintendent-elect Chris Reykdal, Deputy Superintendent Gil Mendoza, Gov. Jay Inslee and various stakeholder groups, I am delaying the submission of the Every Student Succeeds Act Consolidated Plan to the U.S. Department of Education. Here's a link to OSPI's ESSA page including a summary document in seven languages and a link so you can make your comment.  OSPI did have a listening tour but that happened last week. In something of an oddity , there is this call for volunteers at Garfield to go over report cards with students.  I'll have to ask the district about this because it would seem to me there are privacy issues here especially if parents don't know that their c

Nathan Hale's Basketball Team Looks Super

The Times had an article yesterday about the new head boys basketball coach at Hale and what looks to be a very competitive team - as in competitive at both the state and national level.  Hale is now ranked as 22nd in the nation.  Two of Hale's games this year will be televised nationally.  Sixty students tried out and 14 made the team. I had reported earlier this year that former NBA All-Star Brandon Roy was taking the head coaching job at Hale.  He receives $6,000 a year for his work, just like all the other SPS coaches.  Roy had wanted to coach at UW but chose to coach at Hale. Coach Roy appears to have made his presence at Hale known to top high school boys basketball prospects and got one of the most highly-sought after high school players in the country, Michael Porter, Jr., from Missouri.  Porter's brother, Jontay, is also playing on the team.

Seattle Schools, Week of Nov. 28-Dec 3, 2016

Monday, November 28th Student Assignment Plan Community Meeting Franklin High School from 6:30-7:30 pm

Friday Open Thread

The natural explanation for the lateness of this thread is, of course, discombobulation from too much turkey. Spokane School District suspends more kindergarteners and first graders than high school students.  From the Spokesman-Review:

Seattle Schools Posts Info On 20-Minute Added School Day

This story was put out sometime on Wednesday . (partial) To improve K-12 students’ academic access and achievement, the Seattle Education Association (SEA) and Seattle Public Schools (SPS) agreed to add 20 minutes of core instructional time to the school day starting in the 2017-18 school year. This action also brings our instructional hours into alignment with other districts in the region. In addition, SEA and SPS agreed to add teacher collaboration time into the work day to support common planning time and improved student outcomes. Your input and feedback is valued.

Just When You Learn Rhee Won't be Secretary of Ed, Trump Goes One Worse

Trump has selected Betsy DeVos of Michigan as his pick for the next Secretary of Education.  Who is she?  Well, for one, not an educator. 

Updates on Growth Boundaries

Over at the Soup for Teachers Facebook page there was some unhappiness over what info is available at the SPS website around the Growth Boundaries.   Apparently some parents received an email about them but it had no link to the webpage (which means you would have had to search for it yourself.)  And here is the link.

Tuesday Open Thread

From Soup for Teachers: The Center School's Model United Nations team just won the prize for Best Large Delegation and nine Center School students won awards. There were 720 students at the conference from schools all over the Northwest, including lots of private schools, a number of which have MUN as a daily class. At Center, MUN is a student run group (with an amazing advisor teacher, Mr Bell) and is currently funded by parents. I'm putting up this notice from SPS but I would tell you not to bother.  The district is seeking members for the SPS Nutrition Services Policies Task Force .  I say don't bother because the district has ignored a very good report (that they paid for) put out earlier this year on the state of Nutrition Services in SPS and what could be done to make it better and continue successes in it.  Why have a taskforce when that work is already done?  As well, neither the Board nor the district ever act on taskforce recommendations so again, why bo

Calling It For Reykdal

I'm calling it for Chris Reykdal for State Superintendent of Public Instruction.  The vote count is under 28,000 votes and Erin Jones has never closed that gap since election day. The vote margin will end up being less than 1% and a difference of about 28,000 votes. I think both candidates had good campaigns.

This And That

The president-elect is now considering Michelle Rhee for Secretary of Education .  (I find it interesting his actually going to keep it open because hard-core conservatives want it gone but then again, public education was of little interest on the campaign trail.)  Ed reformers love this because Rhee is all things ed reform (TFA, charters, etc.)  But still I smile.  Conservatives had plenty to say about Hillary's baggage from her husband.  Well, Rhee has even worse baggage with her husband, Sacramento mayor, Kevin Johnson. One of the most moving first-person narratives I have ever read, Academia, Love Me Back , by grad student, Tiffany Martinez.

Seattle Schools, Week of November 21-23, 2016

Despite it being a holiday week, there are SPS meetings happening.

Why Can't Seattle Schools Be Clear on Principals and Their Purview?

Principals.  I've said it before and I'll say it again - if your principal is less-than-effective, your school will suffer.  Nothing can pit staff and parents against each other more than a principal who cannot lead. As I previously reported, I attended the HCC Committee meeting earlier this month where a parent asked about what is the line between what the district mandates/oversees about schools and what principals have leeway/control of.  Just like how a principal gets chosen - from school to school - has never been revealed, this is one of the great unanswered questions in our district.  And schools suffer from this kind of deliberate vagueness from the Superintendent and senior staff. Let's chart some of the examples:

Seattle Schools High School Protest: Great Video

A great four+ minutes of video from Monday's high school walkout from The Stranger.

Friday Open Thread

Community meeting with Director Pinkham tomorrow from 3:45 to 5:15 pm at the Northgate library.  To note, Director Pinkham said he was coming from a South Seattle event and may be late but "hang in there."  Director Harris was not able to find a library with space and said she may join him.

Seattle Times Education Event

On November 30 the Seattle Times will host a panel discussion about K-12 Education called: K-12 visions and outcomes: Solving the education problems money can’t fix Here's the stated premise: Washington’s K-12 public education system is broken. Only 77% of our students graduate. Only 39% of graduates are ready for college or a career. The state fully funding basic education is just the beginning. We need to fix the outcomes for all students, preparing them for graduation, college and the workforce. What are acceptable outcomes for Washington’s children? What steps must be taken to build a successful K-12 system where every child receives an equitable, quality basic education? Join The Seattle Times LiveWire for a timely forum with education experts, advocates and policy makers, facilitated by Seattle Times Editorial Page Editor Kate Riley and former Executive Editor Michael Fancher. The members of the panel are:

Seattle School Board Meeting; 2016 Growth Boundaries

I'll do the School Board meeting in two parts because even though the Growth Boundary amendments were the big show, many other interesting things were said at the meeting. But to the Growth Boundaries.  HUGE thank you to Kellie LaRue who sat thru the whole thing (something like 6+ hours; I wimped out at 4 hours) and reported back on the votes.

Puget Sound Districts Promote Multilingualism in Schools

From SPS Communications: Seattle, Highline and Kent School Districts Honor                                              the Multilingualism of Public School Students Seattle, WA – Seattle Public Schools is proud to release its "Speak English AND Your Home Language" video honoring the multilingualism of students in Seattle and neighboring districts. The video, available with subtitles in eight languages plus English , was made in collaboration with Highline Public Schools, the Kent School District and OneAmerica.

Washington State Superintendent Looks to Be Chris Reykdal

Checking the latest numbers from the Secretary of State's website, it looks like Chris Reykdal will narrowly take the state superintendent position by about 30,000 votes (.22%.) There are about 170,000 ballots left to count throughout the state with King county having the largest number at about 64,000.  Looking at the vote counts from the counties with major outstanding numbers of ballots AND who has consistently been carrying what county, it look like Jones will not catch up. A recount happens if the vote count is less than 2,000 votes apart.   That does not appear to be the case here.

Updates on Tonight's Board Meeting

Update :  there is finally a staff document about the amendments.  It is terse and I don't have a link but here are their main points on the amendments. There are not comments for all amendments.

Student Assignment Plan Changes Coming

The Board will be having the Operations Committee meeting on Thursday, the 17th, from 4-7:15 pm.  Why such a lengthy committee meeting?  For one, it's a packed agenda but there are a couple of high profile issues that could take some time. They are: - Approval of the Student Assignment Plan for 2017-18 (F. Herndon) - Transportation service standards and contract (P. McEvoy) As well, there will be a COW (Committee of the Whole) session for Special Education Placement Update.  That they want the entire Board at this meeting must mean something.  (Frankly, it would be great if the entire Board was there to hear about the other two big issues as well.) I have not read thru the SAP info but reader Lynn has:

Supportive Words for Middle School Students

From Soup for Teachers: Yesterday, the PTSA at Eckstein Middle School wrote 1,200 encouraging notes and put them on every single locker, classroom doors, and mailboxes. Some of the kids pinned them to their shirts or put them on their binders or phones. We need more of this! Thank you PTSA!  

The Times Leads Its Readers on How to Think about Public Education

The Seattle Times is the major newspaper of record in our city and it really does fall to them to give the fullest picture in their reporting and then, if they must, lead their readers to a conclusion about that story (or write an editorial.) The Times did both things recently.

Tuesday Open Thread

That was a big turnout for students who walked out of class to protest the presidential elections results.  One student told me, "We're the new generation and we'll decide next time who will be president."  I told him that was great but 100 million people didn't bother to vote so how will he get young people to vote?  He said he thought the next four years would motivate them.  So we shall see. Who's on the short list for Secretary of Education under Trump ? From the NY Times:

Student Walk-Out is On

Update : KIRO is reporting that the district says about 5,000 students walked out.  As well, apparently other districts - Highline, Lake Washington are two - had student walkouts as well. End of update I received a press release this morning about the high school student walk-out.

District Data Dashboard 2015-2016

Here's what was presented at the Work Session for the annual Operations Data Dashboard.  PowerPoint. The current Data Dashboard cycle is from 2013-2018.  It has 31 measures in five categories - academic milestones, commitment to equity, effective teachers, positive school environments and stakeholder engagement and satisfaction.  On-track to meet 2017-2018 target; 13 of 24 measures.   Made improvement (or) On-Track: 17 of 24 measures.

Seattle Schools This Week, November 14-19, 2016

Monday, November 14th Public comment continues for K-5 ELA materials Curriculum & Instruction Policy committee meeting 4:30-6:30 pm at JSCEE.  Agenda

Friday Open Thread

From a classroom in Chicago Want to support those who feel fear over the election of Trump?  Here's a thought; a safety pin , via Vox .   If you missed my updates on the Growth Boundaries (from this week's Work Session), you might want to check them out.

Superintendent Nyland's Message after the Election

From SPS Communications: SPS Steadfast in Commitment to Students

Other Things That Happened Yesterday

- first Indian-American elected to House,Washington's Pramila Jayapal

West Seattle High Students Walk Out in Protest of Trump's Election

From the West Seattle blog: 10:23 AM: About 200 students from West Seattle High School have walked out of their classes and are headed south on California SW toward The Junction.   10:50 AM : The group has reached The Junction. A TV helicopter has picked up on this so if you are hearing/seeing a helicopter, that is what is going on.   11:15 AM; The group rallied at the Jefferson Square corner plaza (photos above and below) and then headed back to WSHS, where we’re told they’ll be talking with principal Ruth Medsker . What participants were telling us is, what happened last night does not represent the future that they want, the America that they believe they belong to and belong in, and they will work to embody the values they want to see represented.  

New Info on Work Sessions and Growth Boundaries

Update #2  I attended the Work Session yesterday.  (I'll do a review of the Data Dashboard portion separately.) I just want to note that Director Blanford seems increasingly absent at meetings and there is no explanation given. For staff, there was Ashley Davies, head of Enrollment, and Flip Herndon, head of Facilities.  They stated that they wanted the Board to have as much knowledge as possible around the submitted amendments and their impacts. There was one hour allotted for this work for 10 amendments, with three of them being brand-new.   However, was this time really used wisely, trying to sort thru what could be agreed on (and therefore set aside for discussion)? Nope, more than 30 minutes was spent on 5A/5B and 6A/6B about Cedar Park.  I hasten to say these are very important amendments but only those amendments and #8-10 were discussed. Not so helpful if you are trying to track possible changes and how the Board will vote. As for 5A/5B and 6A/6B , directors Pink

What to Tell The Kids about the Election

From my dear friend, Maria Trujillo: If my kids didn't know this already, today I'd say: don't give your power to fear.  You (as is everyone else) were meant to thrive. Always. Focus on where you want to go and who you want to be and opportunities to get you there will show up.  You can decide the direction of your thoughts and words and therefore how you feel.  View the world with love in your heart.  Be the better person.  Don't let external situations get in the way.  You have an incredible wealth of inner power and knowledge to guide you. Appreciate it, cultivate it, honor it.  You won't be lost. And neither will our country.

Election Results/ Thought Regarding Education

Update : State Superintendent candidate Chris Reykdal has very slightly widened his lead from 51% to 51.11% over Erin Jones who had 49% and now has 48.89% End of update Well, that was unpleasant. Good article from the NY Times : “Tonight data died,’’ he added.

Education Updates/Impacts from OSPI and City of Seattle

From OSPI:

Tuesday Open Thread

Interesting article about the use of "open educational resources" by schools via EducationNext.  As I keep hearing people say, "Why expensive textbooks?" this might be a red flag on that issue. A thoughtful article on life from a man who has seen 12,000 deaths via Uplift .

Seattle Schools News

The district is seeking parents, staff and community members to be part of the K-5 Gender Identity Materials Task Force .   (I have a call in to ask how many members there will be on the task force.) This year-long Task Force will be vetting materials and helping create literacy-based lessons with gender-focused books appropriate for K-5 classrooms. Specifically, the focus will be on gender expression and gender identity. Task Force members will be selected to represent diverse perspectives.   If you are interested in applying to be a part of the Task Force, please complete our online application process before November 14, 2016. Also, from the Soup for Teachers Facebook page, a link the Transgendered Language Primer .

Seattle Schools HCC Committee Meeting

Updates:  An op-ed from a Seattle Schools parent in the Yakima Herald Seattle Times on testing all students for advanced programs.  (For some reason only the link to the Yakima Herald works; I can't find a working one at the Times.)She's also a teacher (in Shoreline) but taught at Hamilton.  She gets things wrong and she should know better: What’s equitable about a school district that provides special services for the elite, white, privileged, top 2-3 percent of the children and families it serves? Really? What special curriculum or training or support did your students and you get from being in HCC? What message does this send to students in the district?  That white students are the current and future members of the intelligentsia, while black and brown students are not. No, it sends the message that the district needs to reach out in new and better ways to find students of color who would benefit from the program. More than thirty years later in Seattle, the o

Seattle Schools This Week

Monday, November 7th State of the District event at Franklin High School from 5-7 pm. This is always a fascinating event to attend because of the players that show up and the happy face whoever is superintendent generally puts on.  And I think there are things to celebrate for sure but I'd be willing to bet if you did a truly independent parent survey, the results would show a very high level of frustration and dissatisfaction with how the district is run.

Jump Back One Hour on Sunday

Funny Tweet reminder about setting back your clock one hour tomorrow, courtesy of Tacoma Public Schools: Students (and parents) get an extra hour of sleep this weekend! School starts the same time Monday. ;-)

This and That

Terribly disturbing news this week that middle-schoolers are now as likely to die from suicide as car crashes.  From the NY Times :

Friday Open Thread

No Saturday community meetings with directors this week. The district is starting a partnership with Seattle Public Library called Library Link .  This program will automatically provide a library account to students at three middle schools; Aki Kurose , Mercer and Denny .  "The Library Link pilot program is a good example because access to digital resources isn't necessarily equal for all students in the district. By partnering with the Seattle Public Library, we're hoping to have a solution for that." Interesting article from the Columbia Basin Herald about a high school that is trying to do more "outside school days."   “All the questions they had will serve as a springboard in the classroom, and that’s the difference between this experience and your typical school field trip,” Dermond said. “Usually, field trips aim to reinforce what has already been dispensed in the classroom. We wanted our field trip to create questions that we can ans

Blackface at Ingraham High

From The Stranger Slog comes a story about an Ingraham teacher who wore a Michael Jordan face mask and hand gloves to school for Halloween. I honestly found this story jaw-dropping if only for how long administrators allowed this at schools. 

What Ed Reform Wants from Our Next President

As we are coming to a close of our long national nightmare that is the 2016 Presidential election, here's some thoughts from Peter Greene at the Curmudgucation blog tries to explain what Bellwether Education Partners, a reliably reformy right-tilted thinky tank, believes the next president should do in public education policy.

Should Billionaire Ed Reformers Buy State Superintendent Race?

KUOW has a story on the spending in the state superintendent race and spending for Erin Jones' campaign is ahead of Chris Reykdal. One of the largest independent expenditures in Washington state elections this year has come in the race for schools chief: the education reform organization Stand for Children's PAC has bought $164,887 worth of mailers for the Erin Jones campaign for Superintendent of Public Instruction. The PAC spent another $12,809 yesterday on last-minute robocalls for Jones's campaign.

Live Blogging the Seattle School Board Meeting

I am unlikely to be able to do this all night but it seems clear that no vote will be taken on growth boundaries.  I say that because both Director Patu and Director Blanford are not in attendance (she's at a conference and no reason was given for his absence.) As well, Superintendent Nyland is not there and Deputy Superintendent Steve Nielson is filling in for him.

The Situation At Emerson Elementary

I will be writing a separate post about some other principal issues at other schools but this churn speaks to a big problem in Seattle Schools - who's on first? Many of you have asked this question as have Board directors.  What is the list of things that principals can decide on for their communities and what is mandated district work that all schools have to do?  It is unclear and I firmly believe this is hurting the district and undermining the work at schools.  Parents need to know this information.  There is quite a swirl of stories and rumor around what is happening at Emerson Elementary .  Here are some things that are clear:

Tuesday Open Thread

Teaching info on the issues around Standing Rock and the history of the treatment of Native Americans since our country was "discovered."  I'm going be reading up myself.  The Puget Sound Educational Service District announced its annual Schools of Distinction list and several Seattle Public schools were on it (some repeating.)  Those schools are:

Polio-Like Symptoms Hallmark of Illness Striking Children

Update: there is now a ninth child in Washington state who has been hospitalized with this condition. end of update Not sure if this story is widely known but eight Washington state children have come down with polio-like symptoms and one died yesterday in Bellingham.  Three children are from Seattle and one of those is still in the hospital.

Patu Asks for Postponement on Growth Boundaries Vote

From the updated School Board agenda for Wednesday: Board President Patu has requested to postpone action on this item and any amendments to the November 16th Board meeting to allow for a Board Work Session on November 09th to discuss Director Amendments. I have to believe that most directors will go along with this action, given how complicated the work is before them.

Seattle Schools Announces High School Community Meetings

Update from Capital Programs: These meetings do not include information about specific programs nor services at any of our high schools.  end of update From SPS: Community Meetings to be held on Educational Specifications Design Standards Seattle Public Schools will present three community meetings on Educational Specifications Design Standards for high schools. District staff will share information and ask for public input and feedback. Architects base school designs on a predefined set of guidelines that set space requirements for elementary, middle, and high schools to create the best schools possible. With the new design process, each school has more flexibility in adapting the design to fit the needs of its learning community.  The meetings will take place:

Does Your Vote Matter? Yes, It Does

According to the Seattle Times, the latest Elway poll has the race for state superintendent of public instruction at a dead heat between Erin Jones and Chris Reykdal.  A lot of undecideds out there. I think like many of the down ballot judicial races, many people have no idea who to vote for for state superintendent.  You may have friends who don 't have kids in school and/or don't necessarily pay attention to public education issues. Help them out and tell them how you are voting for state superintendent. Again, I'm supporting Chris Reykdal. I believe he has the best skill set and background.  He is a steady presence and supported by legislators on both sides of the aisle as well as by top leadership at OSPI.  He has been endorsed by the Network for Public Education that was started by former deputy secretary of education and noted educator, Diane Ravitch.

Can School Districts Use Race in Enrollment Policies?

Yes, you can. The question is - why is Seattle Schools saying, in document after document - you can't? From the majority opinion:

Seattle Schools This Week

Tuesday, November 1st Board Work Session from 4:30-6:30 pm at JSCEE.  Agenda There is one topic  - Annual Evaluation of 2015-2016 Board Governance Priorities and Superintendent SMART Goals, Part 2. This particular topic has - no kidding - 164 pages for the Board to review.   Most of it is around Cedar Park and its enrollment.  I do not understand sticking this topic in with SMART Goals. Then there will be an Executive Session to "Evaluate the performance of a public employee" (likely the Superintendent as it is time for his annual evaluation.) I am hoping that the Board will soon take control of their own Work Sessions and not allow staff to eat up time with endless reviews and/or documentation delivered before whatever the topic at hand gets actual discussion. Wednesday, November 2nd  School Board meeting , starting at 4:15 pm.  Agenda

Lincoln High Reopening Meeting

Kudos to Director Burke for attempting to take on the issue of the reopening of Lincoln High School in 2019.  The estimate of how many parents packed the library was about 300 people.  Staff included Flip Herndon, Michael Tolley as well as Hale principal Jill Hudson (who is on the 24-credit committee as well as being the planning principal for Lincoln.)  She was the only staff member to speak. Burke outlined the goals of the meeting:

Tick Tock; Where's the Board Meeting Agenda with Growth Boundaries Amendments?

 Update: here's the agenda .  There are nine amendments including one to postpone (that one from Director Harris and I think she's right.) end of update I do believe that the "end of the day" means 5 pm especially since the JSCEE closes at more like  4:30 pm. I suspect the amendments are what is holding up the agenda. I'll update when I can.

First Indigenous Peoples' Day at Chief Sealth

Wonderful celebration of cultures at Chief Sealth International High School - these photos make this event look like it was a fantastic one.  All photos by Leda Costa for the West Seattle Blog .