Friday Open Thread

Good News

Ballard's concert choir is going to Carnegie Hall in the middle of March for the second year in a row.  Their wind ensemble has been invite to play next year there as well.  Kudos to those singers and musicians.

Cleveland High was named a STEM Lighthouse School by OSPI, one of six in the state.  Good job, Cleveland. 
Along with well-deserved recognition, Cleveland will also receive a $20,000 grant from OSPI to serve as a mentor to other schools and school districts that are creating their own STEM environments.
No director community meetings this Saturday.

Interesting piece from KPLU on the use of class rather than race for integration purposes.
"Stronger Together" is not the name of the latest social-media fitness app. It's a grant proposed in President Obama's new budget, reviving an idea that hasn't gotten much policy attention in decades: diversity in public schools.

When a school reaches a stable level of about 30 percent middle-class students, the lower-income students achieve at higher levels and the privileged students do no worse, says Halley Potter, the author of one of the Century Foundation reports. Similarly, the racial achievement gap shrinks in schools that have less than a "supermajority" of 60 percent of any one race. 
Good article from Ed Week Leaders about two school leaders in Vancouver, Washington getting down to the nitty-gritty of what affects student life and then, student performance.
“The district has really educated itself about the areas of poverty and trauma and mental health,” says Staci Boehlke, the center coordinator at Fruit Valley. “It’s not, ‘We’ve got to get this fixed so they can learn.’ It’s just part of the fabric.”

“To me, the community-schools work is critical to finishing that transformation,” he says. “So much of this is about recognizing the power that comes from alignment. It’s not just about additional resources.”

Any time the district finds a way to cut costs—by trimming miles off bus routes through a new GPS-mapping system, for example—it targets the freed-up funds toward its strategic vision, lending sustainability to the initiative by incorporating much of its funding into the annual operating budget rather than relying solely on philanthropy to subsidize it.
Selah School district has decided to postpone any changes to their bell times for next year.  On the other hand, Evergreen Public Schools will be changing their bell times to nearly an hour later for high schools.

What's on your mind?


Karin Brookes said…
More good news, from Garfield HS's fabulous orchestra program, directed by Marcus Tsutakawa for the last 30 years:
Jet City mom said…
Is Seattle going to be taking over Highline schools if the annexation goes through?

I also see that Seattle is installing new artificial turf.
Are they maintaining these fields any better than they do buildings?
Jet City, the one thing the district DOES maintain are the fields (the turf, specifically.) They have a joint-share agreement with Parks and are careful to keep those up.

As I previously reported, there is anecdotal evidence that the rubber turf fields may have health risks to those who use them. The feds are finally going to do a study.
Anonymous said…
The problem with all these reports on how integration decreases the achievement gap while not harming privileged students is that they tend to look at "floor" outcomes, not "ceilings." Changing the makeup of a school might not negatively impact the graduation rate for those privileged students, but I have yet to find any reference to the impact on available courses or the level of rigor. With a larger percentage of underachieving students, it's likely that classes would be simplified somewhat, and AP or honors offerings might be scaled back. I'm not saying that's not an acceptable trade-off, but to say there's "no negative impact" when you're only looking at very basic, low-level outcomes seems disingenuous. It also seems unlikely to allay fears for those who don't question their child's ability to simply graduate. Is there research that addresses some of these other potential consequences?

Anonymous said…
Yes, the Seattle Symphony side-by-side concerts with various Seattle Public Schools orchestras are enjoyable and inspirational experiences for students. My kid has enjoyed playing in a side-by-side the past three years, including La Mer at Benaroya on Tuesday celebrating Mr. Tsutakawa's 30th year teaching orchestra there. He brought all of his orchestra students to play on stage including his first-year students.
mirmac1 said…
I see the obscure group MomsRising supports City PreK expansion...
Anonymous said…
Any new news on math curriculum? I Recently heard that SPS is encouraging watering down of MIF because the chosen district assessments doesn't align with MIF. If true this definitely seems like the tail wagging the dog. I'm sure the district could make up their own assessments.

Opting Out Sounding Better and Better
Anonymous said…

I agree with you that momsrising is less than transparent about who is running it, who is funding it and who it represents. But I don't think it is a bad group overall.

I am not sure that they understand all the issues at play in the City/Seattle Preschool proposed agreement, but they do support early learning. Early learning is not a bad thing, but it needs to be done right. It can't use space that SPS needs for K-12, and it can't perpetuate the two separate but unequal tracks for children with disabilities.

dan dempsey said…
Oakland District at Heart of Drive to Transform Urban Schools

NY Times on Oakland Schools

Includes this => on Broad Academy

When Mr. Broad first announced the initiative in 2001, he noted that the average urban schools leader lasted just over two years and had little preparation in finances or management.

The new academy, he said, would “dramatically change this equation“ by seeking candidates in educational circles as well as recruiting from corporate backgrounds and the military, introducing management concepts borrowed from business. Those chosen embark on a two-year fellowship, trained and mentored while working in their districts.

The fellows meet with speakers from think tanks, other school districts, charter networks and the business world. During one session last fall in New York, administrators from large districts shared a conference room with charter leaders and discussed challenges they have in common: how to recruit racial minorities to teaching, how to staff executive teams, and how to change punitive disciplinary cultures.

Broad-trained superintendents currently run districts in two dozen communities, including Boston, Broward County, Fla., and Philadelphia. They have lasted an average of four and three-quarter years, delivering incremental academic progress at best. Like others in the field, they have run up against the complexities of trying to improve schools bedeviled by poverty, racial disparities, unequal funding and contentious local politics.

Some prominent academy alumni have resigned after tumultuous terms. Mike Miles, the Dallas schools superintendent, quit last June after just three years, during which he battled teachers over new evaluation criteria and performance-based pay.

In Los Angeles, John Deasy stepped down as superintendent in the fall of 2014 after a turbulent tenure in which he testified against teachers’ unions during a landmark trial involving tenure and job protections, and presided over a botched rollout of a $1.3 billion plan to give all students iPads. That same year, John Covington abruptly resigned as chancellor of a state-operated district for the lowest performing schools in Detroit. Two years earlier, Jean-Claude Brizard resigned from the Chicago Public Schools after 17 months on the job and a bruising teachers’ strike.
dan dempsey said…
A version of this article appears in print on March 5, 2016, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Oakland Is Flash Point in Billionaire’s Push for Charter Schools.
Anonymous said…
John Kasich on Education

With a current position of "Bye Bye Common Core"

Can Kasich win the Ohio Republican Primary?

Is this thrust against CCSS by politicians due to strong opposition to CCSS by so many in the public?

How about Hillary and Bernie where does each stand on Common Core?

Wonder what the "National Governor's Association" thinks about CCSS today?

Here is what Michelle Malkin thinks about Kasich and CCSS .. given at CPAC 2016. Malkin sees previous support for CCSS by Kasich.

-- Dan Dempsey
Anonymous said…
THREE and ONE HALF minutes of Michelle Malkin on CCSS.

At around Minute 4:30 Malkin states that in the past Kasich smeared those parents and teachers opposed to Common Core. At 6:30 Malkin goes after National Governors Association and those who wrote the CCSS in 2009. She names the connections of those who wrote the CCSS. --- great to see this put out there. By minute 8:00 she is done with CCSS

-- Dan Dempsey
Anonymous said…
I might have missed this earlier, but in case anyone else did to...

A letter went out to Lafayette Spectrum families that states that there will be no more self-contained Spectrum programs in any elementary schools in Seattle starting in the 2016-2017 school year.

There's no date on the letter, but the post was added to the Lafayette school site on 2/10/16.

-West Seattle parent
Anonymous said…
That's "too", not "to". Getting more coffee now. Sorry!

-West Seattle parent
Anonymous said…
About CCSS and 2016 candidates... lots more info at Ballotpedia

Who knows if what candidates say and what each would do after election are similar?

-- Dan Dempsey
Another Name said…
I'm feeling increasingly concerned about a woman named Erin Jones. Jones is running for Superintendent of Public Instruction. Her earliest contributors were individuals from Teach for America, the League of Education Voters and those that support charter schools - including Eric Pettigrew, Bree Dusseault, Tim Burgess, and Bree Dusseault.

There is a document indicating that Jones spoke in favor of appointing Maggie O'Sullivan to Rainier Prep. O'Sullivan is the founding principal of Rainier Prep.

She is seeking early endorsements from Democratic Districts. Do these Democrats know of Erin Jones relationship to the corporate ed. reformers?
Anonymous said…
Yesterday AL office reported to some families via email that they qualified for AL services. Then today they got a message recall notice followed by a "just kidding, your kid didn't actually qualify" note.

It's interesting that the administration continues to use communication services that they are fully aware are broken and send messages to the wrong families.

Leslie Harris has told Soup for Teachers she's looking into this latest fiasco.

TechyMom said…
Does anyone know how Garfield's choir program is adjusting after losing their teacher last year?
Anonymous said…
Another Name points out that Corporate Ed Reformers like to drive the bus

and maybe Erin Jones is their chosen bus driver.

-- Dan Dempsey
Wei Dai said…
Do the SPS district departments typically answer their emails? I sent one email to asking when the Purple Book (School Budget allocations) will be made available online, and another one to about how to find the length of the wait list at each school/grade, but didn't get an answer to either one. What has other people's experience been with asking questions via email?
Lynn said…
The budget department has been responsive. I would direct my question to an individual though rather than that address. Try Linda Sebring

Enrollment planning does not respond. You'll get more information through a public records request. Are you loking for waitlists for next fall? They haven't made assignments using the school choice requests yet. The info won't be available until mid-April.
Wei Dai said…
Thanks, Lynn. Yes, I'm looking for waitlists for next fall. According to this page, "Assignment and waitlist information for 2016-17 can now be viewed online!" which seems to imply that assignments have been made already. Unfortunately the online tool on that page only allows looking up an individual student, whereas I'm looking for the lengths of the waitlists for each school/grade.
Anonymous said…
I just spoke with Enrollment. No 2016-17 assignments have been made yet, and the results won't be available until mid-April.

The language is confusing, but I think it is supposed to refer to the fact that you don't have to call or wait for a letter to find out your child's assignment. Hopefully they will add clarifying language so they don't get slammed with calls.

-just called
Wei Dai said…
Thanks, "just called". Also for anyone curious, the lack of email responses was apparently caused by some computer problem. I resent the emails again using another address, and this time got a response from that the Purple Book for next year will be posted online on March 16. Only an automated reply from enrollment planning so far though.
NO 1240 said…
Please call the following elected and ask for NO vote on charter schools:

Rep. Pat Sullivan: 360-786-7858

Rep. Tana Senn: 360-786-7894

Rep. Joan McBride: 360-786-7848

Rep. Chris Reykdal: 360-786-7940

Rep. Christine Kilduff: 360= 786-7958
Anonymous said…
Here's astory of high schools taunted Latino players at Basketball games with chants of "Trump!" and "build the wall".

Anonymous said…
Please call the following elected and ask for YES vote on public charter schools:

Rep. Pat Sullivan: 360-786-7858

Rep. Tana Senn: 360-786-7894

Rep. Joan McBride: 360-786-7848

Rep. Chris Reykdal: 360-786-7940

Rep. Christine Kilduff: 360-786-7958

Citizen Kane

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