Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Tuesday Open Thread

Carrie Fisher, our Princess Leia, dead at 60.  I just watched a great documentary - Bright Lights - about her and her mother, Debbie Reynolds.  It was a fun and funny film about two women who lived their lives out loud.  Sad.

Interesting story from NPR about whether software in classrooms can help save lives from teachers viewing what topics students searched for.

He turned to a startup called called GoGuardian, which helped the school create a list of off-limits sites: porn, hacking-related sites and "timewasters" like online games, TV and movie streaming. The software also has another feature: It tracks students' browsing and their searches. 

And that's how Yeh was alerted that a student appeared to be in severe emotional distress. 

He recalls getting an indicator at work that a student had been searching for suicide and several related terms. "I then went in to view the student's browsing history around this time period."  The more he saw, the more Yeh was convinced that this wasn't an idle or isolated query.
Proving that SPS isn't the only district that struggles with facilities issues, a good article about Longview School District and its struggles.  
Monday’s special board meeting was designed for the district’s facilities advisory committee members to present its latest plan to address the district’s building needs. The two, nearly identical options presented to the board only addressed needs at the elementary level.

Board members prompted the committee throughout the night, looking for more answers on how to stagger the costs and balance those with the inevitable maintenance projects.
Wondering about how curtailing/revamping Obamacare might look? One GOP lawmaker gives us an idea...via his own son.
The example Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI) gave in an interview with MLive.com was from his own experience when he waited until the morning after to take his youngest son to the doctor with an injured arm, because he did not want to waste money on an expensive emergency room visit. The arm, it turned out, was broken.
Districts need to continue to watch out for Title IX issues as parents of softball players at Skyline High show.  
A group of parents representing Skyline High School softball players are poised to file a Title IX lawsuit against the Issaquah School District and the school if measures are not taken to put the program’s facilities more on par with the boys baseball program.

“I’ve been trying to explain to my 11-year-old daughter why the baseball team has a locked, exclusive field with fences all the way around to home plate, with dimensions that exceed Safeco Field, while the softball team plays on a substandard community field,” Parker said. “How is it equitable the school district spent approximately $400,000 in 2011 to improve the exclusive-access baseball field while the softball team doesn’t have its own dedicated field to play on? How is it equitable to move fences on and off the field in order to conduct practice or games? The boys don’t have to do this. The bottom line here is it’s not equitable.”
What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

Dear Ingraham Faculty and Families:

As some of you may have heard, on Thursday, December 15, Ultimate Frisbee Club coach Kelly Donovan required medical attention at the end of practice.

Last week, Kelly’s family confirmed for Seattle Public Schools that she had passed away due to cardiac failure. Her death is a great loss for our school, our students and our entire community. I want to express my deepest condolences to her family and friends.

Through her coaching, Kelly had a broad and positive impact on the youth in the greater Seattle area. She was active in Ultimate Frisbee and coached the Ingraham and Hamilton Ultimate Frisbee Club teams. While she moved to Seattle just over a year ago, her commitment to students and coaching has been transformational for our program. She is personally responsible for helping to revive the Ingraham High School ultimate program and managed three full teams.

Ingraham High School families have done an amazing job of supporting Kelly’s family. Thank you to the families and other club coaching staff for wrapping around Kelly’s family during this time.

Again, I want to express my deepest condolences. Kelly's death is a great loss for our school community and students.


Principal Martin Floe

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thank you for this notification. What a loss for Ms. Donovan's family, friends and school communities especially her athletes.

Anonymous said...

Did you see Nyland's op ed in the Seattle Times? I thought this and his letter to families telling us about the budget were both really good.


Josh Hayes said...

There is a confirmed case of mumps in a student at NOVA.

[rant] This is a disease I had as a kid -- in the 1960's. NOBODY should be getting this any more, unless they are so immunocompromised that they are not good candidates for vaccination. EVERYONE ELSE should be vaccinated. This should never ever happen in our schools. [/rant]

If you've chosen not to vaccinate your kids, and they go to NOVA, plan accordingly.

Link to the SPS release about this case

Anonymous said...

Most of the people who are getting the Mumps now were vaccinated. I had the Mumps as a kid too. I don't remember it being a big deal.


Anonymous said...


Most of the infected are kids and 70 percent of the King County cases are reported in people whose vaccines are up to date. The vaccine works, on average, in 88 percent of the population.


Lynn said...

Depends on vaccination rates of course and ours are abysmal.

Anonymous said...

Vaccination rates for King County



Helen Schinske said...

Mumps is often a mild disease, but not always. It carries the risk of severe complications such as deafness, encephalitis, and orchitis. One of my brothers had encephalitis with mumps: he fortunately made a complete recovery, but he was pretty dang sick.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link. No surprise that one of the schools with the lowest vaccination rates is Seattle Waldorf (37%). SPS schools with low rates include JAMS (68%), Salmon Bay (62%), and WMS (66%). According to the King County health info, "the immunization level needed for herd immunity ranges from 83 – 94%, depending on the disease."

-pro vaccine

Anonymous said...

Those are completion rates, not pure vaccination rates. My guess is that there is a significant difference in what the Waldorf kids have received and the WMS and JAMS kids. Nonethless, how tragic. In addition to the celebrity deaths this year, Donald Henderson, who headed the WHO campaign to eradicate smallpox died. It is estimated that campaign(and the medical advances in the vaccine leading to it) saved half a billion lives.


Anonymous said...

My kids went to Waldorf. They had all the vaccines except for the chickenpox one because they had the chickenpox. They counted as not having all the vaccines in the 37% rate.


Anonymous said...

On a different topic, does anyone know if parents are for or against the proposal to grandfather next year's eighth graders so they can stay at their current middle schools instead of being transferred to Eagle Staff or Meany? It seems like a good idea.

-- Curious

Northern Dad said...

@HP, Interesting. Our kindergartener has all his shots, but SPS wouldn't accept the printout from our doctor's office (one of the main Seattle providers). Instead they required that I fill out their form by hand, which was very difficult to do. And I have a graduate degree and work in biomedical research. I had an even harder time sending them the fax because who uses fax machines anymore? I can't be the only parent with a fully immunized child who had a hard time jumping through SPS's weirdly cumbersome process to prove it. Surely some parents gave up at one of the many roadblock points (not accepting the printout, requiring a special form to be filled out by hand, all the odd shot abbreviations, finding an operating fax machine, etc.)

Why can't they accept the standard pediatrician's office printout?

Anonymous said...

"does anyone know if parents are for or against the proposal to grandfather"


--in the know

Anonymous said...

...does anyone know if parents are for or against the proposal to grandfather next year's eighth graders so they can stay at their current middle schools instead of being transferred to Eagle Staff or Meany? It seems like a good idea.

@Curious, it depends. Those who have current 7th graders who would otherwise be required to move are likely to be in favor. Those who have students at a school that may be negatively impacted by the sudden out-migration of students may also be in favor, although some may look forward to a smaller school and the opportunities it provides.

On the other side, those who have students who will end up as 8th graders at the new school next year are probably against the grandfathering, as it's likely to leave their student in an unviable cohort and thus with a very limited set of course options, since there might not be enough students to offer advanced classes--not exactly what a student needs in the year before high school. Similarly, those with advanced current 6th graders, who will be at the school as 7th graders, likely don't support the grandfathering, as the absence of a viable 8th grade cohort will also likely limited the availability of advanced courses their 7th grader will need (e.g., would geometry be available in 7th, and algebra 2 in 8th). Additionally, the overall community at the new schools may suffer in some ways if they start with only 7th and 8th graders, as clubs and sports teams and music levels and such will all be more limited, and this can impact kids in all grades. The school wouldn't offer all that we expect a comprehensive school to offer. Finally, schools that need significant capacity relief (e.g., Hamilton) would get less if grandfathering passes, and continued overcrowding would impact the entire school (although it's possible the relocation of 6th and 7th graders that first year would provide sufficient interim relief--we need to see the numbers associated with grandfathering).

One additional issue I've not seen addressed re: the grandfathering proposal is how to handle students who newly tested into or were planning to move to HCC for 8th grade. If they are not already at Hamilton, they can't be "grandfathered" there, and REMS is the new HCC pathway for many. Will REMS-zoned HCC 8th graders newly joining HCC for 8th grade next year be allowed into Hamilton instead, even though it's no longer their pathway and they don't have grandfathered status?


Lynn said...

The only way to make grandfathering work is to open the new schools with only 6th and 7th grades. 8th graders who are new to the district or to HCC would attend the school they would have been assigned to under the 2016-17 rules.

As for the availability of advanced classes at the new middle schools, how does McClure provide them and how will Whitman in the future?

Anonymous said...

Aren't the same issues and arguments going to come up with the opening of Lincoln? A middle school without 8th graders will limit opportunities because there won't be enough students to offer what would otherwise be offered as part of a comprehensive MS. Siblings could be split when it could be the one year they have together in MS. Advanced students are unlikely to have access to appropriate courses. The 7th graders are going to have what feel like 2 first years as the 8th grade classes will be taught by whom? New teachers? Returning teachers teaching the material for the first time? Band, orchestra, sports, etc., will have fewer levels (some would argue that's a good thing). Just rip off the band aid already. Accept the geo-split and work toward making it the best transition possible.

former JAMS

Anonymous said...

JAMS families I know said is was a wasted year for their (former) 8th graders. They talked about a great principal, but challenges with course alignment, lack of HCC trained teachers, sadness their kids faced etc. They felt they could have been more successful without the 8th graders, if 6th and 7th. At the time there were younger grade parents advocating against grandfathering. Ironically, those same parents fighting so hard for their 6th graders to have 8th graders to " look up to" ended up sending their kids to private school.
-what I heard

Anonymous said...

7th graders had it just as hard. Yeah, a wasted year for some classes, but a significant improvement for some others. Some of the challenges were self inflicted by poor planning. First, make sure you have texts for students at the beginning of the school year, not 3-4 months into the year. Next, don't mess with the daily schedule every few months which pulled kids into and out of just formed lunch groups when they were already missing friends and dealing with the many changes. Don't change the HCC curriculum, with no transition planning for students caught in the middle of the change, and then leave the new to HCC teachers to do whatever. The HCC curriculum piece will plague the opening RESMS because there does not seem to be any change from when JAMS opened. What is the curriculum? Who controls it? Will they continue to have self-contained HCC LA/SS classes at RESMS? Start inquiring, parents. Rumor has it they are considering Honors-for-All 9th grade English at IHS next year, so maybe the plan is the same for middle school. Who knows? All the more reason to decide on the grandfathering rules and assignments, so parents and staff can focus on the actual work of planning for a smooth opening.

former JAMS