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.

I haven't seen anything from the district on this subject but the new and popular Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why, is getting a lot of attention from districts around the country.  Based on a YA book of the same title, it is the story of one girl's suicide and her reasons (that she lays out to people she feels hurt/let her down).  Some districts worry this series glorifies suicide.
That, along with a myriad of other issues — including a disturbing scene graphically showing Hannah's suicide — has mental health experts saying the series could be more harmful than helpful.  

Critics have lauded the show, which has earned stellar ratings, including a 91 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. It's also been the most tweeted about program so far this year, Variety reported. But some mental health professionals feel it is a dangerous fantasy that romanticizes suicide. 

Additionally, he said the show's premise — that other people are at fault for Hannah's suicide — is a failure of the show. 
Like Schwartz, she said children won't always be able to distinguish what is a plot device and what is reality. 

"I cringed when I watched the school counselor [scene]," Alongi said. "As a mental health professional and someone who works with kids, it's cringe-inducing, but it was scripted that way and kids need to know that."
"That is precisely the other reason why we really try to shy away from saying that someone who died of suicide is the result of something someone did," Schwartz said. "It leaves survivors with a horrifying burden of guilt."
Suicide is the second highest cause of death for kids 10-24.

What's on your mind?


Another Name said…
I'd like for school to end before June 22nd. June 22nd is too late.
Anonymous said…
The current school year ends June 26. Are you referring to next year? Has that calendar been finalized yet, and if so, where is it?

SusanH said…
The link to next year's calendar is on this post. (As my 14-year old would say..."BOY")
Yes, these are the preliminary dates for 2017-2018.
Nina said…
Among many other groups, LGBT students are at a dramatically increased risk of suicide compared to the general population.

There has been a lot of good new lately on this front. Suicide attempts declined dramatically as states made same-sex marriage legal:
"In 32 states that enacted same-sex marriage laws during the study, suicide attempts dropped 7 percent among all students and 14 percent among gay kids after the laws were passed. There was no change in suicide attempts in states without those laws."

But it remains a concern educators should be aware of. It is very easy for students to be members of more than one minority group and then you can see how the challenges fitting into the SPS system would stack up. A racial minority and GLBT?

Native American/ Native Pacific Islanders/Alaska Natives and Hispanic students have a higher percentage of suicidal thoughts than other groups. What if a student were both one of these minority groups and GLBT?

LGBT students at at a much higher risk of homelessness than the general population. 40% of the homeless youth served by agencies identifies as LGBT. This has important ramifications in terms of school.

Here is an excellent bibliography of resources for educators of gifted secondary GLBT students.

I would love to see SPS do a better job of appreciating that individual students belong to multiple demographic groups. It would be great if all students could be valued for all the parts of their identities. They're not just poor or rich, white or black. They're such varied, complex individuals. And SPS is tasked with educating and mentoring their whole selves and helping them become the men and women who (along with the 30% of students in private school) will grow up to run our city.
Anonymous said…
@ Nina, as the parent of a gender noncomforming, mixed race, highly capable, learning disabled student, I'm with you! Unfortunately, that feels like

Anonymous said…
Is there really a reason to care who runs for school board this year?

Anonymous said…
Oh on a happy note, Ingraham theater students are performing the musical Hair spray. Shows are this weekend and next.

Anonymous said…
I would so prefer a 1 week winter break and getting out a week earlier than 2 weeks at winter break, the way it's done on most of the East Coast.

NE Parent
Ed said…
Where is the agenda link?
Anonymous said…

Recommendations for a lawyer to advise/attend meeting on behalf of a student with an IEP?

A law firm, or particular attorney?


Seems like the only way to get taken seriously.

Hate adversarial pathway, but, it seems like a necessary approach for rights to be protected. Appreciate that there is the SpEd PTSA folks who are willing to help, but, lawyer expertise needed.

Anonymous said…
Thanks MJ, just bought tickets.

-HS Parent
Anonymous said…
Teachers I know want a year-round calendar with long breaks between. Teaching is fatiguing and summer-loss of skills may be significant (I don't really know).

Is there really a reason to care who runs for school board this year?"

That's a very good question. It is because of who could get on the Board that would make things worse. Are there candidates that could make it better? The jury is out but yes, I think there are candidates who could make things much worse.

Ed, thank you for pointing out I left out the link.
Owler said…
Cascade's Bike Everywhere/Bike to School month begins on May 1. Students are encourage to record the minutes they ride (to school and everywhere else) on a calendar: and then turn them in to their school or Cascade Bike Club for a prize. Bike to School Day is May 10, and Bike Everywhere Day (formerly Bike to Work Day) is May 19.
Anonymous said…
In the district where I grew up, they tried year-round school. They started with a multi-track system to save space: imagine a kindergarten has three classrooms, and four classes. There are literally four different calendars, and someone is constantly on a break. Thus, the fourth class moves into whatever class is currently vacant, picking up and moving every few weeks.

Ultimately, they found they were actually spending more money keeping the schools open all the time. Also, As you can imagine, parents weren't thrilled with the whole four-schedules thing. After a year or two they switched to a single year-round schedule, and every year the calendar shifted a little more 'til it was eventually a standard calendar again. Guess the gains from a three-to-six-week summer break weren't as great as they'd expected.

Anonymous said…
Excellent question, MJ. The experience of the board elected in 2015 - lots of promises on the campaign trail, now totally captured by staff and unwilling to change anything - makes it difficult to care about these elections. It's hard to trust that any of these candidates actually plan to make things better.

Fauntleroy Father
PAA Member said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
dan dempsey said…
Planning time. The scholastically​ high performing nations all have way more plan time than USA. In Albuquerque HS now have 7 period day teachers teach 5 and have 2 periods to plan and take care of business.

Six class schedule exhausting hurts morale

-- Dan Dempsey
Anonymous said…
the enrollment problems are even messier than expected.

In addition to all the broken promises, there is a serious lack of competency where enrollment did not bother to notify "everyone" of their new assignments. With two new middle schools and geosplits that impact Washington, McClure, Whitman, JAMS, Eckstein and Hamilton, you would think it would just make sense to send a notification to every family at all of these schools.

Because of some "coding issues" many families that are not expecting it are grandfathered and other families are being split.

If you attend any of those six schools, check your assignment, you may be surprised. Many HIMS families that were expecting REMS are still at HIMS. If enrollment fixes this, then would they keep their promise and let Whitman families back to Whitman?

- waitlist watcher
Anonymous said…
One more example of the crazy.

They are cutting two teachers at Stevens. There is an entire class of siblings on the wait list. They won't let in the siblings on the waitlist but would rather cut two teachers.

What's the logic ... wait for it ... they are protecting the enrollment at some "unnamed school." But since there is no enrollment information, there is no way to know if this is true or not.

The only real answer here is that enrollment made projections and then used open enrollment to match those projections and that is that. There is no response to families.

This happened at Genesee Hill last year. The principals of the surrounding schools asked enrollment to let siblings in off the waitlist. Enrollment refused. Then the older children moved to Genesse Hill over-crowding Genesee Hill even further.

I guess enrollment does not need to respond to anyone ... the board, families or principals.

- waitlist watcher
Anonymous said…
Updated waitlist numbers posted this AM.

just fyi
Anonymous said…
Peaslee is getting pushback about the change in start/end times for next year, and asks parents to write in support of 2 Tiers. She writes:

...It will mean start times that support the sleep needs of all students, as shown by countless research studies.

All students?? From a sleep perspective, the research does not take into account elementary students. What about their safety waiting for buses in the dark in the AM?

...Pushback is coming from people who want earlier start times to accommodate sports.

It's not just sports. It's any afterschool activity, jobs included.

20% of our students are on sports teams. 80% are not. All students need adequate sleep and we can adjust sports schedules.

I'm assuming they mean school supported sports, but students also participate in sports outside of SPS, be it dance, rowing (can't just add lights...), and a host of other community supported activities.

Currently students are being dismissed for sports as early as 12:45-2:30...

That's a lot of lost class time that impacts both teachers and students.

I want our children to be able to get adequate sleep and elementary students to walk safely to and from school.

How's it working out for elementary students this year?

Switching to 2 Tiers - good. Ending MS/MS at 3:50 - bad.

-too late
Anonymous said…
What's the source of the 20% number? Seems low. 20% of all students, K-12? MS students? HS students?

fuzzy numbers
RPM said…
Rock on, Too Late. It's a false dichotomy to say if you're opposed to the 3:50 end time, you are opposed to two tiers (or you're opposed to appropriate start times for students). HS could start at 8:25 and ES could start at 9:15, for example.

There's more at stake in high school. Nyland's letter says two tiers leads to better academic outcomes for all students. That's not necessarily true if kids are missing 2 classes a day several days a year (sports, band, jobs, childcare, etc.). I was talking to a single mom this weekend. Her older kid getting out of school that much later than her younger kid is putting her in a very difficult spot for childcare.
Prosleep Mom said…
Fuzzy numbers- actually, the 20% number is high if anything. This figure is for participation in competitive high school sports. We got these figures in the Bell Times Task Force. For 13/14 there were 2508 active students for the Fall season, 1694 for the Winter and 2627 for the Spring. Current high school enrollment is 14,416. It was probably lower a couple of years ago, so if we use a figure of 14,000 for 13/14, the % of active students is 17.91% for Fall, 12.10% for Winter and 18.97% for Spring. Anyway you cut it, way less than 20%.

Too Late- what schedule do you propose? We have a bunch of important factors:

1) The AMA/AAP recommendations for middle and high starting 8:30 or later- are you suggesting these recommendations be ignored? Their recs are the result of a long review of all the studies on sleep, learning and health. The effects of inadequate sleep are both short and long term, and significant in my mind- including higher rates of suicide, car accidents, risk taking behaviors, diabetes, obesity, heart disease and athletic injuries

2) 20 additional minutes per day- this is in the union contract, which means the day will be longer one way or another. (Personally, I wish this didn't have to happen- as middle/high would end at a more acceptable 3:30 without this- but it's in the contract). If someone knows how to get out of this, or to change it to a monthly release and shorten the day, that would be great.)

Note that your choices are (generally- there are exceptions for a few schools)
3 tiers
Elem 7:45 2:15
Middle/High 8:35 3:25
Elem/K8 9:25 3:55

2 tiers
Elem/K8 8:00 2:30
Middle/High 9:00 3:50

The Board approved these two schedules for next year in January.

3) Bus tiers- they show 50 minutes in the 3 tier plan, and 60 minutes in the 2 tier plan. I have heard the 60 minutes is to improve the on-time performance, which has declined with increases in traffic, etc- but seems like it should be the same for both.

4) While there are issues with the HS schedule, the three Tier schedule for elem/K8 will be either too early or too late- for a number of people- undoubtedly there are those who love it. Young children will be traveling to school in the dark, and kids with Breakfast at school are waiting along time to eat it with a 9:25 start, not to mention the homeless kids who have no where to go from when shelters boot them out at 8 am until school starts if they are T3.

5) My understanding is that sports are now generally within the Seattle Metro league. I don't get why kids have to leave class at 12:30 for sports- this is a problem under any schedule- can't this schedule be changed? What is the priority here? Can the City help with more lit fields, or changes to the joint operating agreement?

It is extremely easy to complain- every schedule will have problems for someone, but if you have to pick from these two, the two tiers is clearly better for the largest populations. If you have an idea for a schedule that meets the needs of the majority of kids for adequate sleep, adds the extra 20 minutes per day, has 50-60 minute tier spacing, etc let us know. I think the answer is one tier busing with all schools at 8:30- but that would probably cost well north of $20 million per year- so just come up with the funding and we're good!)

There is still some possibility that the city won't fund this, so please write a letter- as simple as, "I support funding for two tier busing."

For a sample letter and the email addresses to include see:
Lynn said…
Kids are leaving school super early for sports because they ride yellow buses to competitions and those buses have to be back to pick up tier 1 elementary students at 2:10.

Thanks for all your efforts Prosleep the Mom.
"It is extremely easy to complain- every schedule will have problems for someone, but if you have to pick from these two, the two tiers is clearly better for the largest populations."

This appears to be true.
Anonymous said…
It looks like HB 1046 is still alive. It has passed the house again (3rd time) with an amendment to make it retroactive to 2014 graduates.

Now on to the Senate. My kids aren't in HS yet, but removing the requirement to pass the SBAC to graduate would be a huge stress relief for me.

Lynn said…
That's good news!

Popular posts from this blog

Tuesday Open Thread

Weirdness in Seattle Public Schools Abounds and Astounds

Seattle Public Schools and Their Principals