Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Tuesday Open Thread

Following up on my thread about the Board's upcoming vote on the Naviance software platform, I did write to the Board.  I heard back from a couple of Board members, one of whom sent me several documents to help clarify some issues I raised.

These documents were somewhat helpful but here's the thing - why aren't they attached to the BAR?  If there is this much progress on this contract, why the lack of transparency?  It seems every time you turn around, you have to make a special request to see documentation.  And, if they could attach the general RFP for this kind of service, why not these documents?

Why? I think they just don't want to be transparent.  It wasn't an oversight or a technical issues.  They just don't want this all aired out.

I'm beginning to think that the new superintendent needs to start with being a sheriff first and cleaning up some thinking at JSCEE or some senior staff should be let go.

There was a shooting this morning in Northern California that included a school.  No one died but several children were hit with gunfire.  This has got to stop.  It is sad to live in a country where we have mass murders almost monthly and nothing happens legislatively.  I guess we have the leaders we deserve.

Roxhill Elementary was awarded a $100K grant from the City's Department of Neighborhoods for a new playground at E.C. Hughes where they will be moving next year.

There will be a showing tonight of the "Most Likely to Succeed" documentary at Nathan Hale's NHHS Performing Arts Center at 6:30 pm.

This movie portrays high schools of the past and of the future, and where we want to move our programs. Nathan Hale students will lead discussion groups after the showing. Join us for a thought - provoking evening that is sure to inspire.
Students, parents and guardians, friends and family - all are invited.
There is no charge.

Co-sponsored by Nathan Hale High School and the Nathan Hale Community

What's on your mind?


bulldoggy said...

re: naviance docs

Are these new documents, or were they made available to the Board at the time the BAR was published? Or is that even clear?

If they contain information relevant to tomorrow's vote, that information should have been attached to the BAR so the public was able to see it and help inform the Board, right? In that case, the vote should be postponed (again) to allow public comments.

Aren't there hard rules in place about this stuff? I agree with Melissa, I don't think staff is that careless, there's something fishy.

Saying Goodbye said...

Without President Sue Peters in office, the district will be a different place. President Peters is a thoughtful, critical and analytical leader that represented communities. She will be missed.

Anonymous said...

There is now a Burke/Harris amendment posted for the 18-19 Transition SAP ... requests pathway language to be removed and delayed so that decisions can be made along with boundary changes.

GOOD NEWS ... but I wish they would also push back on capacity being decided on "staffing" allocation capacity rather than building capacity.

N by NW

Anonymous said...

PTA and staff funding again. This has been on my mind since last week and it so happened that there was a small local news story about it tonight. But it still leaves me wondering what the plan is for both the short-term and long-term. (Is there *even* a plan? Or do we just keep crossing our fingers that parents can foot the bill every year?)


---SPS Newbie

Anonymous said...

McGilvra excess privilege AGAIN! Unbelievable that this school is still allowed to fund reduced class sizes. I thought the superintendent nixed that a while ago. That’s what 10 supes in 15 years will do, each one forgets what all the previous ones did. Amnesia.

Seenit B4

Seattle Citizen said...

Five people died in California. But no children.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Bulldoggy, the documents are now there. They were not there for the Ops meeting nor for Intro and just got here for Action a day ago. Yes, the Board should come down hard on this but I suspect it will be a handslap and a wag of the finger which staff knows well. I do not know when the Board got all the documentation.

I will absolutely miss the calm, smart presence of President Sue Peters.

SPS Newbie, I talked to that reporter last night but haven't seen the report. There is no plan; staff likes this and it will take a strong Board to end this practice. But it should end.

Sennit B4, McGilvra is having problems anyway. The district isn't moving their waitlist and they are down nearly 40 students. That Central region really seems to be in upheaval.

Seattle Citizen, but children were shot. The guy was in the school for 25 minutes, trying doors. That school is to be commended for getting the school shut down fast and protecting students.

Anonymous said...

Have there been any reports from SPS on the impact of restorative justice on the individuals involved as well as overall school community?

I know Portland had some issues with teachers feeling less safe under this practice, but I haven't heard anything about the program's effectiveness here.


Anonymous said...

I liked the movie 'most likely to succeed'. Not a lot of common core or testing in that school. Brings up the dichotomy of charter schools, to get innovation usually requires getting rid of standardization of education.


Numbers said...

We hear a lot about PTA funding. According to SPS"

"For instance, district officials said one school that has a 76 percent poverty level got $900,000 more funding from the district than a school with a seven percent poverty level."


Seattle Citizen said...

Yes, Melissa, I absolutely agree that the staff at the school at Rancho Tehama are to be commended, and it is so fortunate that no children were killed. But your post implies that there were no fatalities at all. While there were none at the school, five people died elsewhere and I felt that should recognized.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have experience with the 9th grade conferences at Garfield? I heard about them last year, but didn't realize that they're held during the school day, so would seem to be required. I feel very uncomfortable about having my child participate in a conference with an unknown person from the community and would like to opt out, but I don't know what the consequences would be and/or the protocol for doing so, since they're held during the school day. Here's the announcement about these conferences:

(from the email newsletter to parents): Garfield High School’s 9th grade Report Card Conferences (RCC) are a part of a larger process through which the teachers and leaders at Garfield High provide explicit instruction and practice to students designed to instill the skills of self-reflection, self-advocacy and meta-learning, which is essentially recognizing and managing one’s own processes of learning. The RCCs are also one process the staff uses to coordinate services for students. During the RCC, community members model and coach speech and behavior appropriate to a professional setting; clarify graduation requirements; describe specific achievements that will give the student broader post-secondary options; and assist the student in setting realistic goals for the coming quarters. This is all done through respectful and honest inquiry and observation. The following is information to assist you in understanding the purpose of these events as well as the process behind how the conferences are run. RCCs will be held quarterly and will take place during your student’s language arts class or social studies class.

Purpose – The purpose of report card conferencing is as follows:

To give the students an opportunity to speak with an adult in order to gain understanding of their current academic standing and its implications
To establish next steps for success, including a written document of student responsibility
To create structured artifacts which accurately reflect the conference and next steps identified by the student. These are shared with the teacher teams in order to meaningfully complete the process
To model professional interaction for our students (i.e. handshakes, eye contact, professional tone)

Students will be in the library with their peers and teacher and under the supervision of GHS staff
Adult and student will be facing each another for the conference
5-7 minutes per conference

As each student is called into the conferencing area of the library to have her/his conference, the student will be paired with a professional visitor from the local community, a teacher at GHS, a counselor, or an administrator, and the two of them will review the report card data: grades, attendance and credits. This will be led by the student and the student will have their report card to reference if they so choose. The student will be asked to identify the specific behaviors and actions which resulted in the outcomes reflected by the data. The results of the discussion are recorded on a Recovery Contract or Affirmation sheet as appropriate. Copies of these forms are shared with teachers in order to continue the process and the Affirmations are posted publicly in the building for students to see. At the end of the conference, the student is given a certificate which either congratulates them on their success or reminds them that there is still time to improve by changing their approach.

The most important aspect of these conversations is that community members ask open ended questions that give the students voice and a chance to reflect on their experience. As they reflect upon their behaviors and the outcomes of them, they are asked to set specific and attainable goals. If, during the conference, any important information surfaces regarding discrepancies in the data or problematic situations faced by the students, that information is recorded on the Action Item Form and is given to one of the organizers of the conferences.

Thoughts? Thanks!

-Seattle parent

Elementary Mom said...

That sounds like a cult.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Seattle Parent, this is a newish thing Garfield is doing. Obviously, they just don't have enough time/staff for report card conferences. I'm pretty sure you can opt out - write an e-mail to the counselor and cc the principal - and say that you don't feel the need for your child to participate. You, as a parent, can give your child the exact same opportunity as someone who doesn't know your child and would now know their grades and attendance record.

Anonymous said...

@Melissa You on on record being against having PTAs fund teaching positions. Whether McGilvra has some issues or not, you evaded the topic.

@Numbers Here are some real numbers:

Bailey Gatzart (info from OSPI):

Low Income 74.5%
Special Education 23.4%
Limited English 38.8%

900K is about 8 teachers including benefits. Not going to having much impact on that highly impacted school, even with their teaming up with Seattle U.

Please don't use impacted schools and students to justify the indefensible.
Neighboring districts stopped allowing PTAs to fund positions.

Others pool money or give money to less affluent schools (see Portland). Doesn't mean that some people don't greet the change by kicking and screaming.


SPS, as per usual, is behind the times.

Facts Cruncher

Another View said...

The state's largest school district has issued their McCleary opinion.

I hope the board does not give Larry Nyland a pay increase. It is time for the board to cap administrative salaries, as well. We have too many $200K plus people lined up against the walls of the John Stanford Center.

Another View said...

Clarification: The state's largest court has issued an opinion on McCleary.

Anonymous said...

I know many students who would benefit from such interaction. The parents involved must agree to confidentiality like any parent volunteer.

If a parent carpools or takes a group as a chaperone they are giving the emergency medical form with students' medical issues, so any parent must sign a form stating they will talk to no one, not even a spouse, about information they see on forms or hear from students.

Hopefully the parents will follow the rules they agreed to.


Numbers said...

Fund Cruncher,

How much should be allocated to low income schools?

Anonymous said...

Bailey Gatzert has about 300 students. So 8 teachers would be nearly double the amount of staffing for a non high poverty school. Wow. I had not realized the difference in funding within SPS. That's a lot.

WS parent

Anonymous said...

Did you count the ELL and SPED staff in your numbers?

Probably not.

Also, the $900K was not attributed to Gatzert. I just used that number to show how little it is in real terms in a highly impacted school.

The "difference in funding" is a direct result of the fact that some schools have few FRL, ELL and SPED students, while others are very highly impacted.

Thanks, SAP, for keeping this tradition alive and well in SPS.

Facts Cruncher

Eric B said...

Here's what Bailey-Gatzert was allocated in the March budget. Some of it may have changed, but it's probably not far off:

Admin staff (principal, librarian, counselor, etc.): 3.5 FTE
Gen Ed teachers + PCP: 15 FTE
SpEd teachers (incl bilingual): 6.5 FTE
SpEd IAs: 6 FTE
SpEd Preschool: 1.5 teachers, 2 IAs

Total: 34.5 FTE
They also get ~300K in Title I/LAP money and another 57K in FRL mitigation money.

I don't see any $900K, but another 8 classroom teachers would have a huge effect on classroom sizes.

Source here in the 2017-18 Revised Allocation Book, p. 31: http://www.seattleschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=4236325

Anonymous said...

There is no $900K at Gatzert

That was the amount bandied in order to justify PTA funding for teachers.

I took that number and showed what it would buy at a highly impacted school like Gatzert. The answer is: not nearly what they need. What they really need is a much less impacted school.

It's especially galling that McGilvra is once again allowed to decrease class sizes (according to the info in this thread) even though it nixed a few years back.

Thanks, Eric B.


Anonymous said...

News Tribune on McCleary.


Washington Supreme Court says state not done yet with McCleary education order.

-- Dan Dempsey

Melissa Westbrook said...

Fact Cruncher, don't know what you are saying. I have always been against PTA funded positions even when I was a PTA co-president.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...


"In Seattle, on the other hand, the 10 most affluent schools received at least $1.6 million, while the 10 highest-poverty schools did not receive any parent contributions or additional funds through redistribution. Given that financial data was not available for every PTA, we could not identify PTA revenues for every one of the top 10 or bottom 10 schools.63 With more financial information, it is likely that overall PTA revenues for the most affluent schools would be even higher."

--"Progressive" Seattle

Elsa said...

Agree with "Saying goodbye". The board has been so overwhelmed by entrenched administrators that they can't even begin to see beyond backstage. Sue got sacrificed.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Just to note, at the high school level, the real money is not in PTA but in the booster clubs for sports and arts.

Anonymous said...

Goodbye Sue Peters and Good luck to you. You did fantastic work and will be missed.