Showing posts from November, 2016

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.