Tuesday Open Thread

Good story from NPR about a little girl who wanted to see more kids who looked like her.
Fewer than 10 percent of children's books released in 2015 had a black person as the main character, according to a yearly analysis by the Cooperative Children's Book Center at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. And while the number of children's books about minorities has increased in the past 20 years, many classroom libraries have older books.

Last fall, Marley decided to do something about it. She set a goal of collecting 1,000 books about black girls by the beginning of February, and #1000blackgirlbooks was born.
More reading news from the Columbia Basin Herald:

Staff at Peninsula and Midway elementary schools teamed up last week to teach Jedi reading tips to students much older than the ones they see every day.

The schools worked cooperatively to host a Star Wars-themed literature night Tuesday with the goal of teaching parents engaging activities they can participate in with their children to help the youngsters learn to read at home. The event was the second of its kind hosted by staff at both schools for students in kindergarten and first grade, and their parents.

Ragan said the idea was partially inspired by parents, too. She said many parents are frequently asking what they can do with their children at home to further their learning objectives.
Congratulations to Garfield High for winning the 2016 Orca Bowl.  What's that competition?  From UW's College of the Environment:
Each year at Orca Bowl, high school students from across Washington convene for a little friendly competition to test each others’ knowledge of the world’s oceans.

Over the weekend, a team from Seattle’s Garfield High School went toe-to-toe with Newport High School and, in the end, took top honors. They’re now eligible to participate in the National Ocean Sciences Bowl finals held in April, where teams representing 25 regions across the country will meet.
Want to support getting kids jazzed about science, technology, engineering, arts and math? Here's what former astronaut Buzz Aldrin is doing via his ShareSpace Foundation.  He has this great tee-shirt that says, "Destination: Mars." 

Speaking of science, the Google Science Fair is on with submissions due May 17th.
The Google Science Fair is a global online science and engineering competition open to individuals and teams from ages 13 to 18. Submit a science or engineering project and win unbelievable prizes.
What's on your mind?


Anonymous said…
Saw the article below on the APP blog.
Have also seen unsafe practices at my kids' schools. The desks and chairs in the halls and the cabinets that are either unsecured to the walls and/or have objects on top of them. I've mentioned it to the teachers and the principals, but they don't seem to be aware of what will happen in a large quake, and don't even seem cognizant of the looming mega-quake.

"SPS is way too lax on fire and earthquake safety. Hallways in every school covered with flammables, every school with unsecured cabinets, doors on cabinets unsecured, items on top of cabinets, tables and chairs in hallways and just general clutter.

We are waiting day after day for a 9.0( up to 9.2) subduction zone quake, just like the one that caused Fukushima; like the one written about in the New Yorker(that made people think for a few weeks, and then forget about again). 4-5 minutes of increasingly violent shaking. Some of our schools are not up to the current code and all could do a much better job of preparing.

Why the district and the state for that matter doesn't bring every school up to current codes or replace them, is beyond me.

Hamilton is new and shouldn't collapse, but with the tight stairwells, overcrowding and clutter, they need to raise awareness of safety procedures.

Safety is job one and as the schools move further into over-capacity, where is the safety training and where are the inspections?

Japan did OK with the quake, because they have rebuilt or retrofitted everything. The tsunami was the problem. We are like New Zealand where in Christchurch the city was devastated by the kind of quake we are expecting on the Seattle fault, which will be horrendous as well, although nothing like the big one offshore.

Earthquakes aren't a maybe thing, they will happen, the maybe is only whether today, tomorrow, next week or 150 years. There is a large state-wide drill coming in June to simulate the 9.0 massive quake. SPS would do well to use the opportunity to do the low-cost upgrades of securing cabinets and dangerous objects that will fly through the air in a big shake.

Been through a few down in SoCal and it's scary stuff. People up here are way more in denial.


The drill referenced above will involve 6000 people this June.


At the risk of boring people, here's another link to mega-quake news:


I also noticed Shoreline has a comprehensive checklist to use in classrooms.


Top PDF file.

A few minutes or hours of work in each classroom would save lives and prevent injuries and would increase awareness.

Next time you are at school, look around at things that might go flying.
Here's what needs to happen:
go to 33:47 and you will see what can be improved for very little money.


Catherine said…
Basic earthquake and fire safety is neither expensive nor hard. You're right Tom - no excuse for the district to not be using basic techniques. How many other schools are seeing the same issues?
mirmac1 said…
Flip Herndon acts like there is "loads" of space for City PreKs, but cannot seem to provide any detailed inventory for our board. Meanwhile, some of us know that there actually IS data regarding projected classrooms space. I have advised the board that, before they place dibs on space for City PreKs (if you thought it was hard to get rid of TFA, imagine how difficult it will be to dislodge a City PreK), they must expand the space and hours to provide the nearly 700 very needy preschoolers they currently serve in Headstart/ECEAP and Developmental PreKs. Do NOT accept staff promises that they will "research" how to fully include those the district MUST serve. Just Do It. Now.
Anonymous said…

Do they ever explain to students how there will be a layer of broken glass everywhere, bricks falling if they try to run outside, how they need to not just get under a desk, but hang on as the building shakes for minutes? They're not doing the kids a service by ignoring or soft-selling the issue. I wish 1/100th as much effort was put into earthquake safety as the socio-emotional stuff. The kids may be well adjusted, but they need to also be alive and uninjured.

I hope this upcoming drill is a wake-up call to the district and to principals like the one in the video who feels it's her job to protect her kids, even if the district won't.

Talk about kicking the can. People are fooling themselves into thinking they can escape the big one.

The district has to presume it will happen tomorrow, at least for the cheap fixes.

Anonymous said…
From personal experience, I hope to be in a school when the Big One strikes. I know that in the schools I work (ed) at, staff and students are FAR more prepared than any local business.

Yes, the kids know what to do. Just ask them.

Sped Staffer

P.S. If you have concerns and want to volunteer and/or be proactive, contact your school's Safety Committee.
Sped Staffer, what you say may be true but it does not negate the appearance that schools are not set up to avoid a lot of falling objects. I concur that I've seen a lot of that in schools. However,

Why the district and the state for that matter doesn't bring every school up to current codes or replace them, is beyond me.

According to the district, the schools have all been shored up seismically. That does NOT mean up to current code; apparently,depending on the age of the building, the district only had to bring them up somewhat. To be honest, there are so many buildings that it's hard for me to believe they have all been shored up but that's what the district says.
Anonymous said…
Sped Staffer,

I just have to admonish you. Your complacency is exactly the problem. Of course there are more dangerous buildings, in fact, Seattle has close to 1000 URM (unreinforced masonry) buildings and many more built on unstable soils (JSCEE).

I find your suggestion to join the safety committee flippant. The district is responsible for getting cabinets secured and hallways clear and stopping teachers from putting plants on top of racks, just as they are responsible for safe electrical and ventilation.

This is basic, virtually free, and will save kids from injury and death.

Ostrich Not
Anonymous said…
While looking for school budgets, I noticed the 2016-2017 goldbook (budgeting book) is out. It *looks* like an improvement, from the major changes descriptions. Can anyone who has looked at more of these than me say if this is obfuscation? I am very concerned about the split class cap being taken away. In theory they can be great, but since sps is so rigid about curriculum order the teachers we have had mostly just end up trying to teach two grades at once,and so nobody really gets taught. https://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/Budget/Budget%20Development%202017/goldbook_singledoc17.pdf

- sleeper
Anonymous said…
The book story reminds me of discussions we had during the Oscars about color-blind casting.

Why do roles have to be played by the race that was written in the original? Opera goers are well aware that roles are cast on singing ability with no regard to race.

Does anyone know if high school plays are cast color-blind? I assume they are.

Anonymous said…
Sleeper, what looks like an improvement to you?
Anonymous said…
The power is out at JAMS this morning.

Jane Adams Middle School Community,

Please be advised a weather related power outage has affected Jane Adams Middle School. School will start on time. Seattle City Light is working to restore service as soon as possible and we will keep you updated on the progress.

Jane Adams Middle School

-North-end Mom
Anonymous said…
Slightly smaller class sizes, 8:42.

Ken said…
Does anyone know when students are informed of school assignments? This is our first year in SPS.

Popular posts from this blog

Tuesday Open Thread

Seattle Public Schools and Their Principals

Weirdness in Seattle Public Schools Abounds and Astounds