Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Tuesday Open Thread

Update 2: I note that the Board Work Session for tomorrow has been expanded from talking about the superintendent search firm.

Work Session: Meeting with Superintendent Search Firm 4:30 pm Location: Board Office Conference Room Work Session: Student Assignment Transition Plan 6:00 pm Location: Auditorium

Executive and Closed Sessions: Potential Litigation and Labor Relations 7:00 pm 
Interesting.  I will try to make this Work Session.
End of update

Update: the Seattle Times is reporting that Seattle school bus drivers will strike for one day tomorrow.

Bus service will resume Thursday, but the union said it could call for a longer strike if a deal isn't reached with First Student, the contractor that provides bus service to the district.

end of update

From #GivingTuesday's Facebook page:
If you are still looking to give back today, there's still plenty of time to have an impact! Donate to your favorite nonprofit or sign up to volunteer after #GivingTuesday. You can also give #probono, donate canned goods or clothing, or give blood. There's so many ways to give back - today is the perfect day to reach out to organizations in your community to see how you can help!
Support your favorite non-profit today!

The district says there could still be a school bus strike.
First Student and the bus driver union have not resolved their labor dispute and continue to negotiate. All families who use yellow school bus service need to have alternative plans to get their student to school in the event of a strike.

Any potential strike affects yellow bus riders. If your student gets to school using other district-provided methods (e.g. taxi, American Logistics), those services will not be disrupted.

We will continue to keep you updated as more information is available. If a strike is called, we will alert you by email, phone, website, social media and local broadcast news.
In their FAQs, the district is pretty clear - if there's a strike, you are on your own for transportation.  It's a bit unclear what happens to Special Education students; the district says students with provided private transport will continue to get that but that those students on the bus will be affected (how is not clear).
If bus drivers strike, how will we find out?
Should a strike be called, the district will immediately notify families these ways:

  • Website posts (school and district)
  • Our Facebook and Twitter pages
  • A phone message and email, including messages in home language.
Only the families of those students who ride First Student buses will receive a phone message and email from the district. 

We will notify local media, which likely provide regular updates throughout any strike scenario. We also commit to announce the restoration of bus service as quickly as possible.
Then there is this letter (from the Seattle Special Education PTSA Facebook page) about a student data privacy breach:

Certainly it is good that the district has firewalls on its computers but there are also very savvy people out there who may hack the computer before the wipe happens.  I applaud the district for letting parents know because parents should always be notified if their student's data has been compromised.  The person who foolishly left a business laptop with the personal data of students in a car should be held accountable.  That's not just a "whoops" - that's a grave error.

Looks like many districts will be going to voters for various levy/bond measures, including Bellevue that will have three (one for operations, one for capital needs and one for new school buses).  They are asking for a Feb. 2018 election.

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

It's official: One day bus driver strike tomorrow, Wed. Back to regularly scheduled service Thurs. Threat by drivers of further strikes if contract negotiations don't progress.


Owler said...

What EdVoter said. Here's a link: https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/education/seattle-school-bus-drivers-to-strike-wednesday/

Outsider said...

We've become such a nation of sex scandals, it's possible to miss some gems as they rush by on the waves of each news cycle. But no one with a teenager or future teenager should miss this one:


A 68-year-old Texas congressman, looking like an anatomically correct Pilsbury dough boy, sent a naked picture of himself in full excitement, along with some undignified suggestions, to a former girlfriend by smart phone. Now the whole world is laughing its butt off. If any teenager is tempted to think of sexting as cool, romantic, edgy, or exciting, one look at Joe Barton should convince them otherwise. I am saving the picture, and when my son finally gets his hands on a smartphone, I plan to tape an 8x10 on the refrigerator.

Anonymous said...

Just got my robo-call about the strike - for some reason even though all the news media is clearly stating that this is a 1-day strike, the school district message just says there is a strike starting tomorrow. No mention of the fact that bussing will resume Thursday. Seems like a pretty import piece of information that should have been included.

Mom of 4

Anonymous said...

Mom of 4, there does not seem to be any guarantee that the strike will be over with only one day, as EdVoter said. "Threat by drivers of further strikes if contract negotiations don't progress."


Anonymous said...

I don't know if the district can say service will resume on Thursday since they are not in control of the teamsters. The drivers could change their mind and extend the strike for all the district knows. Meanwhile those of us with kids who are bused get to have the fun of continuing weeks of making arrangements to get our kids to school "just in case." I wish someone could lean on the bus company and teamters and get them to end this. - CD

Anonymous said...

I wish the bus company would give their drivers better health care benefits.

better way

Anonymous said...

This is where Metro needs to be in the loop and put increased buses into service to ferry more schoolkids than normal. City-SPS coordination happening that anyone knows about?

Concerned parent

Anonymous said...

Metro can't just increase service for every route used by SPS students...libs.


Anonymous said...

For anyone who would like to show support to the striking yellow bus drivers, there will be active picket lines outside of First Student bus yards in Lake City and South Park.

First Student – South Park Bus Lot:
8249 5th Ave S.
Seattle, WA 98108

First Student – Lake City Bus Lot:
13525 Lake City Way NE
Seattle, WA 98125

Read more about what's behind the strike at:


school bus fan

Anonymous said...

One might ask why Seattle Public Schools has not advocated for drivers who are without health insurance. Surely the school district has some influence over First Student in Seattle.

school bus fan

Anonymous said...

Show support? Quite the opposite. The drivers, if they continue with this behavior, should be replaced. First student has a contract and they are failing to live up to it. If you want better healthcare for everyone, show up to vote next time. In the meantime, we need our kids to get to school.

Not a supporter

Anonymous said...

To all those who want ineffective pooled PTA funds, take a look at this giving Tuesday request for Northshore School Dustrict Foundation...I would give to a SPS school foundation set up to fund specific schools, programs and services, but if my PTA money was lumped into a district wide general fund, I wouldn’t give.


Funding Matters

Anonymous said...

I'm torn since we don't have control over our funding - if the drivers force 1st student to raise benefits and they pass that along to SPS as a larger bill for services, what is the district going to cut to make up the gap?


Eric B said...

SPS has leaned pretty hard on First Student, mainly by sending them a letter clearly saying that FS will be assessed damages per their contract for every day they don't move kids to school. Those damages were not a small number, though FS is a large company and surely is playing a bigger game than just Seattle.

There's not a whole lot that SPS can do otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Funding Matters,

We use to have an organization that pooled funds district-wide & raised funds for grants around the district and gave logistical support to fundraising efforts in all SPS schools. Then its board turned over, they fired most of the staff and decided to use their funds to try to influence decision making instead of supporting efforts originating at individual schools or from the district. That would be the alliance for education.

Instead such an organization could have helped distribute funds when we each donate to our own school, by offering additional donor options to specific projects in needier schools or a general grant fund or publicizing specific needs around the district. As well, of course, as fundraising from the broader community on behalf of all our schools.

-HS Parent

Concerned Parent said...

The school board is now aware of the laptop being stolen from the program specialist's car, as is the chief information officer. They were not aware of the situation or about the letter.

Anonymous said...

More reports of WA DC school reform fiasco
(complete history of Rhee's reign + Henderson) =>

School Reform Fiasco in WA DC

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

This document is now available online. SPS reasoning behind five HC pathways in 2019-20: http://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/School%20Board/17-18%20agendas/20171129/20171129_Agenda_Packet.pdf


Anonymous said...

From the document:
"State Law and Compliance: As the District investigates options to serve students identified as highly capable, we must take into account the compliance challenges that could potentially occur. State law for highly capable requires a “continuum of services”… for students…“from K-12”. An argument could easily be made that Seattle Public Schools (SPS) is out of compliance if there was not an International Baccalaureate Accelerated (IBX) program and we ended the existing pathway to Garfield High School. OSPI made it clear that only offering International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced Placement (AP) courses does not fulfill that requirement. Any solution created needs to provide a HC pathway designation and continuum of service to ensure compliance.

WAC 392-170-078: Program services states, “Districts shall make a variety of appropriate
program services available to students who participate in the district's program for highly
capable students. Once services are started, a continuum of services shall be provided to the student from K-12.” The District already initiated this work by screening all 2nd grade student sat Title 1 schools.Another consideration is that OSPI has adopted new language this year, based on equity concerns.
WAC 392-170-075 Selection of most highly capable states, “(4) Consistent with RCW
28A.185.020, district practices for identifying the most highly capable students must prioritize equitable identification of low-income students.” Any solution created needs to begin the process of expanding access and move us into improved alignment with policy 0300.

I know of at least two Highly capable F& R lunch students (white) who were NOT at Title I schools. Both these students were identified late and faced significant challenges to access the process. One was homeless for awhile. They really need to be working harder to identify ALL free and reduced lunch students, INCLUDING the F & R lunch white and asian students and the students not at Title I schools.

Anonymous said...

@ HC, where are you getting this? "OSPI made it clear that only offering International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced Placement (AP) courses does not fulfill that requirement. Any solution created needs to provide a HC pathway designation and continuum of service to ensure compliance."

That's great they did ultimately identify those students you mentioned. Yes, we need to better at finding them sooner and making it easier. I think/hope they are working on it.


TheGoodFight said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

@DisAPP-- It is in the link to the proposal document that will be presented I assume Dec 7th. It outlines the reasons behind WHY they are considering the regional pathway. It also lists the other options and why they might not be viable ideas.

I found it informative that the district realizes the status quo has effectively barred equitable access for HC students via distance. It is not reasonable to expect kids to travel hours by bus. Ex. Bus service was eliminated from NW etc. That left no practical "designated HC option" for BHS kids but neighborhood school and Ingraham IBX/IB is not appropriate for all HC. They were told by OSPI simply offering AP courses or IB is not enough. They plan to do more at all the 4 regional sites, including adding AP courses, honors options, Garfield teachers etc. They recognize they can be sued for being out of compliance if they do not offer a seamless curriculum at the school.