Friday Open Thread

Demographic Research Information Session
Enrollment Planning is pleased to host our second Demographic Research Information Session on Friday, January 29, from 12-1 pm, at the John Stanford Center in room 2700.

From KOMO via AP:

Study: Seattle ranks No. 1 in affordable, walkable neighborhoods with good schools
From the Pacific Standard, maybe a different way to talk to kids (at home) about sex?
What If We Admitted to Children That Sex Is Primarily About Pleasure? One mother makes up for the gaps in sex education.
From City Arts, How organizations like Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras are moving the needle on music education in Seattle schools, and what that means for our city’s future.
From Business Insider's Science Alert, The 17 equations that changed the course of history.  Tell the kids at dinner tonight that there will be a pop quiz.
I know I have put this up before but if you missed it, here's SPS' Parent's Guide to Problem Solving within the district.  There are phone numbers but sadly few e-mail addresses.  Please note the new head of Legal is Noel Treat and his e-mail is

Friday funny via the Washington Post's Answer Sheet,
My kid uses a landline, not a cell phone. Here’s why.  
Great Saturday event - Star Trek Geek Out: A Weekend of Star Trek Revelry 

What's on your mind?


Lynn said…
There have been a couple of articles about an impending change to graduation gowns in Garfield's student paper recently.

Most unexpected quote on the topic: Shedrick Johnson, president of the Black Student Union says, “People made it seem like we should have catered to the minority. That’s not fair because others are the majority.”

Purple, White or Purple and White

Gowns to Come

mirmac1 said…
The Special Education PTSA has a great program planned for our February Meeting. The meeting will follow SPS's SE Regional Meeting at Rainier Beach High School on February 2nd. The SPS meeting runs 6-7, PTSA runs 7-9pm. Our topic is Transition and Lifespan planning. Guests include:

Dr. Steve Becker will offer parents and family members practical information about what transition services are, the legal requirements, and what questions to ask in transition meetings. Also, he’ll describe 10 specific things that parents can do to help in the transition process. Steve brings to participants over 30 years of experience as a transition teacher and special education consultant. He is the author of the new book Practical Parenting of Adults with HFA and Social Challenges.

LifeSPAN is a community organization dedicated:
To support families in developing a safe, secure and quality future for their relatives with disabilities. Through planning, families envision futures where people with disabilities:
•Share their vision for the future (Dreams)
•Have financial security through will & estate plan (Wealth)
•Live in a place of their own choice (Home)
•Participate in a caring and hospitable community (Fellowship)
•Have their wishes supported by family and friends (Choice)
•Are protected from abuse and exploitation (Security)
•Are encouraged to participate (Contribution)

SPS SpEd staff will give provide updates on various issues.
Anonymous said…
Re: Garfield's gown issue

In defense of Shedrick - what my child understood is that ASB made a decision based on the top-down, administration-forced down their throat "One Garfield" initiative, which has generally not been well received by the students. Garfield contains many, many different types of kids, so shouldn't they be celebrating that diversity instead of trying to cover it up by painting them all the same color?

In addition, according to my student, the non-binary kids were perfectly ok with the "choice" option in the beginning.

I believe that the ASB felt they had the moral high ground and no one else really had the ability to understand the situation.

From my standpoint, the process felt very condescending to the students who felt excluded and also completely negated the Black voice at Garfield, which has tradition on their side. Some of these families have generations of pictures with relatives in a white gown. A little ironic to be marching down to City Hall with the Black Student Union one month to protest their voices not being heard, and then completely ignoring their voices the next month.

Also ridiculous to call out that the girls felt white is more flattering and that is why they were fighting for it -- I never heard that in any of the conversations.

Very worried that the graduation is now going to be purple gowns=white kids, white gowns=black kids. Seriously?


Po3 said…
I am thinking about the SAT being given to all 11th graders on March 2.
Apparently, the test will take from 8am-1pm and then students will be released from school.

On the one hand, I think it is great that it is being offered for free so all students can fairly access the test, but can't help thinking is it worth missing a whole day of school?

And shouldn't there be equal access to the ACT?
And what about students who don't plan to take the SAT or took it already, do they get a day off from school?
Or is this a required test and you have to opt out?

Lynn said…
Would that be worse than purple gowns=boys and white gowns=girls? I am curious too what color you predict the Asian and mixed-race kids will wear.
Anonymous said…
I have no idea Lynn - we will just have to see how it plays out.

The primary point is that the non-binary kids were fine with the choice option from the beginning.

What is wrong with giving everyone a choice?

Who has the right to take the choice away from everyone and say you will wear purple because we say you will wear purple?

Feels a little dictatorial to me and obviously also to many of the students.

mirmac1 said…
African American Male Scholars Advisory Committee Seeking New Members

Superintendent Larry Nyland is looking to recruit new members for the district's African American Male Scholars Advisory Committee to the Superintendent (AAMSAC) for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years.

The AAMSAC was formed to advise the superintendent on how the district can better and more effectively serve African American students achieve academic success and develop socio-emotionally.

The committee meets two times a month and includes parents, guardians, community members, teachers, staff, and City of Seattle representatives.

The nomination deadline for recruits is Friday, February 19 , 2016. Contact Director of School Family Partnerships and Equity and Race Relations, Bernardo Ruiz, to nominate a candidate.
mirmac1 said…
I asked Jacque Coe, Communications Director, to post all school tour info on the main district page. Otherwise you have to visit every school page individually. This is especially hard for special education families, given the minimal time they are allowed once program locations are published. Apparently, the tour dates was too much to ask....
Anonymous said…
What about the EEU situation - can somebody in the know give an update?

Jet City mom said…
Why dont they just assign color of gowns by last name, the way they do counselors.
Jet City mom said…
What data is being used to judge " affordability" for families?
This infographic indicates that only 33% is affordable and suitable for families in Seattle.
Additionally, it assumes they can pay 30% of income for housing, and be willing to lve in less desirable areas.
Eric B said…
I don't know if this is an issue with the white Garfield gowns, but someone I know went to a high school with gendered gowns (white = girls, blue = boys). The white gowns were somewhat transparent, leaving some of the girls showing a lot more than they expected.

Is it common to have girls on one side and boys on the other at graduation? That seems like it's the root of a lot of the problems.
bubba said…
They reached an agreement. The details are not available yet.
Anonymous said…
I had planned to attend the Demographics meeting today, but was unable to go. I'd appreciate an update if anyone went...particularly if there was data presented regarding Cedar Park.

Thank you!

-North-end Mom
Lynn said…
Interestingly, Garfield assigns all African American and Hispanic male students and students receiving special education services to the same counselor. The rest of the students are assigned by last name.
Po3 said…
"Garfield assigns all African American and Hispanic male students and students receiving special education services to the same counselor."

How is that even allowed?
Anonymous said…
The official joint statement from EEU and SPS:
The Seattle Public Schools and the Experimental Education Unit had an extremely productive meeting about funding for the EEU kindergarten on Thursday, January 28th. With the help of the Washington Governor’s Office of the Education Ombuds and OSPI we have reached a tentative agreement about a new structure for funding the EEU kindergarten program for the 2016-17 school year and beyond. SPS will be exploring, based upon the agreement currently in development, next steps for an appropriate enrollment process for enrolling students for the EEU kindergarten. We will continue to communicate updates in the days ahead.
--alum mom
mirmac1 said…
Jill Geary attended the meeting. Her presence ensured that parents and voters were represented in a transparent process. Thanks Jill!
Anonymous said…
Po3 -

totally agree.



Jet City mom said…
The way I read the Garfield website is that everyone has a counselor by last name, however Ray Willis will be available for additional support for those students who might need it and that fit the above criterial.
Given Mr Willis' questionable, nay, unethical decisions in the past, I can't see that it is doing those students any favors, but perhaps he is able to assist them anyway.
Jet City mom said…
The district is hiring preschool teachers, at their education fair?
But, if they are revamping childcare space to be used by elementary students, where are the preschools going to be?
Why not do what many colleges do? Purple for the gown with a white neck sash with GHS down the sides?

I'm not sure why this is all this complicated. I will also say that while I believe in student voices, adults need to make these decisions.
NW mom said…
Last year was the last time Ballard was going with red gowns for girls and black for boys. I'm not sure which color they are using going forward but it will all be the same now.
Anonymous said…
Jet City Mom:

I see one job posting on-line for a preschool teacher, apparently for the SPP preschool at (new) Van Asselt Elem. I wonder what happened to the new teacher who started there in September? Hmm. How's that going......?

Getting Tired said…
My medical insurance premiums are rapidly increasing. I'm hearing that we will be asked to support a multi-billion transportation levy, housing levy, and the city plans on doubling the prek levy.

Seattle residents are paying more taxes due to increased property rates, and the state will be looking towards Seattle to pay for education.

There is at least one senior that wonders if they can stay in Seattle.
Anonymous said…
@Jet City Mom

Re: locations of preschool classrooms

From the 1/22 Friday Memo (Seattle Preschool Program 2015-16 attachment to the Friday Memo):

Possible Phase II sites
Note: These sites are being vetted with facilities
Arbor Heights – green (school leadership engaged in early learning work)
Thornton Creek – green (school leadership engaged in early learning work)
Boren K-7 – green (should have available capacity due to Arbor Heights moving to new
Roxhill – yellow (may not have capacity)
Schmitz Park - yellow (may have capacity challenges)
South Shore – yellow (tuition, 4 day per week schedule, preschool enrollment matriculation)

-North-end Mom
Schmitz Park!?! They have portable village called Schmitzville. And AH and TC will probably need their space for their students.

Anonymous said…
Shocking, isn't it?

Schmitz Park is scheduled to move to Genesee Hill for Fall 2016 (same time the new Arbor Hts and Thornton Creek buildings open).

I kind of doubt there will be room for a preschool in the Genesee Hill building???

Did they ever say what will become of the Schmitz Park building or the Decatur building?

The capacity management BAR stated that they were planning to carve additional classrooms (4?) out of new BEX buildings that were due to open next fall (specific building names were not given).

-North-end Mom
Anonymous said…
According to the 5-year projections:

Arbor Heights 345
Thornton Creek 593
Schmitz Park 700

All are being built to 660 seats.

-North-end Mom
Anonymous said…
That's not a good argument.

- apparent
Teacher Greg said…
Question: Any word on when a lawsuit might be filed against MWSD and their sudden increase of 822 students as of the January headcount?
Stay tuned, Teacher Greg. This is one weird story and, at the end, I think some people are going to be very unhappy.
NO 1240 said…
Thanks for the link, Teacher Greg! I'm guessing that Mary Walker School District has absorbed students from Spokane's charter school.

There is plenty reason to believe that districts and special ed. students will be put at-risk.

It is also interesting to note that charter SCHOOLS have now become PROGRAMS.
No 1240 said…
Second thought: Mary Walker has enrolled over 800 students. The volume of students extends beyond those students enrolled in Spokane's charter schools. Wow.
Anonymous said…
That would be the former charter students in Tacoma Kent, Highline, and Spokane.

Owler said…
Having gone to a high school with one color for everyone, I can't believe gown color is an issue in this day and age. Gender-assigned colors speaks to a 1950s "boys on this side of the gym, girls on this side" world. If you aren't wearing different colors, do you forget if you are talking to a boy or girl? Seriously? It's something you wear for about three hours when you are 17 or 18 years old.

Anonymous said…
Can we talk about how bad the school websites are now? I have a sick kid and I need to contact the teachers because it is finals week but I can't find any email addresses for teachers on the Hale website. The staff page used to have pictures of staff and email addresses and what they taught. Now it is nothing but a name.

The whole website is largely useless whereas before there was a lot of information. Is this true for the school websites or just Hale's website?

Anonymous said…
The lack of contact information on the Hale website combined with the resistance by some teachers to use schoology, makes for a very frustrating situation.

hale parent
Anonymous said…
HP, they no longer have email addresses for any schools. I have contacted them about this and supposedly they will add them "soon." It is ridiculous that if you want to get hold of any teachers you have to call the main office at the school & ask for the email or phone numbers.

Mom of 4
Anonymous said…
Ask your school admin to create a file with staff contact info - names and emails - that can be posted on the website with other forms and whatnot. That was our school's work around.

Patrick said…
It's not just Hale. Roosevelt also has no emails on the web site. No job titles either.

On the Source, the teacher's names have email addresses, so you can get them for your kid's teachers. But if you want to contact the Registrar, or the nurse, or next year's teachers, etc., you need to call the office.

Anonymous said…
You can email the teachers thru Schoology. The message function will give you email addresses.

Owler said…
Elementary school websites are also similarly lacking information (email addresses, teacher info). I think the abrupt site migration last June left the tech team with a lot of holes and no easy way to recreate the information.
Anonymous said…
Schoology is great in theory, but I lost half of my students' parents at the starting gate because it required a login. I tried to make a go of it, I really did. It felt like an added barrier to communication, and then I was having the same conversation twice (on Schoology and in whole-group emails). Unless all students/parents and teachers embrace it, it doesn't work. Why do we make everything harder?
Gave up
Patrick said…
Owler, no easy way to recreate the information? Couldn't they ask each school for their staff directory and input the information from it? Why should this be so hard?? It's hard because the District values opacity and will pay consultants fat contracts to destroy anything transparent.

Gave Up, I agree from the parent's point of view. It's not just that it's a separate login, but most teachers never put anything on it, and the ones that did just had a two or three word description of some of the assignments. It's not enough for me to tell if my child did what she was supposed to do - so I'm trusting that my child got the assignment when she was in class, so why do I need schoology? Some of the teachers set up their own websites on their own domains, and I admire that effort. I wish schoology or the source could just redirect to the teacher's site when they do their own.

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