Friday Open Thread

It's near the end of the school year and a time when awards - both in yearbooks and at events come out.  Unbelievably, there are grown people - in charge of watching over these awards - that seem to have the worst judgment.  There's this one from Texas.
A group of teachers are being disciplined after they thought it would be funny to name a student “most likely to become a terrorist.”

Lizeth Villanueva, 13, said a teacher gave her the award during a mock ceremony in her college prep class at Anthony Aguirre Junior High School in Houston on Tuesday.  Lizeth said the teacher warned students that the awards “might hurt their feelings." She then handed out the certificates as other teachers watched and laughed. But Lizeth didn't think it was funny.
I am reminded of a similar thing that happened to one of my sons in a high school yearbook.  If an award is not funny or complimentary and, most importantly, not something you would want said about you, teachers/advisors should say no.

The Board has a retreat tomorrow at JSCEE from 10 am to 3 pm.  Agenda.  The retreat is open to the public but no comment/testimony is taken.  It is a great way to buttonhole directors either before the meeting starts or on breaks.  Two big topics - Racial Equity Training: Stereotype Threat and Identity Safety and Equity in Highly Capable Programs.

Director Burke has another meeting on Monday to discuss Lincoln High School at Hamilton IMS from 6:30-8:30 pm.

What's on your mind?


ws said…
another example of the district changing its mind.
Anonymous said…
In disbelief that Mercer is penalizing students for being absent or tardy on SBA days. The reward for good attendance? An SBA Carnival! The punishment for being late or tardy? No carnival. Unless, of course, you are willing to write a persuasive letter convincing them that, yes, you really deserve to attend the carnival.

NNE Mom said…
Not knowing the school schedules for next school year is driving me crazy. School starts in 3 months. Tick tock!!!

Unless the courts shut this puppy down as an unconstitutional failure to live up to the paramount duty of our state's constitution. Which I would be in COMPLETE favor of.
ws said…
adding to my earlier post, the WSB just posted the write up from last nights meeting at Stem
Anonymous said…
(APP blog) "was sent an email from Dir. Peters about tomorrow's Board of Directors Retreat."

Board Special Meeting
School Board Retreat
June 3, 2017 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Auditorium, John Stanford Center
2445 3 rd Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98134


10:00 am WELCOME
12:00-12:30 pm BREAK & LUNCH
3:00 pm ADJOURN

Go Hmmm
I'll have a thread on the STEM K-8 issue because it could very well affect other BEX V projects.
HCC Parent said…
Any updates on Garfield's Honors for All?
Anonymous said…
HCC Parent- The APP blog (April 21st) has parent comments on how Garfield's Honors For All worked this year. Sounds like it is not working well.
HCC Parent, thanks for the reminder. I will get that post up this weekend as I did attend the meeting where teachers presented on this topic.
Oldhill said…
Here's a Guardian article on the self-esteem movement's origin:

Anonymous said…
New to PS policy and SPS workings, and while I appreciate the glossary of abbreviations, I'm finding it seems there's a tremendous 'vocab' learning curve to surmount in order to really catch important nuances in posts & communications (whether here, or by SPS itself).

Would love any available help for better understanding how SPS choice/option waitlists work. My new-to-sps 5th grader public school child is newly included the revised attendance area for Eckstein, but we've got zero interest in going there (and want to avoid a crowded & large school, and seek decent spectrum/AL support).

We put three schools on our choice form (tops, hamilton, salmon bay), and when I use the 'assignment lookup tool' it says we're assigned to Eckstein's AL program. But also on waitlist for hamilton (with no mention of the other two schools? Is this typical? ). It also says 'waitlist rank 15' for general education ...But says nothing about spectrum/AL.

Does this mean we're 15th in line to join Hamilton?
Does this mean there's no room in AL at hamilton, or is there another step in order to get on THAT waitlist? (or some other 'route'?) Our child has a friend who went to hamilton's AL program last year and so were hoping to line ourselves up for that.

Alternatively, we're renters and our lease is up: I've read that if we move into a new attendance area, we should be able to get into the corresponding area school automatically. Is that true?!? Or is there a deadline involved? We're truly willing to move if that gets us into the better fit for our kiddo's special learning needs.

Thanks so much for info and help!

J & S (near GreenLake/MacDonald)
Stephen Spencer said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said…
If you want to avoid a crowded and large school, don't you also want to avoid HIMS? Eckstein is also an excellent school with many advanced learners- is it hcc you are looking for? Your child would need to qualify for that through testing, and then you'd be assigned to whichever hcc school this puts you in- probably JAMS. I think you can move and be reassigned, but I am not sure. I would ask the district and get it in written form somehow. Enrollment services is being pretty squirrelly at the moment.

Lynn said…
You'll find the answers to most of your questions in the enrollment procedures.

Students are placed on only one waitlist. I'm guessing you listed Hamilton as your first choice.

All Spectrum students are guaranteed access to services at attendance area middle schools - so if your child were assigned to Hamilton, they would receive services there. This doesn't apply to option schools.

If you move into another middle school attendance area over the summer your student is automatically reassigned to the new school. If you move after the year has started, they have the option of completing the year at their current school or moving mid-year.

The upside to renting is that you can choose your schools. The downside if that if you're forced to move (landlord chooses to sell for example) and can't find a new home in the same attendance area, your children must change schools for the next school year.

Hope that helps!
Anonymous said…
J & S,

I'm curious how your child was assigned AL entering SPS, rather than Gen Ed. Was your child identified at their previous school? We are also new to SPS this fall but coming from a private school across the country where no kids are designated AL, but where the curriculum is advanced for all. My middle schooler is assigned to Washington as Gen Ed and though we will test after arriving, I'm concerned that he wouldn't be designated AL until 2018-19. That means a year potentially lost. I'm under the impression that Washington blends their classrooms so perhaps AL designation is less critical there, but I also discovered recently the rezoning that is happening this fall, which will transfer many higher SES students from Washington to Meany. We are #4 on the wait list for Meany.

Still unsure what to do with our middle school kid. We may abandon the thought of public altogether until high school when the AL designation no longer matters.


Lynn said…
There is testing in August for students moving into the district after the previous testing period. This would allow your child to receive services in the 2017-18 school year.

Have you already signed a lease/bought a home or is it possible to move into the Meany attendance area?
Lynn said…
P.S. - it's unlikely you'll find a private school seat in middle school for next fall at this point.
Anonymous said…
Lynn, thank you, I appreciate your response. The Advanced Learning page on the SPS website states in their testing info that "Eligibility is for the 2018-19 school year", while the testing application form promises results/notification by September 1, 2017. So, somewhat confusing.

We own a home in the Washington attendance zone. For private we are considering the French school (FASPS) on Mercer Island. They have rolling admissions and our child is bilingual having been in the French system until two years ago.

Anonymous said…
RE: Lynn's 8:17 comment, it's unlikely but not impossible. I taught at a Seattle private school for years and we always had a few last-minute and mid-year additions to our roster. Kids move, pull out, etc. - it's worth a shot if you feel strongly enough about it.

Good Luck
Anonymous said…
I would not consider the French school on Mercer Island an improvement over SPS in terms of advanced learning, however. It has other strengths, but that is not one. Call the advanced learning office.

Anonymous said…
Billings Middle School has accepted last minute additions or mid year enrollees to their school in the past.
Anonymous said…
There is a full frontal assault on the quality of middle school HCC all over the place. No matter what you read or where you look.

Now, we hear that HCC middle school is better than a private FRENCH school on Mercer Island.

Sour grapes...

not mc troll said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
anyone? - I'm not sure what you mean. Bilingual has a fair point about the French system not being well-suited for advanced learners and I would not interpret it as a quality judgment in comparison with HCC. We spent seven years in the French system and its worldwide uniform curriculum means that one can move seamlessly from French school to French school around the globe, but that also means it doesn't offer much in the way of differentiated learning. There are both advantages and disadvantages.

My concern is that Washington's rezoning seems almost purposely designed to hollow out students in the middle of the academic curve, leaving only the highest and lowest performers. My child probably would not qualify as HCC (we will still test) but coming from a private school that already works a year ahead, a Gen Ed classroom dominated by struggling kids would not be an appropriate placement. Hence, we are looking at options.

Anonymous said…
Billings is mostly a school for students with disabilities or other learning and behavioral challenges. Since those kids aren't well served in SPS, there are private options like Billings. If you're looking for AL options, it's hard to see where Billings would fit in, even if there are mid year or late enrollment opportunities.

Sweet Grapes
Anonymous said…
I have never heard that Billings was a school for learning or behavioral challenged students. Are you sure you aren't confusing it with another school?

SusanH said…
I agree, HP. My only experience with Billings is from a Rainier Scholar that goes there. She's extremely bright to have gotten into that program, and they directed her to Billings...
Anonymous said…
A few Madrona families I know sent their kids to Billings then Northwest School. All very bright, creative, empathetic, WELL resourced kids. It is not a SPED school from what I have heard, not sure where that misunderstanding started.

Fix AL
Anonymous said…
Sweet grapes,

Billings focuses on experiential and expitiditionary learning. Lots of camping trips and year long academic themes. It's closest kin in SPS would be Thornton Creek or Salmon Bay. My HCC qualified child attends there and although we've had to advocate for more challenging math (and received it) it's been a great experience. Billings can accommodate neurodiverse kids and others with unique needs because of the small clas size, typically 15 in a class and it's inclusive philosophy. I'm not sure where you got the impression it was an exclusively special needs school though. Maybe because it's more diverse than your typical independent school in Seattle?

Public & Private
Anonymous said…
@ Susan H, just to point out, a student can be extremely bright AND have learning and/or behavioral challenges. I don't know anything about Billings and who it's good for or not, but your post made it sound like learning/behavioral challenges and brightness are mutually exclusive, which they aren't. In fact, I think I read that learning differences may even be more prevalent in gifted students.

2e kids
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