Showing posts from April, 2017

Parents of Teens - Things to Have on Your Radar

I know that most parents know their children well.  But do think back to when you were a teenager and wanted to hide something from your parents?  A solid object or something you learned about that may have seemed cool but you knew your parents might not like. Well, in today's online world there's even MORE for teens to learn about and possibly want to hide. Exhibit One (via Stranger Slog): A List of Where Teens Stash Their Drugs Published by the Drug Enforcement Administration on their Get Smart About Drugs website, the list features some warnings great ideas about everyday objects where kids can stash their drugs—inside alarm clocks, heating vents, teddy bears, game consoles, and (for the nerds out there) graphing calculators . More items mentioned: highlighter caps, shoes, and candy wrappers. Resources for parents with concerns over addictions.  Exhibit Two: Milo Yiannopoulos

Special Session Heats Up

Summer Stinson, one of the originators of Washington's Paramount Duty, went to Olympia this week to testify about the Senate budget bill.  Here's her statement:

K-5 English Language Arts Adoption

From Kyle Kinoshita, Chief of Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction to K-5/K-8 school leaders:

Emerson Principal Resigning at End of Year

But somehow that principal - Andrea Drake -  will then be working at JSCEE on "eliminating opportunities gaps."  I guess so but if she doesn't play well with others in a school, how moving her to JSCEE will change that is a mystery. I wonder what the role of the Executive Director of that region was in all this.  (I'll have a thread on this soon as it seems that no one at JSCEE can quite agree on what their role is or what they actually do.)

Friday Open Thread

I didn't go to the Work Session on Wednesday but here's the agenda.  Interesting reading and the budget detail for next year starts on page 59.  For Central Office, it looks like Communications, HR (Nutrition and Securities) and Facilities took most of the blow from cuts. "Initial" school calendar dates here; still needs Board approval. I see the Board webpage has undergone a bit of a design update .  Unfortunately, they don't have a calendar update for director meetings - not so helpful.  Here's a link that has them as Patu, Pinkham and Peters (the three "Ps" of the Board) all have community meetings tomorrow.

The Times Gets It Right on McCleary

At least via one of their editorial writers , Brier Dudley. In a nutshell:

It's in Our Constitution (Note that word, "Ample")


"PDF" versus Homework

"PDF" is a new phrase out there - playtime, downtime and family time - that references the non-structured hours of a student's day. What some researchers are finding is that today's student has far less of that free time than we did.  From the NY Times:

Dandelion-Gate at the State Capitol

I had to post this from Washington's Paramount Duty Facebook page:

Still Waiting


A Parent's Plea

One parent's plea to the Legislature via Senator Reuven Carlyle: Dear Senator Carlyle, A couple of Fridays ago, we went to my daughter Isabella's school auction. I didn't really want to go.

Tuesday Open Thread

From KUOW : Young people who are detained by law enforcement in King County can no longer waive their right to an attorney on their own. On Monday, the King County Council unanimously approved a motion meant to ensure that young people in custody are fully informed when deciding whether to talk to law enforcement.  The new ordinance requires kids detained at the Juvenile Detention Center in Seattle to get advice from an attorney first. Another story of interest from KUOW, this on the use of police in schools: Police are handling routine discipline issues in many Washington schools – sometimes even arresting children — finds a new study from the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington.  The ACLU-WA found that 84 percent of the state’s largest school districts have police officers patrolling the halls, even at the elementary level in more than a quarter of districts studied. The ACLU-WA also found that police are more likely to be stationed in schools with more st

Extra, Extra - Another Day, Another Issue at Garfield

From the Seattle Times : One of Seattle’s flagship high schools is under investigation for possible football recruiting violations tied to a youth from Texas, who says he was flown north to Garfield High with promises of athletic opportunity. Will Sanders, 19, spent last fall’s football season as a running back for the Bulldogs, where he was the third-leading rusher — even though poor grades would have made him ineligible to play the entire time. While here, he bounced between the residences of a track coach and team parents.  Meanwhile, the team racked up its best season in years. Well, echoes of Hale because they,too, had their best basketball season ever with imported players. Who's involved?

Telephone and Network Access at Olympic Hills and Hazel Wolf

From SPS: On Saturday, telephone and network access to two schools Olympic Hills Elementary and Hazel Wolf K-8 were disrupted. A car accident on I-5 knocked a telephone pole across the highway and in order to move the pole, telephone and network cables were cut.

Good News from the City on Two Tier Busing

From Liza Rankin at Soup for Teachers:   It's a go!  The city is giving $2.3M for us to move to 2 tiers from the Families and Ed Levy, and also giving $300,000 or so to fund crossing guards at 100+ locations around the city! It still needs to be officially adopted by the Levy Oversight Committee and council, but that's a formality. They are all for it!

Grit versus Resiliency

There is this new meme for discussions in public education circles about helping kids - especially those in crisis - find "grit."  To me, this sounds much like a sports idea when a kid gets hurt; "throw some dirt on it and get back up." It'sa good thing to encourage kids to learn how to rise up against issues and outcomes, big and small.  But we all remember what it feels like - as a child - to not know just how you were going to climb over, dig under or just plain outwait a problem. A very good op-ed appeared in this morning's New York Times from Sheryl Sandberg: How to Build Resilient Kids, Even After a Loss.    As you may recall, Ms. Sandberg, Facebook COO, suffered the sudden loss of her husband two years ago, leaving her with two young children to raise alone. (bold mine)

This and That

A lengthy and interesting chart of the generations currently living in the U.S. - Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials.  (This came to me via the Horace Mann news feed but has no attribution.)  I note that Millennials seem to span two generations, X and Z.   From Wiki:

Superintendent's Latest Pep Talk/Boo Hoo on the Budget

On Friday, Superintendent Nyland posted a letter about the budget for the next school year (partial):

Mayor Murray and His Record

The mayoral race is picking up steam with the addition of activist Cary Moon to the major candidate group including Mayor Murray, former mayor Mike McGinn, activist Nikkita Oliver.  As for the Mayor's legal problems, I'm sure we will all learn more as the court case goes on but his record is what voters should really look at. To that end, a guest column from parent/activist Carolyn Leith (SPS parent of two students).  On November 2, 2015, one day before the general election, Mayor Ed Murray held a press conference on the steps of Olympic View Elementary to promote The Levy to Move Seattle. Students wore their orange safety patrol vests, parents applauded enthusiastically, and the Mayor promised that a YES vote would mean sidewalks, always promised by the City - but never delivered, would finally be built on 8th Ave. NE.

Message to Legislature: Get Off Your High Horse and Get This Done

An update (partial) from one of my reps from the 43rd, Nicole Macri: It has become clear that the legislature will need to go into overtime in order to get our work done this year. While making decisions about the state’s two-year budget is complicated, I am disappointed that Senate Republicans haven’t even made a good faith effort to begin negotiating so we could adjourn on time. I know you’re tired of hearing about unproductive partisanship. After just my first legislative session as your representative, I’m already pretty sick of bickering that holds back our important work too. Even House Republicans—admirably, in my opinion—want to sit down and negotiate. Nonetheless, I feel a need to let you know that Senate negotiators are literally not even sitting down at the table. They’re just not negotiating. I receive regular updates from our House budget negotiators, and they report that they’ve had conversations with Senate negotiators about Easter and the weather, but are met

Friday Open Thread

Two sad remembrances - Mark Twain died on this day in 1910 and Prince died a year ago.  Both brought great art to our country. It appears that the Legislature will not be getting their job done of creating a budget that includes fully funding public education .  I'll assume the Supreme Court will sit back and just watch it unfold with the rest of us.  I wish they would actually do something but now all we can do is wait.  I don't think any amount of lobbying or advocating is going to make a whit of difference at this point. Tom Ahearne, lead counsel for the McClearys , told the Seattle Times that he doesn't have a lot of confidence this will get done properly.  As Kathryn Selk said at the Facebook page of WPD:

Regional Superintendents Send White Paper to Legislature

A letter of interest called "An Educational Funding Position Paper Submitted by the Superintendents of the NW Educational Service District 189 Region" was send to the Governor, State Superintendent Rykdal, and members of the Washington State Legislature on March 23, 2017.

2017-2018 Calendar to be at District Website "Soon"

Thus sayeth Superintendent Nyland at last night's Board meeting.  I would assume "soon" to mean by the end of the week. He did say it would include holidays and breaks but probably not Early Release days.

Tonight's Board Meeting Speaker List

That list is mighty short, just seven people. You don't need to call in but just show up and ask that your name be added to the list. Now's a good time to get in there and tell the Board what is troubling you about the district.

Enrollment and Waitlists

By request, a thread on this topic.  Waitlist link. I'm going to reprint Kellie LaRue's comments to start it (bold/color mine):

Tuesday Open Thread

Diane Ravitch writes about Washington state, billionaires and the inability to fully-fund public education.

Privatization of Public Schools

I previously posted the long memo called Real Choice vs. False Choice: The Repercussions of Privatization Programs for Students, Parents, and Public Schools that Senator Patty Murray sent to her colleagues in late March about the privatization of public schools. She does credit in laying out real world examples of how privatization has not worked in the U.S. Her most basic point? Privatization efforts provide a false sense  of choice for many students and families.  From the Network for Public Education comes the NPE Toolkit: School Privatization Explained on Privatization .  There are a variety of topics covered about charter schools as well as tax credit and voucher programs.  They give Washington State a "C" for school privatization.  Here's some of what Senator Murray's memo says:

Seattle Schools This Week

I haven't been writing this particular thread as of late but I found something rather interesting in the school board meeting agenda. This is the last week of the legislative session but I hope no one is holding their breath that the budget (and McCleary) will get done.  It's just beyond the patience of districts, schools, staffs and parents to have to watch the Legislature have to use MORE state money to get work done that should have been finished years ago.   It looks like this week and next week will be SBAC testing (at least for high schools).  Again, your child only needs to take it once to graduate.  Y ou can opt your child out of the test in any other grade level and the district has to give them some place to be.  The Board has an Audit and Finance Committee meeting this week.  The agenda is mostly taken over by the purchase of a new point-of-sale system.  But right at the end of the agenda (and the lengthy documentation) is a change to Policy 6022 around the

Thing to Do This Weekend (for free)

This weekend is one of the Free Entrance Days for the national parks system .  Here's something else I didn't know about:

Things That Make You Go, Hmmm

Interesting but somewhat concerning article from the Chicago Tribune about students who take the state's free SAT who then find that the score appears on their transcript (whether they want it there or a not).  While the test is designed to evaluate whether a student is prepared for college, some parents say it's unfair to rely on just one exam. They note that anything from an illness to anxiety could disrupt the test-taking process, leaving students stuck with a score that could hurt their child's chances of getting into their dream school. Well, yeah. Some kids take the SAT multiple times.  Some do better on the ACT.  Why wouldn't the student and their parent decide what score goes to admissions offices?   Seems like this could be an opt-in thing rather than a blanket item. Anyone heard of this for SPS?  

Fill Out Your Invoice and Send It to the Legislature


Friday Open Thread

Teens Take a Stand : Learning about your rights - a program on Friday, April 21st at the Douglass Truth Library from 4-5:30 pm. We are now in the home stretch for this legislative session but it's a safe bet that the budget will not be done (because of McCleary ).  Good point here from WPD Facebook: Hypocrisy: WA legislature doubling down on unconstitutional funding of charter schools citing "the will of the voters" in 2016, while rescinding constitutional ST3 funding in 2017 that voters passed. We see you and your voting records. Don't you dare rescind the class-size reduction we all voted for. This is getting ridiculous. Yes, it's amazing when a majority vote is the "will of the people" when it suits the legislature's purposes but when it doesn't, sorry, your vote doesn't matter.

The Inner Thoughts of the Seattle School Board on Assessments

At the last Curriculum and Instruction Committee meeting, head of Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction, Kyle Kinoshita, reported out to the Board a compilation of what staff heard regarding "the Board feedback on the assessment policy draft from the Committee of the Whole meeting"   (See page 44 of the agenda .) He also states: We are still sorting through feedback from the Board as well as our continued stakeholder engagement to determine the next set of revisions to the policy draft.

More Thoughts on Gifted Education

Update:   there's a new movie out about a gifted child called...Gifted. Also, thank you to reader NE Parent for this link to a NY Times article on finding more gifted students of color.  It makes for fascinating reading.

Tuesday Open Thread

Such sad news from San Bernadino yesterday.  It is almost breathtaking that this teacher's husband signed in at the office and then proceeded to go to her classroom to confront her with a gun.  In a room full of children.  My heart goes out to the family of the child, Jonathan Martinez, who died along with the teacher, Karen Elaine Smith. Betsy DeVos continues her tour of charter schools, this time with our First Lady AND the Queen of Jordan to an all-girls charter school in Washington, D.C.  Meanwhile, the Texas(!) state house voted no to sending state funds to private schools not even for poor kids.  From the Houston Chronicle:

Does Your Student Know about CTE?

That would be Career and Technical Education , what we used to call vocational education.  Seattle Schools has really kicked this department into gear.  This follows a national reawakening (finally) that not every student is or wants to go to college.  Here's how the district describes it:

PTAs and Sharing Dollars

The New York Times had a revealing article today about sharing PTA fundraising dollars.  According to a new report by the Center for American Progress , a liberal advocacy group, schools that serve just one-tenth of 1 percent of American students collect 10 percent of the estimated $425 million that PTAs raise nationwide each year.

Opt Out Form

From Seattle Opt Out: SEATTLE PUBLIC SCHOOLS*  Decision to Support the Whole Child Form The unofficial form for opting out of high stakes testing* Please clearly print the following information and return to your school’s principal.

On Option Schools and Class Sizes

I listened to Superintendent Nyland's explanation at last Wednesday's Board meeting of why class sizes may be larger at Option schools than neighborhood schools. I also read this letter from the School Board office:

Weather Note

Folks, it is supposed to be a nasty day weather-wise.  The afternoon is to bring very strong winds and I urge you to not be out there unless you absolutely have to be.  In recent years, we did have a father killed in a car traveling through a park during a high windstorm (luckily his child survived).  Be careful out there.

Friday Open Thread

No directors' community meetings on Saturday; I note from Wednesday's Board meeting that directors are struggling to find spaces.  From the Seattle Art Museum: Congratulations to the 200 young artists whose tremendous talent shines through in the 2017 Naramore Seattle Public Schools (SPS) Middle and High School Art Show !  Join us for the reception and awards ceremony on May 5, at 6:00 pm as we honor all participants for their amazing creativity!  Free and open to the public. A huge congratulations to the Michael James, Director, and the Ballard High School Wind Ensemble which will play at Carnegie Hall in NYC.   We were accepted into the "New York International Music Festival" through a competitive audition process and are one of eight ensembles chosen to perform at this particular festival on stage at Carnegie Hall on April 11, 2017 at 1:00 pm. SPS high schools won top honors at the Washington State University's Edward R. Murrow High School Journal

Race, Education Reform and Public Schools

A very fine article from NPR from last September about race and charter schools provided a wide variety of thoughtful opinions.  Much of the debate has been around the NAACP calling for a moratorium on the opening on new charter schools.  Some education leaders are rushing to embrace the newly frank conversation about the racial impact of education reforms. Others are caught awkwardly in the middle. And some — especially conservative — reformers feel alienated.

Still Waiting for McCleary Dollars


Data Privacy Bill in Legislative Docket

Update: it appears that the Legislature is doing even more.  This from a story in the Puget Sound Business Journal. A bipartisan group of Washington state lawmakers on Wednesday introduced companion measures, House Bill 2200 and Senate Bill 5919, to update the state’s consumer protection act and require internet service providers operating in the state to obtain a customer’s permission before selling data. Internet service providers including Comcast, Verizon and AT&T released statements since Congress appealed the FCC rules, claiming they don’t intend to sell customers’ browsing histories. end of update The Times had an op-ed today from State Rep. North Smith, R-Clinton, who serves as the ranking Republican member on the House Technology and Economic Development Committee about a bill - HB 1904 - that she is sponsoring. In her op-ed she says, The protection of your personal data and privacy is crucila, which is why I want to make one thing very clear; while c

Work Session on the 2017-2018 Budget

For this Work Session, all of the directors were present in person except for Director Blanford who was there via phone.  The Superintendent was there as were several senior staff members. President Peters did seem to set a good tone for action when she stated, " We are going to have to make decisions tonight." I actually don't want to do a complete detailing of the work session but I'll just summarize and give some highlights.  Also, some of the nitty-gritty of the details of what pots of reserves that are actually going to be used went over my head.  I felt like I must have miss that discussion somewhere. Agenda

Option Schools and Larger Class Sizes

I hadn't intended to write about this yet as I am still waiting for some answers from the district but here's what is being said at the Soup for Teachers Facebook page: If you are at one of the option schools listed below -- you will have LARGER class room sizes in 2017/2018.

Tuesday Open Thread

I went to the Work Session on the budget for next year.  More to come but spoiler alert: the majority of the Board went along with everything staff wanted. From Senator Jamie Pedersen's newsletter: One of the bright spots this year has been the bipartisan agreement on the capital budget, which funds a variety of building and maintenance projects throughout the state. I was very pleased to see a large number of projects that I advocated for funded in the proposal. In particular, the capital request for Seattle Public Schools that I led for our Seattle delegation was approved in its entirety!   Seattle Public Schools - $22M (including expansion of West Woodland Elementary) Over in Bellevue , their schools' foundation raised over $700,000 at their annual luncheon. Ardmore Elementary School Principal Chas Miller told guests that in his 11 years as a principal in other states, he’s never seen anything like the community support for education that is a cultural norm in B

Getting Unpleasant at House Budget Hearing

From WPD Facebook via Robert Cruickshank If you watched today's testimony, you saw numerous people, including business owners, who would pay the taxes in the House budget (capital gains and B&O) step up to say they supported it because our children come first.  But one lobbyist for our state's biggest companies, including Walmart, Shell, Uber, AT&T, Blue Cross, and more, claims in this tweet that it was just a room full of "spenders" (as if you can reduce parents and children to that) and no "payers".  Just a sign of what we're up against. But we can and will win this battle, because when it comes to ensuring every child has an amply funded public education, losing is not an option. I would remind Mr. Gano that every adult in that room pays taxes.  Appalling.

Early Education Promises from Mayoral Candidate Nikkita Oliver

I'll be trying to have interviews with all the mayoral candidates but I did see this article from Capitol Hill Seattle with some of candidate Nikkita Oliver's education ideas.

Money Matters

SPS The cancelled Work Session on the 2017-2018 budget is scheduled for tomorrow, Monday, April 3rd from 5:30-7:00 pm at JSCEE.  (Immediately preceding it is the Curriculum & Instruction Policy committee meeting from 4:00-5:30 pm.  Agenda .) McCleary Remember that Crosscut article that pointed out that the Senate GOP numbers were off?  The News Tribune finds another issu e: What has now become clear is that the education plan introduced by Senate Republicans doesn’t put as much new money into schools as GOP leaders would like people to believe. Senate leaders have said their budget would put about $1.8 billion in new state money into K-12 schools in the next two years — a number that, on its surface, comes close to matching the $1.9 billion investment promised in a competing plan from House Democrats .  But that Senate estimate of $1.8 billion doesn’t reflect the actual amount of new funding that would go to school districts under the GOP proposal. Senate lead

Underenrolled Schools Taking It On the Chin: Why?

News about underenrolled schools in several regions of the district (plus one update at the end of the thread on high schools).

The Annual "Who Can Wear What" Discussion

There were two stories in the news around the clothing that girls are choosing to wear.  (And I hope everyone sees that I'm leaving the comments section up.) The first story - very widely publicized- came from an incident last weekend where girls traveling with an adult who works for United airlines got stopped from boarding the plane because of the leggings that they were wearing.  There was a high-profile mom activist in line who saw this and started a Twitter frenzy that included a couple of actresses who stepped in.  United answered back but left out a key point (which hurt them). The point was that for flyers using United's "buddy" rates , the airline requires a higher standard of dress (for men and women, boys and girls).  It was not that that what the girls were wearing was objectionable but that it was not up to the code.  The airline didn't explain how they created their code and frankly, I don't think they have to.  They make their employees w

SEA Will Not Be on Strike on May 1st

From the SEA Facebook page: Unofficial returns indicate that SEA members will not be striking on May 1st. A record turnout for the vote indicates that SEA members are still very disappointed with the state legislatures inaction on education funding the timing of the strike appear to be problematic but future action remains very much under consideration by our members . (sic)