Friday Open Thread

Again?  The Times is reporting that Garfield guidance counselor, Raymond Willis, is under investigation by OSPI at the request of Seattle Public Schools.  Willis has been fined - two times - by state regulators for financial issues not related to his work in the district.  The district filed a complaint saying that he has violated stated law that says school employees must have "good moral character and/or personal fitness."

The district says this investigation may take a year (!)  Willis has been at Garfield since 2007 but he had been at Sealth but was fired from his coaching job there.  I would submit that, despite this length record of problems, the district cannot just fire Willis and thus, they filed for the investigation. 

Just a heads up, the district's website is off-line until Monday, July 31st, when they will unveil a new design.
Between August 1 and 15, we will begin a phased launch of the 100 individual redesigned school websites beginning with secondary schools and followed by elementary schools.
Starting tomorrow, you MUST dial the area code in the state - even if you are calling someone within your own area code - because of the new area code, 564, that is coming online soon.

Also in the news, the Green Dot charter chain just absorbed a local charter, Excel.  The first step was Excel realizing they couldn't manage themselves and now, having Green Dot take them in.  It would appear that there will be very few home-grown charter schools in our region (Spokane's two seem to be much more community-based.)

Just saw the wonderful Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirrors exhibit at SAM.  Unbelievably great.  Child-like polka-dots and pumpkins belie a deeper meaning.  I don't think there are still tickets to buy online but you can go early for same-day tickets.  I wish all kids could see this because it is so amazing.

However, SAM is having a free drop-in studio on Saturdays from now until September 10th from 11 am-1 pm.  All ages and abilities can take part in hands-on art making and see local artists demonstrate projects inspired by the exhibit.

Also, SAM at Olympic Sculpture Park is having a Family Field Day tomorrow, Saturday, July 29th, from 11 am-3 pm.  Free except for the food.
Bring the whole family for all-ages art making, performances, family-friendly yoga, and community partner activities to get everyone thinking creatively about our environment and how we can help it.
 Lastly, from Seattle Public Library
The first total solar eclipse in almost 40 years will cross the U.S. on Monday, Aug. 21. In Seattle, 94% of the sun will be covered when the moon passes in front of it.

Beginning Tuesday, Aug. 1, The Seattle Public Library will distribute a limited number of free viewing glasses to safely watch the solar eclipse that will take place from 9:08 a.m. to 11:38 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 21. Leading up to the eclipse, there will be several related programs at Library locations throughout the city. During the eclipse, 14 Library locations will show a live-stream from
Solar eclipse glasses must be picked up in-person at Library locations - no phone call or email reservations will be accepted. The glasses will be available on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last. Please limit glasses to one pair per family - the eclipse is over two hours long and there is plenty of time to share.
Warning: Do not look directly at the sun during the eclipse without eclipse glasses, or severe eye damage may occur. Young children should be closely supervised when outdoors during the eclipse.
 What's on your mind?


Anonymous said…
I saw this today and as we "gear up" for juggling sports again soon, these points provide excellent perspective and worthy of sharing:

One of my friends asked "Why do you pay so much money for your kids to do all their sports”? Well I have a confession to make; I don't pay for my kids to to do sports. Personally, I couldn't care less about what sport they do.

So, if I am not paying for sports what am I paying for?- I pay for those moments when my kids become so tired they want to quit but don't.

- I pay for those days when my kids come home from school and are "too tired" to go to their training but they go anyway.

- I pay for my kids to learn to be disciplined, focused and dedicated.

- I pay for my kids to learn to take care of their body and equipment.

- I pay for my kids to learn to work with others and to be good team mates, gracious in defeat and humble in success.

- I pay for my kids to learn to deal with disappointment, when they don't get that placing or title they'd hoped for, but still they go back week after week giving it their best shot.

- I pay for my kids to learn to make and accomplish goals.

- I pay for my kids to respect, not only themselves, but other athletes, officials and coaches.

- I pay for my kids to learn that it takes hours and hours, years and years of hard work and practice to create a champion and that success does not happen overnight.

- I pay for my kids to be proud of small achievements, and to work towards long term goals.

- I pay for the opportunity my kids have and will have to make life-long friendships, create lifelong memories, to be as proud of their achievements as I am.

- I pay so that my kids can be out on the field or in the gym instead of in front of a screen...

...I could go on but, to be short, I don't pay for sports; I pay for the opportunities that sports provides my kids with to develop attributes that will serve them well throughout their lives and give them the opportunity to bless the lives of others. From what I have seen so far I think it is a great investment!


Sports Advocate
Bulldog said…
Garfield has been in the paper twice this week. What is going on with Garfield's principal?
Anonymous said…


Email from district says they are, YET AGAIN, redoing their website.

Yikes! QUICK! Download all the docs and screencap all the info you need RIGHT NOW. Because we are facing a whole NEW mess of broken links and disappeared data YET AGAIN. (Remember the hard commitment to NOT forcibly move any Whitman student when Wilson Pacific aka Eagle Staff opened? Yeah, that contract with the public is gone from their website, and, that community is being screwed and kids are being forcibly moved)

This is one way for the district to wipe clean all institutional memory, by simply getting rid of the actual traces of info. Then we can all bask happily in "Alternative Facts" because no real facts will be available.

Don't they have anything better to do with their time, like repair and re-upload what they already lost in the last 2 go-arounds of web site relaunches?

Or better yet, why not spend their time and effort and resources on, I don't know, fixing the enrollment waitlist debacle? Or, getting true complement of instruments for Meany launch? Or, following through on their SE Initiative, oh wait, that one has been replaced by the African American Male task force... Because, naturally, that is going to make the difference.

Frustration level has tipped. I know this is a trivial matter, but, it is indicative of the headless horseman phenomenon of misprioritization and utter ineffectualness of this bureaucracy. Bless those fighting for more money out of Olympia, but, I am no longer with them, because I know that whatever dollars SPS gets, it won't deploy them in a manner aligned with my priority: make the schools serve the families (not the other way around) (hello, Stevens/Madrona forced march) AND hire more teachers and pay them well.


Anonymous said…
I thought the website redo was part of making it more accessible for the visually impaired. Yes, info was lost with previous updates, and is likely to be lost again, but I think SPS is legally required to make some of the updates.

I know this is a trivial matter, ..."

For all the reasons you point out, it isn't.

Parent, I think that issue was addressed in the last website go-round.
Fact Checker said…
What was Alec Cooper's positon on the teachers strike?
Face Checker, you'd have to ask him.
Anonymous said…
FYI, all the Whitman students who requested Whitman rather than a transfer to REMS have been given a spot at Whitman after a board decision.

Sixwrens, good news and as it should be.
Carol Simmons said…
Will there be more rooms available now for Licton Springs at REMS since the Whitman students will remain at Whitman?
Anonymous said…
I don't know- those rooms have been so overpromised. What if eaglestaff grows next year? I am assuming it will; the Whitman deal is just for kids who have already been at Whitman, so not a permanent thing. I can't imagine it would be ok to give Licton Springs rooms for just one year, and then take them back. Would it? That building is just not big enough for a comprehensive middle school and an option k-8.

Anonymous said…
Maybe good news for the Whitman students who don't have to move to RESMS, but maybe not such good news for the GIMS students who didn't get a similar deal. Will there be enough 8th graders for not just a comprehensive experience, but a comprehensive experience that includes a full slate of advanced courses?

Equity Schmekwity
Anonymous said…
@Equity Schmekwity- I think you meant HIMS....not GIMS? There are alot of HIMS HCC 8th graders moving over, so I would guess the 8th graders should have enough advanced courses.
Anonymous said…
It going be interesting to how RESMS turns out next year. It's located in a very sketchy area with lots of traffic. With 3 schools inhabiting one building there's sure to be lots of excitement.

Not providing transportation for choice Whitman students is theft in my book.

muh said…
I"m so sick of the 'Licton Springs is in a sketchy area' story. Given me a break. Licton Springs is in a neigbhorhood, primarily inhabited by single family homes, with neighbors who give a shit.
Also true that it is in a city, and that our city is facing problems with homelessness and drug use. But I hate this attempt to paint it as somehow sending these kids into hazardous duty by sending them to a school that is becoming more beautiful by the day.
muh said…
Does anyone know if incoming Kindergarten students will get any eclipse programming during Jumpstart on the 21st?
NNE Mom said…
Not only is the new location for Licton Springs K-8 in a neighborhood of mostly single family homes, it is located in the Licton Springs neighborhood right by the actual springs that give the school its name. The name comes from the Lushootseed word líqʼ-təd meaning "red paint" due to the reddish color from the natural iron springs which are now located in Licton Springs Park just north of the new school building. There's a great article by Thomas R. Speer (leI?elás) about the importance of the springs to the Duwamish here: Licton Springs A Sacred Site of the Duwamish Tribe Ancestral Homeland and a good write-up about the site in Hidden Hydrology.
Anonymous said…
When the Wilson Pacific site was in operation, there was evidence of illicit activity on the campus. I would not outright dismiss concerns, but the concerns may be blown out of proportion. Also, the new campus will most likely have improved security.

Choice Bought said…
I'm excited about my 8th grader moving to REMS next year but am getting worried about overall 8th grade numbers. With many Whitman students now out of REMS, several HIMS families opting to go private and more than a few who are renting extra apartments in Wallingford to stay at HIMS the numbers are dwindling. Must be nice to have the $$ to work the system, tempted to report.

Anonymous said…
"When the Wilson Pacific site was in operation, there was evidence of illicit activity on the campus."
@JS & Megan - Yes, that particular stretch of Aurora has historically had visible prostitution and illegal drug activity. In addition, a new "low barrier" for access shelter (includes people addicted) is very close to the schools.

I support "low barrier" shelters to help shelter our homeless who are addicted.

However, location next to an elementary and middle school could create some additional security issues. It is not the best location. More security should be provided at schools in neighborhoods with more risk for this reason. I don't think concern is overblown.
Anonymous said…
@Choice Bought- I am not too worried as the overwhelming majority of kids we know are moving over to Eaglestaff. In addition, there are many great schools located in less than perfect neighborhoods in urban cities across the country. Eaglestaff even had a waiting list last I checked. It will open with alot of kids and it is beautiful new school. It is also getting some strong teachers. I think actually it will be a huge draw in the next few years.
-not worried
Anonymous said…
The amount of crime around RESMS is concerning. There are lots of used needles laying around the site. Who's going to pay to clean up all the needles. Who's going to pay to chase away the vagrants seen wander the site. Who's going to stop the addicts from harassing the kids?

Anonymous said…
The parents on the design committee begged for the buildings to mind the unique security needs of that site.

Neighbors told us that 'everyone' had always 'promised' that 'this' (whatever 'this' was) would change the neighborhood and force it to get cleaned up. But, they said, nothing ever has. So yes, the sex workers and druggies will still be there, even though the SPS building work is completing. They will simply move in to nicer grounds.

Go back to the minutes of the design team. You can see they begged the architects and the district to pay attention to the local activity and to the proximity to Aurora. Flip did not, would not listen. In that (the not listening part), he has been consistent.

We begged for clean site lines to keep the children safe. We told them at the first meeting this district does not have money for operating budgets. There is no funding for recess monitors. Thus, site lines were crucial. 1 adult would need to be able to see all children in one visual sweep. Having the courtyards would not permit that. Courtyards would chew up space, disallowing for maximum play courts for the kids and the community, impact the amount of parking that could be fit, and wouldn't be able to be used anyway because of noise to the surrounding classrooms and the risk that balls would break windows. Facilities told them, Flip, the same. And did they listen? NO! Arguably, it is the middle school kids who need closer supervision, as it is not typical for elementary aged children to get into the kinds of issues that bigger, older kids can. And yet, REMS has the worse site lines. And, it is closer to Aurora.

Did the architect team speak with the principal on the ground at Wilson Pacific at the time? NO! Seriously, Mahlum didn't even bother to call her up and ask her about her experience there. If they had, they would have learned about the number of people sleeping there and the dirty needles and used condoms that had to get picked up every morning. At a community meeting, Jon Halfaker said drugs wouldn't be a problem (there was a broken crack pipe resting on the ground while he spoke), Kim Whitworth said there would only be 2 buses. Yes, the neighbors were told lots of interesting things. While they appreciated the new buildings to be built in their hood, they also knew that crime was not going to go away and that parking and traffic was going to be a problem.

The architects wanted northern light. That was their priority. That is why they made inefficient, over-built, expensive buildings. Look at price per sq ft in Seattle compared to Bellevue for school construction. We overpaid and got a less functional campus.

The joke was the middle school courtyards will be segregated for evening commerce: one for prostitutes, the other for drug users.

Nonetheless, everyone will smile and pat themselves on the back for the pretty buildings at Wilson Pacific. Much they way they did when Hamilton opened. Only, Hamilton should have had an auditorium. But, nobody mentioned it that day when the ribbon was snipped. And, when Wilson Pacific is opened, also without an auditorium, nobody will talk about the stupid buildings' shapes or point out that there is no auditorium and Sue Peters was the ONLY one to vote no on WP because it didn't have an auditorium. (An auditorium does not have to have a raked floor with fixed seating, it can be made much more like a 'flex box', and with the useless 'outdoor classrooms' that won't get used, the square footage was absolutely available.)

Solution? Think about the levies as a referendum on how the district is doing. Vote accordingly.

WP Bound
Anonymous said…
Anyone know when "the exciting launch of the new design" of the district's website is supposed to happen today (Monday, July 31)? Like lots of families, we would like to be able to download Fall sports forms...

Owler said…
WP Bound I would argue that you are concerned about the visual line of sight rather than the straightness of the site's borders: Sight lines, not site lines.

I think you would be hard pressed to find a school in Seattle that doesn't deal with needles and condoms as part of the morning cleanup. Bagley, Cascadia, HIMS all deal with this, and I can't recall any reported child injuries. WP may prove to have more incidents than the other schools, but I would rather see how everything works once school is in session.

Yes, I agree with you about the auditorium. I still look forward to seeing the three schools move into this new site.
Anonymous said…
Perhaps that should read: "I would not outright dismiss concerns, but the concerns may be blown out of proportion [relative to what other schools already deal with]."

Illicit activity is not confined to the Aurora corridor and people are living in parks and vehicles in neighborhoods across Seattle. That said, to hear design moved forward seemingly without more thought about security or after hours activity is especially concerning.

The biggest bungle was not making WP a high school - lots of open space for much needed sports fields (and an auditorium...), within walking distance to North Seattle for Running Start, on Metro transit lines...sigh. It's painful to watch this district operate.

Anonymous said…
If people are comparing REMS location to Whitman's for safety I think it's clear Whitman is located in much better neighborhood than REMS. So now lets focus on how we can help make changes to make REMS just as safe.

Anonymous said…
It's RESMS. Robert Eagle Staff Middle School.


Popular posts from this blog

Tuesday Open Thread

Anaylsis of Seattle School Board Decision to Bring "Student Outcome Focused Governance"

Who Is A. J. Crabill (and why should you care)?