Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Tuesday Open Thread

Update: Seattle Opt-Out is having a showing of Beyond Measure on Thursday (Jan. 28th) at 6:30 pm at Garfield High School.  (SORRY - I missed that this is Thursday, Jan. 28th and NOT tomorrow, Jan. 7th.)

end of update

So Seattle Schools had this retweet yesterday (from someone named Julia Kass who I can't publicly identify from her Twitter account):

Identifying high priority leadership practices with principal professional development committee. 

Along with a photo of some principals (one was Jill Hudson at Nathan Hale.) 

The training is being done thru UW's Center for Educational Leadership via the Associate Director, Max Silverman.  I tweeted back and asked what "high priority leadership practices" are and got no reply.  It would be nice to know what this training is about so parents know and understand what kind of professional development their principals are receiving.

Another senior opportunity via Director Harris this time from the ACLU:
We’re looking for rising high school seniors to join us at Georgetown University this summer, June 19-25. If you know anyone who fits the bill, please encourage them to apply!
The ACLU Summer Advocacy Institute will bring together a diverse group of students from across the country for an intensive 7-day program.  For the student who wants to build expertise in advocacy and grassroots activism, debate the issues currently at play in the U.S. courts and political arena, strategize with leaders in the field, and develop strong relationships with fellow student leaders, the ACLU Summer Advocacy Institute is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

I always get asked, "But how could people make money from running public schools?" when people don't believe that privatization of public schools is happening, here's an infographic from Yes! that explains that.  (If you read yesterday's thread about testing, you can see that ACT and SAT are competing against each other and now for a different piece of the pie.  In turn, they compete against SBAC/PARCC vendors.  And that's just one area to make money.)

Here's an interesting item from the Gates Foundation list of grants - a grant for $715K to a company on...Bainbridge Island.  Preva Group is getting the money to:
"deliver increased data quality and response rates for data collection from educators resulting in lower administrative cost and time burden, automated measurement of alignment to Common Core for classroom teachers resulting in better implementation of Common Core lessons, and automated measurement of indicators of sustainability for education reform initiatives resulting in shorter surveys and rapid measurement"
What's fascinating is that the Preva Group is largely made up of ex-Gates Foundation folks plus one other guy and he sits on the school board for Bainbridge Island School District.  Some might call that a conflict of interest and I certainly would not like seeing this kind of thing happening on our school board.

Here's a link to the district's information on inclement weather and SPS.

SPS is also havng an educator fair on January 30th, looking for Sped, ELL, language immersion, Montessori, world languages and creative arts teachers as well as school nurses.  One thing that made me smile is under World Languages they have:

(Spanish, French, Chinese, Italian, etc.)

While I love Italian, I'm not sure it's such a primary language to be teaching (and I'm not even sure I knew it was being taught in SPS.)

What's on your mind?


Maje said...

I don't see the link to the infographic on profiting from public schools. Did I miss it?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Nope, I forgot it. Hang tight and I'll get it there.

Charlie Mas said...

Did the Washington Policy Center change their web site so people can no longer comment on their articles?

Anonymous said...

My prediction for 2016 is,

The new school board will be a bust.

I write this because, so far, they look disoriented. The executive committee is, well to put it kindly, weak.

Another quagmire

Melissa Westbrook said...

Seems that way, Charlie. Or they moderate but really, why bother?

Another, care to expand on that? The Executive Ctm is weak because....?

Anonymous said...

Charter school paper:

"Are We Heading Toward a Charter School 'Bubble'?: Lessons from the Subprime Mortgage Crisis"

Preston C. Green III
University of Connecticut

Bruce D. Baker 
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Rutgers University, New Brunswick/Piscataway

Joseph Oluwole 
Montclair State University

Julie F. Mead 
University of Wisconsin - Madison - School of Education

December 16, 2015


If this has been posted here, pls feel free to delete my post. I'm swamped and can't look through the blog for it. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

Heads up:

World Geography has been taken out of the middle school curriculum effective next year. I've had students who didn't know where the Cascades were. How will your student manage a global view much less ever know where in the world is Carmen San Diego?


Anonymous said...

I was struck by the Seattle Times article this weekend about the turnaround in Foster High in Tukwila. The school has new leadership and is supporting students with better counseling and services.

They are also leading peers in AP calculus in the state and nation. The school adopted a more traditional math textbook and added classes for 9th graders not ready for algebra. Story problems and group discussions for math were considered ineffective and deemphasized.

About a year ago, SPS also adopted a more promising elementary math textbook, Math in Focus, but then a couple of central office staff members started meddling with it. Too many schools in our district make it up as they go along and lack fundamentally sound textbooks in all grades.

SPS could learn a lesson from Foster High. Our new directors should focus on math and keep the central staff away from it.

S parent

Leslie said...

Dear Another Quagmire:

Ouch. Care to discuss what your thoughts and priorities are?

Working hard and listening and learning - will buy you a cup of coffee. Thank you.

Re: My prediction for 2016 is,

The new school board will be a bust.

I write this because, so far, they look disoriented. The executive committee is, well to put it kindly, weak.

Another quagmire

1/5/16, 12:21 PM

Leslie Harris

Director, SPS Dist. 6

Exec. Comm. Member

SPS Cell: 206.475.1000

Robert Cruickshank said...

Wait, what? "World Geography has been taken out of the middle school curriculum effective next year. I've had students who didn't know where the Cascades were. How will your student manage a global view much less ever know where in the world is Carmen San Diego?"

This is unacceptable. Has there been any explanation given for why this would happen? If this is true, we need the school board to step up and fix this. And the school board should be signing off on any and all curriculum changes.

Melissa Westbrook said...

CCA, I'll have a separate thread for that very damning article. Thanks.

Very sad about geography - another subject that can integrate history, math, science, etc.

Anonymous said...


Italian is a language option? What school in Seattle? I have wished that my daughter had an Italian language option. Spanish & possibly French seem to be the only European language options offered as far as I can tell in our area. I went to school in NY suburbs (LI) and took Italian in middle, high school & later college. However, Long Island also has a huge population of people of Italian descent so I understand why it may have been offered in that area.

Patrick said...

Latin is a European-language option in Roosevelt.

Palo Alto High, back in the day, had many language options. Italian, German, classical Greek, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, French. For some of them, to study past 3rd year, one had to continue at community college, which required travel off campus.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I don't think Italian is offered anywhere in SPS; someone probably was making a list of languages and threw that in. Yes, I think Italian got offered more in areas of the country with large populations of Italian-heritage people.

Anonymous said...

I am optimistic about the new school board.

I am eternally disappointed in the SPS foreign language offerings, the fact that unless you're in the language schools (which aren't option schools), there is no foreign language offering until middle school. It's too late. Kids should be learning foreign languages in the younger elementary grades, as they do in Canada (French immersion) and most of Europe. The brain is far more capable of learning a foreign language (ANY language) in the early years than even in adolescence.

While I applaud the fact that Latin is an option in SPS, I also find it depressing that German doesn't seem to be an option here. It's a useful language to learn, though not as useful as Spanish or French (if we're thinking about number of countries where speaking a particular language is helpful).


Anonymous said...

I believe the two international elementary schools North of the Ship Canal are now option schools. It's a recent change; they became option schools sometime in the last couple years.

It would be very nice if all elementary schools had a language option. It wouldn't need to be an immersion class. A 30-45 minute language class a day would suffice in non-international elementary schools.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Dreaming, some schools' PTAs do pay for language classes but not every day (which you need - once a week is not enough.)

Anonymous said...

...If Max Silverman is involved you can guarantee that it is part of the corporate agenda...


Anonymous said...

The Garfield showing of "Beyond Measure" is on Thursday, Jan. 28. Not this coming Thursday, tomorrow. We're not ready!!


No 1240 said...

In September 2015, the Washington State Supreme Court determined I 1240 to be unconstitutional.

Unconstitutional charter schools are being kept open as home school centers. The West Seattle Blog reports that Summit Olympus and Summit Sierra are being operated as homeschooling centers.

Unconstitutional charter schools continue to receive state funding and I suspect a small school district in eastern Washington (Mary Walker School District) is responsible for oversight. it should be noted that the Superintendent of Mary Walker School District- Kevin Jacka- resigned from the Washington State Charter Commission on December 2, 2015.


No I 1240 said...

Mary Walker School District trustees voted to allow charter schools around the state to join the small district near Springdale, Wash., according to a news release.

It is official:

"Mary Walker School District trustees voted to allow charter schools around the state to join the small district near Springdale, Wash., according to a news release.

Schools joining the district will be classified as an Alternative Learning Experience under state law. ALEs allow for off-campus instruction, with the schools reporting student progress to the district. A school district receives state money for students enrolled in an ALE program. The arrangement would keep charter schools open despite a Washington state Supreme Court ruling declaring their funding source unconstitutional. The district’s board approved the proposal on Dec. 30.

The partnership is designed as a short-term solution. Spokane’s two charter schools plan to join the Mary Walker School District."

Anonymous said...

Not a surprise: Pettigrew and Litzow have filed another charter school bill. Wonder how much time they have spent on McCleary. Let me guess.