Friday, October 20, 2017

Friday Open Thread

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

Saturday director community meetings:

Pinkham - Northgate Library from 3:30-5:00 pm
Harris - Delridge Branch Library from 3:00-5:00 pm

Free cardiac screenings are coming to Ballard High School on November 1st  from 9 am to 3 pm for students between 14-24 years old, regardless of where they attend school,  from the Nick of Time Foundation. 

The goals of the NoTF ECG Youth Heart Screenings:
  • To detect hidden heart conditions with the potential for sudden death in the young.
  • To reduce sudden cardiac death through early detection and appropriate medical interventions, activity modification.
  • To raise awareness and educate schools and communities about sudden cardiac arrest, warning symptoms, and the value of heart screening.
  • Integrated screening programs utilizing ECG offer the only model proven to reliably identify children at risk for SCD 
There's a new video featuring Garfield football players on how athletes can have respectful interactions with women, that is specifically delivered by coaches.   It's part of an overall program called Coaching Boys into Men (CBIM).

The Times has a hand-wringing editorial about Betsy DeVos and what the protestors who went to her Bellevue event should be doing.  What if those protestors just took the time to write to legislators or call or even go down to Olympia to advocate for our schools?

This self-serving narrative doesn't bother to acknowledge the many educators and parents that are working hard to communicate their views to the Legislature.  It does not bother to acknowledge the work - no less existence of Washington's Paramount Duty - which has, in a very short period of time, made their group a force to be reckoned with.  Most of all, the writer chose to use quotes from one protester and one person in the dinner but both on the side of choice. (It is unclear to me from the editorial if the protester was from the right or the left.)

Someone else not for DeVos?  The Democratic candidate for governor in Virginia, Ralph Northam.  Interestingly, former President Obama just gave a speech in favor of his election. 
One subject the pair likely won’t discuss, however, is their differences on K-12 education, the issue one recent poll found is most important to voters in the race. Northam represents a distinct departure from Obama’s emphasis on charter schools, support for high-stakes standardized tests, and tense relations with teachers unions. In fact, the lieutenant governor has explicitly deemphasized charters and critiqued the testing regime, while unions have sung his praises. His campaign is at once the first big battle against the privatization agenda of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos—whose family gave more than $100,000 to his Republican opponent, Ed Gillespie—and a kind of prototype for left-wing critics of Obama’s education agenda who hope Democrats will chart a new course on public schools. 
Oh snap! A Mississippi magnet school named for Jefferson Davis is to be renamed for former President Obama.  The school, Davis International Baccalaureate Elementary, is one of the top performing elementaries in the state.
Davis Magnet IB PTA President Janelle Jefferson announced at the Jackson School Board meeting Tuesday evening that school stakeholders voted on Oct. 5 to rename the school Barack Obama Magnet IB.
“Jefferson Davis, although infamous in his own right, would probably not be too happy about a diverse school promoting the education of the very individuals he fought to keep enslaved being named after him,” she told the board.
What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

Other upcoming meeting:

Highly Capable Services Advisory Committee meeting
Tuesday, Nov 7, 6:30-8:00, JSCEE auditorium

(note meetings used to be held at various HC sites, but most of this year's meetings will be at JSCEE)


gd said...

In case anyone is interested in district plans for HCC pathways, the Garfield PTSA has published district responses to their questions.

SPS Proposal for HCC

Spoiler alert: they're still being very cagey with their answers, but it continues to sound like they want to get rid of pathways.

Anonymous said...

Why hasn't a P223 - Enrollment Data by School been published yet? I haven't seen any enrollment data on any school.


NESeattleMom said...

Interesting that SPS response is saying that they would grandfather next year HCC 10th graders at GHS. Of course, that is not final yet.... One thing I noticed was their comment about advanced musicians being provided some other thing than what has been built at GHS. Music was one of the reasons my GHS 2016 grad chose GHS over Ingraham. Ingraham's music program has been rewarding and great, but the long-standing emphasis on music at GHS was a reason to go there.

Anonymous said...

They will "recommend" grandfathering, but that means next to nothing in terms of what may eventually be decided.

no guarantees

Anonymous said...

Speaking of no guarantees. If the plan is to grandfather HCCers then the plan best be to grandfather the music kids, the Ballard academy kids, the IB kids etc. That would be the best for the students. But grandfathering for one group and not the rest? No way. If HCC pathways return to local schools and there is no grandfathering when students are told to leave the schools where they started then HCC goes to those schools just like all the rest of our kids will be doing. In some cases for the better. In some cases for the worse. In all cases the pain is shared.


NESeattleMom said...

Also, in Seattle's traffic, with late start high school, any all-city music program for "advanced musicians" would be impractical. What really helps dedicated music students is daily rehearsals. Same, of course, for athletes....to be good at something you have to do a lot of it. They already can do extra curricular weekly music things, but that does not make up for daily in-school rehearsals.... (All my opinion). Going from weekly orchestra in elementary school to daily orchestra in middle school, amazing improvement happens.

Anonymous said...

@Goose/Gander-- If any student is enrolled in an academic program like IB where it does not align or HCC where there may have to repeat or take inappropriate classes at their neighborhood school, all those kids should absolutely be grandfathered just like seniors.

In the case of HCC, advanced learning kids are also protected by the WAC state law and need adequate access to advanced classes in their pathway as a right to a basic education.

As far as kids taking classes they want to take outside their pathway as a choice, that is in a different category. It will be painful for kids to geosplit from schools, but the district has done this over and over.

Yes the pain actually should be shared. But believe me, it is not! The pain has not been shared....HCC kids have been moved around like widgets over and over and over. It is part of the reason the parents are so active on this blog.
- T

More STEM said...

Code.org and The Hill both noticed that Amazon is looking for a location for HQ2 that makes it possible for students to get a strong STEM education:

Amazon's not the only one looking for this. It's one thing to say that not every kid needs to be all STEM-ed up to the gills. Sure we need musicians and writers and explorers, too. But it's another thing to say that it's OK to for STEM-y kids to attend schools that are STEM deserts, schools where you can't even take 4 years of math in high school if you want to. Prohibiting kids from getting a strong STEM education is different from allowing students who don't want one to not access one.

Anonymous said...

The sorry state of the school district and its lack of challenging curricula is, I believe, a key reason that Amazon is moving elsewhere. To recruit competitive employees good schools are essential. Rochester NY, where I grew up (in medieval times) poured money into the schools because it was a strong incentive to recruit people to work for Kodak (certainly the weather was not a draw).


Anonymous said...

What does STEM really mean given the limited number of classes you can take and the need to cover the broader-than-STEM state graduation requirements? You don't really have all that many electives left after taking the required 4 yrs of English, 3 yrs of social studies, 2 years of health/PE, 1 yr of art (if you take the 2nd art as Personal Pathway and do something STEMmy instead), and 2 yrs of world language (since you probably WON'T want to sub that as Personal Pathway b/c colleges want to see it). Your 1 yr of CTE could probably also be STEMmy, then you have 4 electives left--but you'll want to use 2 of them for a 4th year each of math and science. That leaves room for a couple additional STEM classes, but not much. Is that really so different than what most comprehensive high schools offer in the first place? It really doesn't seem like you're likely to get a more STEMmy experience at a designated STEM school than you are any other decent comprehensive high school, so I don't see what the big deal is re: the STEM label. Am I missing something?


Anonymous said...

SPS had the unfortunate Twitter SNAFU first thing this morning, "First Eliminating Opportunities Institute as Success"! A Freudian slip? Who knows but it is gone now (deleted).

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yeah, but they call this Institute "a success" - by what measure? That they held it and it went well? Did they take a survey of participants?

Just doing something doesn't mean you got anything done.

Anonymous said...

Let’s look at recent history to see is the “grandfathering recommendation” has any merit.

2014 - Whitman families scheduled to be moved to Eagle Staff are upset at the lack of planning at the Wilson Pacific campus. A promise is made by Flip Herndon and posted publicly on the SPS website that all Whitman families will be permitted to remain at Whitman if desired.

2016 - Ooops. Never mind. You can’t stay because Whitman is full.

2017 - Whitman dramatically under enrolled.

- recent history.

Anonymous said...

Special Ed Question. I've heard that schools are trying to limit how many kids are qualified for special ed because the district was cited in an audit for qualifying too many kids. Does anyone know anything about that?

Anonymous said...

??? That would be pretty weird. No, there hasn't been any audit in many years of special ed. Maybe there was some other audit that points to special ed costs. You can't fail to serve or identify students with disabilities. There was a 12.7% funding cap that the state set. The new McCleary funding formula increased that level slightly. It also forbade raiding the levy for special ed funds. That doesn't limit the number of students that a district identifies or serves; it limits what the state funds. Has the district tried to keep special ed identification to the cap? No doubt they do. And who knows? There are probably memos on it. Definitely a few years ago the district had a policy of getting rid of all 1-1s. Didn't matter what anybody needed, or what was currently on IEPs. A mandate from on high was sent out which forbade use of 1-1s or from putting them in IEPs. It's called redetermination. And it's illegal. Hey it's SPS. So sue me.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Sue. I thought it was illegal too. I couldn't imagine an audit that would come up with that recommendation. What is the matter with this district?!

Anonymous said...

SAP changes on district web-site ...


N by NW

Anonymous said...

Sorry that link doesn't work ... follow this chain and scroll down:

Seattle Public Schools > Departments > Enrollment Planning > Student Assignment Plan

N by NW

Anonymous said...

Wow. First big change in SAP:

K-12 students with a choice assignment may transfer to their attendance area school for the next school year during Open Enrollment through May 31, as long as the student’s services needs can be met at that school and space is available.4.

>>>Students with a choice assignment can only switch back to their neighborhood school if SPACE IS AVAILABLE. That is a significant shift.

4 For attendance area schools, space avaiality depends on the seats available given the staffing cacpity at the school. To determine the total number of seats available at a grade level in a school, the district will multiply the target class sizes across each classroom given the number of teachers at each grade based on the staffing allocated by the Budget Office. For Option Schools, space availability is not limited to staffing capacity in the event that that there is still additional physical cacpity in the building. If demand increases and there is space available for consistent cohort sizes, more seats may be available.

(spelling mistakes part of draft document)

...off to read more.


Anonymous said...

Interesting. Does that mean splits at option schools, but rarely and likely not at neighborhood schools? That's a big change.


Anonymous said...

The whole K-12 thing to keep kids in option schools seems...nutty. I understand they are trying to force enrollment to be as predictable as possible, but people want to leave for usually reasonable reasons. Why not let them? How often is this happening that they really need to set a policy? And if someone really wants to switch, what would stop anyone from unenrolling for the following school year and, losing their spot in the option lottery and then oops, hey, actually, we're coming back after all...we need a spot at our area elementary, thoroughly screwing up enrollment projections?

NE Parent

Green Lake Parent said...

So what about language immersion? John Stanford and McDonald are option schools so those are "choice assignments" right? John Stanford and McDonald are within the Green Lake attendance area. There are a fair number of kids who start at those language immersion schools but then after a few years find that program doesn't work for them (especially if it turns out they have a learning disability). So, we've seen a lot of students move over to Green Lake in the upper grades. And as a result, Green Lake is packed to the gills now.

"Students with a choice assignment can only switch back to their neighborhood school if SPACE IS AVAILABLE."

How would this work then? They can't force a student to stay in language immersion if that really isn't working for them. Would they be assigned to another attendance area school with space? And what if all the attendance area schools were at capacity?


Anonymous said...

Just finished reading the plan.

One way or another downtown is going to remove all choice. They changed capacity to this mysterious "staffing capacity." Which basically means someone in enrollment planning is going to decide how many teachers are assigned to a school and that is the end of the story.

If there is physical space for 100 students and there are 100 students on the wait list but .... the budget folks did not forecast this, then there is no requirement for enrollment planning to respond to parent demand. What happened at Whitman and Steven's last year is now going to be applied to every school.

It used to be that schools got an initial allocation in Feb. Then post open enrollment that allocation was adjusted based on choices and demand. This is a way for staff to say ... we are going to do what we plan to do. If you don't like, leave the district. Based on this year's less that expected enrollment, it is reasonable to say that parents are doing exactly that.

Your siblings are now at two schools? You moved but thought since there is plenty of space of your old school, you could stay? Doesn't matter. You don't have any choice. You will be assigned.

- sad parent

Anonymous said...

@sad parent,

I suspect your thoughts are true. I suspect the lower than predicted enrollment is exactly because of the lack of choice. Parents are trying to choose a school that is a best fit for their child and if that opportunity is not available - if they can - they go elsewhere. It is not like you get to repeat childhood for your son/daughter if you make a mistake. If based on your experience and knowledge of your child you can pursue a path that you perceive is better for them you will. No need to screw your child on comply with an unwilling and unresponsive bureaucracy.

For the past few years choice has been artificially limited. The wait lists may move, but most often don't. The scenarios I can think of...There is not an understanding in Enrollment Planning of how the waitlist swirl works, and as such they don't move any lists because they don't understand how moving one list can move multiple lists. Or, they simply don't have the skill in house to understand the wait list swirl so they don't move the lists because it is beyond their understanding. Or, they don't care at all and they don't move the list because it is less work for them to just ignore a couple of months of anxious parents and then keep doing what they're doing - maintain employment as the number one priority. Middle finger up to the families and students.

It really is not a way to run a school district.


Impact Amazon said...

A couple that works for Amazon just moved into our neighborhood; a neighborhood that once housed middle class families. Each Amazon worker is making greater than $200K per year.

With such wealth, I suspect Seattle's opportunity gap will continue to grow. White students, with wealthy parents, will continue to excel years beyond grade level expectation and the gap will continue to widen. If we were in a district where white students did not excel two years above their peers- the gap would not be as large. It would be interesting to compare test scores of students from middle income families to those in high income bracket.

Melissa Westbrook said...

If we were in a district where white students did not excel two years above their peers- the gap would not be as large. It would be interesting to compare test scores of students from middle income families to those in high income bracket.

Yup and that's a point that needs to be said, over and over. SPS is doing really well with white kids (but yes, would be good to see a breakout by FRL and/or address). That ability to serve white kids makes the gap with black kids look huge. To SPS' credit, the needle is moving for African-American students, albeit slowly.

Anonymous said...

Melissa, to be fair, honestly, I don’t think we have any idea how SPS is doing with white kids in a lot of areas. Most middle/upper income white families we know heavily supplement outside of school, occasionally homeschool certain areas and do private tutoring for kids who are struggling or at least not seeming to learn to their potential. All of which are going to make the racial/income gap impossible to narrow meaningfully.

NE Parent

Anonymous said...

Agreed, NE Parent. We were not alone in the amount of supplementation we provided to get to adequate, from part-time homeschooling to online coursework. Then there'd be the classes where we'd have to step in and provide instruction on basic concepts. I'd ask how it was taught in class and be told, oh, it wasn't taught in class, we're just supposed to learn it on our own. And the more this happens, the more Seattle is going to become a city where public schools are for those with no other options.

just sad