Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Jam-Packed Friday Memo

From the last Friday Memo of 2016-2017, news to know.  This is very long thread but I will highlight key words/programs; there appears to be something for everyone here.  
  • These items are written by different senior staff.  
  • To note, there are acronyms aplenty and I'll try to spell out the less obvious ones.
  • There are two reports attached which I have not read and will create separate threads for discussion:
    International Education/Dual-Language Immersion and Advanced Learning/Spectrum
Also, I have a ton of questions based on this memo so if you have one, write it down in the Comments section.

Admission and Customer Service: The Admissions and Customer Service department will resume regular hours of operations on Wednesday, July 5 opening at 8:30 a.m. The Admission Center will be closed for its annual end of year systems cleanup beginning July 17 – August 4.
During this time, we will not be accepting 2017-18 school year admission application packets via email, fax, regular mail, and at the JSCEE Admissions Center or receptionist area. If families attempt to email/fax their application during this period, it will not be received due to the shutdown. Our customer service phone line 206-252-0000 will continue to be active for district directory purposes only during this period. The Admission Center will reopen August 7 at 8:30 a.m. to the public.
The Seattle Public Schools Admissions Center is excited to announce our new online enrollment registration system for new students, resulting in reduced waiting time and paperwork for our families! The online registration will be available August 7th.
Features Include:Mobile-friendly Design
New student registration can be completed at your convenience on a computer, laptop, tablet, or on smart phone.
The new system is available in four languages: English, Spanish, Chinese, and Vietnamese, with in-person or phone support available from our enrollment specialists at the Admissions Center.
Upload Documents
Supplemental registration documents, such as proof of address, birth certificate, and parent/guardian photo ID; can be uploaded as each form section is completed.

The online forms will be ADA Accessible.
 Year in Review 2016-2017
Reduction in Force (RIF): About two dozen certificated staff members received RIF notices by the June 15 deadline. Many of those positions are in unique specializations and related programs don’t have sufficient enrollment for the coming year (Career and Technical Education (CTE), world languages).
Editor's note:  And to what to they attribute this underenrollment of these courses?
Substitute Fill Rates Up: Human Resources is excited to report that the fill rate for substitute teachers reached 88% for the year, which is up 3% from last school year.
Audit – Due to our size, the state auditor audits Seattle annually (many districts are audited every other year). The auditor comes with a team and spends months with us. Once again, we have received a clean state audit – we have met the highest standards of accountability.
JSCEE Year in Review: Today we met with JSCEE staff to review the highlights of our strategic plan – and then asked them to fill in the accomplishments that they had done in support of our top three goals. I am so impressed by all the great work our staff has accomplished together! Our work this year has been anchored by our 4Ps – positive beliefs, positive relationships, positive learning and positive partnerships and aligned to our strategic plan. Chief Engagement Officer Carri Campbell posted giant butcher paper rolls and staff added text. What a great celebration of the energy and enthusiasm that staff bring to this work of supporting schools. Thank you to Directors Harris and Patu for participating in this year’s celebration and for the leadership team for hosting and paying out of pocket for it.
Retirement Reception: Thank you to Director Betty Patu and Deputy Superintendent Nielsen for attending the annual retirement celebration. There were more than 30 employees who were recognized for their collective 573 years of service with Seattle Public Schools. Special thanks to SEA, PASS, WEA Retire, Seattle School Retiree Association and the HR department for their contributions to the annual retirement reception. And a special congratulations to Alford Lowe who retired after 47 years with SPS.
(Editor's note on following section: a partial listing of notable statements)
SMART Goals The School Board renewed their commitment to SMART Goals for the coming year. This is notable for several reasons:
o Continuity: This is the fourth year of board commitment to: Excellence(MTSS); Equity(EOG)and Engagement (Community). This has been huge in helping us align the work of the district.
o Early Action: The Board is approving these goals in June rather than November. This gives early notice to us through School Leaders Institute (SLI) and the start of the year so we can all be on board from the start of the school year.
I'll have to ask the district if there is a yearly outcomes from the SMART goals document. It would seems if we are going into year four, there would be some kind of idea how it's going. They do say this elsewhere:
o Accomplishments shared: 61 schools are using RULER; we opened 5 new schools in 2016-17; and HR and DoTS (Department of Technology Services) created a process to update employee data which saved 10,000 manual entries
o We recognized 14 individual “fly to the ball” staff members who have shown leadership quality and anticipated the needs of families, students and staff members
Magnolia/ Potential school at Fort Lawton: The Magnolia bid and boundaries will be postponed, very likely pushing back the opening of Magnolia to 2019. The School District has asked the City to consider a school location at the Ft. Lawton site and are exploring all of the legalities of what that might mean. We have spoken with the City and our next step is to communicate with the US Department of Education. We have contacted them and are awaiting communication back. 
As with the former Federal Reserve Building, the US Department of Education handles any federal property that might be used for educational purposes. They have several requirements (e.g. construction must be completed within 36 months of receiving the land [12 months if not doing major renovations or construction], demonstrated current need for the land or building, a specific educational use [what kind of school], the request of property must be an immediate need, etc.) and are very clear, straight forward and not flexible.

Some additional clarity we have gained from the City is that a school would not be displacing any housing. It may though have an impact on the other two uses, open space/park or parks maintenance facility. We are hoping to know more next week or the week after and clarity by the first week of August.

SPS is obviously interested in space for future capacity needs. Given the reopening of Magnolia we do not have an immediate need for elementary space. We currently have excess capacity at McClure Middle School. We do need HS space at some point, however Lincoln will provide more high school capacity in 2019. Magnolia is not centrally located for a high school which would need to draw from a wide cross section of the city. The housing units proposed for Ft. Lawton are not anticipated to generate a large increase in the number of K-12 students.
That last paragraph seems a good reason to NOT invest the capital dollars in this area.  It is such an isolated area that it's hard to imagine development for a school.
Seattle Center: Both the Seattle Center and the district are on a similar timeline to make upgrades to properties at the Seattle Center. The School District is considering stadium replacement and a new high school on the school district owned portion of that site. The Center is considering upgrades to portions of the Seattle Center, many of which are now more than 50 years old. The Center hosted a community wide discussion last fall and we are now considering a joint exploration process that would develop alternative site plans. Both parties retain the final decision making responsibilities for their respective properties, however the hope is that we leave a lasting legacy by improving the entire site for our community, students and families. We have entered into a shared process that helps us consider together the best ways to meet our joint and individual needs.  
BEX IV/BTA IV – Roofer’s Strike – Seattle Public Schools learned Wednesday, June 28, 2017, that the Seattle local roofer’s union has gone out on strike. The roof repairs at Ballard, Garfield and West Seattle High Schools are slowing to a stop (roofing company administrators are closing up open roof areas) until the strike is resolved. Capital Projects personnel are currently assessing the impact to other BEX and BTA projects under construction that will require roof repairs or replacement to complete.
Editor's note: there are photos from different BEX projects.  I have driven past Robert Eagle Staff Middle School/Cascadia and boy, am I glad they kept the Native American mural.  They are very striking and attractive as you drive by.

Next Year - 2017-2018
Next year we will also be rolling out a Formula for Success which reflects our work in HR with PAR, Teaching and Learning’s MTSS and EOG. And we will continue to build on relationships and positive beliefs as part of EOG work adding in a focus on student resiliency. This will be the focus of the district TRI day in August and a “red thread” throughout the year.
Creation of the “Coherence placemat” which transformed into the “Formula for Success”  
EOG = Ending Opportunity Gaps; MTSS = Multi-Tiered System of Support; TRI = time responsibility incentive (for teachers);PAR= Peer Assistance and Review (for Curriculum and Instruction staff) 
In the department of Equity and Race Relations, ten new Race and Equity teams were inducted, bringing the total to 31 school teams. 

Family Engagement teams, comprised of Anita Koyier-Mwamba, Mohamed Roble and Adie Simmons, delved into a deeper strengthening of bonding families to schools with such programs as College Nights, Family Connectors University and Somali Moms Night Out. 

And after having a successful launch of the African American Male Advisory Committee in June 2016, Equity, Initiatives and Outcomes continued to grow the AAMAC in their goal of providing recommendations for the superintendent.

Yet, the year was not without some challenges. Bernardo Ruiz, Director of Equity and Race Relation and Family Engagement took a leave of absence for a special assignment and was unable to return due to health reasons. 

Chris Ray Merriweather, Student and Family Advocate tendered her resignation. Nicole Turner, manager of Partnership Data and Systems left SPS to move to the East Coast. Nikka Lemons-Smith, director of Equity, Initiatives and Outcomes left to be with family in Texas. After 25 years of service, Fran Partridge, Equity and Race Relations specialist is leaving to fulfill personal growth goals. Samantha Bindman, Research Analyst, is leaving in late June for a different research opportunity. In addition, Shukri Olow, Coordinator of School and Community Partnerships, will leave in July to pursue professional goals. 

Like other Central Office departments that have faced difficult decisions due to the financial challenges handed to us by the state legislature, Strategy and Partnerships will undergo a transformation. James Bush, director of School and Community Partnerships, will take his team and join the newly formed Engagement team. The Family Engagement team will also join Engagement. However, we are delighted to welcome the addition of Keisha Scarlett as the new Executive Director of Organizational Development and Equity. Keisha is already hard at work planning the first annual EOG Institute, scheduled for October 13, 2017.
  1. And we are pleased to welcome Audrey Querns Creative Advantage Project Manager and Kathlyn Paananen, Manager of Education and Housing as direct reports to the Strategy and Partnerships team. 
First order of business after reading the above section - they need a new org chart.
Also on the horizon is:
a further expansion of the Race and Equity teams to 41 teams total
taking the EOG Digital Toolkit beyond the pilot stage and into integration
continued collaboration across Central Office departments to expand upon the Formula
for Success
embracing the work on Ethnic Studies
deepening our relationships with our key partnerships
replicating the success of our ever-growing outlier schools so that one day, no school is
an outlier 

The School Nurse Software project replaces the current legacy software used by school nurses for documenting student health records - Nurse Entry Database (NED) - with a modern web- based solution. Following the selection of the vendor CareDox, the contract with Seattle Public Schools was signed on June 23, transitioning the project from acquisition to implementation. The kick off meeting for the implementation of the new software, CareHub was held on June 26. The implementation is phased to ensure the timely delivery of key functionality. Phase One finishes on August 14 with the software ready for classroom training by the vendor at JSCEE on August 16 - 18. Additional functionality will be rolled out through the end of December. Regular production operations start on August 21 with the nurses supporting students in the 2017-2018 JumpStart program.
The Data Profile can now be accessed through the Performance and Accountability page located under the District tab on the SPS Homepage.
DoTS will be migrating all student Windows workstations from Windows 7 to Windows 10 before the start of the 2017-2018 school year.

Online Payments
The Online Payments project’s goal is to assist schools and departments with handling student fees and to allow families to make credit and debit card payments through a portal. The project will reduce cash handling at the schools and improve the District’s ability to audit financial transactions. Moreover, online payments will be used for things like ASB cards, fines, class fees, yearbook fees, etc. There is a separate point of sale system currently in place for nutrition service (school lunch) fees. The School Pay point of sale system also has the capability to replace only the payment function of the nutrition service system potentially creating additional savings. This item was approved at the May 17 Board Meeting and is funded through BTA IV.
Starting July 29, all local calls within the four existing area codes (206, 253, 360 and 425) will require callers to dial all ten digits, according to the Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission. Those calls will remain local even though you will have to dial ten digits.
Editor's note; new Western Washington area code 564 is coming online in conjunction with this new dialing change.

Teaching & Learning
Ethnic Studies: The board did a first reading of a resolution on Ethnic Studies at the June 28 board meeting. Many members and supporters of the Task Force testified in support of the resolution. The board had a good discussion on how comprehensive the effort should be and how to sustain efforts in an era of funding shortfalls. Meanwhile C&I staff are busy working with schools to inventory what we already do, review the research and begin to outline options and costs for moving forward.
Biology End of Course (EOC) Exam: Earlier this spring, the school board agreed to let students walk at graduation IF the Biology EOC exam was their only missing component. This applied to about 100 students. The legislature decided last week to once again delay the BIO exam requirement and they agreed to some new alternatives for students to demonstrate proficiency in math and language arts.
High School and Beyond Plan Tool 
As part of the next steps following the work completed by the 24-Credit Graduation Requirement Task Force, this project replaces the paper-based forms used by students and counselors for documenting a High School and Beyond Plan, a graduation requirement in Washington State, with an easy-to-use web planning application suitable for use by both middle school and high school students. The tool vendor – Washington School Information Processing Cooperative (WSIPC) - works in partnership with the Office Of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to ensure the software supports all current Washington State requirements. Guidance, processes, and curriculum for the tool are being developed by a counselor working group facilitated by Career and College Readiness (CCR) central office staff.
In early May 2017, all middle school and high school counselors where given the opportunity to be trained on the tool during a professional development day. Following that training, counselors from a number of schools including Salmon Bay K-8, Franklin HS, Roosevelt HS and the Center School, all successfully piloted the tool with students in late May and June 2017. 
This summer, the project team will continue to work on the technical integration of the software with PowerSchool and five staff who are teaching the Skills Center's 9th Grade Advantage course will introduce the tool and planning curriculum to students in the incoming class of 2021. The tool is expected to be in general use for the start of the 2017-2018 school year.
On June 23rd, school leaders at three Seattle schools, Eckstein Middle School, Cleveland High School and Garfield High School were notified by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) that they had been selected to participate in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). This is the largest nationally continuing assessment and the selected schools represent schools across the nation. Participation of these schools will provide information on what students in the United States know and can do in various subjects such as mathematics, reading, science and writing. School districts that receive Title I funding are required to participate in NAEP assessments if they are selected for the NAEP sample. This assessment only reports on results for different demographic groups rather than for individual students. It is designed to cause minimal disruption of classroom instruction. Each school will be assigned a NAEP representative to coordinate with test administration.
On June 23rd, the school leader at Catharine Blaine K-8 was also notified that they had been selected to participate in the International Computer and Information Literacy Study (ICILS). This study compares U.S. eighth grade students’ computer and information literacy skills with their peers in countries around the world. The results from the ICILS will not report on a district, school or student level. Rather, individual responses will be combined with those of other participants to produce summary statistics. The ICILS is conducted by National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), part of the U.S. Department of Education. This organization will work directly with the selected school to coordinate test administration.
Middle School Math Adoption update
As a part of CAI’s work to strengthen core instruction as a component of the Superintendent’s SMART Goal #1, Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), the department is facilitating an adoption of middle school math instructional materials. The Middle School Math Adoption Committee, which has been working since March, has wrapped up its work for the school year. As per Policy 2015, Selection and Adoption of Instructional Materials, the middle school math materials adoption committee developed its short list of materials for Stage 2 of the adoption process. The committee met for the sixth and final time on June 13, 2017. After robust discussion and a systematic incorporation of community feedback, the committee came to consensus around the short list of materials to pilot in the fall of 2017-18. Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction staff will be offering 2x2 meetings with Board members in July for a more in-depth briefing.

Director Question from CAI Department Oversight Work Session:
In the budget portion of the Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction (CAI) Oversight Work Session, it was noted that figures did not distinguish between John Stanford Center for Education Excellence (JSCEE)-based and school-based staff providing direct service to students and children attached to CAI. Board members inquired as to how CAI staff could be broken down by location and function. Although some staff are still difficult to classify in relation to the location from which they are based (some spend very little or no time at JSCEE, but are not attached to a particular school), the
attached table shows that 83.4 Full Time Equivalencies (FTE) are in functions not directly serving students, but serving teachers, administrators and support staff, and the 102 schools operating in Seattle Public Schools (SPS) next year.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for researching and summarizing. This is a tremendous service.

The capacity 'plans' are a doomed to failure, anything Flip touches is data-free and driven by politics and agendas without any actual need. I could give numbers, but what's the point? If the district doesn't listen to Kellie...

All of this hand wringing about equity and closing opportunity caps, does it matter to any of the children in any of the buildings?

Question: which child in which building notices and is affected by Bernardo's absence???

He was here how many years?. To me a child who lives in section 8 housing with a single mother whose life trajectory has been deflected into a positive path way because of him.

And yet, I bet there are a few children who have had a life-changing experience because of the gentle and constant caring of a teacher whose boots are physically in that classroom with that kid.

Mr. Bernardo Ruiz, Director of Equity and Race Relation and Family Engagement, was paid $112 plus benefits too in 2014... what did children get for that money?

Fewer JSCEE bodies and more teacher bodies please. Lower class sizes for all title 1 K-5 schools, like, 12 kids in a class, that will improve the lives of impoverished children. Not more committees which pronounce racism is bad and prevalent and water is wet.

Waste Not

Anonymous said...

Re: the SMART Goals and the fact that "this is the fourth year of board commitment to: Excellence(MTSS); Equity(EOG)and Engagement (Community)," my question would be what have they actually accomplished on these in the past 3 years? MTSS does not seem to be anywhere close to full implementation (and that was started more than 3 years ago); equity efforts don't seem to be generating positive outcomes; and community engagement seems as poor as ever.

Are these SMART goals just words on a page? Are they not identifying and implementing appropriate strategies that are likely to lead to the desired (and measurable) outcomes? Are they spinning their wheels, or making progress?

It would be nice to see that when they focus on something we actually get somewhere...

Izzzit Working?

Jon said...

I'd very much like to have a further discussion on capacity. The city is growing at a staggering rate, above 700,000 now.

To what extent is Seattle Public Schools preparing to expand to address this? It seems like it isn't, just opening Lincoln, from what I can see, and adding portables (which aren't intended for permanent population increases).


Rah Rah said...

Memorial Stadium is a great community resource for band practices, football games and graduations. I hope plans do not diminish community access.

Memorial Stadium is a prime piece of property. Let's make sure students have access to this property.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Rah, Rah, I think the district knows very well how important Memorial Stadium is in the landscape of facilities.

However, I worry about what the City wants and the district's capability to not get sold out in some way. That's why it matters who is Mayor and who sits on the Board.

Anonymous said...

It's odd that roofing work stopped last month-I was at Ballard High School 2 weeks ago and it sure appeared that there was still wok being done. -TeacherMom