Tuesday, October 31, 2017

HCC Pathways Updates

HCC Advisory Committee Position on the High School Boundaries

Dear HCC community,

As you are probably aware, the District is considering changes to the high school boundaries as part of the Student Assignment Plan that will go into effect for the 2019/20 school year.

Meetings are happening and feedback is being collected, and the HCS AC has sent the email below to make clear our position and recommendations regarding the highly capable and high school pathways.

Today the HCS AC sent an email to the Superintendent and the Directors expressing our position (see below) in advance of staff preparing their recommendations to the Board in November. Final votes by the Board are slated for January 2018 with implementation in Fall 2019.

Lincoln and Dual Language/International Pathways

From Michele Aoki, International Education Administrator:

Tuesday Open Thread

There's a petition going around from "North Ballard Parents"about the boundaries for Ballard High and Ingraham.  And so the lines among parents are starting to be drawn. (red mine)

Monday, October 30, 2017

Ed Reform Money Pours in for Vasquez

Seattle School Board, District 5's race has taken the very distinct ed reform turn that I knew it would.

Democrats for Education Reform's PAC contributed $20K to Vasquez's campaign in an independent expenditure for digital ads.  That's a huge amount of money for a school board race.  DFER supports ed reform including charter schools.

Folks, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and the ducks from the ed reform pond give it lots of bits of bread - it's a duck.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Work Session on October 25, 2017: Budget and SAP

As previously reported, this week's Work Session had a couple of parts and, within each part, several sections.  Here's the agenda and the Budget info is at the beginning of the documentation.

I do want to know that staff gave a presentation on Advanced Learning that, while some of it was buried in the agenda documentation, was NOT on the agenda.  I call foul on this as well as some of what was presented (but that's a different thread).

Friday, October 27, 2017

Friday Open Thread

I attended a great UW lecture last night by Professor Kate Starbird from the College of Engineering on the history/recognizing "fake news."  I see from this article in the NY Times that Italy is really getting serious about this in their schools:

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Work Session - Live Blogging

Update 4: Good news, kids.  The Board listened and has pushed back - for multiple reasons - on taking the word "transition" from the SAP.  That means, that the current transition plan will stand as an adjunct to the 2009 SAP.  It was not mentioned but I would assume that doesn't mean it precludes updates to the Transition plan but that plan will not become the SAP.

Good work to those of you who contacted the Board because they heard you, loud and clear.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Wednesday Work Session: SAP

The current Student Assignment Plan was approved in 2009.  This is what is stated at the district webpage about it:
The 2009 Student Assignment Plan is an historical document that details many of the principles of the current plan. The Superintendent's Procedures for Student Assignment sets forth the implementation of the policies established by the Board in the 2009 Student Assignment Plan and the Student Assignment Transition Plan for 2017-18. These documents are the guides for Admissions and other district staff and must be viewed as integrated companions to fully understand student assignment.
 I will take a page from Director Burke's lexicon and call that a "word salad."  Yes, the 2009 SAP is a "historical document but it IS the document of public record for assignments in SPS.  Everything else is a temporary "transition" plan of updates. 

Seattle Schools SAP Eckstein Community Meeting

Update: I neglected to say that Director Rick Burke was in attendance as were school board candidates Eden Mack and Omar Vasquez.

end of update

I'll be brief on the SAP/Boundaries Community Meeting last night at Eckstein.  I thought it stank.  I walked into a room with several tables of staff from different departments.  There were balloons and candy, wee!  What you are to do is wander from table to table and ask questions.  Oh, and leave comment cards.

I think the only comment you need to make is this:

This process is silly, unhelpful and a dog-and-pony show so staff can say to the Board, "We did community outreach." 

This process - once again - is being rushed and a topic of vital importance to every single student and parent/guardian in the district should not be rushed. 

What did other parents say about the meeting?

Wednesday Work Session:Budget

Well, it's another lollapolozza of a Work Session.  Here's the 99 page agenda.

There's so much here that I'm doing one thread on the Budget section and one on the SAP.

To note, the Work Session starts at 4:30 pm and the first topic is the Budget.  Looking at the attached documentation, I'd call this at least an hour's worth of work. And man, is it all over the place.  I'm not even sure I understand what they are talking about.  Page two has their focus items and it looks fairly straightforward until you start digging in.

Free Health Care Services Via King County Health

Free dental, vision and medical clinic via King County Health at Seattle Center, starting Thursday. First come, first served. Free parking.

Tuesday Open Thread

My wrap-up - such that it is - of the first SAP/High School Boundaries community meeting at Eckstein is to follow.  In a phrase - not good - and Halloween candy and balloons aren't going to cut it.

The Washington State Supreme Court heard oral arguments for and against the Legislature's work on fully funding public education via the McCleary decision.  You can hear the whole thing at 7pm tonight on TVW or here's a link.  

It's Irritating

I've made my opinion about who to vote for to represent the public on the Seattle School Board.  But now, after attending two forums and watching one on video (the NAACP/League of Women Voters), I want to add one thing that I find very irritating because two candidates are making statements that are not factually true in the context of what they currently do for a living.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Seattle Schools This Week

Monday, October 23rd
Student Assignment Plan and High School Boundaries Meeting
6:30 to 8 p.m., Eckstein Middle School

Tuesday, October 24th
Native American/Alaska Native family meeting
Meany Middle School, Lunchroom, 6-7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, October 25th
Board Work Sessions: Budget; Student Assignment Plan; Executive Session: to evaluate the performance of a public employee 4:30 PM to 8:30 PM, JSCEE, No agenda yet available

Thursday, October 26th
Native American/Alaska Native family meeting
Chief Sealth High school, 6-7:30 pm 

Student Assignment Plan and High School Boundaries Meeting
6:30 to 8 p.m., Ballard High School

Saturday, October 28th
Director Community Meetings

Director Patu 
Raconteur, 5041 Wilson Ave S, 9-11 am

Director Blanford
Location TBA, 10 am-noon (note: this is Director Blanford's last community meeting as a director)

I note the announcement of the annual State of the District speech by the Superintendent which will be Tuesday, November 14th at West Seattle High School from 5-7 pm.   This might be an interesting event to attend what with school board elections the week before and the announcement that the current Board has decided to seek a new superintendent.

SAP Draft Plan Released

We will NOT be discussing HCC pathways in this thread.  We can have a separate thread on that issue but NOT here.  Any comment with HCC discussion will be deleted.

end of update

Here's the draft plan.  I haven't read it yet.  Meetings start this week:

Five open house meetings are scheduled for families, students and staff about changes to the Student Assignment Plan (SAP) and high school boundaries. 

District office staff will be available to discuss the 2018-19 SAP, including related updates to special education, school choice, and advanced learning opportunities in high schools. Visitors will also be able to review the proposed high school boundary scenarios.
Open house meetings:
  • Mon., Oct. 23, 6:30 to 8 p.m., Eckstein Middle School, lunchroom, 3003 NE 75th St.
    Interpreters: Spanish, Somali, Chinese and Amharic
  • Thurs., Oct. 26, 6:30 to 8 p.m., Ballard High School, commons, 1418 NW 65th St.,
    Interpreters: Spanish, Somali, Chinese and Amharic.
  • Mon., Oct. 30, 6:30 to 8 p.m., McClure Middle School, gym, 1915 1st Ave. W.
    Interpreters: Spanish, Somali, Chinese and Vietnamese.
  • Wed., Nov. 8, 6:30 to 8 p.m., Cleveland High School, lunchroom, 5511 15th Ave. S.
    Interpreters: Spanish, Somali, Chinese and Vietnamese.
  • Thurs., Nov. 9, 6:30 to 8 p.m., West Seattle High School, lunchroom, 3000 California Ave. SW
    Interpreters: Spanish, Somali, Chinese and Vietnamese.

At the end of the month, families and staff will receive an email invitation and survey to provide feedback on the three proposed high school boundary options. New high school boundaries will be implemented in 2019-20. 

The top three potential scenarios can be found on the High School Boundary Task Force Recommendations webpage.
 Here are issues that some readers are reporting:

Friday, October 20, 2017

Stranger Guest Editorial Channels Princess Leia on McCleary

Remember the original first movie of Star Wars?  What does Princess Leia's message say:

This is our most desperate hour. Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope.

At The Stranger, Washington's Paramount Duty's Summer Stinson and Kathryn Russell Selk channel that thought:

In reality, the legislature failed. The Supreme Court must save us now. They're our only hope.

The details:

Friday Open Thread

The next meeting about the reopening of Lincoln High School is scheduled for Monday, November 13th, location TBD.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Seattle Schools and Salaries

You do know there's a place to look up everyone's salary who works for SPS?  You didn't; well, here it is. 

Uh Huh, What a Surprise about Charter Schools

Much, much more on charter schools to come but here's this:
Since 2007 the states that expanded charter schools the most, also cut funding for public schools the most.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Catching up on Education Reading

My desktop is full of stories.

SAP Documentation and Your Questions

Here is a district documented created for the Operations Committee by Nate Van Duzer, Director of Policy and Board Relations.  It's labeled: Student Assignment Plan "Transition" Label.

Tuesday Open Thread

A great job on working in the trades from the Marysville Globe.
If school isn’t your thing – don’t drop out, consider a career in the trades.  That’s the message Scott Peterson wants to get out not only to young people, but to others who may be interested in a career change.

While there is a shortage locally in the trades for electricians, plumbers, welders, pipefitters, etc., Peterson, a business agent for UA Local 699, especially is looking for people to install fire suppression equipment.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Let the City Know to Include Seattle Public Schools in Planning

From SPS parent, Valerie Cooper Jackson:

Dear school advocates,

As our city grows, we are keenly aware of the increased infrastructure needs of our public education and we as parents, families, educators, and concerned citizens have increased our voice to let our elected official know that we deeply care about this issue.

I recently learned that in 2015 the city council amended the charter for the City of Seattle’s Office of Planning and Community Development to specifically include that they will develop planning strategies that support the public school facility needs now and in the future. This is very good intention, though there currently isn’t specific budget and staff time, or a specific planning process for this work. 

Before the Ballots Drop, More Seattle School Board Candidate Info.

Ballots are to drop this week, around the 18th so here are more school board candidate updates.

But I'll be straight-up here.

In District IV, it's Eden Mack.  Herbert Camet may have an extensive background in education but is not qualified for this position and his temperament is completely wrong for a group endeavor.

In District V, it's Zachary DeWolf.  I agree with the Times (who gave Omar Vasquez the nod) that DeWolf and Vasquez both have good solid backgrounds.  But their reasoning - some it based on the timing of levies(?) - is weird.  They completely left out his charter school background, also a misstep.
So why DeWolf?  In a word, teamwork.  DeWolf is very inclusive when he speaks to others while Vasquez always makes you feel like he's the smartest guy in the room.  Vasquez also can easily get his back up and again, not a great quality for a member of a board.  Since both of them would bring more diversity to the Board, it's an easy pick for DeWolf.

In District VII, it's Betty Patu.  I can say that Patu is not the best campaigner but that's okay because Patu was never in this work to be a politician.  She's the common sense voice that you need on a board.  She's the one who never really cares if she gets quoted but cares how many kids got some support and inspiration today.  She knows this district as no other candidate does.

Her opponent has barely registered in this campaign.  Due to unfortunate family circumstances, she has not been at forums.  (If she goes to this Saturday's forum sponsored by the NAACP and the League of Women Voters, let us know.  I'm unable to attend.)  However, below in my reporting, is what she said in her answers to a candidate forum questionnaire.  I find many of them troubling.  I don't believe she knows this district in any significant way. 

Last thing - I am sad that I am late to this news but I did want to point out that Eden Mack and Zachary DeWolf have been hosting community meetings on various issues.  Tonight's was about homelessness and SPS students.   They did one on Special Education and one on racial inequity.  This effort - to have conversations on challenging topics - when they could just be spending time trying to get elected shows commitment and integrity.

As for last week's second Seattle School Board forum at Madrona Elementary, here what I saw and heard.

Student Assignment Plan Meetings including High School Boundary Meetings

From a reader:

This was in the Roosevelt Newsletter this morning.

2019 High School Boundary Update - To relieve pressure on Roosevelt and Ballard High schools, some RHS families will be moving to the new Lincoln HS opening in 2019, the Ingraham HS with a new addition also opening in 2019, or Nathan Hale HS. The High School Boundary Task Force voted to recommend Boundary Map H2 to the School Board at the November SPS Board Meeting.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

My Dinner with Betsy

As promised, I did attend the Washington Policy Center's "gala" fundraiser that featured Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos as well as Neil Cavuto from FOX News. 

Here's my account as published in The Stranger today.

This is a longer version that I wrote for this blog:

Friday, October 13, 2017

Possible Bus Strike on Monday?

Update from the district:

Update Oct. 15, 2017 In our commitment to keeping our families informed, we anticipate yellow school buses will run their regularly-scheduled routes on Monday, Oct. 16. We continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates as available from our bus provider. 

Friday Open Thread

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DLK1GIqWAAMy9pM.jpg:largeA Generation Z feminist poem, written by a third-grader, goes viral.

To note, the weather is pretty good and the estimate of numbers of people coming to the DeVos protest is growing.  The latest I hear is 5,000 with people coming from Olympia and Covington.  If you are going or will be on Facebook or Twitter about the event, use these hastags  #FlunkDeVos #DumpDeVos  #PublicEducationMatters

DeVos is speaking right at 7 pm  so I hope protesters will stay because she's going to probably be going out the door before 8 pm and may see the protests.

Speaking of DeVos, here's a link to the Secretary's Proposed Supplemental Priorities and Definitions for Discretionary Grant Programs.  Interesting reading about what the focus for that department will be.

One of this year's MacArthur Genius awards has gone to journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones of the New York Times who frequently writes about segregation especially around public education.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

On Eve of DeVos in Washington, She Goes to a Public School in Oregon

Betsey DeVos visits, she normally goes to a charter school or private school or both.  It is rare for her to acknowledge good happenings in public schools so it is a surprise that in her visit yesterday in Oregon, she went to a public school.  (Her office has not announced plans to visit ANY Washington state school.)  From The Oregonian:

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

New Superintendent? Maybe, Maybe Not

 Update: from Mirmac1.

RFP for a Superintendent Search firm was published 10/13. Proposals due the 30th

I would guess that means the majority of the Board decided we need a new superintendent.

End of update

Today sees a Work Session  Session with two topics; high school policies and the 2016-2017 Program Review Reports.  However the updated agenda shows two interesting things.

One, documents are actually attached.  I was just told that they would only be attaching documentation to agenda for the actual Board meetings.  I guess not.  Altogether there are 218 pages.

Two, an Executive Session has been added with the multi-purpose title -  To Evaluate the Performance of a Public Employee. 

Soup for Teachers is reporting it's about an RFP to fund the search for a new superintendent .  I find this odd that anyone would know the exact details of an Executive session.  These sessions are confidential for a reason and I have never been able to get details (except to confirm it wasn't about one or another topic).  I have to wonder who might have allowed details of the meeting to get out - a member of the Board or a staff member.

Superintendent Nyland did not get a second extension on his contract.  He himself came on saying he was an interim - they had to pull him out of retirement.  He got one extension but now, this district and this city deserve a real search for a true visionary leader.

But I am hearing there is pushback in some quarters on this.  The new Board as configured after Nov. 4th deserves to find a new leader for this district and those leaving the Board or even those continuing on should accept that.

Seattle School Board Candidates at Uptown Alliance Forum

Update: The Stranger announced their picks - Mack, DeWolf and Patu.  Best line?
Eden Mack would saw off her own arm if it meant fully funding Washington's K–12 public schools.
 Worst line?
The SECB wants to see a school board appointed by the mayor, who can then be held accountable for the state of Seattle's public schools, instead of the never-ending shit show that is, was, and seemingly always will be Seattle School Board elections.
My response to them (and pardon my french but it is The Stranger):

Wrong, wrong - and for the SECB - fucking wrong. Look to NYC, Chicago, etc. where they DO have a mayor in charge. Better outcomes? Nope. Biggest parent complaint? No one listens at all now. Sorry, you don't dump a mayor over schools (see Rahm Emanuel) so voters would not have any real say in their schools. Moon doesn't want that but Durkan does. Do your homework.  

end of update

I attended the Uptown Alliance Forum for Seattle school board candidates last night.  It was a sparse crowd - maybe 20 people. 

It was informative and infuriating, sometimes at the same time.

On the International Day of the Girl

On this International Day of the Girl, some words of wisdom from retiring congresswoman, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

What Should Public Education Be?

From the Friday Open Thread discussion - the eternal discussion of HCC and who needs rigor and whether poverty actually does affect learning, etc, etc, and etc.

There was this comment from a reader who seems to think the rest of us are pretty shallow people:
"We can, however, get to a place where an authentic culture of enquirer, discovery and social engagement is fostered.

HCC supporters are thinking too narrowly in terms of education. It isn't a tiered, limited entity but a process built around engagement, participation and connection."
And here may be the crux of the ENTIRE question for not only HCC but for public education:
What should public education be?
What should it deliver?  What should be its goals?

Snow Route Request Letter Heads Up

Tuesday Open Thread

Congress missed the deadline to reauthorize the Children's Health Insurance Program.  The ramifications are huge.  Please urge your congressional reps to pass this bill.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Why Be Unhappy With Betsy DeVos?

The Washington Policy Center seems to be asking the question, almost to the point of saying DeVos is being picked on. 
Critics of education reform say that Secretary DeVos should not come to Washington state, should not hear from people here, and should not be allowed to speak to our guests at a gala event.
I haven't heard one person say those particular statements.  I have heard people say they absolutely disagree with almost every single education stand that she has including the one she won't say out loud - she doesn't support the schools that about 85% of American children attend.

DeVos Protest Expected to Be Huge

From both Facebook pages and the Seattle Times, it is apparent that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos may meet her biggest protest since she has been serving when she speaks this Friday over in Bellevue. 

The Washington Policy Center - a right-wing thinktank supported by groups like ALEC and the Koch brothers - is sponsoring her appearance for their main fundraising dinner of the year.  Neil Cavuto from FOX News is also to speak.  The event is sold-out with an expected attendance of 1,500.
This isn’t the first time that Washington Policy Center officials have invited controversial people to their galas, which bring in more than $1 million each year. Nigel Farage, who led the Brexit movement, spoke at the think tank’s dinner in Spokane in late September.
From the Times:

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Seattle Schools Week of Oct. 9-13

The district continues its schedule of rotating schools where flu shots are available. Check their calendars for dates/locations.

Two opportunities this week to hear School Board candidates in action, on Tuesday and Thursday.

What Will the District Do about Advanced Learning?

Pivoting off the recent article in the Seattle Times, this is an important question for many reasons.  Let's see what the article says:
In August, every district was directed to make it a priority to find low-income kids who may be candidates for accelerated learning. By Nov. 10, under a new state law, each district must submit a detailed plan to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction on how they will do so this school year.

“That’s a massive, massive change,” said Austina De Bonte, president of the Northwest Gifted Child Association, who has two children in the Northshore schools.

Along with the new state edict comes double the money. Officials at the state superintendent’s office hope the extra dollars will be used for much broader student screening.
I'll note that Ms. DeBonte was the expert that the Board brought in for the last Work Session on gifted education and she gave an outstanding presentation.

What the outlook on gifted ed in Washington State?

Friday, October 06, 2017

Superintendent Reykdal to attend Town Hall on Washington Public Education

Washington’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, Chris Reykdal, will be attending a town hall to discuss the state of our public education system and to address questions or concerns those in attendance might wish to convey regarding school policies, curriculum, or any changes he plans to implement during his time in office. 

Seattle Schools Announces College Prep Events

From SPS Communications:

Seattle Public Schools invites all seniors to attend one of the many college application and financial aid events happening throughout October and November.

Financial aid experts and trained volunteers will be on hand to assist student with completing college applications and financial aid forms.

Librarian Returns Books To Mrs. Trump

I admit I am torn on this teacher librarian's response to the White House gift of Dr. Seuss books via First Lady Melania Trump.

I am honored that you recognized my students and our school. I can think of no better gift for children than books; it was a wonderful gesture, if one that could have been better thought out.

That sentence - which appears late in Ms. Soeiro's letter - is the crux of the matter.  Books are a great gift for students but yes, the target of this largess AND the books themselves could have been better thought out.  It does seem like lazy thinking on the part of the White House on both scores.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Why I'm Boycotting Starbucks


Just to note - many people have said they asked Starbucks about their issue and Starbuck's reply is that they don't have anything to do with the dinner. But they mean the dinner itself and who the speaker is. But they are corporate sponsor and will have a table there as they indicate in their statement.

They are playing it both ways - we're in but we didn't decide on anything. Except to give their financial support to a right-wing organization.

end of update

There had been a rumor that Starbucks supported the Washington State right-wing thinktank, the Washington Policy Center.  Their sponsorship dollars are helping to throw WPC's annual fundraising dinner that features Sec'y Betsy DeVos and Fox's Neil Cavuto. I was aghast but thought it was probably not true.

It IS. I talked with their newsroom and here is their lackluster statement:
"Starbucks is one of 80 sponsors of this Washington Policy Center dinner and we are not involved in determining speakers for any of their events. This event in Bellevue is one of many they host each year with a variety of speakers discussing policy issues. We will be attending as part of our annual membership."
Well Starbucks, I don't care if your money decided the speaker or not.

 The Washington Policy Center is far-right free market group.  They are affiliated with the Koch brothers and ALEC, two groups set on undermining our country including public education.

Betsy DeVos is one of the most singularly unqualified people to ever serve in a cabinet. Her stated goals will completely destroy public education as we know it.

Here's my stated goal: I'm done with Starbucks and I'm going to ask you to consider doing the same except first, go to your local Starbucks and tell them why they won't be seeing your smiling face any longer.

 Starbucks gets to spend its bucks anyway they like but my dollars won't support Betsy DeVos' efforts nor ALEC nor the Koch brothers.

LWV/NAACP Seattle School Board Forum Tonight CANCELLED

The League of Women Voters King County and the NAACP King County announced that they are cancelling their scheduled School Board candidate forum for tonight. 

No reason given but I know Director Patu would not have been able to attend because of the Board meeting tonight.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Two Major Items of Note

First up, a joint resolution/BAR from four Board members - Harris, Burke, Pinkham, and Peters - in support of the district being included in the EIS the City will submit to the feds about the usage of the Fort Lawton property in the Magnolia area. 

Seattle Public Schools desires to collaborate with the City for addition to the EIS, considering interim and future use of a portion of that land and in conjunction with potential existing plans for low-income housing. 

This process represents the largest piece of land in the city and the county being de- accessioned by the U.S. Government. SPS has a capacity crisis and is need of future school sites for the next 20 years and beyond. Further, the site could be used in the interim prior to the need and funding guarantees for a school, e.g., future BEX levies, for maintenance facilities, athletic field(s), environmental science classroom/field trip destination, and/or a learning center to collaborate with Daybreak Star Cultural Center, or other uses. 

Asking to be part of the EIS Process keeps SPS options open and is an opportunity for City/SPS Collaboration. Should the EIS process conclude SPS use is not viable or appropriate, or if the required guaranteed funding source for interim use or school building cannot be identified at time of federal property grant application, SPS can withdraw its request for this important scarce land. Note, this is not the same process that was used for the Federal Reserve Building in 2014.

This is absolutely the right thing to do.  It does not commit the district to anything but allows it to explore and partner with the City over possible uses of the land regarding students in Seattle Schools.  I really don't know why the district has been dragging its feet but this is - as the Superintendent himself has said - the opportunity of a lifetime.

The other big issue - new to me but has been simmering - are changes that have been happening at Concord International School over in West Seattle.  There is a meeting tonight to talk about those changes, most of which have happened with no notice to parents. The meeting is at the South Park Neighborhood Center tonight, starting at 6 pm. (8201 10th Ave. S.)  I know that Director Harris, who represents that region, will be in attendance.

Remembering with Sorrow and Gratitude

One of the 59 people massacred in the shooting in Las Vegas was Special Education teacher Sandy Casey who taught in Manhattan Beach, California.
The school district announced Casey's death in a statement Monday.

"We lost a spectacular teacher who devoted her life to helping some of our most needy students," Manhattan Beach Unified School District Superintendent Michael Matthews said in the statement.
Another death reported was Susan Smith who worked in an elementary school office in Simi Valley, California.

Still another teacher, Jenny Parks, who taught kindergarten, was a victim.

From BBC News:
Another school official, 48-year-old Lisa Romero-Muniz, was also killed. The mother and grandmother was secretary at Miyamura High School in Gallup, New Mexico, local education officials confirmed, describing her as "an incredible loving and sincere friend, mentor and advocate for students in many of our schools". 
Jessica Klymchuk, 34 and from Alberta, was a bus driver and school assistant. She had four children.
We all know that teachers and staff affect many lives beyond their own families.  Their communities must be grieving today.

Tuesday Open Thread

Puget Sound Business Journal put out its annual "best of" list for area elementary schools based on diversity, class size and academics.

Among the SPS schools named:
#100 - Thornton Creek
  #99 - View Ridge
  #86 - Loyal Heights
  #70 - Pathfinder K-8
  #68 - Thurgood Marshall
  #66 - Wedgwood
  #65 -  Genesee Hill
  #60 - McDonald International
  #57 - McGilvra
  #46 - Green Lake
  #30 -  Montlake
  #19 - John Stanford International

I was amazed at some class ratios like Thornton Creek at 14:1, View Ridge 17:1, Montlake 16:1 but in a random check of non-SPS schools on the list, most were under 20 students.

I'm hearing word there may be some movement on the district asking the City to be included on an EIS for the Fort Lawton property which may end up with the district getting some free land from the feds.

Here's a good idea; if you opt your child out of some/all testing, let the State Superintendent know your reasoning as well as your legislators. 

chris.reykdal@k12.wa.us and here's the link to look up your legislator's e-mail address.   

Here's a great article from Seattle's Child about the school funding issues in our state.  Also to note, the Kansas Supreme Court yesterday rejected their legislature's attempt at school funding.
The Kansas Supreme Court ruled Monday that the state’s new school finance system is unconstitutional, striking a definitive blow to the Legislature’s latest effort.
The decision found the state failed to meet the Kansas Constitution’s requirements to adequately fund education, but it did not specify a dollar amount to reach constitutional muster.

With Monday’s decision, the latest stage of the Gannon v. Kansas school finance case, the justices sent the issue back to lawmakers as they head into an election-year legislative session in January. 

“...While we stay the issuance of today’s mandate through June 30, 2018, after that date we will not allow ourselves to be placed in the position of being complicit actors in the continuing deprivation of a constitutionally adequate and equitable education owed to hundreds of thousands of Kansas school children,” the decision reads. 
“I think the court’s drawn a line in the sand and they’ve issued the warning of, ‘Don’t test us on this one this time around,’ ” said Olathe Superintendent John Allison, a longtime Wichita superintendent who started in Olathe this school year.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article176606731.html#storylink=cpy
 I predict this will be the outcome with the Washington State Supreme Court and McCleary in the coming weeks.

What's on your mind?

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article176606731.html#storylink=cp

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article176606731.html#storylink=cpyKII

Updated High School Boundaries Info

This just came up on the district's Twitter feed.

Seattle Public Schools' High School Boundary Task Force met last week to review additional Lincoln High School boundary scenarios and discuss potential high school boundaries in Southeast Seattle.
During their meeting, task force members created a new "H Version 2" potential boundary scenario for Lincoln. The district now has that potential scenario map posted on the High School Boundary Task Force Webpage.

Here is a link to the "H Version 2" potential scenario map.

Here is a link to the latest information that came out of last week's High School Boundary Task Force Meeting.

Next Steps

The Task Force will hold one more meeting, and potentially two more, where they will discuss Southeast High School Boundaries and high school Highly Capable Cohort (HCC) pathways. The district’s SAP, High School Boundaries, HCC and Advanced Learning opportunities are interconnected and require community engagement. Over the course of the next couple of months, district staff will be asking stakeholders for ideas, analyzing impacts and making final recommendations to the School Board.
Here is the agenda from Thursday’s High School Boundary Task Force meeting. Minutes of the meeting will be available in the next few weeks. 

(Editor's note: there was no link at the district's website for the agenda for next week.  I am querying them about that.  Also to note, that it is odd to create boundaries for HCC and Advanced Learning BEFORE you know the changes to the program from any review of it.)

Monday, October 02, 2017

State Wants to Know Your Thoughts On School Discipline

From the Times via The Olympian:
In a series of proposed new policies to make school discipline fairer, the state’s education department has spelled out several guiding values. Parents, students and teachers will have a chance to weigh in at four public hearings over the next two months.

The proposed updates come in response to a new state law and mounting evidence that black students and those with disabilities are suspended and expelled at rates that far outstrip any other group — even for similar infractions.
Among the new rules:
  • No student can be suspended for being late or skipping classes.
  • No child younger than fifth grade can be expelled (except for those who bring firearms to school).
  • Any student who is suspended, even short-term, must receive schoolwork, a chance to make up assignments and academic help, if needed, while at home.
  • During any long-term suspension or expulsion, schools must work with the student’s family to create a tailored plan for returning that’s culturally sensitive.
  • Every district must track the race, economic and disability status of disciplined students, including those sent to in-school suspension rooms.
Many districts already have incorporated these policies, but not without some difficulties. In Highline, dozens of teachers resigned at the end of the 2015-16 school year, many complaining of chaotic classrooms that resulted from principals’ increasing reluctance to issue suspensions. Yet, the teachers said, administrators didn’t adequately address classroom disruption in other ways.
To much of this I would say, I understand the teachers' frustration.  Okay, what CAN they do?  If you have a student who is habitually late, can you lower their grade?  Is there enough room and staff to have in-school suspensions that work?

I understand about not taking a student out of the school because kids need to be in school to learn but if a student - on their own volition - is not in class, he or she isn't learning.  It goes both ways.

I absolutely agree that districts must track socio-economic data on students that they discipline.

Then there is this:
Discipline is “a tough and complicated issue,” acknowledged Rich Wood, a spokesman for the Washington Education Association. But the teachers union does endorse the thrust of these new policies, he said. In fact, they’d like to see “social justice being the primary goal.”

Read more here: http://www.theolympian.com/latest-news/article176125036.html#storylink=cpy
I'm confused - the primary goal of discipline is social justice?  I'm thinking Mr. Wood meant that in creating rules about discipline that social justice should be the primary driver but discipline rules are created in order for students and parents to understand how their school functions in order to provide safe, accessible instruction for all.

Hearings on discipline rules
Oct. 17, 1:30-4:30 p.m.
Educational Service District 101, Classroom 1, 4202 S. Regal St., Spokane
Oct. 30, 3-6 p.m.
Educational Service District 105, Klickitat Room, 33 S. Second Ave., Yakima
Nov. 7, 1-5 p.m.
Educational Service District 121, Cedar/Duwamish Room, 800 Oakesdale Ave., Renton
Nov. 13, 1-4 p.m.
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction Brouillet Room, 600 Washington St. S.E., Olympia

Our region's opportunity to weigh it looks to be November 7 in Renton. 

Read more here: http://www.theolympian.com/latest-news/article176125036.html#storylink=cp

Read more here: http://www.theolympian.com/latest-news/article176125036.html#rylink

Read more here: http://www.theolympian.com/latenews/article176125036.html#st

Times Seeking Parents and Educators of Color

The Times is creating a new, Gates-sponsored conversation "The Homeroom."
That’s why The Seattle Times’ Education Lab is trying something new: bringing together parents (and guardians) with K-12 educators (including paraeducators) — two groups that care deeply about students, but don’t often talk together. 

We’re eager to hear the frustrations, ideas, victories and barriers both have faced in securing the best education for their students and children. Participants will get the chance to talk at length with other teachers and parents across the state about how to tackle problems. And together, jointly explore possible solutions.
They are using a group - Spaceship Media - to facilitate these meetings. About them:
We work with media companies across all platforms to support them in deepening their relationships with the communities they serve. In partnership, we design dialogue journalism engagements — Conversation Experiences — that start with listening and lead to content that reflects the rich experience of tackling tough issues and getting to know others as whole people. Our work is building community through audience engagement.
I have queried Spaceship Media on who their funders are.  The Time's Education Lab is underwritten by the Gates Foundation.

I would wonder about the participation of educators given their busy schedules.  There are two different methods to contact the Times - one for parents and one for educators - so perhaps the Times is taking into consideration educator time.

Seattle Schools This Week

Tuesday, October 3
Special Education PTSA meeting, JSCEE, 7-9 pm.

Wednesday, October 4
School Board Meeting, starting at 4:15 pm at JSCEE.  Agenda

Nothing new or of particular note that has not been reported on before; the sole Intro item is a rubric for the evaluation of the Superintendent.  However, there are no supporting documents so it's hard to discern much of anything about this item.

League of Women Voters of Seattle-King County and NAACP King County
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Centilia Cultural Center (at El Centro de la Raza)
1660 S Roberto Maestas Festival St
1 block from Beacon Hill light rail station
Thursday, October 5
Operations Committee meeting, 4:30-6:30 pm. Agenda

Seattle Schools' Flu Shot Clinics Start This Week

FLU SHOTS for Our students and Community! 

Please join us and help keep our schools, families and communities healthy and flu free this season!
The Seattle School District is committed to helping keep our students, parents and our community healthy throughout the entire flu season. That’s why we have partnered with the Seattle Visiting Nurse Association to provide “flu shot clinic(s)” for our schools. 
  • Roosevelt High September 29, 3-7 p.m.
  • Montlake Elementary October 2, 2-4 p.m.
  • Ballard High October 3, 3-7 p.m.
  • Ingraham Int. High October 4, 12-3 p.m.
  • Nathan Hale High October 9, 3-6 p.m.
  • West Seattle High October 11, 3-6 p.m.
  • TOPS K-8 October 17, 11 a.m. -1:30 p.m.
  • Lawton Elementary October 25, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
  • Leschi Elementary October 26, 6-7 p.m.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Of Interest from the Times (in more ways than one)

Upcoming student internships at the Times and hey, they are looking for yet another education reporter. 

Not sure if this is replacing someone (my guess is yes) but the Times does go thru education reporters.

I also see an opening for an editorial writer.  Interesting.